Posted by: reformbama | March 15, 2012

What is more important in church?

Good works or sound doctrine?

This is taken from PYROMANIACS Blog

Revelation 2:19-20 makes for arresting reading. This is the glorified Lord Jesus, writing to the messenger of the church in Thyatira. First, verse 19 says: “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.”

Who wouldn’t want to hear that as an assessment of his church’s health?Jesus Himself says that He knows their works. That right there is a sit-down-and-think-about-this revelation. Sure, it makes sense; He is after all omniscient. But He takes note, takes specific and personal note, of the works of this one church that probably entirely fit in someone’s house.

Further, He specifies their love, faith, service and patient endurance. These are all wonderful qualities. They’re central. He doesn’t merely say “Nice choir, tasty pot-lucks, beautiful ambiance.” These are central signs of the work of the Holy Spirit.

It gets even better: “your latter works exceed the first.” They aren’t resting on their laurels. They aren’t reminiscing about the glory days, back when Brother X was pastor, or The Great Revival happened, conducting slide-shows of yesteryear. They were growing now, today, in the present tense. This is a splendid sign of life.

You want this to be the end. You expect Him to say, in effect, “So, terrific work, I’m happy with you, your reward will be great,” and roll the credits.

However, surely as night follows day, verse 19 is followed by verse 20: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.”

It is beside this post’s point to focus on interpreting Jezebel or her false teaching. The point is that, in spite of all the wonderful signs of robust spiritual reality in Thyatira, they had one problem, and to Jesus it was a big problem: they tolerated a false prophet, a false teacher.

The bare minimum of what we need to learn from this is, one would hope, fairly obvious. All the good works and character qualities in the world are insufficient if a church tolerates harmful teachers, and harmful teaching.

One clear and simple takeaway is that we should not focus on spiritual reality and hope that divine truth will take care of itself naturally and organically because of our generally terrific spiritual health. Remember Thyatira.

Another takeaway is that we cannot focus on discernment alone, and trust that spiritual reality will take care of itself because of our commitment to God’s truth. Remember Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-11).

We must encompass both in our aims and concerns, both as church leaders and as church members.


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