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Bittersweet Refinements: Chapter XXX

Posted by Jerry E Beuterbaugh Labels: ,

Chapter XXX
Laodicea
"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.  'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.  'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and {that} the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.  'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.  'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.  'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" [Revelation 3:14-22 NAS]

Yes, there really was a church in Laodicea.  What is left of the ancient city after a series of earthquakes devastated the area over a period of several hundred years can be found in the southeastern part of what is now the nation of Turkey.

Not that any of that really matters for the purposes at hand.  For what the Lord Jesus Christ was addressing to the church there was in regards to a state of mind—an attitude, if you will, and the message is just as pertinent in this day and age as it was back then [Romans 15:4].

Perhaps you have heard something or another about it?  I cannot imagine anyone in the Christian community who has not.  For it is certainly a very popular subject to preach upon.

Tragically, there is good reason for that.  For it is quite natural of us to think that the way things appear to have always been is just the way it is—perhaps even the way that it should be [2 Timothy 4:2-4], and this is a very dangerous state of mind to be in [Proverbs 14:12].

No, this is not another call for an end to what is often referred to as being institutionalized religion.  For our Heavenly Father established His church in the name of His only begotten Son [Matthew 16:13-28] to serve as a reflection of His Light [John 8:12] in a world deeply steeped in the darkness of spiritual ignorance—much in the same way as a lamp globe reflects the light of a flame [Matthew 5:14-16].

Neither is this a call for an end to the teaching of doctrine.  For it is impossible to truly believe in something if you do not know what it is, and doctrine is meant to help with that [1 Timothy 1:1-5].

In other words, there is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater (so to speak).  For in many cases, just a change in perspective is all that is required [John 7:24].

It is, however, in those changes of perspective that the foundations of many religious institutions begin to crumble.  For it truly is as it is written: For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [1 Corinthians 3:11 NAS]

Yes, it sounds like just another futile exercise in semantics.  For common sense dictates that a vine [John 15:1-6] cannot grow in worthless soil [Matthew 13:1-23].

Subsequently, many look at the church they are in (either big and quite popular or small and longstanding) as obvious proof of being in rich soil, but be assured that not all is as it seems.  For come Judgment Day [Revelation 20:11-15]: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!’” [Matthew 7:21-23 NIV]

Therefore, let us listen closely to what our Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit has to say to the churches—even now in this day and age of post-modern sophistication [Job 33:14-30].  For it would be better to swallow our pride while we still can than to have to taste its bitterness for all of eternity [Proverbs 16:18].

Of course, how can this happen when most have no idea that He is even speaking [John 5:31-47]?  For all knowledge and understanding comes from Him [1 Corinthians 2:6-16].

Yes, every individual member of every individual church wants to believe that they are of the Truth [John 14:6], but how can there be so many different beliefs if that is indeed true when all who are truly in Christ are supposed to be like-minded [Philippians 2:1-11]?  For it is written: There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. [Ephesians 4:4-6 NAS]


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