The main charge against the churcg in Laodicea is that it is luke warm. Is the the church in England and the west going the same way? The thing is we have little if any passion in the average church for the Lord and the mission of the church. “A consuming passion is the last thing you think about before you go to bed at night and the first thing you think about when you wake up,” says Brian Schwartz.
We have been blinded by the need to be balanced and to ensure that we do not take this religious thing too far. We might read things in the bible about money and giving and homosexuality and marriage and much more but we are British. Also there is the danger as there was in Laodicea that we have tomuch in worldly terms and in has made us so centred on selfcentred seraches for happines and fulness of life we no longer need God in the same way. We often say about faith, church is fine and God is great but don’t become a Jesus nut please. Yes go to church but keep things in balance and don’t give a tithe and make sure that the boys get on Sunday every other week to play football. Was Jesus luke warm towards us did he give it 100% to save us? yes he did and the response must be likewise. And we wonder why God has perhaps spat us out.
Matthew Henry writes;
“They may call their lukewarmness charity, meekness, and moderation, but it is nauseous to Christ. They will be finally rejected. For far be it from the holy Jesus to return to what has been rejected.”
We are in danger in being a church hat is passionate about being a sucessful church and being intouch with the society we live in at the cost of being on fire with love for and seeking Jesus and his will for the church. Schwartz points out, it’s important to remember that passion requires fuel to grow and one of the best ways to get that fuel is to share it with others. “Just like a plant needs water, your passion needs to be nurtured a little bit every day in order for it to grow to the point where it becomes obvious to you and the rest of the world,” The best way to do that is to stay close to the teacher and share what we have. If we are just Sunday Christians we will go cold. As Matthew Roberts says:
Jesus himself demanded nothing less. Whoever wants to follow him, he said, must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow him. Whoever does not leave his father and mother for his sake, he said, is not worthy of him. Whoever puts his hand to the plough and turns back cannot be his disciple. Christians, according the one all Christians call their Lord, must be extreme in their commitment to him. To ask Christians not to be extremist Christians is to ask them not to be Christians at all.
The church needs to gain a new confidence in the gospel as recieved and in te 39 Articles of Religion it is Christ and his rejection we should fear nit the worlds. The Archbishops oxymoron of good disagreement is part of the issue that is driving us to be luke warm infact it is a call to be luke warm, we can enjoy each others company and tollerate a via media whilst holding to orthodoxy at the sams time. No extremists welcome here then.
Again quoting from Matthew Henry;
“They think they are rich and growing richer. They are so rich that they have gone beyond the point of wanting to become any richer. Perhaps they had all that their bodies needed, and that made them overlook the necessities of their souls. Or maybe they thought they were well off in their souls. Perhaps they mistook learning for religion. They had wit, and they took it for wisdom. They trusted in ordinances instead of the God of the ordinances. How careful we should be not to mislead our own souls. Doubtless there are many people in hell who once thought they were on the way to heaven. Let us daily beg God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves over the concerns of our souls.”
The church in the west the great gift to most of the world when it sent our missionarys has become self confident and arrogant and forgotten that we need to trust in what the bible teaches not be children of the enlightnement and ignore the bible. The church is wrethced, poor and naked in so many places lost and wandering. But the Lord loves the church and our present testing is a call to repent and return to lay hold of old truths and patterns of ministry. In anglicanism we can see that we are dying because management is starting to replace leadership.The danger that Lambeth has to face is that once you start managing, you may stop building anything of value. Instead, you simply manage what you’ve already built. If all you do is manage what you’ve already built, you won’t have much left to manage in the future.
We also need to avoid being the notable church. How you respond when you receive attention is critical. The call can be not to go to far and then we can fall fo the call to be popular. We’ve all seen celebrities who become obsessed with being famous. Whether it’s Kanye or the Kardashians, you can make an industry these days out of simply being you.
Lets be passionate for the right things and on fire let Jesus be “the last thing you think about before you go to bed at night and the first thing you think about when you wake up.”