Sunday, 19 April 2020

Hot or Cold

Scripture: Revelation 3 v 14 - 19: "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 
15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."

In this passage of scripture which contains the seventh letter Jesus wrote to individual churches, He says that if our faith is neither hot nor cold but lukewarm, He will spit us out of His mouth. We must, therefore determine for ourselves, what our spiritual temperature may be.

If we are cold it means we have never known the warmth of Jesus so our chance to know Him is still ahead of us.  I am reminded of a pastor sharing this experience.  He was working for a company in the centre of Johannesburg business district when he noticed a man in a chauffeur-driven Rolls arriving at the conglomerate across the street.

He was manicured, stylish, groomed as the CEO would be.  The Lord spoke to our pastor and said, what would I have to do in that man's life to turn him into a missionary to China?  The pastor thought it through and answered, he would have to lose all of this and be humbled.  A few months later, the last he heard, this CEO had been arrested for embezzling funds, his wife had divorced him and left him penniless.  Did he ever go from cold to hot?

If our faith is hot it means the fire of the Holy Spirit has ignited within us and we are doing the will of the Father. Jesus delights in us and we are blessed.  It reminds me of a time when my late friend, Chris, a quadriplegic, was praying with me.

He was disturbed in his spirit on discerning a very nasty, foul-mouthed man persecuting his family in some way.  He said we must urgently pray for this unknown man.  We interceded and prayed for Jesus to turn his life around.  We prayed until the peace that passes all understanding came upon us.  Jesus gave us Jeremiah 33 v 3: "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."

This event happened on Saturday and the following Tuesday while at work, a very worldly lady burst into my office saying she wished she had my home phone number the night before.  Intrigued, I listened as she related the news that her blasphemous, God-hating, abusive brother-in-law had been working installing cupboards in his kitchen when the angle-grinder slipped and sliced through his shoulder and neck almost severing his head.

His family rushed him to the nearest hospital where he was examined and left for dead.  The following morning the doctor was astounded that he was still alive, stitched him up and sent him to ICU.  This was Sunday.  On Monday morning he woke up and saw his wife next to the bed.  She saw the face of an angel as the Lord touched this man.

He told her, I was dead and on this conveyor belt with many others rolling towards a pit with flames coming out of it.  People were screaming in fear.  No way off it.  No stopping it.  Suddenly, he alone was pulled off it onto another conveyor belt going the other way.  He heard the voice of the Lord telling him he was being given one last chance to make right with God and man.  My friend wanted to know if this is real!.
Do you think he became hot with passion for Jesus?  He absolutely did!

The lukewarm church is known as the church of Laodicea. It was a city in Asia Minor that was famous for its ointment to heal eye ailments. Jesus plays on words in His letter when He calls them spiritually blind and in need of eye salve.

Jesus sees that this is a materially wealthy church but He calls them wretched, poor, miserable, blind and naked. This is because they have become proud and self righteous. They are unteachable and have recreated God in their own image.  Out of this last days Church will the apostasy flourish like a plague.  And we suddenly know how devastating that can be!

Jesus is using this pandemic to reach out to everyone to make sure of our standing, our relationship, with Him.  No matter how much we love  and worship Him, we need to increase it.  Read our Bibles, pray, praise and talk to Him.  Listen for Him to talk back.  Too often we call Him up speak our hearts out and put the phone down without waiting for the still small voice to encourage or answer us.  What a lot we miss!

Paul writes about it in Thessalonians and says that before the Antichrist is revealed there will be a falling away from the truth by Christians who will be lured into fatal compromise by the enemy of our souls. These are the ones Jesus will spue out of His mouth. On the Day of Judgment there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth when Jesus declares I NEVER KNEW YOU! Depart from Me you workers of iniquity. (Matthew 7).

Many church groups have already begun the downward spiral as pastors are forced to turn their churches into entertainment centres to keep the flock coming to church at all. The messages are more geared to please people than to minister truth and right moral standing. This is where apostasy starts.

The Interfaith Movement is the mingling of other religions with Christianity. In Numbers 3 v 4 Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord when they offered strange fire on His altar. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and His judgment for the strange fire of Interfaith will be swift and final. It is the foundation for the One World Religion controlled by the Antichrist. True Christians will suffer severe persecution from this Interfaith movement.

In Revelations 3 the Lord gives promises of great value to those who reject the lukewarm offering and become fervent and faithful followers of the Lamb of God. So repent if you have been lured into the error of false doctrines and worldliness in the church and walk in the light as He is in the light, having fellowship with one another as the Blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sin. 1 John 1 v 7.

Prayer: Heavenly Father  we cannot take that which You call an abomination, lightly. We cannot stand confidently before You if we accept strange fire on Your altar. Father teach us to be steadfast and effective Christians who shun compromise and all appearance of evil. Let us be hot not lukewarm! In Jesus' name. Amen.