Revelation 3:14-22 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
This text deals with the Lord Jesus Christ addressing the historical church of Laodicea. This church was saved, but not on fire for the Lord. The result was a weak anemic church that was powerless in the world it existed in. As Jesus looked upon the church, it made Him sick (vs 16). It was the type of church that had no dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ (vs 17). It was a church that was blind to its own condition (vs 18). It was a place that called itself a church, but Jesus wasn’t there, wasn’t invited and the people inside didn’t miss Him (vs 20). Unfortunately this is the condition of most (not all) American churches.
I had a great encouraging meeting with a pastor today. It was encouraging to be introduced with a preacher as crazy as I am! The first thing I noticed was he carried his Bible with him INSIDE the restaurant we met at. It has been many years since I have seen a pastor other than myself carry a Bible with them. This was a blessing because as we ate and fellowshipped, we are able to open our own copies of the Word of God and speak biblically with each other. If we truly believed in the power of God, wouldn’t we want to have God’s Word available? If we are soldiers of the cross, shouldn’t we carry our sword with us?
As we talked, we encouraged one another with our passion of watching God work and desire to lead God’s people into obedience to Christ. Soul-winning (the purposeful and intentional going out and spreading the Gospel) is a great first step, but that is not where we are supposed to end. We are to take people to the next step of discipleship, which can be defined as developing the habit of obedience to Christ. Most people who call themselves Christians today, are mostly disobedient to God’s word and content to remain so. As people are discipled, they are in turn to take someone else and teach them to follow the Lord. Then because of the laws of biology, every healthy organism reproduces itself. That means every healthy church should be work towards and preparing to give birth to another church!
One of the problems with today’s Christianity is we are so woeful anemic and weak. Christianity as we know it today is paled in comparison to the Christianity displayed in the book of Acts and the First Century Church. The natural state of the church is revival, and we are abnormal church for the lack of revival. No wonder our churches today make God sick!
Its one thing to identify the problem and complain, but what should be done about it? The first thing, is to get back to basics. Go back to the Bible and see what needs obeying!
- Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. The greatest thing a Christian can do on a daily basis is to read the Word of God for themselves. When I saw read it, I don’t mean that your eyes are to touch ever word on the page, but read searching for God. Ask Him to reveal Himself. Then ask what can you obey because of the reading of God’s word.
- I Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing. Every Christian should develop a healthy prayer life. Don’t talk at God, but rather talk with God. Don’t just give Him a laundry list, but talk with Him about these matters. Prayer is the only thing we are do without ceasing. It is that important.
- Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Be faithful to your local church. We need churches to get equipped and encouraged to continue to follow the Lord.
- I Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. Practice store house giving. We are to bring our tithes and offerings to God’s house for His use. How we deal with money, is a good indicator in our trust and faith in God. Can you truth Him with your finances?
- Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Be a faithful witness. This goes beyond soul-winning at appointed times, but carries the idea of taking advantage of the divine appointments God sets for you on a daily basis. God places people in our path for the purpose of us telling them about the gospel. We need to be spiritually aware of these meetings.
This isn’t the last steps or the completed “super” Christian. These are the basic steps of following after Him. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Faith always produces action. We cannot please the Lord without faith. If we have faith in Him, we will always have a willingness to obey Him.
Pastor Scotty W Backhaus