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The Tension of Tolerance

Words of Faith Final

The Tension of Tolerance

Words of Faith 11-24-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Revelation 2

[18]  "To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. [19]  I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. [20]  Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.


        Revelation includes seven letters to the churches of Asia Minor. Today, these churches are in modern Turkey. These messages were spoken by Jesus as Revelation to John the Apostle in about 95AD.

        Ephesus is sometimes called the Loveless Church. They had great doctrine and dedication, but they had lost their first love. Jesus called them to remember, return, and rekindle the love they had at first for Jesus.

        Smyrna is often called the Suffering Church because of the terrible persecution they were experiencing. Jesus called them to remember Who He is, the beginning and the end with the power of life after death.

        Pergamum is usually called the Compromising Church. Though they had been faithful in many ways, they had entertained the teachings of “Balaam” that compromised with the world in idolatry and immorality. Jesus called them to repent from this worldly compromise.

         Now we come to Thyatira, which was about 45 miles east of Pergamum. This was a smaller city well known for abundant crops, wool, linen, apparel, dyed fabrics, leatherwork, tanning, excellent bronze work, and production of purple dye. The market for purple cloth was lucrative. Thyatira was the town of Lydia, the first European convert to Christ. She was a seller of purple goods (Acts 16:14). 

          Like some other Roman cities, Thyatira required membership in a “Guild” to buy, sell, or trade. Each guild had its own patron deity and required feasts and seasonal festivities. The guild feasts included sexual revelries and a meal consuming meat sacrificed to the idols.

         Apparently, there had been a teacher at Thyatira who was advocating a “tolerant” view on all these things. For this reason, Thyatira is often called the Tolerant Church.

         To be called “tolerant” actually sounds pretty nice and very modern. To be called a “tolerant person” is usually intended and received as a compliment. But when we hear this from the Lord, it has a different focus and was the central accusation against this church.

         The opening of this address in this message is the strongest yet. The Lord identifies Himself as Son of God. “The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.” He uses the title Son of God rather than Son of Man. Both are Messianic titles and images.

          Son of God communicates divinity, and Son of Man communicates His humanity. When we need to know His humanity—that He understands our hurt, pain, and disappointment—He meets us as the Son of Man. When we need to encounter the holiness of Almighty God,

He addresses us as Son of God.

          The church at Thyatira needed to know the holiness of Almighty God. Lest they think this is a soft interview with the Savior, the Lord Jesus describes Himself the One whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

          We see similar issues in the church today. It is one thing to be welcoming of every person so that they may hear the Gospel of truth and freedom. It is another to tolerate and even bless unrepentant sin. 

          The popular culture of our day endorses all manner of evil. As believers, we are not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

          It is always easy to point out "what 'the church' ought to be doing or not doing." But the church is us—you and me. Where do we personally draw a line in terms of tolerance? It is not just a matter of personal taste. Jesus touched people who were considered disgusting so that they might be healed. Jesus conversed with people who had habitually sinned so that they might go and sin no more. 

         Jesus was always able to look straight through the mess of a person's life to see the broken hurt that needed healing. There was nothing his gaze could not tolerate in order to get to the sin that is not tolerated by the holiness of God.  This is the tension of incarnation and the tension of tolerance.


        Lord God, teach me where I have been intolerant because of my selfish judgment. Teach me where I need to be intolerant so as to pursue personal holiness. Give me the eyes and heart of Jesus, that I might bring Your healing to hurting broken souls. In Jesus’ Name.


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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.