GCT Weekly Newsletter

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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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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