Let us start this discussion by giving a church scenario. Here we have a church which is now more concerned with gaining “stuff” than with winning souls. No longer is this church interested in great revivals, because they are only interested in their own comfort. The congregation is just playing church, as the entire process is just a ritual with no true relationship to the "full gospel" ( 1 Cor 15:1-4). And the people have become self-sufficient.
And mainly, Jesus is left outside knocking on the door to get in. This church has completely missed the point that Christianity is about a relationship with Jesus and has nothing to do with religious ritual; thus it has become lukewarm (Revelation 3:17). Does this church synopsis sound familiar ? Do you know such a church? Better still, do you attend such a church ?
Well, this church outline is taken from the Laodicea church, as given in (Revelation 3:14-22) . However, it's agenda certainly could parallel today's modern churches.
This Laodicea church is the seventh and final letter, given to the churches of ancient Asia Minor, addressed in the book of Revelation, which is located in a wealthy, industrious city in the province of Phrygia in the Lycos Valley. This Laodicea church is a picture of what the church will look like when Jesus returns, and if you look at the church today this is exactly what it looks like. Yes, you can still find Ephesians churches and Sardine churches and Philadelphian churches, just as all seven of these individual churches existed during the Ephesian age, but as a whole the church of today looks more like the church of Laodicea.(James 1:26-27)
So what does all of this mean for us? Basically, it means, as followers of Christ, it is our individual responsibility to make sure that we are not following the trends that are present in the church today (Revelation 2:4-5), but that we are seeking holiness and obedience to Christ above everything else (Philippians 1:21). It means that we are to heed the warnings that Jesus gave to the churches in Revelation chapters two and three, and we are to be overcomes. It means that we should love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. It means that we remain faithful when we are persecuted. It means that we don’t conform to the world or compromise what we know to be true (2 Peter 2:21).It means that when we sin we repent, and we run back to Jesus (1 John 1:9).It means that we hold fast to the faith. And it means that we do whatever it takes to remain on fire for God.
Unlike direction given to the other six churches, Jesus begins the Laodicea message with condemnation (Revelation 3:15-16). And, just like this church of old, our modern day church has been subverted. Clarification of the scripture has surrendered to entertainment, preaching to performances, doctrine to drama and theology to theatrics.
Our true church doctrine has slowly been abandoned, for a more convenient doctrine, either causing Christians to become carnal or shallow in nature, when it come to the "fundamentals of the faith". And now this new "politically correct" concept, is taking hold as it is a more convent " fast pace humanistic religion.
You see, this new "so-called replacement theology" did not happen overnight, as it has been creeping into the church for some time now (Malachi 3:7). When is the last time preachers prayed the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the service ? When was the last time scripture based hymns and true praise and worship songs were sung in the church, to enhance God's Spirit. When is the last time the congregation knelt by the pews and offered spontaneous pray ? When is the last time an invitation was given, for sinners to repent or Christians to rededicate their lives to the Lord, at the conclusion of the service ?
Just call me a "dinosaur" if you may, but we just need abandon the Laodicea church philosophy and simply get back to the "old time religion" I still love that strong, but simple, evangelistic teaching which states, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no one should boast". (Ephesians2:8-9) To that I shout "Amen." Additionally, in support of this evangelistic message, was our old fashioned church altar. Now, I realize the physical make up of that old alter was no different than any other construction. However, that old fashioned alter was very special for me, for that old alter was where I was first introduced to the Living God. And I can't help but ponder those old "brush-arbor" revival meetings where the "Amen's" and the "Hallelujah's" echoed, as the spirit led.
Somewhere along the way, the church has lost its fervency for the gospel, the compassion for lost souls and the desired to reached our community for Christ. Could it be that the church has lost its Christian humility, for an easier more convenient gospel (1Timothy 1:19)?
The old fashion Bible doctrines of separation from sin, has been deeply compromised. As has the only way to God, being through His Son, Christ Jesus ( John 14:6). You see, the gospel has always been "black and white', with no so-called "grey areas" (2 Cor 6:17).
Much like the Laodicea church, out churches are now experiencing spiritual blindness, by claiming to be rich, blessed and self-sufficient. We are rich in material things, but spiritually, our churches seem to be in a wretched, pitiful condition, made all the worse in that we cannot see our real need of following the scriptural teaches of God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Are we like the Laodicea church, filled with self-deceived hypocrites (Hebrews 6:4-8) ? God forbid (Galatians 1:6).
Our modern day church material wealth seems to have no eternal benefit. Therefore, is Jesus now calling our modern churches to repent of its sin (Revelation 3:18) ?? Maybe so, however, Jesus commands us come to Him for true, spiritual riches (Isaiah 55:1-2). You see, only Christ can supply an eternal everlasting inheritance, clothe us in righteousness, and heal our spiritual blindness. But are we living in the "end times" and so is it too late ? Not according to His promise in ( 2 Chronicles 7:14). You see, Jesus notes His concern for His church in Laodicea, as well as our moderate day churches (Revelation 3:19-20).
This (Revelation 3:20) is often times given as an evangelistic appeal, yet its original context communicates Christ’s desire for fellowship with our 21st Century "fence straddling" church as well as His lukewarm church in Laodicea. You see, our churches are nominally Christian, but Christ Himself has been locked out. Rather than turn His back on us, He knocks, seeking all to acknowledge today's church’s need and open the door.
Remember, His rebuke is not born of animosity but of love. “The Lord disciplines those he loves” (Hebrews 12:6). The desired response to God’s reproof was, and still is a zealous change and true repentance ( 1 John 1:9).
Like the Laodicea church, we too need repentance (Isaiah 57:12). If and when this is done, Jesus has promised He will come in and take His rightful place in the church.
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