Tear Down Your Idols

Everyone worships something; if I take the definition of worship as to revere, respect or stand in awe of someone or something.  To bow down in adoration to something.  Then everyone worships.  You and I revere either God or something else.  The God of the Bible, Yahweh commanded people to worship only him because only he is God.  Israel struggled being devoted only to God and became very idolatrous.  Idolatry is to worship a something, an object as a god.  Anything has the potential of becoming an idol in our lives, if we worship or incline to it as we would God our Creator. “Idolatry is the tree from which our sins and struggles grow.”  Kyle Idleman: gods at war.

True Worship

Every Sunday we gather here for worship.  Churches across the country and around the world meet together to worship.  Many people may attend church, but only a few worships or at least understand the true meaning of worship.  Worship is one of those words we throw around in church a lot, but many times we don’t clearly understand what worship is about. How do you know when you are truly worshiping God?

Jesus’ Prayer for Unity

Tragedy tends to bring people together very quickly; we are familiar with slogans such as “united we stand” “Boston strong”   It is in those moments that we realize that unless we remain united, we won’t survive. A team won’t be able to accomplish the goal if the players don’t understand unity; if they don’t understand what it means to play as one or together. etc.  The night Jesus was arrested, he spent time in prayer.  He prayed for his followers who would be in the world as his representatives.  One of the things Jesus prayed for was unity among his disciples.  Christ’s church has struggled through the centuries with this idea of unity, which Jesus prayed for.  John (chapter 17) records for us  Jesus’ prayer.

A Christ-Centered Community

The church was Jesus’ idea; he is her founder.  Jesus said he would build it.  He bought it with his own blood and promised that it will transcend time. The apostles proclaimed Jesus as Lord and Messiah and people received the message and were baptized into Christ, then they were added to the number of followers.  This is how the church began in the first century.  Two months after the death of Jesus, the church was established.  The church is the gathering of those who profess faith in Jesus. 

Jesus Message to the Church – Laodicea

Today we will finish the series on the seven churches of Revelation.  Revelation 2-3 are seven letters of Jesus sent to seven churches in Asia Minor (Turkey).  We have seen thus far how each church had its own challenges; each letter is addressed in context to whatever was going on in the church and even in the city where the church was located.  Today we will look at the church in Laodicea. 

Jesus Message to the Church – Philadelphia

Today we will look at the
church in Philadelphia, one of the seven churches to which Jesus sent messages
through the apostle John.

Philadelphia is known as
“Alashehir (city of god, exalted city). This city was very syncretistic, from
Anatolian and Hellenistic practices. Its patron deity was Dionysus, god of wine.This city was almost destroyed in 17AD by an
earthquake that devastated Sardis and nearby cities.The population of the city was small due to
the constant earthquakes; this caused people to move outside the city.Philadelphia became a missionary center for
spreading the Greek language and customs into eastern parts of Lydia and Phrygia.

Some believe disciples of
Paul planted this church there.

Jesus’ Message to the Church – Smyrna

Last week we started a sermon series on the seven churches of Revelation.  A lot of times when people read this book, they don’t realize it contains seven letters by Jesus sent to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). (Rev.1:11) Each of these seven churches was unique, each had its own struggles and issues to deal with.  For instance, the church in Ephesus Jesus commanded to repent since they had forsaken their first love.  The church was not as loving as it used to be.

Jesus’ Message to the Church

The book of Revelation is a fascinating book, it’s the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to the readers. (Rev.1:3).  Within this book we find seven letters written to seven churches in the province of Asia Minor.  Why these seven? We don’t know, but the messages we find in these letters is relevant to the churches today.  The church is to represent Christ in this world, but sometimes churches go through many issues and may be distracted from their main mission as Christ’s agent in the world.  Through the messages Jesus sent to these churches you get to learn what God expects of his church in this world.  What does Jesus expect of his church today?  We find answer to this question in our study of the seven churches of Revelation.