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In the same way this letter to Thyatira shocks its readers in a few short sentences with the portrayal of the terrifying results of human sinfulness.  The theological principle that underpins this passage is that the created order of God is moral, and the violation of that moral order does not go unpunished.  Interpersonal immorality has always been destructive to human relationships, because such sins, just as the sins of false gods, pride, selfishness, etc., go cross-grain to the grand design built by God into the very fabric of life. (Palmer, E.F., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1982). 1, 2 & 3 John/ Revelation (Vol. 35, p. 136). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.)

Direct download: Sermon_10-21-18.mp3
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Satan, failing to overthrow the church by persecution in Smyrna days, snares the Pergamum church into idolatry and fornication.  In Pergamum they sought to drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons at the same time.  This provoked the Lord. (Newell, 1935)

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Satan knows man's weakness! Sin is rebellion against God's wishes and ways. It is our decision to disobey God's principles.  While Satan gets credit for bringing us to the point of decision, the choice of doing evil is ultimately ours.  We cannot blame circumstances, other people, or the spiritual world for our choices, we must own them. (Barna, George, Think Like Jesus, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, TN (2003, P.122)

Direct download: Sermon_10-7-18.mp3
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Our emotions can cause us serious problems. Emotions can confuse our thinking, disturb our hearts, sap our vitality, and disrupt our walks with God. Anger, guilt, fear, and worry take an incredible tool on our well-being. In fact,doctors tell us 70 percent of all illnesses are emotionally induced. Most of us are stretched beyond our limits. We give of ourselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, pouring our hearts and souls into our jobs and families. But we do very little to guard our hearts and replenish our fast-paced lives. (LaHaye, Tim & Hindson, Ed, Seduction of the Heart, W Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, CO (2001, p. 41))

Direct download: Sermon_9-30-18.mp3
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Commentator William Hendrickson writes, 'the kingdom, then, is not for weaklings, weavers, or compromisers...It is not for Balaam, the rich young ruler, Pilate and Demas.. It is not won by means of deferred prayers, unfilled promises, broken resolutions and hesitant testimonies. It is for the strong and sturdy men like Joseph, Nathan, Elijah, Daniel, Mordecai, and Peter... Stephen.. and Paul.  And let's not forget such valiant women as Ruth, Deborah, Ester, and Lydia' (Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew [Grands Rapids: Baker, 1973, p 490] (MacArthur, John 2009).

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A key to having the joy of the Lord and real maturity in your life is your ability to fix your mind upon the 'things above', and the wonderful future God has prepared for you and me. (Hocking, 1975)

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In Paul's corpus to the Philippians he addresses the church's fears by reminding them "they are not alone".  He also cautioned the Church to establish a single goal and now he informs the Church that she must have "One Purpose". A healthy purpose for the Church would include four key components: Encouragement, Love, Fellowship, and Compassion.

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Today, I choose to take specific steps toward my goal. I won't just dream big; I'll determine the concrete actions that will help me achieve that dream.  I choose to stop making excuses that prevent me from moving forward. (Valorie Burton, 2014)

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How wonderful it is to know that others are standing right with us as we fight the battles of life. There is no substitute for the unity and harmony of the Christian church. Satan is the great divider and destroyer; Christ is the uniter and builder. (Wiersbe, W.W. 1992)

Direct download: Sermon_8-26-18.mp3
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Jesus knew that people have a tendency to 'justify' themselves. We all want to think we are doing better than average, so we tend to minimize our problems to help us feel better. But minimizing our problems isn't the same thing as facing them.  One attempt to justify themselves can stand in the way of their ability to understand  themselves, and they will not change as long as they continue to do this. (Baker, 2001- emphasis added).

Direct download: Sermon_8-19-18.mp3
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