Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fake and Bake

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.   Revelation 3:14-16  NKJV

As a result of possessing skin from the “northern” gene pool, I have always had difficulty tanning, and in fact, as a result of too much exposure to the sun suffer from some skin issues which demand annual visits to my dermatologist for treatment.  Years ago, rather than listen to the laughter from my daughters because of my white legs during the summer months, I resorted to using a self-tanning lotion which they immediately dubbed “fake and bake”.  I confess it does have its limitations, but from a distance the results are better than the alternative.  As I thought this past week about the church at Laodicea, it occurred to me that the term my daughters coined could just as easily apply to people who give the outward appearance of true believers, but on the inside are desperately in need of a Savior.

Of the seven churches mentioned by Jesus in the beginning of His book of Revelation, I must confess that the church of Laodicea has been the most difficult for me to comprehend over the course of my study as a believer.  That is, until now.  You see (as I admit my age here) becoming a believer during the evangelical movement of the sixties and maturing during the Jesus movement of the seventies, I simply could not understand how a church could exist such as the Laodicean church described by Jesus.  Yet today we find the “emergence” of exactly what Jesus foretold so many years ago.

To make something lukewarm, you obviously mix together both hot and cold to arrive at a “compromise” temperature.  This is something I am an authority on since winter has finally arrived in the Northwest and my wife and I have begun our annual war over the thermostat.  The result is always the same as while both of us might not get what we want; neither of us is uncomfortable to the point of demanding a change.  As I thought about the state of the church today, and especially these words from Jesus concerning the Laodicean church, my thoughts continually returned to the words lukewarm and compromise.

“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—Revelation 3:17  NKJV

A fact that many are not aware of is that the meaning of the word Laodicea is “rule of the people”.  I would think that this is probably one of the first of many mistakes this church is making in that rather than looking to God for guidance on what He expects from them, they look to themselves for approval.  Did you notice Jesus’ response to this?  “Because you say”.  How sad is it that a church can exist which simply tells itself that it is rich and in need of nothing because they are all comfortable doing what they want.  The truth is, according to Jesus, they are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”.

“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.                       Revelation 3:18-19  NKJV

Although the church at Laodicea believed it was rich and in need of nothing, it was in reality poor because the “riches” they were so confident in were of their own efforts, and not from God.  Rich in the eyes of the world, they were poor in the eyes of God as a result of the absence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and in their church.  The error of the Laodicean theology is that your eternal security can be assured by simply being a “follower” of Christ.  Unfortunately, this is in direct opposition to the Word of God which states plainly that we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to receive eternal life.  The end result of this mistaken teaching is a church full of followers, but no believers.

 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.   Revelation 3:20-21  NKJV

I learned this verse as a child in Sunday School, and like many of you, have never forgotten it.  It has long been used as a tool in witnessing and sharing the good news with those who have not yet accepted the gift of eternal life, and presents a beautiful picture of the love that Jesus has for all of His children.  Yet it was quite a long time before I personally understood the context of this verse, and exactly how Jesus was using it to send a message to a church empty of true believers.  Although seemingly unaware of their need, Jesus stands at the door knocking to come in and anyone who hears and invites Him in will receive the free gift of salvation.

Have you opened the door of your heart and invited Jesus to come in?  If not, you can do that right now wherever you are.  Simply pray a prayer like this and begin a new life with Jesus, and know you will spend eternity with Him.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen.

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