Weekly Devotional 1-2-22
Where are you as a Parishioner of the Church?
In the Book of Revelation Jesus appeared to the apostle John instructing him to write to seven representative churches calling their parishioners to holiness. In chapter one John saw the Lord in His full glory with eyes like a flame of fire and feet like brass as if refined in a furnace. Eyes life a flame of fire pictured Jesus’ piercing awareness and observation of their conduct of life and feet like refined brass pictured His divine judgment against the sin found in their midst. In five of the churches (Ephesus, Pergamos, Thyatira. Sardis, and Laodicea) Jesus found practices that He condemned but in two (Smyrna and Philadelphia) He found nothing to condemn. In the five He found some that had lost their first love, some who were allowing false teaching, some who were idol worshipers, some who tolerated or were engaging in sexual immorality, and there was some who were lukewarm toward Him. As all other churches of the first century the Laodicean church started well, but in time it lost esteem for Jesus.
We read: “14And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 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– 18 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. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 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. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:14-22).
It is evident from the text (17 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) the Laodiceans had become self-righteous, and Jesus was no longer preeminent. He was no longer included in their gatherings, in fact, from verse twenty we read that He was outside of the church seeking inclusion in their gatherings. Without His influence they began functioning as an organization not as the body of Christ and they lost their focus.
Even though this part of the book of letters (1:11) was directed to Laodicea it had/has relevance to the entire church. In every century there has been those who are described by the church at Smyrna and the church of Philadelphia who walked/walk uprightly, whom Jesus does not condemn, that continues today. They endured poverty, tribulations, were often imprisoned, and endured the ridicule of those who claimed to be worshippers of God but were not. They kept God’s word (commandments) and did not deny His name even though they suffered persecution. Because of their faithfulness and endurance they were promised that they would not go through the seven-year tribulation but would be taken bodily into heaven. They would be given the crown of life and they would not suffer the second death.
The parishioners of the five representative churches however were/are chastised for their conduct. Many of the parishioners of the church of Ephesus were warned that if they did not return to the vibrant love of Jesus, they once had for Him, their testimony would be removed. Many parishioners of the churches of Pergamos, Thyatira and Sardis were warned that if they did not repent of their idol worship, sexual immorality, and their tolerance of false teachers Jesus would condemn them and bring judgement against their practices. He would fight against them with the sword of His mouth (His word). As the first century church progressed toward the second century there were some (described by the Laodiceans) who became indifferent toward Jesus’ sacrifice, if indeed they were truly saved and part of the church.
The question is, where are you, as a parishioner of the church. Have you lost your first love? Do you put something or someone ahead of Jesus i.e., material possessions, family members, friends, sports or even nature? Or do you tolerate false teachers? If you walk in the Spirit, you will be pleasing to God and there will be no condemnation of your practices.
The hour is growing late and the catching up of the church cannot be far off. Each generation of believers has been/are called by the Lord as His witnesses to the unsaved of the world. Israel failed in their calling and was set aside. May this not be true of your or I.
To be used of God however each believer must be pure in thought and deed i.e., in practice.
Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of Man