Well alrighty…I admit it…this post is a wee bit late. You see I wrote it right after Bible Study a week and a half ago…but didn’t quite put my finishing touches on it. With a busy week…I didn’t make the time to go back and finish it up. So this may be a day late…but goodness knows with God’s word you can never be a dollar short.
On Wednesday evening May 20th, Dave Dunn continued in our study in the book of Revelation…finishing up with the last letter to the seven churches…the church of Laodicea. With the six preceding churches…Jesus had both commendation and condemnation…except for the church of Philadelphia. Jesus praised them for their patient endurance in the midst of a city that had become the synagogue of Satan.
Laodicea on the other hand was only worthy of condemnation from Jesus. This was not a church that had merely gotten off track. There is no remnant mentioned who remained faithful. No…they had become so wretched that Jesus said he would spew them out of his mouth. The people of the church at Laodicea were not saved. Instead they had become a part of the culture they lived in…oblivious of their precarious unsaved state. It disgust Jesus…and made Him want to vomit. They were not salt and light to a lost and dying world. They relied upon their wealth to make them acceptable to their fellow man and to God. Only thing is…God doesn’t play our games.
There is but one cure for our sin…and that is the cleansing blood of the Lamb…Christ Jesus. There is nothing that I can do in and of myself to save myself or be worthy or deserving of that salvation. Not only am I poor in spirit…but I am morally and spiritually bankrupt, unable to save myself…I’m dead in my sins. There is but one requirement…that is to receive the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. When I do that…I am born again…a new creation in Christ. As I grow in Christ…I will bear fruit.
The church of Laodicea bears a striking resemblance some churches today. Churches that blend into the culture…so much so that there is precious little to distinguish them from the culture they are surrounded by. Churches that think it best to tone down that Gospel message so as to not given offence to any visitors who might be insulted by a message that speaks of sin, repentance and salvation. Churches where Bibles are few and far between…but don’t worry because they will flash the passage on the screen in todays easy to understand versions of the Bible. Didn’t study the passage…don’t be concerned…because the message is chock full of stories, amusing antidotes and quotes from the famous people…and nary a Biblical character is to be found.
The very medicine that the unsaved visitor needs to hear when they happen upon such a church on Sunday…is the very message they will be deprived of. We’d rather not offend them…than to look at the eternal consequence if they fail to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. We don’t weigh in the balance…an uncomfortable moment we might feel when sharing the Gospel with a sinner…compared to the eternal, unending suffering they will endure if they die without accepting Christ.
Reading about Jesus condemnation of the church of Laodicea…makes me pause…and examine myself. The Laodiceans depended upon their wealth …and not on God. They thought that they didn’t need anything…not even from God. After all they had everything they needed….or so they thought. They had things…wealth and perhaps even the praises of men…but they didn’t have salvation.
I am cautioned that the deceitfulness of riches can creep in…even in my own life. When I have too much money…I don’t have to seek God’s will and wait for His timing to answer my prayers and take care of my needs. I can do it myself. I can comfort myself with thoughts that God has blessed me with all sorts of material possessions because I’m a good person…instead of reading the Word of God to see if my actions line up with His revealed will and plan. I can seek after what I want instead of seeking to know God better through His word and through prayer.
This particular Wednesday night concluded in an unusual fashion. Unbeknownst to most of us…we had a visitor towards the back of the room. After Dave had concluded his message the gentleman stood up to encourage us that the power of God’s word…is able to take a Laodicea type Christian…and transform them from being dead in his sins to alive in Christ. He talked about the power of Jesus Christ and the Word of God that had changed his life.
He went on to share that each year he reads through the Bible and each year he gets a new Bible. He has a dream that one day when he’s old and gray…his children and grandchildren will look upon his library shelves and see numerous Bibles. He’ll be able to tell them what God did in his life to transform him…and encourage them to read the Bible for themselves and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
Our visitor was not only new to our class and church…but he was from out of state and in the area on business travel. He went on to share that he felt convicted because earlier in the day…when presented with the opportunity to tell a fellow businessman that he had found this great little church on a hillside with a cross shining in the night…he remained silent. He was regretful that he didn’t invite his friend to accompany him. He was refreshingly open and transparent in his faith walk.
As he shared his story…I too fell under the conviction of the Holy Spirit when I recalled that I had failed to take an opportunity to pray with a co-worker when we stopped for lunch following an errand we were on. She knows full well I’m a Christian…and I’ve even shared some CD’s with her. But when it came down to it…I took the easy way…or the comfortable way…rather than obey Christ. I choose compromise over doing the right thing.
I pray that in the future…I will have the courage to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. “Take”…as in purposefully, willfully and knowingly choosing to do that which is right, courageous and part of God’s perfect will. Will I? I pray…amen…so be it Lord Jesus!