Revelation 3:1-6 ESV
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
The Appearance of Righteousness
So, if you and/or your church have a reputation of being alive but you are dead, what does that look like? Now, in this case it appears that they are just mostly dead, for it appears something remains that still has life to it but it is about to die. Now it could be that most of the people were dead spiritually but that there was a remnant who were not completely dead, but who needed to be revived. Or it could be that there were some remaining redeeming qualities the church had but they were also about to die.
Whatever the case may be, the main point here is that their practices did not match their professions. And the Bible calls that hypocrisy. It is when someone, or a group of people, make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ but they are still living like the devil. They have an outward show of righteousness, which could be just lip service only, but inside they are still spiritually dead with no life in them at all. They want to give off the appearance of being believers in Jesus but their actions speak differently.
And in many cases today it is because they are believing in a half-truth (lie) gospel that is based in Scriptures taught outside their context and twisted to say what they do not say in context. And then all sorts of nonsense is added on top that has nothing to do with the Scriptures whatsoever. It is just a lot of cheap talk created in the minds of humans which sounds good to human flesh but is not of God, but of the flesh of man, and many people are swarming to these charlatans who are feeding this garbage to people.
For what they are feeding them is “cheap food.” It has no real substance to it at all. It is void of the Spirit of God and of truth (other than the partial truths they insert). It is fake. It is a cheap substitute for the real thing, but it has the appearance of being the real deal. But it is in appearance only. For it is filled with all kinds of immorality and deceit and wickedness. For it is for the self-indulgent, the foolish, and the self-centered who still want to feed on the flesh but while giving off an appearance of having the Spirit of God.
For this “cheap food,” which is a false gospel, gives permission for the self-indulgent to keep on in their sinful practices without guilt and without remorse. And so they continue in their lewdness and in their smut because they are being taught that all they have to do is profess faith in Jesus Christ and now all their sins are forgiven and covered by the blood of Christ, and so they are also now guaranteed heaven as their eternal destiny regardless of how they live their lives while they are still on the earth.
And so most people professing faith in Jesus Christ today here in America appear to have put their trust in this “cheap food” (cheap grace gospel) created in the minds of humans who are catering to the flesh of man. And this gospel has a wide range of beliefs, but all teach that all that is required of them for salvation and for eternal life with God is that they make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and now heaven is guaranteed them when they die regardless of how they live their lives.
But then they cover up all of that and they disguise what is really going on with this “cheap food” by giving it the appearance (or reputation) of it being real faith. And then they blast the true gospel so that they are able to convince many people to put their trust in the lies and to reject the truth, for they call the truth “works salvation.” So they sanctify the lies to make them appear as truth while they crucify the truth to make it appear as lies. And many people are surrendering their lives to the lies and not to the truth.
Now the true gospel, the one that Jesus taught and that his New Testament apostles taught, does not teach what this cheap grace gospel teaches. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self we will lose them for eternity. But if, by the grace of God, and for the sake of Jesus, we die with Christ to sin, that we might live to his righteousness, then we have eternal life.
He also said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. For, he said that on the day of judgment, when we will all be judged by our works, many will tell him of all the things they did in his name, but he is going to say to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” But who is teaching this today? Not many! Even if they teach repentance and obedience, it is not taught this way.
Some people will dismiss Jesus’ words as Old Covenant, even though he taught New Covenant, but then Paul and the other apostles taught the same things that Jesus taught. They taught that if sin is what we obey that we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God. They warned us to not be deceived, for those who make sin their practice (addiction, habit) will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, regardless of the faith that they profess that they have in Jesus Christ.
Paul taught that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. And he said that if sin is what we practice and if we are still walking according to the flesh that we will die in our sins and we will not go to heaven when we die. And he taught that we are all going to have to stand before God one day and be judged according to our works, and some people are going to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you! Depart from me!”
So, please wake up! Please read the Scriptures for yourselves, but read them in context, one word, and one chapter, and one book at a time. And pay close attention to what they say. For the Scriptures do not teach once saved always saved. They don’t teach that a one-time decision to believe in Jesus secures you heaven as your eternal destiny. They teach a progressive salvation which will not be complete until Jesus returns and he takes with him those who are living to him and to his righteousness and who are not living to gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh.
And please repent of your sins, which means to do a spiritual U-turn. You were living for the flesh in your sins, but now turn to God and live for him to do his will, daily dying to sin and to self, and daily following him in obedience, by the grace of God, in the power of God, and to the glory of God. And then you will have true hope of eternal life with God, but provided that you continue in that faith steadfast until the end. This is what the Scriptures teach, so please know and believe what they teach.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; Heb 10:26-31; Heb 12:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jude 1:1-25; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Jesus Name I Love
By George Stark Schuler | William Marion Runyan
Jesus, Jesus, name I love
Sinful needy hearts to move
Name all other names above
Jesus name I love
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*When I was a child, my mother used to play this song on the piano on Sunday mornings, kind of like a wakeup call, I think. The lady in the video playing and singing it plays it just like my mother did, so this song is special to me. And when my mother was dying, at age 86, she just wanted to sing songs about Jesus, so we each took turns singing all the ones we recalled.
2 thoughts on “Fodder for the Self-Indulgent”
May more churches rise that feed the real spiritual food to people. And may more people be ready to accept the spiritual food we need to live. 🙏
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Amen! Thank you, Deborah. I agree with you in prayer for that.
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