The Church at Thyatira

(Revelation 2:18-29)

Lesson 8 -- second quarter 1997
April 20, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

What is true conservatism?
What is the undoing of many?

I am not very fond of labels like liberal and conservative. Let's do a little test. Based on my writings, how would you label me? OK. You're not the first to call me that. But would it interest you to know that others stamped me with the opposite label?! Now you can understand why I am not comfortable with the terms. You see, we humans apply the terms with a lot of subjectivity, so the information they convey about an individual can be very relative. However, the Bible can clarify for us the definition and nature of genuine conservatism.

Verse 25 in our printed text contributes greatly to our understanding: "But that which ye have already hold fast till I come." Biblical conservatism hangs on tight to the clear teaching of Scripture which the Lord has given us. This doesn't refer merely to doctrine; it speaks of life! The Word instructs us to give increasing obedience to the truth we have heard, and we must do so with multiplying earnestness. To not do so is to begin slipping, unawares (Hebrews 2:1). So you see, conservatism of the godly sort is interested in doing more than maintaining knowledge of and obedience to the truth. It yearns zealously to expand both (Acts 17:11)! Thus, biblical conservatism gets better with each generation! How's your generation doing?

Verse 26 in our lesson expands the scope even more, speaking of "he that overcometh." This verse tells me that true conservatism stands aggressively and victoriously for the truth, both in personal life as well as in the life of family and of the church. These conservatives are neither patsies nor sluggards. They are constantly on the lookout, guarding diligently (Deuteronomy 4:9; 2 Peter 1:12). Furthermore, according to the rest of verse 26, the genuine conservative works the Lord's works right up until the time for working ends and the time of eternal rest begins--"and keepeth my works unto the end."

Ultimately, conservatism is neither driven nor enticed by fear, as many would think. Conservatism at its best finds it motivation in love and in the desire to produce good fruit for the Sower: "Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God" (Joshua 23:11). "But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience" (Luke 8:15).

Many Christians are undone because they chose to let error go unchallenged. They figured it wasn't their business, or it wouldn't affect them, or it wasn't that important anyway, or they couldn't make a difference after all. But they didn't realize that yielding truth and righteousness always drags down. Being willing to live with error, they lived to see themselves engulfed by it.

My friend, do not excuse, justify, tolerate or condone any error. Do not look away from any manifestation of rebellion or disobedience. In God's eyes there is no jot or tittle of His Word that is so minor that it can be discarded without major consequence! Remember verse 20 of today's lesson! And remember James 2:10--"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."

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