Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Which Church Are You? (Part 9)
The Lukewarm Church
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'-- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
Revelation 3:15-17 (NKJV)
'The Lukewarm Church' was Laodicea.
If the letter to the church of Philadelphia holds no downside, the letter to the church of the Laodiceans holds no upside. Could the 'lukewarm' designation characterize many Christians today?
Are most of us affluent by the lowest measure of poverty? Are most of us complacent? Do we believe we have achieved success in this world by our hard work? Do we believe we are saved for the world to come by our water baptism, tithing, and church-attending status?
Do we sit stoically in our pews instead of lifting our hands, raising our voices, crying in sympathy, repenting in humility, and surrendering our empires to God? Is the Bible a book on our shelves, or is It alive in our hands? Do we admire God's standard, but continue to live by our own?
Jesus gives His lukewarm believers life saving instructions:
1) Seek God's gold--not the world's: Jesus says, 'I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich' (Revelation 3:18). The psalmist says, 'The law of Your Mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver' (Psalm 119:72). Jesus affirms, 'Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal' (Matthew 6:20).
2) Dress for success: wear Heaven's 'White garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed' (Revelation 3:18). 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool' (Isaiah 1:18). Only through true repentance will Jesus cleanse us from our sins and cover us in His righteousness.
3) Receive your sight: 'Anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see' (Revelation 3:18). Believers must see through the Eyes of Jesus, and not through the eyes of the world.
4) Be passionate: 'For the Lord your God is a consuming fire' (Deuteronomy 4:24), Who loves us with 'burning jealousy' (Ezekiel 36:5). 'Thus says the Lord of Hosts: 'I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; with great fervor I am zealous' ' (Zechariah 8:2).
Can a God of unmatched passion accept our lukewarm return? With one foot in church and the other in sin? With one eye on Him and the other on the world? With one hand outstretched and the other holding back? Remember Ananias and Sapphira (see Acts 5:5-11). Their end sets fire to half-hearted Christians, because we serve a wholehearted God.
'Therefore be zealous and repent' (Revelation 3:19).
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Which Church Are You? series.