Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Foolish Church

Living between hot and cold is repulsive to Jesus.

Revelation 3:15-21 "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth! 17 You say, 'I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

18 So I advise you to buy gold from Me--gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from Me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

20 "Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear My voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with Me on My throne, just as I was victorious and sat with My Father on His throne.

It is easy to be so well blessed that you forget where the blessings come from and you start to depend on the blessings instead of the one who blesses. The church at Laodicea didn't think that they were lacking anything but that is because they were using their physical eyes instead of their spiritual.

"You are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked."

They thought that their gold and their fine garments and the ointment that their city was famous for were signs that God was pleased with them. But Jesus offers us so much more than the riches and pleasures of this world. Just like the Samaritan women at the well who was offered the Living Water, just like the crowd that was offered the Bread of life, Jesus is offering a better gold, better garments and better ointment for their eyes. The things that the world has to offer are never as good as the things that Jesus has for us. (Revelation 3:18)

This church thought that they were doing a good job, they were busy building themselves up, they thought that they were rich but Jesus says that they are poor. This stands in contrast to the church at Smyrna that thought it was poor and Jesus said that they are rich. (Revelation 2:9-10)

This church reminds me of God's children in the Old Testament, most of the time they were proud of the fact that they were not too radical, they thought that they could please God while they embraced the ways of the people around them.
1 Kings 18:21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, "How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!" But the people were completely silent.
It seems a lot like the church today in America. We don't like to be offensive but the gospel is offensive. We don't like to be different from the rest of the world but that is exactly the way God's children are called to be. Instead of being offensive we have allowed historic beliefs of the church that have been part of our creeds and part of Biblical teaching to be watered down and contradicted.

So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

Our everyday lives lack passion for the Lord, the message to Laodicea is also to us, get hot for Jesus, be radical instead of ordinary. A zeal for the things of God will cause us to cheerfully work for him and our love for him will help us stand for truth because when we love something strongly then we will hate all that is against it.

Jesus is waiting for us to let him into our church, it sounds a little bit strange, the church has to be willing to have him for him to come in. The thing that made this church so foolish is that they were trying to do church without Jesus. Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? Yet there are plenty of "churches" today that are attempting to do just that.

Jesus has gone to extreme measures to get to the door but he will not open the door and force his way into our congregation. We often use these verses to lead lost people to Christ, but the basic application here is to the church.
The inscription on the cathedral in Lubeck, Germany:

"Ye call Me Master and obey me not,
Ye call Me Light and see Me not,
Ye call Me Way and walk not,
Ye call Me Life and desire Me not,
Ye call Me wise and follow Me not,
Ye call Me fair and love Me not,
Ye call Me rich and ask Me not,
Ye call Me eternal and seek Me not,
Ye call Me gracious and trust Me not,
Ye call Me noble and serve Me not,
Ye call Me mighty and honor Me not,
Ye call Me just and fear Me not,
If I condemn you, blame me not".
We have a tendency to stay in the lukewarm zone, very few people like to be overly hot or cold, it is natural for us to seek a comfortable temperature. As a follower of Jesus we don't get to stay comfortable if we want to please God.

I think there are few churches today that have a zealous desire for Jesus, not very many are wanting to experience the red hot church of the Book of Acts, most of us want just enough Jesus to keep us out of Hell.

It is very difficult for us to see ourselves as God sees us and view our sins as being as offensive as he does. If I agree with God about my condition, if I agree with him that I am a wretched man without him, if I view my sins as being offensive to him then I will not try to live in between hot and cold.

We should learn from the church of Laodicea:

  • Seek our riches from God and reject the counterfeit riches of the world. 
  • Hold onto sound doctrine despite the views of the world.
  • Serve God with passion and reject halfhearted devotion to him. 
  • Be sure that Jesus is welcome inside our church so we can fellowship with him.
Psalm 69:9/ John 2:17/ Romans 12:11/ 2 Corinthians 7:11/ Galatians 4:18/ Titus 2:14