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Repentance From Dead Works (30)


We continue in this broadcast, with our study of the Lord Jesus assessment of the seventh church in the Book of Revelationthe church of the Laodiceansas a means of understanding what dead works are. You will recall that we have, for quite some time now, been looking at Repentance from Dead Works, being the first of the six foundational doctrines of Christ, which everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, must experience. In our last broadcast, we saw that if you are engaging in dead works, you will be spewed out of the kingdom of Godboth here on earth and in eternity. We noted that any Christian who is engaged in dead works is toxic to the Body of Christ, and must be removed, so that the Body of Christ, the Church, can be healthy. We also noted that the Christians in Laodicea were referred to by the Lord as, the church of the Laodiceans; implying by this, that the local assembly of Christians in Laodicea was no longer the church of the Lord; but theirsindeed, the Lord was standing outside, and knocking at the door, seeking to come in! We drew a similarity with many churches today, which are being run as personal estates; not as the Lords church, and not as the Lord commands. We spoke of how, many of todays churches are preaching messages which excite the flesh; messages that have not been received from God; messages that never bring the true and full salvation of Christ to the hearer. We cautioned that if a message does not line up with the word of God, it is not from God, and even if it came from an angel, it should be discarded! Furthermore, we noted that any church where a feel good message is preached consistently, is really a cult; and cults have no place in the Body of Christthe Lord spews them out!

Now, let us turn to todays discussion, as we turn to our scripture text, Revelation 3:14-20; 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; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 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: 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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

The main remark of the Lord about the Christians in Laodicea was that they were lukewarm. There are essentially two kinds of people as far as the Lord is concernedcold and hot; bad and good; evil and righteous; people who engage in dead works and people who engage in good works; people who are hell-bound and people who are heaven-bound. A person is cold if he is not open or receptive to God, the things of God, and the salvation of Jesus Christ, and hence, hell-bound. A person is hot if his love for God is such that he will do anything that God requires of him, no matter how unpleasant it is to his flesh, and whose focus and desire is heaven-ward. A hot person is extremely passionate about the things of God and serves God fervently! He refuses to be fashioned to the taste and lifestyle of this world. He is a true Christian, and disciple of Jesus Christ!

Somewhere inbetween hot and cold people, are lukewarm people. In reality, there is no place for them in the kingdom of God because, you are either hot or cold! We shall now note the following about lukewarm people:
1. They are not cold; neither are they hot. They may have been passionate for God at some point in their Christian life, but now, they are cooling down; or they had begun to be hot for God, but never quite got to the boiling point. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 24:12, because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. The once hot believer began to grow cold as he witnessed so called big pastors committing sin and justifying itsins like, adultery, homosexuality, covetousness, abuse and misuse of church funds and church members, seeking and using power from the occult world (which really is no power) to mesmerize people, among others. Unfortunately, instead of turning to the Lord Jesus Christ, this erstwhile hot Christian, became discouraged, began to cool down, and became lukewarm; turning away from God, he followed the imagination of his own heart! Another possibility is that the now lukewarm Christian may have actually begun to grow in the things of God, soon after becoming born again, but then, he was misled into believing a gospel of prosperity which teaches the pursuit of wealth and possessions, and, a gospel of modernism which teaches a strange grace that permits sinful living, and speaks of God accepting any and everything! These false gospels stunted his growth, and as a result, he has never got anywhere near being hot for God. We counsel that you stop following men and church doctrines; instead, follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and His doctrines!
2. Lukewarm people are neither here nor there; they take no stand on any issue, and are comfortable to be called liberal. To the lukewarm, passion for God is regarded as unnecessary fanaticism or extremism! The lukewarm Christian says, I do not wear my religion on my sleeves. In reality, he is undecided for Christ! But Elijah said to the children of Israel, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. (1 Kings 18:21). In the same way, Joshua, before Elijah, told the children of Israel, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15). Friend, you need to declare to all and sundry today whom you will servethe gods of the land in which you are livingthe god of fashion, the god of money, the god of sensuality, etc.; or, the gods that many of the false prophets and fallen pastors are peddlingthe god of a strange grace that allows you to commit fornication or adultery and still preach and work miracles, or, the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
3. The lukewarm Christian has one foot in the world, and the other foot in the church; but the bible says in 1 John 2:15-17, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Brethren, you cannot love God and love the world at the same time. You will either love God or love the world! And in any case, the world that we now see will be destroyed by fire. In 2 Peter 3:11-12, the bible says, Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God Brethren, since the world is going to be destroyed by fire; should you be investing your time, energy, and other resources in the pursuit of the things of this world? Shouldnt you be investing in holiness as a lifestyle, and be engaged in hastening the return of the Lord Jesus through the effective spread of the true word of God?
4. The lukewarm Christian seeks to please the world and God, all at the same timean impossible task, by any yardstick of imagination; for the bible says in James 4:4, friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Who really is your friendGod or the world?
5. The lukewarm Christian pursues mens accolades and Gods approval all at the same time; but Paul the Apostle said in Galatians 1:10, if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. And the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Brethren, if you pursue the accolades of men, you cannot be a servant of Christ; likewise, you cannot serve God and at the same time serve the god of this world, which is mammon! Whom are you serving right now?
6. The lukewarm Christian makes excuses, nay, justifies sin! He has categories for sin, and has talked himself into believing that his sins are small sins. Friend, with God, sin is sinthere is no small or big sin! One bible commentator said that the lukewarm Christian is too good to go to hell, and too bad to enter heaven! The lukewarm Christian in essence, wants the best of two worlds, but sadly, ends up in hell! And because the Lord does not want any man to go to hell, He is saying to lukewarm Christians everywhere today, Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Lukewarm Christians are everywherethey attend church, sing in the choir, are ushers in church, teach Sunday School, and are even pastors and bishopsbut one thing they have in common is that their hearts are shut against God. They are really outside Gods will; hence, the Lord Jesus stands outside and knocks. If only you will open your heart and invite Him in!
7. The lukewarm Christian is a misfithe cant be classified as cold neither can he be classified as hot; the Lord however, places him with those who are not hot. In Matthew 12:30, the Lord Jesus made a remark, which is also documented in Luke 11:23He said, He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. The issue is not whether God is with you; it is whether you are with God; if not, you are against God. The issue is not whether you gathered people for a programme; it is whether your gathering was with divine approval; if not, you were actually scattering the people! The issue before every Christian is, Am I doing the will of God? There really is no in-between! With God, you are either doing His will, which is good works; or, you are not doing His will, which is dead works. If you are lukewarm, you are classified along with those who are doing dead works, because you are not doing Gods will! The lukewarm Christian is, in reality, against God!
8. Finally, the lukewarm Christian is a danger to the Body of Christhe is a malignant cancer, which, if not excised from the Body, will soon spread to other parts of the Body, leaving death in its wake. The lukewarm Christian really has no place in the Body of Christ!

Have you now realized that you may not be as fervent as you ought to be for God? That you may have talked yourself into believing that your sins are small and can be overlooked by God? That you are still undecided as to whether to pursue God or that job, that business, that career, that marriage, that ministry, and so on? Friend, you are the man before whose heart, the Lord is standing and knocking: will you let Him in? If indeed you accept your lukewarmness, you can, by repenting, turn your life around and begin to be fervent for God, henceforth! Repent of all dead works now; begin to do Gods will; and, the Lord will spare you, and not spew you out!

Let us pray!