Jump Start # 2094
Revelation 2:21 “ I have her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.”
Our verse today is a tough one. It’s all so true. It’s sad, heart-breaking, and eternally devastating. This comes from the letter to Thyatira, one of the seven churches of Asia that the book of Revelation is addressed to. Among the troubles and problems in that congregation was the toleration of Jezebel, referred here as a prophetess who was misleading the people of God.
The real Jezebel was long dead. She was the wicked wife of King Ahab back in the days of Elijah. She ran the country. She gave orders and was instrumental in influencing Israel into Baal worship. She hunted down the prophets of God and killed them. After the mighty encounter on Mount Carmel, where Elijah proved to the nation that Jehovah was the one and only God, the prophets of Baal were slaughtered. She made a decree to have Elijah killed. She was killed and that’s the end of Jezebel.
Now, all these centuries later, arises not the original Jezebel, but one who is evil, scheming and opposed to the people of God. This modern Jezebel is acting like the original one. Through her false teaching, she confuses, misleads and distorts the faith that the Christians at Thyatira have. She is trouble. Instead of recognizing her as such, she is tolerated. She is left alone to continue her wicked ways.
This is where our verse is found. God has been patient with this modern Jezebel. God has allowed her to stop the wrong and start doing what is right. She doesn’t want to. She remains on this dead end street. She continues to hurt the people of God. Time is running out and the Lord will bring an end to her. Our verse today, puts before us some interesting thoughts about those who are right and those who are wrong.
First, tolerating wrong is nothing more than compromise. It’s weakening faith. It’s watering down God’s message. It’s looking the other way and allowing things that should not be allowed. To stand with God means there comes a time when lines must be drawn in the sand. Problems do not work themselves out. Problems only gain momentum and get worse. We understand this naturally. A person diagnosed with cancer doesn’t sit on the sidelines of life thinking, “It’ll work itself out.” No. That person goes to a doctor, a specialist and a treatment program is started. Surgery may be an option. But something that is not an option is believing that it will just go away on it’s own. If your roof begins to leak, you don’t think, just get it time and it’ll get better. It never gets better on it’s own. You’ll be walking about buckets on your floor if you do not fix the leak. Thyatira tolerated. They put up with these loose tongues, wicked ways and evil influences. Would things just get better in time? God did not think so.
Second, there is an element of time that needs to be afforded to someone who is in the wrong. The strong arm of justice needs to be patient. There is a difference between compromise and patience. From a distance, they may seem the same. Compromise is going along. Compromise has no intention of changing. Patience is waiting for change. Patience is offered after a person has been shown, taught and warned about what is wrong. Some people don’t know. Some don’t see it. Blasting a person out of the pew may make the church feel better, but it can destroy a soul. Patience. How much? How long? That’s a judgment call. It’s based upon seeing some movement, some action out of the person who is wrong. Are they stalling? Are they thinking? Are they just sitting and waiting for your next move? Are they getting close to changing?
We can move too fast and we can move too slow. It’s hard to know. Too fast, and a wrong person may feel like they weren’t given enough time to change. That happens. Too slow, and they may think you don’t care and are accepting the wrong that they are doing. It’s a balance. It’s easy to lean too far one way or the other. Parents have to deal with this as well. Putting up with wrong is not an option. How swift or how patient is a matter of judgment. Time needs to be offered for the guilty to change. They need to know that they are wrong and have the opportunity to make things right.
Third, some will never do what is right. That’s our verse today. God was patient with Jezebel. He gave her time to repent but she does not want to repent. Give her another year, and nothing will change. Give her a decade and nothing will change. Only, the church will be weaker and more of a mess. It’s hard to understand why some do not want to do what is right. Given the option of doing right or doing wrong, some will pick wrong. Given the chance to apologize and make things better or go on you mean ole’ ways, some will go one their mean ole’ ways. They don’t care. They don’t care about you. They don’t care about what’s right. They don’t care about the Lord. And, without realizing it, they don’t care about themselves. I gave them time, but they do not want to…sad, sad words.
Fourth, when it finally comes to the point that some will not do what is right, then the consequences of their actions must take place. They may be asked to leave—a home, a marriage, a job, a church. Having ignored warnings about their behavior, they will now be the focus of the warnings. Others will be warned about them. Their influence and their reputation will be ruined as long as they continue to do what is wrong. Distance will separate them from righteous people. Unless they change, they will sink deeper into wrong. Their associations will be with people like them– wicked, careless, selfish and harmful. In the end, they destroy their own souls. They could have repented, but they chose not to. They could have been saved, but they chose not to. They could have turned around and helped others, but they chose not to. They could have pleased the Lord, but they chose not to. They could have saved their own souls, but they chose not to. They may point fingers at others, but it was their choices that put them there and their hard hearts that kept them there. Blame the past. Point fingers at the church. Use parents as the punching bag. But in the end, they were told and they were shown a door out of this mess. Patience and grace was extended to them, but they turned their backs to it. And, now, they will lie in the very grave that they have dug. They created a mess and they will face the consequences for that.
This is heart-breaking for parents whose child will not come back from the far country. This sucks the air out of a church whose member persists in doing wrong and influencing others to follow. This breaks the heart of God. What more could have been done? Nothing.
I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent.