Thursday, March 5, 2020

Unloving Love

We finish up our look at the churches in Revelation today by looking at Thyatira. Ephesus had a problem because they knew truth, but didn't love. Pergamum struggled because they believed passioantely, but didn't discern. Now, we come to Thyatira.

Thyatria was praised for loving well, but was admonished for refusing to judge (Revelation 2).

And this is the other side of the grace vs. truth dilemma. (I've said that twice this week, but pleas understand that it's not really a "vs." At least, it shouldn't be.)

Thyatira loved well. They knew how to care for one another, how to encourage one another, how to fellowship. They were doing a great job of drawing their circle larger and letting everyone in. They were the hands and feet of God in their community - healing the sick, feeding the hungry, helping the poor. You'd better believe these people were Jesus with skin on.

But they weren't actually preaching Jesus. They weren't requiring commitment to principles. They weren't expecting repentance, even from those among them. They weren't willing to call out when someone was falling short - they'd just go right on loving that person. They weren't weeding out from amongst them those who were leading them astray. In fact, they didn't even seem to understand that they could be led astray. That there were bounds and guidelines to who Jesus is and what we can do in His name.

It's the same thing we're facing today. Isn't it? We have this world that preaches a Jesus with no expectations. He doesn't want you to ever change; you're perfect just the way you are. He doesn't expect anything more of you than you're able to give right now. You don't have to grow. You don't have to repent. You don't even have to try for our culture's version of Jesus. He's all love and peace and promise for everybody. No matter who you are. No matter what you've done. No matter what you keep on doing and what you refuse to quit.

Our culture's Jesus doesn't even see you as a sinner. Oh, sure, we still call ourselves sinners and talk about all the things we could do better, but that's us, not Him. Jesus would never call you a sinner. He would never call your actions sin. Because you know, you're doing them with the best of intentions and the purest of heart. It's different now, we say. Our culture is different. Things mean different things now, not what Jesus thought they meant. So He's cool with it. He's cool with us.

And it's the same thing we were saying yesterday - if you believe anything different than that, then you must be a bigot. If you expect more of someone than they're currently living, you must hate them. You must be prejudiced. You must be whatever-phobic. Because Jesus, man, He doesn't have all these hang-ups.

"He's just love."

But "just love" will get you in trouble. It wrecks things. It creates more problems than it solves, for those inside the faith and outside of it. It was the trouble in Thyatira.

It's our trouble today. 

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