GCT Weekly Newsletter

Will you die once or twice?

Good Morning Church Family: Being a Christian in many places in our world has been proven to shorten lives. Are we heading in that direction in America? The church in Smyrna of Revelation 2, was suffering and their lives were shortened because they were faithful followers of Christ. They were enduring great tribulation, slander, persecution, put in jail and even executed for their faithfulness in following Christ. They loved Jesus and they considered that obeying and loving Him was a higher priority than living a life without persecution. This is what Jesus calls us to… suffering. This is also what we are called to endure as Christians in America, no matter what may come. But the good news is that Jesus does not call us to faithfulness unto death without reminding us that we have a secured future that is absolutely true and unending and like nothing that you can comprehend. Jesus tells His persecuted church and He tells us that our eternal life far outweighs the tribulation, poverty and slander we may endure today and tomorrow (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

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Jesus asks us, Am I your first love?

Hello Church Family: Let’s start this week with a true or false question. True or False: The world is hostile to Christians, their beliefs, their morals, their ethical standards and their worldview? What do you think?
 
Hopefully, you answered this question with a resounding, YES! The Church in Ephesus in the first century was undergoing the same type of persecution but with greater intensity than we are as the church in the 21st century. Our basic underlying struggle is the same as the Ephesian church. The world is hostile to the Church and the gospel. But there is great news! Jesus does not remain silent as to how we are to overcome this hostility as His Body, the Church. He actually writes us seven separate letters in Revelation 2-3. Jesus is always walking amongst His Lampstands, His churches (Revelation 2:1) with encouragement, direction, commendation and correction. Our Lord patrols the Church’s interaction with each other and the world. He is always present with an intensity and awareness of persecutions, sufferings, thoughts, deeds, activities and worship. Jesus is never absent.

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Jesus is the first born from the dead only if there are going to be others after Him who are resurrected from the dead like Him = Hope

Hello Church Family: If you were to write a letter to encourage a struggling people what would you write? If the people were being persecuted, their families were run from their homes, and some were even martyred for standing firm in their faith. How would you encourage them? This is why Jesus gave us His revelation. He desires us to remain steadfast, to persevere, filled with hope, without any compromise. He wants us to know that we will be victorious over anything that comes your way. The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John for the Church encourages the Church with a greater understanding of who He is and that we will be victorious in all things through Christ.

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Apocalypse Now

Hey Church Family: We will be stopping, for several months, our Sunday morning study of Luke to receive some timely encouragement from the book of Revelation. Revelation is a book of apocalyptic prophecy. What does that mean? It simply means that you have to read it differently than other genres that make up the other Bible books. The ancient meaning of the Greek word for “apocalypse” simply means to unveil, disclose, to show, to make visible. Jesus wanted His Church to know without a shadow of doubt that He and His Church are the winners of every battle that comes their way. Jesus’ Revelation showed John, through very vivid apocalyptic pictures, that in the midst of their bitter persecution, miserable suffering, martyrdom and false teaching, that God rules history and He conquers death, Hades, Satan, and Satan’s helpers. And that Christ is not the only one who conquers but His Church conquers with Him. The Book of Revelation is about VICTORY! The victory of Christ and His Church over Satan, the world and anything the world brings our way. As we start Revelation, don’t forget that promise from Jesus Christ, the Victor, the Conqueror.

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When Jesus says “Woe”, He means Woe – Luke 11:37-53

Hello Church Family: What makes Jesus perturbed? Angry? Upset? What do you think? This week in Luke 11, we get to see Jesus being angry and not sinning. What is making Jesus angry? He really does not like works-righteousness! He never hesitated to offend religious people who thought of themselves as self-righteous on account of their own petty works. Jesus always took the opportunity to confront those who considered themselves holy and acceptable to God because of their great ability to keep man-made rules. Jesus was not going to let self-righteous people be pridefully happy in their false sense of security through endless man-made rule keeping. This is the very reason the Son of God came to earth. He came to make us acceptable to God through His perfect righteousness. Jesus was not going to let spiritual hypocrisy just slide on by in the lives of these pseudo-holy people that flaunted their rule-keeping and led others in the same burdensome works salvation. These pseudo-holy leaders were keeping people from the truth of the Gospel. Jesus was not going to let that happen. So, what did He do? He sat down and had a meal with them and dropped some heavy Gospel truth on their plate about their absolute hypocrisy (Luke 11:37). I am sure that these occasions made for some great mealtime conversations.

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Are you still seeking a sign?

Hello Church Family: Have you ever found yourself seeking for a sign from God so that you can determine if He really is real? Do you ask God, show me a sign that Jesus really is Your Son? God, give me a sign that Jesus really is the sacrifice for my sins and the power of eternal life? God, how can I be guaranteed peace with You? God, can I really be assured of salvation because of the life of Jesus Christ?
 

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