“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:
 ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.
 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
 ‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.
 ‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.
 ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
 ‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them I place no other burden on you.
 ‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.
 ‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations;
 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;
 and I will give him the morning star.
 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the past lectures, I explained the general meanings of the word that the Lord gave to the church in Thyatira.
In this lecture, I’d like look into its spiritual meaning with you.
This is the word to awaken those who distort the truth and worship idols even though they profess they believe in God and serve the Lord.
I’m not trying to judge or criticize any specific religion. I’m trying to explain the spiritual meaning contained in the word. I hope that you will discern it well by the truth.
First, in the verse 19, the Lord says, “I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.” Generally, it’s explained that the Lord praises the church in Thyatira, but as I told you in the 7th Lecture, the true meaning of this verse is not praise.
When the Lord says, ” your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first,” He means that just outward deeds are greater than at first.
So, it’s not really praise. It’s actually a word of admonishment for them to realize whether or not their outward deeds havebeen truly genuine.
Outwardly they had been doing many deeds of goodness like charity, and the scale was getting bigger and bigger, but the question is ‘what is the purpose of what they were doing?’
Of course, the Lord is not saying that the good deed itself is wrong. But, the Lord wants them to look back on themselves to see whether or not the purpose is to show of their goodness and to make a good impression.
James 2:15-17 says, “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” Just like this, to serve, give relief, and do good things is evidence that there is surely love and faith.
But the problem is that this evidence of the things that were cannot verify that the deeds are truthful.
Just as written in 1 John 3:18, which reads, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth, we should not love only with word or with tongue, but also the truth should accompanied by deeds of action.
No matter how greatly they accomplish the deeds of the Lord and show the deeds of love, faith, service, and perseverance, if it’s not something truthful from the depth of their hearts, then it is not the truthfulness that the Lord wants.
For example, when you give relief, if you do it for your self satisfaction with boastful mind, saying, “We do good deeds giving relief like this. What we do is good. This is love and this is faith,’ then it will not be truthful in the sight of God.
Furthermore, if you do such deeds to make a good image of yourself, or make a good impression for others, then it may become hypocrisy.
And such Hippocratic deeds will eventually make your faith an empty one.
What Father God wants is this; the holiness of heart: the deeds of love, faith, service, and perseverance with truthfulness from such a holy heart.
The faith without truthfulness and the holiness of heart will gradually become formalistic faith. And it will result in creating various traditions of the elders and make believers lives difficult.
If you look into the history of Christianity, as time passed by the pure faith of the early church became formalized by men, and it eventually deteriorated.
In 16th century, religious reformation arose ‘to go back to the bible’ by those who sought for the true will of God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
I don’t try to judge or criticize a certain group of people.
But there are many people who are entrapped by the faulty doctrines that others made up, and lead a false believing life, even though they profess that they believe in God, accepted Jesus Christ, and live by the words in the bible.
They even tolerate indigenous beliefs or customs under the pretext of ‘Indigenized religious tolerance.’
So they allow Koreans to worship their ancestors.
Well, I’m not saying that paying a tribute to ancestors’ deeds and being thankful for what they accomplished is wrong. But, when sacrificial rites are tolerated for reasons of moral obligation or justified by a sense of moral duty, it will eventually lead to standing against the truth; the word of God.
1 Corinthians 10:20 clearly says, “No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.”
Despite all this, they tolerate such things even though they profess that they serve the Only God and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.
In the scripture, there is a woman, Jezebel, who called herself a prophetess, and there were people who committed adultery together with her.
Likewise, the same situation is taking place nowadays; so-called-prophets tempt people with untruth, and the people fall into the untruth together with him.
They didn’t intentionally stand against the will of God. But, since they didn’t know the truth well, eventually they disobeyed the will of God, and stood against Him.
Serving and worshiping the Virgin Mary, who conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit, is a model case of the situation of not understanding the truth well.
Of course, they don’t say that they worship Virgin Mary like an idol. They insist that they just show their highest respect to her because she gave birth to the Savior, the Lord Jesus.
But the fact is that they eventually lead those who cannot clearly discern the truth because they don’t know the truth, to bow down and pray in front of a mere creature.
Then what does the Truth say about them in this situation?
Let’s find the answer directly from what the Lord Jesus said.
In John 19:26-27, “When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.”
When Jesus said to Virgin Mary, “your son,” He indicated his disciple, John, who was standing nearby, and Jesus called him ‘your son’.
Jesus didn’t call Himself ‘Son’.
Jesus also called Virgin Mary, “Woman,” He did not call her “Mother.”
Do you think our Lord Jesus called Virgin Mary “Woman” because He didn’t have respect for her?
There is no record in the bible that Jesus ever called Virgin Mary ‘mother’.
In John Chapter 2 when Jesus turned water into wine, He said to Virgin Mary, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” He called Virgin Mary, ‘Woman’.
The fact that the bible calls the Virgin Mary ‘mother’ is not from the perspective of Jesus, but, it is from the perspective of the Lord’s disciples who wrote the bible.
It is clear that Virgin Mary will never become the mother of Jesus.
Jesus Christ is one with God the Father, and one of God the Trinity.
And there can be no ‘mother’ to God the Creator.
In Exodus 3:14, God says, “I AM WHO I AM.”
Nobody gave birth to God. Nobody created God.
From eternity to Eternity, God is “I AM WHO I AM.’
Therefore, Jesus, who is originally one with God the Father, cannot call Virgin Mary, a mere creature, ‘mother’.
Fleshly speaking, Virgin Mary cannot become Jesus’ mother.
When a baby is conceived, a sperm of father and an egg of mother join together.
But in the case of Jesus, even though Virgin Mary bore Him, He was not conceived through an egg of Virgin Mary.
Jesus just the borrowed her womb. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit who is one God the Father.
For instance, due to a highly developed scientific technology, a baby can be conceived and born in a test tube. But the test tube cannot be called the baby’s parent.
The parents of the baby will be the providers of the sperm and the egg.
Likewise, it is a fact that Jesus was born through the use of the womb of Virgin Mary, but Jesus, who is one with God the Father and the Son of God, cannot become a son of Virgin Mary.
Therefore, naturally it’s not right that Jesus calls Virgin Mary ‘mother.’
The bible, which is the truth itself, precisely records all these things so that people can clearly understand this fact.
And Exodus 20:3-5 says, “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them.”
Except God, who is ‘I AM WHO I AM,’ we must not make an idol of any creature or likeness of any creature and serve it.
God wants His children to serve and worship only God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
If you consider this truth, you must turn back after you realize that because of the faulty framework that people formed from their own thoughts, those thoughts and beliefs will eventually result in both disobeying the will of God, and breaking the commandments of God.
If you don’t, there will be no other way but to gradually distance yourself far away from the Word of God and eventually fall away from God’s grace.
And you will become accused by Satan.
You may say you didn’t think that you worship idols, but it’s because you didn’t know the truth and you still disobeyed the word of God and served the idols. If you continue to keep standing against the truth, you cannot receive God’s grace nor receive help of the Holy Spirit, but fall under Satan’s charge.
That’s why God prepared a way to make people realize the will of God through the Fiery Works of the Holy Spirit in the last days in order to give even such people a chance to receive grace.
Those who love God and try to pursue the truth in their goodness will realize what was wrong with them and what the truth is when they hear the word of the truth and see the accompanying evidences.
But if they still don’t repent and turn back, the strict judgment of God will come upon them, just as the Lord says, “I will cast her on a bed of suffering.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
I briefly explained the fact about wrongfully serving and worshiping Virgin Mary. But in many different areas of life, there are many examples that are against the Truth.
For example, drinking and smoking itself is not evil, but when you consider the many sins that result from it, you can clearly figure out what you should do concerning being it as a child of God.
A child of God must live a believing life being drunk with the Holy Spirit. But when he is drunk because alcohol and commits sin, if he still says that he loves God, then is it really true?
When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. It was a sign that the wall of sin between God and us was collapsed.
We were saved by the precious blood of the Lord, and we became children of God who can call God ‘Father’.
Despite this fact, if we say that we still believe we have to confess our sin to another person to be forgiven, just as the days before Jesus took the cross when we couldn’t go directly to God as sinners, then how do you the Lord feels about it?
After Jesus took the cross, was there any apostle or disciple of Jesus who taught that we have to confess our sin to others to be forgiven?
Furthermore, even if someone says, “Your sin is forgiven,” God doesn’t recognize it.
Someone can give intercessory prayer for us, but it is only God who listens to such prayer and forgives us.
Then, you may ask, “Then what does it mean by the Lord’s saying to His disciples after His resurrection, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained,” as written in John 20:23.
Of course, we can see in the bible that Peter, the disciple of Jesus cursed Ananias and Sapphira who tried to deceive the Holy Spirit, and their souls left them.
But this word doesn’t apply to just anyone.
He must be the one who becomes one with God and the Lord, and loved and guaranteed by God.
But still it doesn’t mean that the sin will be unconditionally forgiven when he prays.
Just as it is written that the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much, the prayer of such a man who is loved and guaranteed by God can draw the mercy and compassion of God. But still, the key to forgiveness of sin is up to the individual person who sinned.
Just as 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin,” even though you commit sin, only when you completely repent of the sin and turn back, and walk in the light, can you be forgiven by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
If you still walk in the darkness without repenting and turning back, then no matter how much a loved and guaranteed man of God prays for you, God will not forgive you.
That’s because it’s against the law of justice.
If you can be forgiven like that, people will live their lives as they please committing sins, and later they will come before a man of God and ask him to pray for them. When they are forgiven, they will just go back to the world and commit sin again.
How can it be within the law of justice and true human cultivation?
Therefore, even if a man who is loved and guaranteed by God gives the intercessory prayer for you, you yourself must completely repent and turn back first.
Then, even though your sin is too severe to be forgiven, even though you cannot be forgiven by your own prayer, God will see the man that He loves and guarantees, and He may have mercy on you.
You must clearly understand that ‘intercessory prayer by a man confirmed by God’ is completely different from you confessing your sin to someone and then he prays to God on behalf of you so that God forgives you.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Some people don’t know the truth well, and they may follow the wrong teaching.
They will surely disobey the will of God in their deeds following false teaching , but since they didn’t intentionally, or even though they knew that it is disobeying God’s will or it was an act from their evil heart, God still tries to understand them.
That’s why the Lord says in the verse 24, “the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them I place no other burden on you.”
It means that God is the God of justice who repays according to their deeds, if they repent and turn back even though they fell into evil deeds because they didn’t know the deep things of Satan, God will not place any burden on them.
But, there will be retribution to those who committed sin after they knew the deep things of Satan or those who gave up their hearts to Satan, even if they completely repent and turn back.
We can see that even if those who strongly worshiped idols come into the Lord Jesus, it doesn’t mean that all their past is settled. According to justice, what they did in the past will bring retribution.
OF course it is also the love of Father God who wants to give better to them after making them perfect.
But the case in the scripture is the case that, even though they professed that they believed in God and accepted the Lord as their savior, they committed sin because they didn’t know the truth yet. Therefore, unlike the case of strongly worshiping idols or committing sin while knowing it is sin, when they repent of their sin and turn back, God will forgive their past sin and He will not ask them about it.
But the Lord urges them to hold fast onto what they have until He comes.
It is to run forward without changing in order not to lose the chance of salvation that they acquired in the grace of the Lord.
Only when they do so, will the grace of salvation be given to them in the end.
Like this, to lead at least one more soul to salvation, God awakes them by the truth, teaches them by the truth, and anxiously calls to those who go the wrong way.
Moreover, if they are those who professed that they believed in God and that accepted the Lord as their savior, but fell into the way of destruction because of Satan’s temptation, God becomes more anxious, and tries to extend the way of salvation for them.
That’s why the Fiery Works of the Holy Spirit are necessary, and to manifest such works, God had to prepare all things.
Beginning with the next lecture, we will look into the church in Sardis who heard from the Lord, “you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
When a baby is born, he grows up as time passes. Spiritual growth is the same; it should continually keep growing.
But spiritual growth doesn’t only mean outward deeds.
Of course, the more faith grows up, the greater the deeds should become. But the spiritual growth that Father God
truly wants is sanctification in heart.
No matter how faithful your deeds of service are, if there is no sanctification of your heart in spiritual growth, then it cannot be a true believing life.
Just as a baby should grow up physically and mentally, spiritual growth must be accompanied by growth of outward deeds in faith.
If not, there will be spiritual congestion (??a bottle-neck or stagnation??) in faith, and various problems will occur.
Diseases, problems at home, or other difficulties are, of course, due to the barrier of sin between God and you in general, but there are cases that it’s because of spiritual congestion.
Job also stayed in the faith of outward deeds, but his faith didn’t grow up; his spiritual growth was tied-up. Then, God allowed him to undergo trials so that he was able to come into spiritual faith.
Therefore, I hope that you, too, will understand it well. You should be free from not only barriers of sin before God, but also the spiritual congestion. I hope that you will keep growing and living an abundant believing life.
May your faith grows up quickly to come to spirit and whole spirit, just as Ephesians 4:13 says, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ,” in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray!