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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We Must All Guard Against Becoming Lukewarm

Revelation 3:14-22 (ESV)
14 “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. 15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 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. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 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. 21 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. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ”

What has happened to the people of God? So many come to church without being changed. So many are completely oblivious to spiritual things. They only see what the world sees. They act as those in the world, even adopting the world's view of sin. And they don't know anything is wrong.

I am afraid that many Christians have become lukewarm. They think they are rich in the spirit because they come to church but fail to realize that they have not heard from God in some time. They critique the preacher's sermons on a emotional or worldly wisdom scale. They want to see and hear things which will tickle their ears. They do not realize their distance between themselves and the Lord.

Yet, even now the Lord stands at the door and knocks. He requests an entrance into fellowship with them. He speaks out, hoping they will hear His voice.  His promise is a restored fellowship. But they must open the door.

What will it take for God's people to awaken from the slumber they are in? Their hearing has become dull. Their eyes are dim to the things of God. They have come to believe what they see in the physical world. They see themselves as physical beings who possess a spirit rather than spiritual beings who possess a body.

So, I too cry out to Jesus to continue knocking and calling out.

Yet, I know that He is willing to send whatever is necessary to discipline those whom He loves. What will it mean for a people who have turned away from Him? What act must He allow that will turn His people back to Him? Will He allow something that will remove all of our earthly securities? I know He might.

My concern is also for myself. I can preach sermons and be very far away from the Lord. I, too, must buy His gold. I, too, must be refined by fire. I, too, need to be clothed with His garments.

I continue to pray that I have ears to hear. (Hebrews 5:11)


sirnorm1 said...

I pray with you for the desire of your heart in Jesus name. May the Lord give you the word in season and the peace of the Lord. Eph. 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.


Anonymous said...

We are prone to be becoming luke-warm, and I too, must include myself, in this. The pull from the world is still strong; it does not cease to operate and ensnare just because you and I have become believers. This pull as a snare can translate into many things; examples included love of material riches, prestige, and control; fear of lack of the same; priority only in the present, and the seen; and love the world and anything in it. Much of these can be summed as the cares of this world; and scripture gave us the scenario of seeds failing to grow (into the strong fruit-bearing, shade providing tree), because the cares of the world have choked them.

Although we are still in the world, we, believers, are no longer of the world; we are of the Kingdom of God. Accordingly, we should care more about the cares of the Kingdom of God than the same, of the world. We can mouth all we want that we are a new creation, but if we don't want change after conversion (entry into salvation), we would be only like a fish which has been given legs but want not to walk. Such a new creation, if I may use a crude word, is a retard in its new setting. Like a dog returning to its vomit, the new fish wants only to swim. For such who keep wanting the former things, instead of embracing the Kingdom values and cares, as the Revelation text, Ps Prentis cited, said, God said He would spew him out.

Double-mindedness, not mere doubt, is abhorred by God. Often difficult but still, our mind must be resolved to remain no longer of the world, and not flip-flopping between the two, loving the world and the things in it, and loving God and the ways of the Kingdom. The Apostle James said, if we are like that, we should NOT expect to get anything from God.

Bro Anthony, but it is hard-what?! I know, and God knows, and His Word does suggest the what and how, and the help from Him; and in many places in the Word, including this text given by Ps Prentis, still it is exhorted of us to be overcoming (ESV: conquering) no matter what snares and temptations are put in our path. Verse 21 clearly said that he who overcomes, the Lord will grant him to sit with Him on his throne, just as the Lord has overcome and is seated with the Father on his throne.

Don't listen to the the overly grace preachers and teachers who nonsensically tell us that all we need to do is to read "he who overcomes" as another way of saying "a believer", based on misinterpretation of 1 John 5:5. Such heretic preachers are telling us that there is no overcoming needed in our lives; they are wrong. These teachings encourage luke-warm-ness, and so, they stumble. No, no, no, the Bible is full of exhortations that we are to overcome. We are to overcome temptations, sins, trials, etc. The messages to the 7 churches in the 1st section of the Book of Revelation gives many things we are to overcome. He who overcomes means he who overcomes, NOT mere believer.

Verse 21 clearly prescribes the way we are to live - patterning after our Lord Jesus, live a life of overcoming just as He has done so. Jesus wanted only to do the Father's will for Him, and did them, overcoming everything that stood in the way; the same we are expected to do - be wanting only to do the Lord's will for us, and do them, overcoming everything that stands in the way. If you are cavalier (couldn't be bothered, or flip-flopping) about this, you are in danger of becoming luke-warm, and be spit out of God's mouth.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Craig said...

Hi Prentis, nice article, and blogsite!

It is true that they may be lukewarm, some fellowships are full of these people.

But do you think some of them you are referring to could be false converts?
By that I mean could they have ‘made a decision for Christ’ e.g. conned by a lukewarm gospel that did not bring about godly repentance. We can admonish these folk until we are blue in the face, whip them up into a frenzy until they comply, but just like a dead horse, they can’t respond. Why? Because they are dead in Christ.

Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron talk about this in their video ‘Hell’s Best Kept Secret’.

If you have not watched it, I would recommend you do so. It opened my eyes to what was going on in the modern church, and turned my ideas on evangelism upside-down.

I’m not saying your article is wrong in any way, just offering another perspective.

Keep up the good work in Christ!

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