We are continuing our series called the Greatest Reset. Matt Peters is our speaker check out what he has to say about the Oracle to the Angel of the Church in Philadelphia.
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To the Church in Philadelphia
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Audio Only: https://podpoint.com/converge-winnipeg/20210130-wide-awake
Revelation 3:1-6 To the Church in Sardis 3 “To the angel[a] of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b] of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Sardis has the most in common with our modern North American evangelistic style church. The church has been a significant force in our culture for a number of years. However, we have also seen the church lose it’s way when we deal with politics, social injustice and righteousness. The rebuke in this section is the strongest of the seven churches in Revelation and so we need to take this message to heart.
Discussion Questions 1. Why do you think that the Christians in Sardis had become their own worst enemy? 2. Why does the church seem to be less influential when they are not encountering opposition? 3. How do you guard against becoming your own worst enemy? How can encourage each other to escape this trap?
Devotions for the week. Day 1 – Read Matthew 23:27-28 how do we avoid being like the Pharisees? Day 2 - Hebrews 10:23-24 – who in your life spurs you to love and good deeds? Day 3 - Read 2 Corinthians 13:5 – why is self examination crucial to our faith? Day 4 – Romans 12:9-13 – How do these instructions help us create a welcoming atmosphere for those struggling with mental health issues? Day 5 – Philippians 4:7 – what are some ways that you experience the peace of God in your life?
Audio Only: https://podpoint.com/converge-winnipeg/20210123-theopolitical
Day 1 – Read 1 Timothy 1:3-7 how do these verses apply to us today as we react to many theories and conspiracies?
Day 2 – How do we de-escalate the rhetoric online according to Proverbs 15?
Day 3 – How does Philippians 4 help us to break from the conspiracy loop?
Day 4 – Read 1 Peter 2:1-3 - Why should we be careful not to promote baseless or unproven accusations?
Day 5 – How does 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 counteract the conspiracy culture?
Link for Audio only: https://podpoint.com/converge-winnipeg/20210116-church-of-compromise
Check out Sermon #3 of our 2021 kickoff series the Greatest Reset. Greg speaks about the church in Pergamum. Revelation 2:12-17. Here are the devotions for the week.
Day 1 – Acts 15:24-30 records the decision of the Jerusalem Council. What do we learn about conflict management in the early church?
Day 2 – Back to Acts 15 specifically verse 28. Have you ever felt that the Holy Spirit has given you insight into a difficult decision?
Day 3 – We asked the question in the message of how to you determine right and wrong for yourself? This is the question I want you to explore today.
Day 4 – In the second letter to Timothy, Paul writes these final words regarding the role of the Bible in his life. Read 2 Timothy 3:10-17 what are the four functions of Scripture?
Day 5 – Reread 2 Timothy 3:10-17. How have you experienced the Bible equipping you for Christian living?
Link to Audio Only: https://podpoint.com/converge-winnipeg/20210109-faithfulness-in-suffering
Oracle to the Angel of the Church in Smyrna. Revelation 2:8-11. 8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. 11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
What is suffering?
What is faithfulness?
What is a time in your life where you have been faithful to God? What is a time where God has been faithful to you?
Day 1 – Revelation 22:12-13 Jesus refers to himself as the Alpha and Omega how does this help people who are suffering for their faith.
Day 2 – James 1:2-4 In Canada we don’t usually face persecution, but we can at times face opposition. What should our attitude be?
Day 3 – Matthew 12:33-37 One of the ways that the church in Smyrna suffered was through malicious slander. How does this passage help you work through the pain of being slandered?
Day 4 – Isaiah 41 is a declaration from God to restore his people. As Christians how does this passage encourage us when we face fearful situations?
Day 5 – Hebrews 4:14-16 – Jesus said to the church in Smyrna that he knew of their suffering. Jesus showed empathy. Read these verses and be reminded that Jesus does know of our struggles.
Here are the follow-up Devotions for week 1
This last week we explored the Oracle to the Church in Ephesus. The Ephesian church is mentioned in multiple places in the New Testament. This week we are going to look at some of those mentions.
Day 1 What do we learn about the Ephesian Church in Acts 19:1-7.
Day 2 What do we learn about the city of Ephesus from the rest of Acts 19?
Day 3 Paul wrote a letter to "the saints in Ephesus" How did he feel about them? (Ephesians 1:15-23)
Day 4 Ephesus was also the sphere of Timothy's ministry. Based on Revelation 2. Do you think that Timothy was effective in helping the church in Ephesus root out false teaching? 1 Timothy 1:3-7
Revelation 2 “To the angel[a] of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
What was the Ephesian church good at?
What were they lacking in?
What does it mean to forsake their first love?
1. In Jesus’ Name
Begin your time of personal worship by acknowledging that it is only through Christ’s merits that you can come before the Father. It is only through the work of Christ in which He took our sin upon Himself and satisfied the Father that we can now be accepted by God. Acknowledge your unworthiness and dependence on Him. In the spirit of the following verses, believe and trust that Christ died to be your Mediator to the Father. Thank Him for allowing you access to God.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13)
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:18)
2. Delight in Him
Delight in the Lord, expressing your wonder of His greatness. Praise Him for who His is – for His character and attributes. Do not focus yet on the things He has done for you, but on His person and attributes. A good place to start as you mediate on Him may be with answer four of the Shorter Catechism, which asks “What is God?”: “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” You might also thank Him for His love, patience, kindness, goodness, knowledge and glory. Just thank and praise Him for being who He is!
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
Have a time of personal repentance where you reflect on your own sin and shortcomings in the light of the perfect majesty of God. Confess and repent of specific sins, asking God to forgive you for them. Trust that He is faithful to do so and acknowledge your acceptance of His forgiveness.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
4. Express Your Longings
Express your deepest, most personal, most intimate longings to God. This is not a time to pray about everything you need or want or a time to bring your petitions before God. It is a time to make known to Him your deepest desires. This may include your desire for deeper fellowship with Him, for personal holiness, to “finish strong” and so on. Ephesians 1:15-23 may serve as a guide for this.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for the living God. (Psalm 42:1,2)
5. Read a Psalm
Read a Psalm or a portion of a Psalm. Consider reading it out loud, remembering that Psalms were written as music and poetry. Praise God through your words.
6. Sing to the Lord
Sing a song to the Lord. You might consider singing a version of the Psalm you just read or singing a biblically-sound hymn or chorus by yourself or accompanied by a CD. You may prefer to make up your own song based on the Psalm you just read or any other passage of Scripture. If you are not a singer, consider reading or reciting a creed or reading a question and answer from a Catechism. Either way, allow this to be a brief time of heartfelt praise to God.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! (Psalm 100:1,2)
7. Study The Word
Having prepared your heart and removed any emphasis from yourself, it is now time to turn to the Bible.
Begin by asking the Spirit to illumine the Words you will read and to speak directly to your heart through His Word, “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints…” (Ephesians 1:17,18)
Read with confidence that God is as eager to speak to you as you are to listen to Him. Turn to a passage, and preferably at least a chapter, of the Bible. Read it first as a whole and then in smaller pieces. Seek out the key verses and read them meditatively, continually seeking God’s wisdom to help you understand. Reflect, contemplate, ponder them. Read with a view to understanding the sense and meaning of the passage. Then begin to apply the passage to yourself, asking how this truth relates to you. Ask the following questions of the passage:
Are there commands to obey?
Are there examples to follow?
Are there errors to avoid?
Are there sins to forsake?
Are there promises to claim?
Are there new thoughts about God?
Are there principles to live by?
You may wish to finish with a prayer of application, asking God to apply to your heart what you have learned.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1,2)
8. Intercede For Others
Bring before God the needs and concerns of others. You may wish to remember specifically:
The leadership of your church
The leaders of your nation
Those who have asked for prayer and those you have promised to remember in prayer
Those who are grieving or troubled
Those who have experienced disaster
Because you will find there are so many people to remember in prayer, you may wish to make a system of rotation where you pray for only several of the groups each day, remembering to include each group at least once per week. One system I have found helpful in organizing my prayers is to pray in “concentric circles,” beginning with those who are closest to me and moving outwards to those I know only as acquaintances and then those I do not know at all.
Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you. (1 Samuel 12:23)
Petition the Lord for other needs that you have not yet brought before Him. This is the time to make personal requests and desires known before Him. More than just remembering these before Him, ask Him specifically for guidance, deliverance, wisdom or endurance. Bring your petitions before Him with faith and humility, knowing that God loves to grant the desires of your heart.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (Jn. 16: 24)
Pray a prayer of thanksgiving. Be specific in thanking God for his forgiveness, goodness and providence. Thank Him for the time you have been able to spend with Him. Thank Him for speaking to your heart through the Scriptures you read earlier.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
11. Place Your Day Before God
Place your day before the Lord, dedicating the day to His service. This is a good time to ask Him for specific opportunities to serve Him in sharing the Gospel and serving others. It may be helpful to go through your day chronologically, asking him for help, patience, guidance, faith and so on in specific areas. For example, you may ask Him for patience as you deal with your children, guidance as you examine job opportunities and wisdom as you share the Gospel with your neighbours. If you have your time of personal worship in the evening, place the next day before God.
Daily Scripture Readings
Read Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus talks about the sheep and the goats.
Read John 4:1-42 Jesus speaks with the Samaritan Woman the place of true worship.
Read Luke 15:3-7 Jesus earliest listeners would have known Ezekiel 34 how does our text from Saturday fit with this passage.
Read Hebrews 4:16 – How do we approach God?
Proverbs 3:5-6 – This passage reminds us to trust God whom we have surrendered our hearts to.
How can Christians say "There Is Only One Way to God?"
Tim Keller says it all comes down to what they believe about Jesus.
Join us each day this week as we examine what the Bible says about Jesus.
Day 1 - The Way He Lived - Acts 10:38
Day 2 - His Teaching - Matthew 5-7 especially 7:28,29
Day 3 - His Miracles - Matthew 8:1-28 especially John 20:30,21
Day 4 - His Teaching About Himself - John 5:16-18; John 14:1-6
Day 5 - The Way He Died - Luke 23:33-43 & esp Mark 15:38,29
Day 6 - The Way He Rose Again - John 20:1-29
For more reading on the subjects discussed in Saturday evening's discussion check out Deuteronomy 29:29; C.S. Lewis' "The Abolition of Man" and the books of Stephen Carter of Yale University
This week Tammy and Keegan interview Bill Hogg on all things evangelism. The word can be so uncomfortable for many of us. Bill takes us down why that is and reframes evangelism for those who feel like they could never mention Jesus to a friend. If you want to keep up with Bill, you can find him on Facebook. And make sure to check out canada.advancegroups.org and messagecanada.org.
Reflecting on What God Thinks Is Important from Stories He Told
Day #1 - About Deborah - Judges 4
Day #2 - About Jeremiah - Jeremiah 23:16-22
Day #3 - About Elijah - 1st Kings 19:9-12
Day #4 - About Jesus - Matthew 7:24-29
Day #5 - About the Bereans - Acts 17:10-12
1) How He feels about its aspects.
2) What He would like you to remember.
3) What He would like you to do.
As a result of reading this story today.