So Be Zealous and Repent

I Know Your Works
Revelation 3:14-16 ESV

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.’”

This is describing the lukewarm church of today, especially here in America, though I am certain this is not limited to just my country. They are neither on fire for the Lord, zealous for the good works which he prepared in advance that they should walk in them, nor are they completely opposed to Jesus Christ. They are just complacent about their walks of faith.

Now some people have the belief that this describes the apostate church of the last days. But apostate is a renouncer or a deserter of the faith, and it doesn’t sound as though they have fully abandoned the faith. It sounds like they have just gotten spiritually lazy, and perhaps they are on the brink of defecting from the faith.

They are the church, so at least some of them fully believed in Jesus Christ at one time, but perhaps the cares of the world and the marketing schemes of humans dragged them away from their sincere faith and they got distracted and engaged in the affairs of the world and so they neglected to follow Jesus in surrender and in obedience to him.

And so they became useless for God’s eternal kingdom. If anything, they are a stench in his nostrils because, while they profess faith in Jesus Christ, they deny him by their actions. They are so busy following the ways of the world that Jesus is more of an afterthought, or he is just their religion of choice, but he is certainly not their Lord (owner-master).

So, the Lord is at the point to where he is going to spit them out of his mouth, i.e. to deny them before his Father because they are denying him by their actions. But, although he is at this point, he is not finished with them yet. He is making a final appeal to them to repent, and to turn back to him in full assurance of faith.

They Don’t Realize
Revelation 3:17 ESV

“For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

America is a wealthy nation, although the wealth is all borrowed. Our dollars have no real value. They are just IOUs. So, our nation is also in massive debt, and one day that is going to come back and bite us, I believe. But, in the meanwhile, we, as a nation, are wealthy.

Now, not everyone in America is wealthy, not by American standards, but in comparison to the poverty level of people in some other nations, even our poor are wealthy. So, it is easier for Americans to get caught up in their possessions and in their gadgets and in their entertainment and to think they are still being “Christian.”

Because they have so much, they don’t really realize how much they are really lacking in the things that matter the most. They are largely distracted by all that is going on in our nation and in the news and on social media and in the entertainment world, and Jesus and his gospel and his will for their lives have taken a back seat.

They are blinded by the cares of this world and by TV evangelists and preachers who are pumping their minds full of false notions and false hopes. And they are being lulled to sleep by feel good messages that are nothing more than pep talks which are convincing them that they can believe in Jesus and nothing else is required of them.

The Counsel to Them
Revelation 3:18-19 ESV

“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”

But Jesus Christ does not follow the same philosophies of these modern-day preachers who are all about making people feel good even if it leaves them dead in their sins and on their way to hell while they promise them forgiveness of their sins and eternity in heaven with God.

What Jesus wants is our all on the altar of sacrifice laid, our hearts under the Spirit’s control. For we can only be blessed and have peace and sweet rest when we yield to Him our bodies and souls (see the hymn, “Is Your All on the Altar” by Elisha A. Hoffman).

Jesus Christ wants us fully surrendered to him. For, he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he died to deliver us from our slavery to sin so we would become slaves of God and of his righteousness.

Jesus said that if we would come after him, we must deny self and take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our lives we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives for his sake (die with him to sin) we will gain eternal life with him.

So, Jesus’ plan for our lives is that we are crucified with him in death to sin and that we follow him in obedience to his commands. Our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, for we were bought back for God (redeemed) by the blood of Christ so that we will now honor God with our lives and with our bodies.

Now we are to walk no longer according to the flesh, but we are to walk (in conduct) in accord with (in agreement with) the Spirit of God in holiness and righteousness and in purity of devotion to Jesus as our only Lord and master. We are to leave our sinful practices behind us to now follow Jesus wherever he leads us to go and to do whatever it is he commands.

He Stands at the Door
Revelation 3:20-22 ESV

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Some people believe that this church is filled with people who never trusted in Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior, since Jesus is standing at the door outside the church, or he is standing at the door to individual people’s hearts since the appeal is for individuals to respond to his knocking.

But, since they are one of the churches, not meaning an institutional church like we have today, and since Jesus was intending to spit them out of his mouth, i.e., to not confess them before the Father, and since he describes them as lukewarm, not as cold, the indication is that this church began with true believers in Jesus, but that overtime they became lukewarm.

I believe the reason Jesus is standing on the outside of the church or outside of the people’s hearts is because they pushed him out of the church and out of their lives by their actions, by their refusal to honor him as Lord, and by their disobedience, and by their accepting and their embracing of “another Jesus” and a “different gospel” than the one they received at first.

Now, the Scriptures do not teach faith in Jesus Christ as a one-time event or experience in our lives which guarantees us forgiveness of sins and heaven as our eternal destiny regardless of how we live our lives on this earth. Our faith must be current, and it must be active faith which is shown by our deeds and by our obedience to the Lord.

Therefore, just like in the Parable of the Sower, it is possible to initially believe in Jesus but at some point to no longer believe in him when the cares of this world choke out that belief. Our faith must be present tense, it must be active faith, and it must continue to the end if we are to have eternal life with God.

So, if you are in this stage of lukewarmness, then please repent and turn to follow Jesus in obedience as your Lord (master). If you never had genuine faith in Jesus, the message is the same. For, if we walk in sin, we will die in our sins no matter what we profess with our lips. So make certain today that Jesus is truly your master and that you are following him in obedience.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:7; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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