GCT Weekly Newsletter

What is happening in heaven at 1:37pm today?

Church Family: Are you struggling today? Does life seem futile? Is all your hope gone? Does it seem like that the enemies of God are winning in your family in your work in your country? Ok, stop, wait! Jesus desires us to look at things from His perspective by asking, “What is going on in heaven today, right now?” As we wake up and live and struggle and do life and persevere on earth, Jesus reminds us to be heavenly minded and ask, “What is going on in heaven, in the throne room of God today, right now?”
 
Jesus reminds us in Revelation 4, that things that we are experiencing and enduring on this earth right this minute are not as they appear. This is such an important habit that we must keep persevering in daily. We must look at life from a heavenly perspective. Being able to look at the things of this earth from a heavenly perspective is the everyday reality and outworking of a biblical worldview. Things are not out of control! The devil has not won! Evil is not victorious! And cruel fate does not rule the universe! Instead, God is on His throne, in heaven, and He has everything, everywhere in His sovereign reign.

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How to make Jesus vomit.

Hey there Church family: Have you ever thought about your actions being so spiritually nasty that they make Jesus want to vomit them out of His mouth? The lukewarm church in Laodicea had that effect upon Jesus. They were complacent, self-satisfied, self-reliant, self-promoting in their pride so that they produced works that made Jesus want to vomit them out of his mouth like a cup of polluted lukewarm water. Those are Jesus’ very own words. The church of Laodicea had become complacent towards the things of God. They loved all of the things of the world in their pagan, imperialistic city. They happened to be a wealthy, prosperous and successful church which led them to think that they had no need that they could not fulfill themselves. They did not need Jesus nor His gospel because they had money, privilege, education, prestige and power. They had come to trust in their own works which means that they had also lost the understanding of their own depravity. This prideful, complacent combo led them to a moral and religious indifference to the things of God and to a life of ungodliness.

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How to become a mega-church… According to Jesus

Hello Church Family: You know, despite our American culture that says, “bigger is better,” Jesus loves the “mini-church”! The Church in Philadelphia was one of “little power” (Revelation 3:8) because of the great persecution, slander, hatred, animosity and the prideful posturing of the secular culture and the religious culture within their community. They were “little in power” because of their size not their faith nor their obedience. The church had been persecuted to the point that what was left of the church was the pure, righteous body of Christ with its passionate believers who kept God’s word, held tight to the gospel and never denied Jesus’ name. Those within the church who were not true followers of Christ had not been victorious through the fierce tribulation in Philadelphia. The purified Philadelphian Church remained steadfast despite the combined efforts of the Jewish religious hypocrites and the pagan community coming against these long-suffering believers. The Philadelphian Church was relentless in the midst of the daily temptation and pressure from the culture to quit! The mini-church in Philadelphia held fast to their mega-Christ which empowered them to be conquerors in the midst of their tribulation. This message is completely relevant to our church today.

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Having a reputation for being spiritually alive but being spiritually dead

Hello Church Family: One important lesson in church life is the understanding that what we might say is God-honoring liveliness in a church or in our own lives, God may see as empty, hallow, and leading to the spiritual death of the church and us. And yes, these kinds of thoughts keep me up at night. Just because one may see a church with thousands of people, millions of dollars, a beautiful church campus, a vast listing of programs and ministries with an influence in the community, one cannot always say, “WOW! Look what the Lord is doing there in that church.” Yes, sometime that fruit is a blessing from the Lord but many times it is not. The church in Sardis was exactly this church. Jesus said to them, “I know your works. You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”
 
I cannot imagine a more horrifying accusation to ever receive. Jesus was declaring that the Sardis Church had no spiritual pulse! They had no spiritual life even though they were doing great things in the community. Their deeds were approved by the Sardis community but Jesus did not approve of them. The pagan world of Sardis thought that the Sardis Church was so relevant and doing so much in the community, but God said they were dead, motivated by pride, greed and a desire that they would be known as great rather than that Jesus be known as great.

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Tolerance That Kills a Church

Hello Church Family: This week we walk with the church of Thyatira in Revelation 2, being reminded that Jesus had a big problem with this local church. I am sure that you are with me when I say, “I do not want Jesus to have a problem with GCT!” So, what was their problem? Tolerance. Now, you may be thinking what is the big deal with being tolerant? Yes, some specific tolerance is required to live in families and neighborhoods and the workplace. We are to be a tolerant people, right? Well, yes and no. As believers and the Church, we cannot be tolerant of all things because God is not tolerant of all things. We are to love the things God loves and hate the things that He hates. Now today in 2020, any thinking that involves any form of intolerance is seen by our secular society as the most serious sin on this planet. Our culture sees intolerance as intolerable and they see the most intolerable people being evangelical Bible believing Christians.
 
The Thyatiran church was erring in tolerance. They were tolerating an evil lady who was teaching and prophesying a message opposite of the message of Jesus Christ and His apostles. Jesus called this lady Jezebel, because of how evil she was and for the destruction of her teaching. And the Thyatiran Church did nothing to stop her from teaching and leading others into her false teaching and her sexual immorality that accompanied the teaching. Basically, Jezebel was declaring that she had a special word from the Lord, speaking as from the Lord, while giving a false gospel and a freedom to indulge in idol worship and sexual immorality. The fruit of the Thyatiran church’s tolerance had grown rotten and threatened the life of the the church. And Jesus was not going to tolerate this compromise. G.K. Chesterton says it beautifully, “tolerance is the virtue of those who really do not believe anything” and this is where the church was heading.

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For what reason would Jesus start a war with us, His Church?

Hello Church Family: This week in Revelation 2:12-17, we learn how to bring a war upon our church from Jesus Christ. I know that all of us together will say, we never want to be at war with Jesus, ever, especially in His own church. What was the Pergamum church doing to be threatened by Jesus Christ with such violent words? The Pergamum church had become very tolerant to false teachers and false doctrine. But that is not all, what accompanies false doctrine? False doctrine brings with it compromise with the sins that the culture enjoys. These false teachers and their false doctrine led the church to accept and accommodate into the church the pagan sexual practices of their false doctrine. Pergamum was a hotspot for false religions, cults, and imperial worship. With these false gods came worship of these gods. How did they worship? They worshipped through debauchery. They would indulge themselves in heterosexual and homosexual practices along with what the Bible called pharmakeia. Pharmakeia was the use of potions, elixirs, drugs, spells, sorcery, magic, witchcraft to reach their gods and to commune with them and please them.

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