Saturday, January 17, 2009

Healthy Church; Sick Church

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another." [John 13:35] NKJV
When asked, "Which of the seven churches in Revelation best describes your church?" most will answer, "The church of Philadelphia!" Of course! But as a matter of course, over the course of sixty years of church attendance, I find that most/many have a better fit in Laodicea.
You know of course that the seventh church, the church of Laodicea, the last church in the prophetic line is a sick church. This last church thinks that all is well but then along comes Christ and describes the real condition. The church of Laodicea is a little like the comedian, Billy Crystal, who has the funny (but not so funny) line that goes like this; "It's better to look good than to feel good." That's the whole point of 'Healthy Church; Sick Church.'
"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. 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--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." [Revelation 3:15-18] [NKJV].
Everyone who wants to go through the fiery refining process please raise their hands......
So who wants to go through refining process and be pure like the golden wedge of Ophir. O.K., let me rephrase that; "Who realizes they need to go through a refining process, put on white raiment, and anoint their eyes?" Aha! I see some have raised their hands.
How then do we diagnose the vitality of any church; yours, mine; it doesn't matter. The answer is the text for today; John 13:35. If one goes to church seeking information (for its own sake) they might as well stay home. If one goes to church to catch up on the latest (whatever), again, they might as well stay home. If one goes to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, to rest from their works (unrighteous and self righteous; doesn't matter), they are entering into the beloved.
Whoever enters into the spirit of the beloved will glory in their worship of the Lord and they will ...'keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.'" [Revelation 14:12]. The, 'and' is purposely italicized to emphasize the two-part description of those who claim Christ in these last days. God is waiting for a people who keep all the commandments and, whose faith is fully founded in Him who has purchased us with His blood and Who holds us in the hollow of His hand.
Are you going to church today? Why?
Think on these things.
God Bless. e.c.

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