I want to talk about the church that makes God sick. And, that's not the McDonald Road Church, I hope.
Something is wrong with the church. We need to be on fire for the Lord.
Do you know what the problem is? God tells us what the problem is. The Problems is: we have become lukewarm. We aren't on fire for the Lord anymore. We attend church and we even sing:
We don't pay tithe, we don't give offerings, we're kind of. We're lukewarm, some of us. There's something wrong. We need to be genuine Christians. We need to be on fire for Jesus Christ. A real Christian has the assurance of salvation in his or her heart. The Christian knows Jesus because He is his/her best friend.
However, a lot of people are not on fire for the Lord. They're lukewarm. The fire has gone out. All that we have left are the smoldering embers of what used to be of our Christian experience (a remnant people?). We need get on fire for Jesus Christ.
Still others are even cold. They are among the frozen chosen. And, that's not the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I hope.
Revelation presents a picture of such a condition. These three classes here in Revelation, speaking of the Laodicean Church, which happens to be, I believe, the last church. Three conditions are mentioned here in Revelation 3:14-16.
When Jesus was here on this earth He mentioned such a condition. Come over here to Matthew 23. Here are a people. Jesus paints a picture of these folk. You may disagree with me, but I would say that the Pharisees were lukewarm. Jesus says in Matthew 23:27,28: "...You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."
You see, once a year the Jews would go out of Jerusalem through the gates to the cemetery. They had what we think of as Memorial Day. They would take a bucket of whitewash with them and some rags or a paintbrush and go to the cemetery. They would locate the tombs of God's prophets that their fathers had killed and make them look like new by rubbing that whitewash on that tomb and making that tomb really look great. Then they would wail and mourn around that sepulchre. And they would place flowers there.
A lukewarm person knows the regulations but he does not know the Regulator, Jesus. They know the rules, but they don't know Jesus Who made the rules. God would rather that they were Hot or Cold. They would have a better chance.
Today we have modern Pharisees. They too are Lukewarm. They go to church but they also get one foot into the world a little bit, kind of half and half, like an electric shaver that works some of the time and other times it grabs the beard and pulls. They never choose an X rated movie. They seldom go to the theater. But they rent home videos of the lukewarm variety. They are not X-rated, they're not G-rated, They are kind of half-way between and unfortunately these movies contain swear words that are not G-rated, and there are four-letter words and five letter words, words that misuse the holy name of God or His Son Jesus. And they watch these videos. Some of you don't do that, I hope. Those swear words run through their mind. What if your wife's name was being taken in vain in a certain video? Would you watch that? Would you like that? Or you husband's name, or your children's name?
Friends, how can a true Christian sit there and watch that movie or watch that video hearing God's name taken in vain? This happens not just once, but over and over again throughout the movie. How can we do that? What does that ell you about God who they are blaspheming? What does it say about your Christianity? I believe that when you sit there and you watch something like that, you hear those swear words going through your mind like that, I think that it tears down some moral fiber in your life, your character. I think it destroys something noble, and it reduces you from being on fire for Jesus to being lukewarm.
I believe those things are tools of the devil to get lukewarm people all the way into the devil's ice water.
Today there are three groups: the Hot, Lukewarm and the cold. Now notice very carefully how these three classes are described just before the coming of Christ Jesus:
Come over to Revelation 22:11. Notice very carefully how these three classes are described just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him that is holy continue to be holy. Do you see the three classes there? How many are there? There are not three. You can see the three over here in Matthew 25. Matthew 25:32, 33. Here is another picture just prior to Jesus' second coming. Here are the three categories: There are the goats on His left and the sheep on His right and what kind is in the middle? Nothing. There is no third class. Just before Jesus comes. Oh, you can see them in Matthew 25:1, 2. You see the ten virgins. A third of them were wise... Is that what it says? No, five were wise and five were foolish. How many classes are there? Only two. Something is happening here, isn't it? Matthew 24:40 might list the three. It says that one will be taken and one shall be left. How many classes there? Just two. What happens to the third class? It disappears. One will be taken and the other left. The other will be left, by the way, not alive, but as a carcass for vulture food, and the bird banquet described in Revelation 19:17.
Matthew 13:25 you have a picture just before Jesus come of the wheat and the tares and the... Just wheat and tares. That's all. Can you see something that happens today? In fact, for six thousand years there have been? The cold, the hot and the lukewarm. Can you see that in the last day there are only two classes? Can you see that? There are only two. The middle class disappears. So, that should tell you that just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ you're going to see come shuffling taking place. All those people in the middle are going to gravitate to the hot or to the cold. Right? That's what it would tell me. And so you're going to see a paradigm shift here, a great polarization, where you either become negative or positive. Just prior to the close of probation and the at second coming of Christ, all the lukewarm people suddenly disappear! This third class is gone forever.
At Jesus' coming there will be no third category. You're going to get out of the lukewarm condition one way or the other. Just prior to the end all these lukewarm people are either going on their way out of the Christian experience or they are on their way in to a deeper Christian experience. That's where you want to be. Are you in Jesus? b Do you really know Jesus as your Savior?
I think, as the last days come and the trials thicken around us, and maybe Iraq goes to war, Pakistan and India. Things happen and more trade centers go down, bridges go down. We are going to see both separation and unity in our ranks. We're going to see people leaving and other coming in to take the place of those who left.
There will be no fence sitters in the last days. So, what happens to the lukewarm? Why do they disappear? I believe it is the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit. I think it's because of the Shaking time that is coming. I think the shaking time gets rid of those fence-sitter and puts barbed-wire on top of the fence! And suddenly the fence-sitters get off and they take sides, and they decide, "Well, it's time to make a decision all the way for Jesus. Amos 9:9 (NAS) "...I will shake the house of Israel...as grain is shaken in a sieve. But not a kernel will fall to the ground." You will either be shaken out or you will be sealed in.
Now, notice that the grain stays in and the chaff is shaken out. The precious grain will remain inside the church. Only the wicked will be shaken out. Somebody said this church is Babylon. Even Ellen White said it is not Babylon. There is not way it is Babylon. You stick with it. That doesn't meant the church is going to save you. You're not saved by the church. But to me, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the closest church to the Bible than any church I've ever heard of. I want to stay with it. don't be shaken out of it. The sinners in Zion will be shaken out. Are you on your way in or out? If you are on the way out you are going the wrong way.
What is the cause of the shaking? The straight testimony to Laodicean church.
Come over here to Revelation 3:18. Here's the council. Here's what we're supposed to do about this problem, the Laodicean Church, the church in existence today, the last-day church. It says, "I counsel you (who are wretched , pitiful, poor, blind and naked) to buy from Me gold. What is the most valuable thing that you could think of that is not out of this world and not monetary? Could that be love of Jesus? Faith? I think that's what gold represents: faith and love. And he says, "I counsel you to buy some white clothes to wear. What does that represent? The beautiful, pure righteousness of Jesus Christ that should be covering all of us. In fact, if you're cold, you need to put on a coat. Right? And that coat should be the righteousness of Christ. The third problem with the Laodicean church is that it is blind. What is the remedy for that? salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Well, what is that? What is it that helps us to truly see? It's the Holy Spirit.
So, if we would paraphrase this counsel into one sentence it would be something like this: "You would need the righteousness of Jesus Christ which comes through faith, and you need Jesus' love brought into your heart by the Holy Spirit. Because we're poor. Only Jesus has the gold and the faith. And we're totally naked. We need to be covered. And nakedness is terrible. How many clothes do we contribute to our salvation? Do we go out and provide these clothes? Where do we get these clothes from, the covering from? We get it from Jesus. It's His robe that covers us. We provide zero to our salvation.
God says in Revelation 3:18, ...buy from Me....white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness. There is no middle ground here. We are either covered by His pure robe of righteousness or we stand there in total nakedness.
And He says, "You are blind." Blind as a bat without the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you spiritual insight and faith and love. Ask Him to show you your deepest need. We will never move from lukewarm to hot until we see our great need. No one goes to the doctor until he thinks he is really sick. Jesus is the great heavenly Doctor. He will save us.
Ask Jesus to save you. When Jesus knocks at the door of your heart let Him in. I don't think probation has closed yet. I think it will close soon, but I don't know when. I am thankful that Jesus is still knocking on each door and that we can still answer. I'm glad that the door of probation is still open. It probably won't be open much longer.
ACCEPT Him as your Savior. John 1:29 KJV says, "...Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world." If you have sin in your life that you are battling with, Who is going to take it away? Jesus. The lamb of God, He takes away the sin of the world. Only Jesus can save. We cannot save ourselves.
Salvation for me is based on what I do with Jesus Christ. It is not based on my behavior. God says in Ephesians 2:8, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so than no one can boast. We don't save ourselves. None of our works save us.
You can put with that, Romans 4:5 where it says, However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. What kind of person does God justify? The wicked. Of course they do some changing because of this experience. Their faith is credited to them as righteousness. That's beautiful.
Our salvation is not dependant on our own works. We can never be perfect enough. Our good works have nothing whatsoever to do with securing our salvation. They really don't. We don't secure our salvation by what we do. They do not cause our salvation. Good works do not obtain our salvation. They do not pay for our salvation. What are they then? Good works are the fruit of our salvation, the result of our salvation, the product of our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Our salvation is totally dependent on what God did for us through Jesus Christ. When we accept Him and enter into a relationship with Him then we have salvation. So, this is how this basically happens.
I don't know of anything more effective at helping you to establish a good relationship with Jesus Christ and go from a lukewarm state to an on-fire state than reading the scriptures and praying and meditating on Jesus Christ. Good communication is the key to a good marriage. And good communication is the key to a good Christian experience. We need to communicate. I'm in Genesis 8 in my Bible reading right now. I've just finished One Bible and now I'm in another. It's great if you enjoy reading the Scriptures and you daily immerse yourself in the Word of God, if you daily pray to Him, you daily think about Him. You're going to grow more like Him. That's the nuts and bolts of salvation is communication. Relationship, Bible study, prayer, thinking. That's how you get strength.
Here is how we find strength. Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you shall seek me with all your heart. When you are a Christian, give it all you've got. Do it and do it faithfully and you're going to be changed. You are going to be like Jesus.
Only first class Christians will be saved. The cold and the lukewarm will be lost forever. If you are hearing the words of this sermon and you sense that your spiritual life is cold, that you are losing Jesus, I urge you to come back to Him before it is too late. You do not have to stay among the frozen chosen.
JOHN 17:3. "...Now this IS eternal life: that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ..." If you know Jesus you've got it. You're on fire for Him. What a wonderful thing that is.
When a lukewarm Christians develops an experimental knowledge of Christ, then he's home free. Our biggest problem in the church today is that we really don't know Jesus. We don't have that connection with Jesus. We don't spend time praying and learning about Him. Our greatest need is to Know Jesus as our personal Friend and Savior.
In PHILIPPIANS 3:8, Paul says, ...I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus My Lord! Isn't that a beautiful statement? In verse 10 Paul says, I want to know Christ.... That's the goal of his life. It's to know Jesus. If that's the goal of your life, you're not going to be lukewarm very long. You're going to be on fire for Jesus.
Some day soon we will look up and see our friend Jesus coming. He will be surrounded by billions of friendly angels. Then will come your chance to actually meet Jesus face to face. Won't it be special to be able to say-I know You! But the most thrilling thing will be to hear Him say to us: "I know you, too!"
If you are lukewarm, put on a coat. Put on the warm covering of Jesus' free righteousness.
Hymn # 343 I will sing of My Redeemer Bulletin
Hymn of Praise: #93, All Things Bright and Beautiful Scripture: Revelation 3:15-18 Hymn of Response: #343, I Will Sing of My Redeemer 8495DJG010
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last updated 5/27/2002 by Bob Beckett.