Secure Your Internet

We understand the difficulty of policing the internet when you have children in your home.  That is why Gateway recommends OpenDNS.  OpenDNS is not a software package.  It is a DNS that you point your router to which lets you easily block individual or entire categories of Web sites in just minutes. It's free and requires nothing to download or install.

Use OpenDNS

God the Glorious King

God is in control of the world, even though it does not sometimes seem so. Scripture makes it clear that God is in control (Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 43:13; Psalms 135:6). He uses the events of the world to accomplish His purpose (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20; Daniel 4:34,35). And He is able to bring about specific events, even if the people involved may not be intending to serve Him (Acts 4:27,28; Isaiah 44:28; 2 Kings 17:6-8). But while God uses evil to accomplish His purposes, evil still exists. How do we deal with this?

 

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The Open Door

We live in a culture where bigger is considered better. Where what appears great and powerful is seen as great and powerful. But this is not how things work in God’s economy. The church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) was small and weak, but God promised it an open door no one could close. In 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 it says that God chooses the weak and foolish things to confound the wise. Paul claims that when he is weak, then he is strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). But ultimately, God chose to save the world by becoming a man and dying a criminal’s death (Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:9-18; Isaiah 53:1-12).

 

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The Death of a Church

How does a church die? The church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) is pronounced dead. We are not really told why. Was this a result of following one or more of the errors of the churches round about? Had they accepted false teaching, like Pergamum and Thyatira (Revelation 2:12-29)? Had they lost their first love, like Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)? Had they become lukewarm, like Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22)? We are not explicitly told. Perhaps we are not told to prevent us from jumping to the conclusion that if we just avoid this one particular thing, we are safe. How then do we avoid going down that road?

 

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Tolerating False Teaching

There are often two sides to a problem. And it is easy to avoid one danger, only to fall into the other. C. S. Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters, explains one of Satan’s strategies as getting people to run as fast as possible from the error they are least likely to commit. The church at Ephesus had their act together externally, but they were just going through the motions and lacked real love for God and others (Revelation 2:1-7). The church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) was strong in love and service and good deeds. But they were tolerating false teaching and its attendant moral corruption. They had fallen hard into the opposite error.

 

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The Danger of Spiritual Compromise

The desire to conform is a powerful motivator. There is a story told about the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:15; 2:6). It is probably not true, but it tells us about the atmosphere of the group. The story is told that the Nicolas it was named after was one of the original seven deacons (Acts 6:5). It was claimed that he had a very beautiful wife and, in a fit of very unchristian humility, offered to share her with the other deacons. This illustrates a particular approach to sin. Sexual impropriety engaged in, not as a result of a grand passion or out of control desires, but in order to please other people.

 

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The Christian and Suffering

There exists a kind of evangelistic malpractice that Christians are in danger of committing. We can give the impression that if a person comes to Christ, their problems will vanish and they will have lives of largely unbroken happiness. I am not just talking about the health-and-wealth gospel, though it is the extreme case. But even more moderate evangelistic approaches can end up leaving this impression. But the problem with this is, it sets people up for a fall. People come to Christ for the wrong reasons and end up dumping it again, claiming they tried Christianity and it did not work. Or people genuinely come to Christ but end up struggling in their Christian lives because it does not work out the way they thought it would. How do we avoid this problem?

 

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