We are familiar with the Seven Churches as found in Revelation 2 and 3; however I’d like to look into why each church was either alive or dead, and what can be learned about each one.
Now a church is a group of people attending together worshiping God, so the churches themselves fall into these groups when the members themselves do the same.
Fourth warning: The danger of corruption by allowing sin into the church.
This warning comes from the church of Thyatira in Revelation 2: 19-20
“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
Spoke earlier about allowing false doctrine into the church, how much worse is allowing sin?
Remember the man with his father's wife in 1 Corinthians? This is even worse, Jezebel is allowed to teach!
Now, I know that all sin, and those who worship are as well but that can not be our continual state as it was with her. After all, as Romans 6 1-4 says of our spiritual state
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
When we sin, we must seek forgiveness and turn from it. As found in Revelation 2, Jezebel did no such thing. And as in the case of Jezebel, if a member openly continues in sin, our reputation as a congregation that serves God is tarnished, and this as well can kill a church. After all, how can we teach the importance of turning away from sin and repenting if we allow sin in the church ourselves?
Or as Jesus puts it in Mark 9: 42-44
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— where
‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’
Jesus speaking in metaphor but as a church we must cut off the one who causes the sin that may lead to our condemnation. It may seem harsh, but if we allow one to lead the congregation to condemnation how can we claim to love God?