A wealthy society, prominent schools, medical access, fine clothing, a good church. Successful.  A community where anyone would be fortunate enough to have a home and raise a family.

Sound familiar?

Like one of countless neighborhoods in America, doesn’t it? 

Only this community, more specifically the church in this community, is mentioned in the Book of Revelation.  Jesus Christ speaks directly to her, the Church in Laodicea.  But He doesn’t send His congratulations at being a center of modern medicine, or for being a mecca for trade and wealth, or for dressing themselves in fine clothes. 

They had made the mistake of finding contentment in their earthly treasures.  And in their wallowing, they had become spiritually destitute.

They thought they had everything, but because He sees differently than we see, Christ gives them an eye-opener – a warning and a call to repentance.   He tells them they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.    

They had allowed their prosperity to rob them of their zeal for Christ, and their faith had become lukewarm.  Good for nothing.  Tasteless. And they were in danger of being vomited from His mouth.

Sound familiar?

America has anything anyone could want.  Lady Liberty lights the way to welcome countless people from around the world who come to find their American dream – a job, a home, education, medical expertise. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And we’ve become spiritually impoverished. 

We are now the home of the seeker-friendly church. We’ve watered down the gospel for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.  We’ve made it exciting for fear of alienating young people.  We’ve rested on our American laurels.  We’ve molded to the world instead of allowing the truth to mold it.

And we’ve become, in large part, wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. 

But as always, Christ gives us hope.  As He counseled the Church in Laodicea, I believe He counsels the Church in America, and wherever else it applies, 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.” Rev. 3:18

It’s not in a white-collar career, a mini-mansion, a car with heated seats, clothes fresh off the Paris runway, or in any kind of fame that we are made whole.

It’s not in a set of religious rules, or intricate stained-glass windows, or hip, modern teaching about how nobody needs to worry about hell, maybe peppered with a cuss word here or there to prove that Christians aren’t all stuffy. 

It’s in the person of Jesus Christ. 

It’s in believing in Him and putting faith in Him and His work on the cross.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wealth or a finely-tuned Sunday morning service. 

But:

1. Those will not save one soul.  And in this sin-sick world, people need Christ.  People are hungry for the truth, hungry for answers, hungry for hope and starving for love.  And it’s a sin for a church to rob someone of that knowledge in favor of an entertaining Sunday get-together. 

2. Those are not our goal.  Our goal is to know Christ and take what He infuses into our souls to the world as salt and light.  Our goal is to give ourselves over to Him for the sanctification of our souls and renewing of our minds. 

Our goal is to get up on the cross with Christ and die. 

It’s to overcome the world, not give in to it.  To overcome the enemy, not join forces.  To overcome the sin that entangles us, not sit and wallow in it. 

And this can only be done as we hold onto Christ.  And if we do, He gives us a promise:

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Rev. 3:21

We have a short time here, and then the reward.  May we see ourselves through Jesus’s loving, gracious, sober eyes and remember the reason we’re here.

Grace and peace, love and joy,

 

 

Hello again!

I’m excited to announce that my testimony, along with 39 others, will be published in a book and released sometime later this year!  Some stories, like mine, will be about how, against all odds, the truth of Jesus Christ penetrated hearts and brought people to a saving faith in Him.  Other stories will be glimpses into the lives of believers and how they were able to keep holding onto faith despite trying times.  All will be stories of hope and the miracles that only Christ can do. I’ll let you know more details as they’re announced.  I’m excited to see how the Lord will use the book in the lives of many hurting people desperate for real hope in a world that’s increasingly lacking it.  Add it to your Christmas list!