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August 6 – A mark of the true church

“I know your works…nevertheless you allow that woman Jezebel…” – Revelation 2:19-20

Scripture reading: Revelation 2:18-29; Acts 20:17-36

Thyatira was a church growing in Christ. Her last works were greater than her first, and she was known for her love, service, faith and endurance.

Could a church of such lively growth and faith falter? Jesus says that despite her zeal she is in danger. She ‘tolerates’ or ‘allows’ a so-called prophetess to teach false doctrine, and thus lead members of the church into error. To put this in our current context, the church of Thyatira, for all its growth, failed to practice church discipline. It is not simply that she has false teaching or compromising Christians in her midst. It is that she has this, knows this, and permits it.

No one likes to hear a letter of discipline read from the pulpit on a Sunday morning, but did you know that the health of a church depends upon such actions, rightfully carried out? Paul called the Ephesian elders to watch because savage wolves, even from their very midst, would arise and not spare the flock. False teaching in the church is like a bitter root which destroys it, if it is not pulled out. While repentant and struggling sinners must be approached with love and grace, false teachers who lead others into sin cannot be tolerated in Christ’s church. Let us keep our church leaders in prayer that God might enable them to wisely and faithfully shepherd the church, nurturing the sheep and keeping out the wolves.

Suggestions for prayer

Lord, help us to have a holy intolerance for sin.

Pastor Greg Bylsma is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary, and he is currently serving at the Living Water Reformed Church in Brantford, Ontario. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.

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