I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.
Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds... and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
The 'The Corrupt Church' was Thyatira.
When you look at their works of love, service, faith, and patience, these believers appear to be on the right track. In addition, Jesus says their good deeds are increasing. So why do they face dire warnings and punishments in Jesus' longest letter? Why are they called corrupt? Shouldn't their success outweigh those 'few things against' them?
Only God can balance the justice scales perfectly. And we must take Him at His Word.
According to my research, Thyatira was a trading center with unions; Christian merchants were hard pressed to do business without joining the local buddy-buddy system. That meant going to their gatherings and making friends. But the tradesmen were idol worshippers.
In addition, this church had a powerful woman with a 'Jezebel spirit.'
Historically, Jezebel was the fiery and beautiful wife of Israel's King Ahab. She was thought to be a pagan priestess and false prophet, who led God's chosen people toward evil and promiscuity. Women with a Jezebel spirit are considered powerful, controlling, and seductive.
Any 'successful' church with a false prophet in a leadership position lives under satanic authority. From the top down, their code of conduct may be dressed up by good deeds and passionate words that have been twisted by the master deceiver. But Jesus says, 'I am He who searches the minds and hearts' (Revelation 2:23).
Also, 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits' (Matthew 7:15-16).
His disciple John says, 'Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world' (1 John 4:1).
Examine yourself and the leaders you follow--especially those with seductive words. Worldly profit is false profit. Ask God for revelation. If you can't see clearly beyond church authorities to the Messiah revealed in scripture, come out from among them and be separate.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Which Church Are You? series.