Summary: There is a church that I’ve heard of, and I’d like to tell you about it. This church is really wealthy. The members are very, very wealthy and affluent.
There is a church that I’ve heard of, and I’d like to tell you about it. This church is really wealthy. The members are very, very wealthy and affluent. They’ve gathered great wealth, in their work, in trade, and in imports and exports. A lot of people at this church work for banks, they own clothing stores, and the city where they reside is known for important textiles. In fact, when you walk into this church, the people really resemble the culture around it, more than the transformative born again body of Christ.
Where do you think this church is? Do some churches come to mind when you consider this description? Maybe you’re thinking of a wealthy TV preacher. Or one of the megachurches in our country. Or maybe just a church down the street from you!
But this description is actually describing a church that existed about 2 thousand years ago. It was called the church of Laodicea, and it was described by the apostle John, in the letter of Jesus Christ to the 7 churches in Revelation. And how little things have changed in two thousand years. We’re wealthy, we’re affluent, and we tend to want for nothing. We might wish we had a bigger tv, or a nicer car, but overall we have more than enough food, we have luxurious housing compared to the rest of the world, we have entertainment, internet, safety, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and we are insanely blessed in our country.
Right now in China, at this very moment, Christianity is under open attack. Over ten thousand have been arrested and charged with propagating their Christian faith. Today Christianity is the number one most persecuted religion in the world, and it has been for a while. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been driven from the middle east, in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and Iran. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee persecution. Tens of thousands have died for their faith. Yet here we are, in the united states, safe as can be, blessed with so much wealth, and abundance.
Jesus famously said to the church in Laodicea, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” –Rev 3:15-17
Do these words of Jesus fit our modern evangelical view of Jesus? That Jesus was the nicest fellow who ever lived? Not at all. I think we’ve lost a viewpoint of Jesus Christ as He really is. Jesus Christ is mighty and all-powerful. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is bold, powerful, and it says in Revelation that when Jesus returns He will destroy the power of the evil one by the breath of his mouth and the splendor of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Jesus Christ will have an iron scepter in his millennial reign, and he will dash the nations to pieces like pottery (Revelation 2:27).
We should understand Jesus Christ as who He really is: Yes, Jesus died for us on the cross. Yes, he was humble and washed the feet of His disciples. But a great part of Jesus is as King of Kings, and mighty warrior, coming again in strength to rule the nations.
Jesus says to Laodicea: I know your deeds. He knows everything, he reads us like a book. Nothing we do is hidden from God.
So he says: You’re not hot or cold. You’re lukewarm. So I’m about to spit you out! And Jesus says, I know who you are, you think your rich and you don’t need a thing!
How true is that of us today? Do we really rely on Christ? In all our wealth and influence we don’t really need to rely on Christ. We can rely on the money in our bank account. We can rely on our top notch health insurance. We can rely on all the luxuries afforded to us by the salvation army.
Truly, in my life, I don’t need a thing. It’s all right in front of me. Which means I don’t have to rely on Christ for it. Which is a terrifying situation. It leaves me lukewarm. Because I love Jesus, but I don’t really have to rely on Him. I don’t really have to be tested in my faith as much, because I don’t wonder if I’m going to have a place to sleep tonight, or if I’ll have food in the morning. Everything is provided. In America, we live in a bubble, where we think nothing can change, nothing will go wrong. We’ll always be provided for. But the truth is, God can take away what we’ve been given in an instant.