Is Restoration Even Possible

We all go through trials and difficult times in this life; things happen to us that tend to squeeze our joy and test our faith in God. As Christians you may feel at times empty, stagnant, and hopeless in the world. You may feel like God has left you; that he is not answering your prayers; you may feel you are running on empty, you need to be revived again, but you may not even know it’s possible; you don’t even know where to begin.

The Confession of a Skeptic

Last week we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. We talked about how the resurrection is truly the reason Christianity even exists. It is what gives us hope of eternal life. The apostles didn’t expect the resurrection, this is why they were amazed when they saw Jesus. Jesus began to appear to his disciples, to give them evidence that he was truly alive. This changed their sadness into joy. Imagine how joyous it would be to see the man who was killed talking with them again. John tells us that the evening of the same day when Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples were gathered, but Thomas was not there. Thomas is known my many as doubting Thomas, but I think we all could relate to him at some point in our lives.

Doubt is defined: as to be uncertain about something; to believe that something may not be true or is unlikely. To have no confidence in someone or something. Doubt is very common in us, it comes from the time the first humans doubted God.

Jesus Is Alive

It must have been an awful weekend for the apostles and followers of Jesus; their leaders got arrested on Thursday evening and then nailed to a cross on Friday afternoon. This was a horrifying weekend for followers of Jesus. Their hopes and dreams were shattered by a cross. Jesus was the one they thought would restore the kingdom to Israel, their expected messiah. Jesus had told his followers that they would fall away because of him. “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered” (Matt. 26:31; Mk.14:27; Zech.13:7). This is exactly what happened when Jesus was apprehended; his followers abandoned him. Fear and insecurity had gripped them. They chose to hide and they would lock the doors for they were afraid, they would be hunted down for being followers of Jesus. The death of Jesus was a shocker to them; they didn’t expect it nor did they want it. The news of the resurrection was also a shocker for Jesus’s followers. They didn’t expect Jesus to rise from the dead either. If they had expected it, they would have gone home thinking “ok Jesus, see you in three days.” They had forgotten Jesus’s words to them about the resurrection. Every time Jesus spoke of his death, he also emphasized raising up on the third day.

Save Us Now Please

Today is what is known in our times Palm Sunday, a week before Easter or resurrection Sunday. The Bible calls this time, the triumphant entry, the time when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, a week before his death. This story is told in the four gospels. Why is this significant? This is the only time in which Jesus openly revealed himself as the expected messiah to the world. We know that Jesus’ identity had baffled a lot of people, but a week before Jesus died, he showed himself to the world as the expected messiah.
There were lots of people in Jerusalem at this time for the Feast of Passover was near.

Christ’s Message to the Church – You Make Me Sick

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 has 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.

Christ’s 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). It was believed to be founded by Attalus Philadephus, so called because of his love and loyalty to his older sibling. 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.

Christ’s Message to the Church: Wake up church!

We have been looking at the seven churches in Revelation; seven churches to whom Jesus sent seven letters through the apostle John. We have looked at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira and today we will look at Christ’s message to Sardis.
Sardis was a very wealthy city in Turkey. It was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia in the 7 century BC. It was known for its crafts and artistry. This was the first city where silver and gold coins were made. Sardis became an important Persian city after it was conquered by Cyrus the Great in 6th BC. By the first century Sardis passed into the hands of the Romans. Sardis was conquered twice due to its lack of watchfulness.

Christ’s Message to the Church – Thyatira

We have been going through a series on the seven churches in Revelation. Revelation 2-3 are letters of Jesus to seven particular churches in Asia Minor (Turkey). Jesus told the apostle John to write on a scroll what he saw and send the message to those seven churches. We have covered thus far, Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum; today we will look at the church in Thyatira.

Thyatira is mentioned in Acts 16:11-15 While Paul visited the city of Philippi there was a woman there named Lydia from the city of Thyatira.

Christ’s Message to the Church – Pergamum

Revelation 2 and 3 are letters from Jesus to seven churches in Asia Minor. We have already looked at the church in Ephesus and Smyrna, today we’ll look at the church in Pergamum or (Pergamos) Pergamum was one of the most prominent cities of Asia, located in the western part of Asia-Minor, about 45 miles north of Smyrna and about 20 miles from the Aegean Sea. Pergamum was very wealthy, the center of emperor worship with many temples devoted to idolatry. Here was the magnificent temple of Esculapius, a pagan god whose idol was in the form of a serpent. Greco-Roman god of medicine. ( on Revelation)
Read text. Rev.2:12-17
Title of Christ. Him who has the sharp, double-edge sword. Rev.1:16 (John’s vision of Jesus) The word of God is described by the author of Hebrews as a double-edged sword. Hebr.4:12 (For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Jesus is the one portrayed by John here and also in Rev.19:12 (Jesus strikes the nations with the sword that comes from his mouth). This is judgment.

Jesus’s 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). 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. The church we’ll look at today is Smyrna.

Christ’s 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.

Church Leadership-Elders

Growth is a wonderful thing but with it comes great challenges. We discussed this last week how the church faced challenges in the first century, but these challenges were great opportunities for them to continue growing in their faith. New ministry were being developed and ministry leaders put in place to serve in those ministries. In most churches today, you hear the word elders when referring to the leadership of the church. A lot of people may not have a clear understanding of who these people are.
The church began at the preaching of the apostles and as time progressed you will also hear the word elders for those in the leadership of the church.