Do troubles and trials push you toward God – or away?
Today, look back over your week. How is your spiritual health? Has it been a week with any trials, troubles, and struggles? Did pressures increase at work, at home, in your health or finances? And then what happens inside of you? Did you cry out to the Lord, fall upon His grace, turn from any wicked way? Or did you seethe in anger, wallow in self-pity, or worst of all harden your heart to spiritual things?
The test of pruning (which is affirmative) and chastening (which is disciplinary) is in our response.
That is one of the simplest ways to test what is going on in your life.
Pruning always draws us closer, chastening initially can push us away.
This morning we are looking back at where we’ve been. Much like getting home from a trip and spending time looking at the pictures that you took while traveling.
We have invested the past year, looking at the only part of God’s Word dictated by Christ, for the express purpose of: being sent to His Church, being read by His Church, and being obeyed by His Church.
There is no part of the Bible so clear, so personal, and so direct: as these three chapters. What exactly did we find in Revelation? We found that:
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Perhaps the most unlikely words to be uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ are in our Bibles this morning. Jesus says in modern terms of the church in Laodicea, “You make me sick!”
As we open to Revelation 3:14-22, Jesus writes a letter that all scholars conclude is the most piercing, stinging and scathing letter He ever wrote to any church. That means:
Laodicea is the Worst Church
Today, and every day of our lives, the Cross of Christ is the source of our power to live in this world of sin.
Living a life that glorifies God is called sanctified living.
Sanctification means that God is leading and controlling our lives.
As we return to Christ’s Last Words to His Church, we find that His Church at:
Laodicea was not Living in the Shadow of Christ’s Cross
For two generations, all the local churches around Laodicea had savored the truths about the Cross of Christ. Today as Christ’s Church we gather to hear again for our generation His warning to: Never stop living in the shadow of the Cross.
All of us in Christ’s Church are called from darkness to light at salvation; and we are saved from the power of Satan; and we are being transformed into saints of God. That process in called consecration. Last week as we looked at the Church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29), we saw that their consecrated lives were slipping because of compromise with sin and false doctrine.
Jesus called them to repent, to have a change of mind that would lead to a change in behavior. The letter to Thyatira is a challenge from Christ for His children of faith to do what is needed: repent of compromising their lives of sanctification.
John is flattened on Patmos when he sees Jesus. Those flaming eyes seemed so much like the ones John had seen when Jesus cleansed the Temple of Jerusalem. But this time its not the Temple of Jerusalem, Jesus is headed towards the local churches that make up His Body, His visible presence on Earth. Jesus with piercing eyes of holiness and glowing feet of chastisement is headed to stomp out the sin that is diminishing His power in His Church.
John is staggered. The churches that received the letter Jesus sent them through John were put on notice and Church History records the results. Those churches that did not repent have gone extinct. Jesus removed their lamp from the stand and He had to find others who would stay useful in His sight.
Most of us here today hold the most powerful device in the world; it is more jam packed with unbelievable features than the one-day-coming iPhone 5. It has the most ultimate guidance, communication and efficiency apps ever possible to obtain, and it is called God’s Word. God speaks through His Word, and we have His Voice on paper before each of us today.
As we open to Revelation we open to the longest book written specifically for Christ’s Church, containing 22 chapters, and 404 verses; all with the unique target of being given by God to show Jesus Christ to the Church.
When John saw Jesus that Sunday morning on Patmos, he collapsed and was like a dead man. It wasn’t that he was old and weak, or overcome by emotion, John had seen that look in Christ’s eyes before. When he realized what Jesus was communicating, it overwhelmed him. John saw Almighty God the Son, Jesus Christ, who was displeased with His Church.
Did you know that in less than 60 years, the original edition of Christ’s Church had gotten to the point where 70% of the local assemblies were displeasing to God? That’s right 5 out of the 7 churches that Jesus had visited were reprimanded and warned. Christ’s expressed in 5 out of 7 letters His displeasure about the way that were living out God’s plan for their lives.