End Time Study–Pt.8

Jesus concludes His letters to the churches by addressing His last letter to the church of the Laodiceans, the lukewarm church (Rev.3:14-22). Verses fourteen through twenty-two of chapter three are probably the most used and preached scriptures from the Book of Revelation. To this church Jesus has no cause to commend them. Viewed from the outside this church appeared prosperous and powerful, but Jesus looks at the heart of those in this church.

Jesus begins by accusing them of being neither hot nor cold. As to say that they were neither heathens nor Christians. Neither good or evil. Neither lead away by false doctrine nor thoroughly addicted to that which is true. They were listless and indifferent and seemed to care little whether heathenism or Christianity prevailed. Though they felt little zeal either for the salvation of their own souls or that of others, yet they had such a general conviction of the truth and importance of Christianity that they could not readily give it up. They had become complacent. They had not fallen from belief in Jesus to an icy opposition to Him, nor have they become inflamed with heretical zeal. They were just drifting along spiritually, not being driven by a love for Christ.

We could, without a doubt, write volumes comparing the Laodiceans to the modern church. The end-time church, for the most part, has fallen into such a spiritual stupor that it makes the church of the Laodiceans appear to be ablaze for Jesus. It is as though the church today has found a balance between being a heathen and a Christian. The church has learned how to walk the fence between Christianity and worldliness without falling totally into one or the other. From the outside the church appears prosperous and powerful while all the time it has in reality no resemblance to the true church that Jesus birthed on Calvary’s hill. The church today isn’t in love with the absolute truths found in God’s Word. They are easily lead astray because of their lack of the knowledge of God’s Word. It seems that nearly every “Christian” has their own plan of salvation worked out based on “their” understanding of a few scriptures generally out of context. They seem to care less about social trends, whether they are sinful or not, as long as they don’t interfere with their lives. As long as they are unencumbered in their pursuit of life they could care less if heathenism or Christianity controls the world around them.

They appear to have no joy in their salvation nor could they care less about the salvation of others. They have a que-sera-sera attitude about spiritual things. They can take them or leave them. Just drifting through life. Just putting in their time with little or no concern about spiritual things. They believe that Jesus is the Son of God and Saviour and that’s all that matters to them. They ignore the pleas and the demands for holiness found in God’s Word. They plan on getting into eternity with God by pleading ignorance of His Word, just by the skin of their teeth (and we all know that there’s no skin on our teeth). Today the church is looking for fire insurance that cost little or nothing at all. We want just enough religion to escape hell with as little requirements as possible. Thus we now have “people friendly” churches full of friendly deceived people racing head long towards a Satan’s hell while all the time believing they are saved.

The lukewarm church! No zeal for God! No zeal for lost souls! No fire of the Holy Ghost burning in their hearts! No love for the scriptures! No real love one for the other! Indifferent! Complacent! Spiritually dead! Lukewarm!!

But Jesus says that He wishes that we were either hot or cold. He wishes that the church today would be decided, adopt some part or the other and be in earnest attachment to it. Like the Laodeceans, the church today is too good for hell and yet too evil for heaven. Anything would be better than this condition. Where love is professed, but where it doesn’t exist. Where vows have been assumed which are not fulfilled. I believe Jesus is saying here that it is easier to deal with a cold sinner than a lukewarm, insincere hypocrite.

The church today is divided over such issues as abortion, gay marriages, ordaining homosexuals, holiness, righteousness, purity, etc., etc. We even have so called ministers fighting for the myth of separation of church and state by taking legal actions against churches and ministers who get involved in or try to influence the political arena. We claim to be Christians while supporting political candidates and parties that support abortions, gay rights and gay marriages and want to silence the evangelical messages of the truth.

The “church” has become so worldly that it cannot be distinguished from the world. We have lost our savor as the salt of the earth (Matt.5:13). We no longer resemble the church that was established on the Day of Pentecost; that is, one full of fire and power. We have cooled off in our spirits and have accepted the watered down compromised gospel of today. We are, at best, lukewarm.

I truly do believe that God is about to bring judgment to His house (I Peter 4:17-18). It will come in the form of persecutions, trial and temptations. Many in our pulpits, and pews alike, have succumbed to the temptations of lust, perversion and fraud revealing what is in the hearts of those who compromised holiness. As God turns up the fire of His jealous anger toward the church, the treasures of the heart will be revealed. It is much like when bad things happen to good people. Man judges us by our external appearances and attitudes, God judges our hearts. It is when bad things come our way that our hearts are revealed. God allows bad things to come into our lives so that we can see what He sees, our hearts. It would be like someone insulting us, or intimating us, and we become angry and hostile. God allowed this so that we may see what is in our heart. We may think that we have conquered our violent temper but when placed in the right situation we become violently angry. This allows us to see what God wants us to surrender in order for Him to be able to use us for His purposes. If we do not conquer the sin in our hearts then He will spew us out–cast us off.

Lukewarmness (hypocrisy) makes Jesus sick at His stomach. The undedicated, indifferent, uncommitted “Christian” will be cast out of Jesus’ presence with great disgust. The end time church is about to undergo an extreme makeover. Once the church has been exposed to the refiners fire and the fuller’s soap (Mal.3:2-3) of persecution (God’s judgment) then what will remain will be the glorious church without spot or wrinkle. This will be God’s way of purging His church. All of this is designed to equip the saints for the Great Tribulation and the great end-time harvest of souls.

The church today thinks that it is spiritually rich and has no need of anything else. No revelation knowledge. No fresh outpourings of the Holy Ghost. No intervention by God. No need to prepare for tribulation because they think they will be raptured prior to the Great Tribulation. And yet, like the Laodicean church, God sees the church today as being “—wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”(Rev.3:17). The Laodicean church saw themselves as being in a safe state, perfectly sure of final salvation because they had begun well and had laid the right foundation. They rested in what they had already received and seemed to think that once they were in grace that they would remain in grace no matter what. They didn’t even realize their own state, but thought that outward prosperity and religious activity was synonymous with spiritual success. Yet, Jesus saw them differently.

He sees the church today as He did the Laodicean church of John’s day. The church, for the most part, is wretched, meaning afflicted as slaves–slaves to this world and its mindset. The church thinks like the world and conducts itself as the world conducts its business. We have become so worldly that we don’t recognize how far we have fallen from holiness and righteousness. We are miserable in the state that we are in, meaning that we are to be pitied. We don’t even realize that the Spirit has departed from most of our churches, which leaves us poor, spiritually. We have become rich, successful and growing and yet we are in spiritual poverty. We are poor in power, righteousness, holiness, purity and influence. All of this because we have become spiritually blind. We are unable to see our miserable condition. We see ourselves as everything the church is to be while Jesus sees us as naked, not clothed in righteousness and purity. Not adorned as a bride for her wedding. And as with the Laodicean church, Jesus counsels the church today,”—to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich—” (spiritually).

May I interject a personal note here? I do not want you to believe that I think that all churches fall into the categories as the seven churches of Revelation. I believe that there are many churches who are still pursuing God and His will for their lives and the life of the church. I believe that there are many ministers who are called and set by God who are right in the center of His will. To these churches and ministers I say, “Bless you! Keep up the good work!” Most of these churches and ministers are in obscurity but God is about to bring them to the forefront.

Jesus is verbalizing here in verse 18, “O fallen and deceived souls, hear Me. Your case is not hopeless. Come back to Me and receive of Me, without cost, without price, faith that shall stand in every trial. Pure. Just like gold that has had the fire applied and the dross removed. A pure religion. A pure relationship with God the Father. A faith that has been tried and tested by fire and approved of by Me. I’ll clothe you in the garments of holiness and purity to cover the nakedness of your spiritual poverty. Pray, therefore, that you may receive the enlightening influence of My Spirit that you may be convinced of your true state and see where your help lies.”

Jesus stands ready to come to His lukewarm church and revive her. But first He must purge her with fire. He must chasten her for He cannot and will not tolerate self-righteousness. Where we compare ourselves one to the other and not to the Word of God and declare ourselves okay, righteous. He is sick to His stomach of people professing Him and not following Him. Those claiming heaven when the church is probably the closest they will ever get to heaven. Jesus demands honesty. He wants us to look within ourselves and measure our Christianity by His Word. Jesus is raising up a remnant in these last days who are totally dead to themselves and alive in Christ. He is preparing a Bride. He is about to cast off all the religious flirts and come back to marry a Glorious Bride without spot or wrinkle. Those who are zealous and have repented of their lukewarm state (vs.19).

Although verse twenty has often been used as an evangelism tool to win the lost to Jesus, it isn’t spoken to sinners but to the lukewarm believers. Jesus is declaring here that He is patiently standing at the door of the lukewarm church–the lukewarm believers heart. He knocks with mercy, grace, reproofs, exhortations and even judgments to encourage “believers” to repent and turn back to Him. He lifts up His voice loud and strong through His Word, His Spirit and His servants, the preachers, beckoning the lukewarm believer to let Him back into his heart.

When we first come to Jesus in repentance He enters our hearts, but once inside He begins to reveal His requirements for the death of the flesh, a life of holiness and our being set apart for His will and glory. This is where we begin to cool off in our “new-born” feeling and leave Jesus standing in the foyer of our lives not wanting Him to roam the rooms of our hearts and lives. Being rejected as Lord of our lives, He departs and begins knocking at the door of our lukewarm hearts desiring to be invited back into our hearts and lives. It’s in our hearts where He can manifest Himself, heal our broken relationship with the Father, pardon all our iniquities, commune with us and feed us the Bread of Life.

Jesus concludes this final letter by admonishing the church to rise above the lukewarmness and the complacency that it had fallen into and He would grant it a place in eternity with Himself on His throne. There is but one throne in eternity and Jesus is offering to the worst church of all, the lukewarm church, the reward of sharing it with Himself. This church of complacency. This church with a profession but no experience. This church of lukewarmness. This church of the greatest sin is offered the greatest reward to be heirs and joint heirs to Jesus’ throne. Jesus is telling the lukewarm church of the Laodiceans, as well as the end-time complacent church, that just as He overcame this world and the power of the tempter and received a throne in eternity, that those who overcome the same and their lukewarm complacency shall receive the same reward, His throne.

Posted by BL James Equipped for the End-Time at 2:54 PM

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