Revelation 3:17 NKJV - "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.
The full letter to the Laodicean church offers a great way for churches in the 21st Century to determine if their ministries are as spiritually bankrupt as this church was. For this commentary I'd like to focus on the individual Christian. What standard do they use to determine just how "rich" they really are?
Sadly, many so-called Christians live a mediocre religious life that has little resemblance to the description the New Testament gives of a genuine Christian. They know little of the Bible, have little or no time for prayer, have never spoken to anyone about becoming a Christian, primarily because they don't really know what a true Christian is! They consider church attendance their idea of Christian service. They think if they measure up to other "lukewarm-Christians" then they're pretty well off and have little need to make any changes. If they are not necessarily rich or wealthy they will still go into debt trying to impress other people that they lived "blessed lives!"
Then there is the genuine Christian who can still remember the day they got saved and their excitement doing so. They can talk about their memory work as a new believer, how they got baptized, joined a church, and were regular in their Sunday morning attendance, and maybe, even went to a Bible study. All of this, however, is spoke in "past tense" verbs. Oh, they may still go to church, which to them is basically the sum total of their idea of the Christian life! They listen to the sermon and may even give the preacher that "good sermon this week, Pastor" but then go home and can't remember hardly anything of what was said. They think they're doing pretty well, considering they're not any different than most of the rest of the "pew-sitters" they see every Sunday. They consider themselves "as good as the Christian sitting next to them." They, too, are "wealthy in their own ideas" and see little need to make any changes. They get provoked at those "goody-two-shoe" zealots who begin talking about revival, getting right with God, spending an hour or two in prayer, and even talk about witnessing to your neighbors! "Why don't they just go somewhere else and stop getting everybody else uncomfortable?"
Hopefully, dear reader, you don't see yourself as the so-called Christian. And I hope that you don't identify with the Christian in the last paragraph, at least not too much, anyway. Could you be one of those believers who think of themselves "poor in spirit" and see their true riches are really found in Christ? Could you see that your wealth is being "rich in faith" as James 2:5 states? Could you see that instead of living a self-centered life, you're "rich in good works" as Paul describes in 1 Timothy 6:18? Do you recognize that your best times are when you "sit at the feet of Jesus" and spend quality time in prayer and study of His Word, and thus, are "rich toward God" as it says in Luke 12:21? Are you in-step with Christ seeking to do His will and conforming yourself to His image, Romans 8:29? Is your heart's desire to know God better and to help others to know Him too?
The Laodicean church is described as being "lukewarm." To me that is like a drink: in summer you want it COLD and in the winter you want it HOT! But never do you want it lukewarm! If it is you want to just "spit it out of your mouth!" God certainly doesn't want people to be "so-called" Christians. And I don't believe He wants a Christian to live a mediocre religious life! I believe God is looking for Christians who want to "expect great things from God and attempt great things for God!"
Daily commentary and insight from Pastor Eckardt.
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Mt Ephraim Baptist Church | 25 S. Black Horse Pike | Mt Ephraim, NJ 08059
Senior Pastor, Stephen A. Eckardt | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 856.981.7288