7 Churches | week 4: Give It Up
All of the seven churches referenced in the Book of Revelation existed within cities that were heavily influenced by the Greek and Roman gods and their temple worship. Also, in these cities, every profession or social class had their own guild. These guilds functioned like trade unions and social clubs and were necessary for social climbing and career advancements. This posed a problem for members of the early Christian church. These guilds were all associated with a god or deity which required participation in temple worship. Membership, participation and the worship were intertwined and included sacrifice, orgies, and ecstatic behavior. Fitting in would require the early Christians to deviate from the teachings of the church. Participation would help them advance in society but would put them at odds with their new faith; conform and be rewarded or hold fast to the gospel message and be an outcast.
READ Luke 14:33
In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
READ this passage again and consider these related questions.
What do you think Jesus means by “everything you have”?
Define disciple. Is there an implied exclusivity in being a disciple?
In this context, what is the difference between a fad and commitment?
Read Revelation 2:18-29
1. What does the motivation for and the results of their deeds say about this church?
2. What false teaching is this church being accused of tolerating?
3. Refer to 1 John 2:15-17. How might this passage apply to the accusations against the Thyatirian church?
4. Discuss the difficulty of choosing to be faithful to Jesus when it impacts your livelihood or social status.
5. Point out the display of God’s grace and mercy in this passage.
6. As followers of Jesus and members of the body, what is our role in helping others to recognize their sin? Look at Jude 22-23.
7. Look at Matthew 5:24. What are some of things that motivate us to tolerate the ways of the world?
8. How would you describe having authority in Christ? Is it absolute? What is it based upon?