Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Are we "Hot? Cold? or Repulsively Tepid?

Rev. 3:14-22 NLT  
  14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation: 15 “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.
  22“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”

Jesus had kind things to say to the other churches along with the correction and challenges. But not this complacent church. Some historical theologians say Laodicea was intended to represent the complacent church of the final days prior to Christ's return to earth and the drama of the end times. If that was so, then it fits in the pages just prior to Jesus revealing to John the symbolic drama between God and evil, that begins to unfold in chapters four and following. Others say that Laodicea represented a certain stage of all church organizations and that they reach this stage and listen to the challenge, responding with revival or they die and the church is buried.

The truth is, however, that the words of the Lord are honest and accurate. He cannot stand complacent members of his body. He died so that we might have a vibrant Holy Spirit centered life. Complacency in the church is not that life, but merely a terrible counterfeit. And, worse a complacent church destroys faith in other believers. Complacency is like a cancer in the body, growing insidious death until nothing can be done to prevent it.

Jesus calls us away from complacency and toward life in our church. He offers us the power to make a difference in the world, if we will but commit to using it, laying aside all that distracts us from His plan for success. What are you seeking in your church-- world-changing power or a quiet comfortable non-controversial feel-good religion?

Your servant

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