Sunday, 20 September 2020
“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Revelation 2:19
Jesus once again states, “I know your works,” as He has in the first three letters. He is letting those in Thyatira know that He is monitoring them and evaluating their actions. From there, translations vary. Some state these as five various categories –
Works, love, service, faith, and patience.
Some state these as four qualifiers of “works.” In other words, the works are –
Love, service, faith, and patience.
In the Greek, the word “and” precedes “love,” and so the first option is most likely. The Lord is aware of the works of those in Thyatira, and of the other four attributes that they display. These four attributes are –
Love – This is to be taken as love in general. Their works included affection and benevolence towards those they ministered to. This is something mentioned by the author of Hebrews saying, “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).
Service – The word diakonia gives the sense of waiting at a table. It stems from two words, dia (through) and konis (dust). Thus, it is one who scurries through the dust. In other words, it extends to the ministry of those who actively assist in duties in a willing attitude.
Faith – This can extend to both belief and faithfulness. HELPS Word Studies notes that it “is always a gift from God, and never something that can be produced by people. In short, 4102/pistis (‘faith’) for the believer is ‘God’s divine persuasion’ – and therefore distinct from human belief (confidence), yet involving it.” Those at Thyatira had displayed faith in a manner acceptable to the Lord.
Patience – The word gives the sense of “perseverance.” Those in Thyatira had remained steadfast in their efforts through whatever situation life handed them, be it ease or tribulation.
These attributes are acknowledged by the Lord as points to be complimented. And more, He says, “and as for your works, the last are more than the first.” This then goes back to the original thought concerning “I know your works.” Those works that they had accomplished were more abundant than when they had begun their walk of faith.
It should be noted, as has occurred in many verses already, there are differences in the Greek texts which cause the verse to be read somewhat differently. Reading a multitude of translations will help the reader see these differences and will give him a chance to reflect on which translation makes the most sense.
Life application: The works of those at Thyatira as individuals and collectively brought glory and honor to the Lord. They continued on doing good after the initial spurt of works normally sputters. So, we should likewise continue on, not letting slip that which we began doing.
They were growing in their good deeds. In their love, the things they did were being done for the honor of Jesus, not self. The love they had for the Lord wasn’t diminished and their works remained directed towards His glory. In like manner, we should keep our love towards Christ fresh and vibrant. In this, our labors of love will also reflect our love of the Lord.
In their service, the people were willing to do the jobs of service without fear of getting their feet dirty. Are we willing to humble ourselves in whatever manner is needed in order to serve others? If so, the Lord will be pleased with that expression of ourselves.
Their faith is noted just as the ancients were commended for it, as is recorded in Hebrews 11. Too often people get misdirected in their faith and everything else gets misdirected with it. But because of properly directed faith, their other areas of spiritual growth were also properly aligned.
Finally, their patience was the result of a close walk with the Lord and a clear communion with the Holy Spirit. When we have our eyes properly directed on the Lord and our minds and souls in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we can work patiently through any suffering or affliction.
O God, if only we could consistently emulate those things that You find commendable in the people mentioned in the Bible. It is certain that we all fail You often in our thoughts, words and deeds. And so, help us in this. Strengthen us and give us the resolute and determined purpose to continue to grow in our spiritual walk. To Your glory we pray. Amen.