Summary: Staying on fire for God can be one of the most difficult things we do. Pastor John Bishop talks to us about the Church at Laodicea and how we can maintain the joy of our salvation and share it with the rest of the world.
PRAYER: Father, I pray that You’d bring our faith back to life. That the parts of our faith that have kind of become ’flat-lined’, this apathetic sort of indifference, that’s so affected us and it’s affected the people around us. And I pray in the name of Jesus, by the power and blood of Jesus, that You’d bring back to life joy; that You’d restore to us the joy of our salvation. That as sons and daughter’s of God, we would claim and walk in truth and light; we’d be encouragers; we’d encourage and we’d live victorious. And I pray this in Your name, because Your name’s above every name; I pray this in the name of Jesus, amen...
Living Hope Church, how’s everyone? So, I’m excited you’re here; I’m John, I’m one of the Pastors; I’m excited you’re here because we’re ending a series called ’New’, and we’re going to spend some time in the Book of Revelation. We’re going to look at a passage in Scripture that’s going to be uncomfortable. It’s going to disturb you before it makes you feel free. But the goal is freedom; the goal is God wants to take us where things are at; and God wants to move us, because of truth. And if you want to come to Living Hope and hear some sort of watered down, diluted version of the Gospel, you’re at the wrong church. Because this is a church where you’re going to hear truth; its truth that will set you free; it’s truth in your life, when you hear it and you like, respond to it? Then your marriage is better, you’re a better Dad because of it, but you have to hear the truth and you have to start with where you’re really at.
I want to talk to you today about how your faith, because some of you came in to this auditorium, and the truth about you is your faith is flat-lined. The truth about you is, life has thrown you a curve ball because financially things aren’t going well; or relationally you’ve misinterpreted this thing going on in your life, and your faith is flat-lined. I can show you your faith; and I can tell you that the most dangerous verse, I think, in the New Testament is this passage. Because first it’s going to agitate you, it’s going to disturb you, it’s going to make you frustrated like, "Ugh..." But it’s only when your apathy is met with God’s grace, that apathy can change to passion.
So we’re going to talk for a few minutes about this. But you know it’s interesting, the Greek word for ’apathy’ is the word ’pathos’, to which we get also the English word ’passion’. So, it’s the same word. But somehow, someway, what was so alive and so on fire, becomes flat. Some of you used to serve and you used to...you were the one that would go on a mission trip; or you were the one that would be in a woman’s Bible study; and you were so about it. Do you remember those days when you opened the word of God and it was alive, and it was truth, and it was just like, "Oh..." Or as a student you go to a retreat and you’re like, "My gosh! Jesus died for me," and there’s this passion. What happens?
What happens to make us indifferent? What happens to make our faith apathetic? I want to talk about the way in and the way out; and I want to talk a little bit more about the way out, because God did not design you to have a flat-lined faith. He wired you with eternity in mind, and you’re the only person that can do what God has wired you to do; you are the only one that can do the things He’s asked you to do. The Bible says, "We are saved by grace thru faith in Christ," Ephesians 2:8-9, "Not by works that anyone should boast;" and then it says in verse ten, "You are God’s masterpiece,"[v.10] and it’s the Greek word ’poema’, which we get our word ’poem’. You’re God’s poem, you’re God’s letter, you’re God’s ambassador, you’re salt, you’re light, you’re these things that God wants you to be. So I want to talk about, how do we help our faith be on fire for God.
Turn to the Book of Revelation and we’re going to spend some time talking about how we can have an intense emotion that would change our lives. In the Book of Revelation, you see in there, imbedded deeply in the Book of Revelation, seven individual letters that are written to seven different churches. Now, this is really a letter from God, written thru the hand of John the Apostle, written in A.D. 95 and sent as a circular letter. The Pastor would read this letter to the church; and then it would get passed on to the next church.