IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION, we find Jesus Christ dictating, to John the Apostle,
seven letters addressed to seven churches. Much can be gleaned from these letters.
They seem to have a three-fold application: 1) They are letters to real-live churches
existing at that time, 2) They serve a personal application to you and I, and 3) They have
a prophetic application.
For example, it is commonly thought that the last letter, addressed to the Church of
the Laodiceans, prophetically describes the average church in these last days. Keep that
in mind as you read what Jesus said to the Laodiceans:
"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; I know thy
works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So
then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my
mouth. 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:" Rev. 3:14-17.
There is no denying that the average Bible-believing church in the United States today
is more prosperous than her predecessors in time past. Comparatively speaking, most
churches in this country are sitting on "large" assets. Add to that the relative "personal
wealth" of the members themselves, and we, too, can easily say, "I am rich, and
increased with goods." However, one also can't deny that with all our prosperity we are
not accomplishing what we ought to for God. That is why Christ could just as well be
describing us when He said, "thou art lukewarm."
HOW DOES THE LORD DEFINE HOT?
Human nature being what it is, the average church member today will read Christ's
rebuke and assume that their church is at least somewhere between hot and lukewarm.
We deceive ourselves into thinking we are just fine, only needing minor improvements.
But let's forget our sin-laden, self-deceiving definition of hot. When the Lord says hot,
He means HOT as in the early churches we find in the Book of Acts.
After all, can you point to any other churches that did more for God in a short amount
of time? Let us, therefore, compare ourselves to those churches. Can we honestly say
we are as hot as they were?
Thank God there's hope for us. Christ told the Laodiceans to "BE ZEALOUS therefore,
and REPENT" (Rev. 3:19). We must take heed and do the same. Furthermore, our zeal
must be modeled after those early churches. So let's examine them, particularly the local
church at Jerusalem. In Acts 2:41-45, the Bible says,
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were
added unto them [that local Church body] about three thousand souls. And they
continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread,
and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done
by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And
sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every
man had need."
UH, OH! (The rubber just met the road!)
DO THEIR ACTIONS SEEM RADICAL TO YOU? Do they seem extreme? In Acts 4:34-
37 we also read, "Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as
were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the
things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was
made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was
surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and
of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and
laid it at the apostles' feet."
Perhaps, every time you've read that they "Sold their possessions and goods,"you
assumed they were going beyond the call of duty. But if we examine the teachings of
Christ, their actions look more like "reasonable service," than extremism. Among other
things, Jesus taught His disciples to, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon
earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,
and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will
your heart be also." (Mat. 6:19-21). "No man can serve two masters: for either he will
hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Mat. 6:24
Christ always drew a line between spiritual things and materialism. He always down
played the importance of earthly possessions. Jesus said, "And seek not ye what ye
shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do
the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these
things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto
you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old
[i.e. don't keep it too long; be willing to give it away], a treasure in the heavens that
faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also." Luke 12:29- 34
No, the members of the church at Jerusalem were not overdoing it. Their WILLINGNESS
to forsake earthly possessions was in accordance to what Christ had taught. Consider
the extent of "non-possessiveness" that we, as Christians, are supposed to have: "Give
to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."
(Mat. 5:42). " And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye?
for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. ...lend, hoping for
nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the
Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." Luke 6:34-35
So detached are we to be from our possessions that we should be willing to forego them
as easily as we received them. Yet, in most cases it's the exact opposite. We tend to
act like Venus fly traps, amassing our possessions with little intention of ever giving
them away. We often heap upon ourselves whatever God has allowed to come our way.
We obtain things and "Consume it upon your lusts." James 4:3
You May be Wondering How all this Hinders Revival?Go back to our example of a hot church. Consider their willingness to sell all their
possessions and forego their material belongings. Do you realize that their attitude averts
a seldom-mentioned sin that can prevent revival from even starting? Christ refers to that
sin in the following verse. "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of
covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which
he possesseth." Luke 12:15
FRIEND, IT IS NOT A SIN TO HAVE POSSESSIONS. However, if having those
possessions become more important to us than the things of God, then we are in
were blind to their spiritually poor and lukewarm state. No doubt, they were also blind
trouble. How willing are we to
part with them if it meant
revival? Are we really
without realizing it? We can go
down the list, eradicating
every personal, and collective
sin as a church, and still have
no revival because of
Remember the Laodiceans?
Go back again and read what
Christ told them. "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:" (Rev. 3:17). Notice they
felt they needed nothing. Their
riches provided a false sense
of security that excluded the
need of God. However, they
Some may argue that the early church's
willingness to "sell all" was a by-product of
having been filled with the Holy Spirit on the day
of Pentecost. Yet, that doesn't explain the
sacrificial attitude of Christ's Apostles, at a time
when they didn't even have the indwelling Spirit:
"And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and
I will make you to become fishers of men. And
straightway they forsook their nets, and
followed him." (Mark 1:17) "And they immediately
left the ship and their father, and followed him."
(Mat. 4:22) "And when they had brought their
ships to land, they forsook all, and followed
him." (Luke 5:11) "Then answered Peter and said
unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and
followed thee;" (Mat. 19:27). Let's also not forget
the widow who gave all that she had. "but she of
her want [she wanted to, of her own choice] did
cast in all that she had, even all her
living." (Mark 12:42-44)
to the sins that robbed them of God's power--among them, probably, covetousness.
Are we blind also? Is covetousness hiding behind our blind spots? We Christians have
fallen into a trap. We have become too attached to our possessions, depending upon
them even more than we do God. If a given pastor were to stand in his pulpit one day,
and suggest that we sell all and give the money to the cause of Christ, most of us would
hesitate long enough to faint. We would hold a men's meeting, rationalizing among
ourselves why such a sacrifice would be "too radical." We would, no doubt, be unwilling
to forego our "safety nets" because, after all, who would be there to catch us when we
fall? (As if we had to ask. Read Matthew Chapter Six).
Others would allow the sin of covetousness to possess them, their happiness wrapped
up in the things of the world rather than the things of God. Yet, "man's life consisteth
not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Please examine your heart.
As we try to clean house, preparing the way for revival, let's not forget the seldom-
mentioned sin of covetousness. (See Mark 7:21; Eph. 5:3; Heb. 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:6-11)
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast." Eph. 2:8-9 Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he [Christ] saved
us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S
WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us." Romans 5:8-9
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner
and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved." Romans 10:9
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