421 - The Wicked Witch of Thyatira

October 31, 2017

The Lord said some rather horrific things about the church at Thyatira.  In fact, His words to this sinning church should strike fear in all of us who have leadership positions in our own church.  Consider the following:

"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.  I will kill her children with death, 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" (Revelation 2:20-23).

The Sin of Thyatira

So what was the sin of Thyatira?  Was it Jezebel, or the teaching of Jezebel that led God's people into sin?  Or was it the sin itself?  Was it the sexual immorality and idolatry the church freely embraced?

No, as sobering as it sounds, the sin in Thyatira was not Jezebel.  It was the church, and the leadership of the church, that allowed the teaching of Jezebel into the church.  They were asleep at the wheel.  There was no watchman on the wall.  No guard at the gate of the church.  No protective shepherd watching over the sheep.  Nothing.

So what does this say about our leadership today that allows all sorts of sin and false teaching into the church just to give the appearance of growth or vitality or acceptance by the culture?  What does it say about the prosperity gospel or multi-campus mega-churches or rock concerts disguised as worship experiences?  Where do we fit into all of this?

If you are concerned about how this letter to Thyatira applies to the church of today, then keep listening.

The following is a study on the Lord's letter to the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29.

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419 - Thyatira - The Church of Sin and Corruption

October 25, 2017

In our Lord's seven letters to His seven churches, He says both good and bad things about three of the churches (Ephesus, Pergamos, and Thyatira).  Two churches have only good things said about them (Smyrna and Philadelphia) and two have only bad (Sardis and Laodicea).  And when we look at how these seven letters lay out for us church history in advance, we would assume the church that represents the Medieval church, the church of the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church, would have only bad things said about it.

But that's not what happens.  In fact, incredulously, the Lord says some pretty good things about the church at Thyatira, which represents the Catholic church (along with some pretty bad things too).  For example:

“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first" - Revelation 2:19.

Note this is the first time the Lord commends a church for their love (agapē).  Love?  How can He say that about a church known for corruption, false doctrine and the Inquisition?  And then He says the church that represents the Catholic church is actually getting better.  After all, our Lord says, "I know your works" and "the last are more than the first."  Really?  How can that be? How can the Lord have anything good to say about a church filled with so much corruption and have nothing good to say about the church (Sardis) that shed their own blood to remove themselves from that corruption? 

How is that possible?  Is there something we’re missing?

I think so.  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on the Lord's letter to the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29.

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416 - The Church in a Bad Marriage

August 25, 2017

The word Pergamos comes from a combination of two Greek words that mean "mixed, objectionable" and "marriage."  Pergamos therefore means a "mixed marriage" that is "objectionable" to God.  Prophetically, it represents the marriage of the church and state where the state elevates the church to a place of acceptance or political correctness at the expense of the church’s devotion to God.

Look at what the Lord had to say about this church:

"But I have a few things against you, because you have there (in the church) those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.  Thus you also have those (in the church) who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate" - Revelation 2:14-15.

The Sin of Compromise

The church, although commended by Christ for the fact they have not denied His name under severe trials and suffering (Rev. 2:13), nevertheless dropped the ball and allowed those into the church who were heretics and sought to drive the believers away from God and into sin.  And the church did nothing about it.  Why?  Because, like the church of today, they allowed themselves to compromise with the world and allow all sorts of worldliness into His church.  And they also showed a glaring lack of discernment and church discipline.

Sadly, the same can be said of the church today.  Which raises a couple of questions:

How should we, as His church, respond to compromise and worldliness in the church?
What can we do as a congregation to foster a spirit of holiness in our time together?
What can you, as a member of His body, do to present yourself before Him spotless?
What areas of your life need to be addressed?
And what are you prepared to do about it?

The following is a study on Jesus' letter to the church at Pergamos, Revelation 2:12-17.

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415 - The Curse of God’s Abandonment

August 24, 2017

There's a time when the Lord gives us what we want: freedom, autonomy, independence, and to have no authority over our lives but ourselves.  That's right.  God gives us over to our selfish, carnal attitudes and allows us to experience the consequences of our sins.  It's like He says, "Ok, you want to go your own way?  Have at it.  I'll be here when you come to your senses."  It's the story of the prodigal son played out in our lives in real time.

This is called the curse of God's abandonment.  It's when He removes His protecting grace from our lives and our nation and let's us see how we like life without Him.  And the results are catastrophic.

Samson, after having his hair cut by Delilah, woke up to confront his enemies still believing he had the same strength as before because his God was with him.  But that was not the case.  He said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!”  But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him (Judges 16:20).  Samson was experiencing the abandonment of God.

God Gave Them Up

In Romans 1 we see three examples of this very act of God's abandonment:

Therefore God also gave them up – Romans 1:24.

For this reason God gave them up – Romans 1:26.

God gave them over – Romans 1:28.

But who are the "them" in these verses?  The lost?  The unregenerate?  Those nations that reject truth and justice?  Yes.  But if you will study these verses closely you will find the object of God's curse of abandonment is also the church.  It includes His wayward believers.  It includes you and me.

Does this seem strange to you?  Maybe hard to believe?  Then I suggest you keep listening and find out the truth for yourself.  And remember, "judgment begins at the house of God" (1 Peter 4:17).  Are you ready?

The following is a study on the Curse of the Abandonment of God.

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403 - God Never Waste an Experience, Good or Bad

May 27, 2017

God never wastes an experience in our life, good or bad.  When we sin, for example, God uses our failure as a ministry to help others struggling with the same sin.  He allows us to share the times we fell flat on our face to encourage others who are doing the same.  It seems that's what Jesus was teaching Peter.

In the upper room, during the last supper, Jesus told Peter He was praying for him.  But His prayer was not to remove the temptation and inevitable fall from Peter.  No, His prayer was that when Peter fell and suffered the consequences of that fall, that once he repented and returned to Jesus, he was to strengthen his brothers by that experience.  Consider the following:

Luke 22:31-32 - And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

Jesus didn't tell Peter he would deliver him from the temptation, the sifting.  He promised Peter that after he fell and recovered and returned to his faith, Jesus would use that experience to encourage and strengthen others who were struggling in the same way.  That's why, in John 21, we see Jesus restoring Peter by saying, "Feed My lambs" (John 21:15).  Even after Peter's epic denial of Jesus, his ministry was not finished.  In fact, it was just beginning.  And so it is with us.

Does this thought encourage you?  It does me.  If you want to learn more about your usefulness after your failure, then keep listening.

The following is a study on John 21:15-23.

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376 - Stupid is as Stupid Does

December 5, 2016

When we look at the warnings from the Lord found in the first chapter of Proverbs, we are naturally drawn to the almost prophetic words of Forrest Gump.

"Stupid is as stupid does."

To put it in the words of Solomon:

“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?" - Proverbs 1:22.

Or, "How long, you simple (foolish, simpleminded, stupid, naive, moronic) ones, will you love simplicity (what is foolish, simpleminded, stupid, naive, moronic)?"

Great question. But what is the object of this question? What exactly are the stupid ones loving stupidly? What can we learn about the wisdom of God from what is being said here? If you want to know more, then keep listening

The following is a study on Proverbs 1:20-33.

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349 - Blessed are Those who Grieve and Wail and Lament

May 29, 2016
In the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus presents the Beatitudes that introduce His teaching about living in the Kingdom of Heaven.  But there are some truths about living in His Kingdom that we sometimes forget.  For example:

External things cannot satisfy internal needs.  Got it.
And things are not always what they seem to be.  Got that too.
True happiness and true blessedness cannot be found in a fallen, cursed world.  Uh, if you say so.
Everything we see and touch in this world is temporary at best.  I know, but let's get all we can while we are here.

And if that wasn't enough, in Matthew 5:4 Jesus said, 

"Blessed are (who) those who mourn, (why) for they (those who mourn) shall be comforted." 

But that raises a few questions:  

What does it mean to Biblically mourn?  
What are we supposed to be mourning about?  
And why is mourning a good thing?  

To find out about the blessing that comes from Godly sorrow, keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:4.

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320 - How to Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

September 2, 2015
In his book, The Baptism With the Holy Spirit, RA Torrey reveals a Scriptural path of seven simple steps anyone can follow to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.  All seven steps are found or implied from Acts 2:38.

Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

The steps include:
  1. You must be saved.  Truly saved.
  2. You must renounce all sin.
  3. You must be baptised.
  4. You must live a life of obedience.
  5. You must have a desire, a thirst for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  6. You must ask.
  7. You must ask in faith and believe.
Do you want to know more about the abundant spiritual life and the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit?  If so, then keep listening.

The following is a study on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

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299 - How Can God Love Us as Much as He Says He Does?

April 1, 2015
The truth found in the Scriptures is that God loves us with an everlasting love, even when we don't love Him.  In fact, at the point of our deepest sin and rebellion, at the time of our greatest rejection of Him, at the very moment of our disdain for the sacrifice of His Son, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).  And He expects, even commands, us to love each other with the kind of love He has for us.

Which leads us to ask a couple of questions.

How can we love others with God’s love when we find it so hard to feel loved by God ourselves?
Does God sometimes hide from us and our pain?
And, if not, why does He allow pain and suffering to happen to me and my family?
Where is His love during those bad times?

Troubling questions.  Do you want to know the answers?  If so, keep listening.

The following is a study on Colossians 1:3-5.

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298 - Pray Until You Pray!

March 25, 2015
What is the most urgent need in the church today?

The need for purity in sexual matters.
To end abortion and homosexuality in our nation.
Financial integrity in all matters and generosity to others.
Greater evangelism and church planting.
Disciplined, Biblical thinking— a Christian worldview.
To end the plague of divorce in the church.

No, the most urgent need in the church is for a deeper knowledge of God (Col. 1:10).  And how do we go about meeting that need?  Just keep listening.

The following is a study on Colossians 1:3 and prayer.

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