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Repentance From Dead Works (31)


Lets begin today by reading our text: Revelation 3:14-22; 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. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

In our last broadcast, we expounded on the Lords remark about the lukewarm state of the church of the Laodiceans. We noted the following:
1. Whilst people are either cold or hot; bad or good; evil or righteous; engage in dead works or in good works; and, are hell-bound or heaven-bound, the lukewarm person is neither cold nor hot; bad nor good; evil nor righteous; claims not to engage in dead works, neither does he engage in good works; and, declares that he is not going to hell, neither does he qualify for heaven.
2. The lukewarm person is neither here nor there; and takes no stand for Christ on any issue. Indeed, he sees people with a passion for God as fanatics or extremists!
3. The lukewarm person cannot be called a pagan, neither can he be said to be a Christian in the sense that Christians live in a manner which is completely at variance with how the world system operates.
4. The lukewarm person may easily be confused for a Christian, whereas, he really is not one. He may attend church regularly, sing in the choir, teach Sunday School, and, may even be a pastor or a bishop, but he routinely commits sin, which he justifies, by saying that the death of Jesus had already dealt with sin, or that the sin he is committing is little compared to more weightier sins, or, that he has a grace from God which automatically covers him when he sins.
5. The lukewarm persons pursuit and doctrinal persuasion is about acquiring things on earth, and, trumping up a liberty which permits sinful living, and the indulgence of the old sinful nature, the flesh!
6. The lukewarm person serves all gods alikethe gods of fashion, money, sensuality, culture, tradition, etc., and at the same time, claims to serve the God of heaven and earth! Indeed, the Lord Jesus makes it clear that no man can serve two masters. For example, you cannot serve God and at the same time break kolanut and pour libation at weddings!
7. The lukewarm person has one foot in the world, and the other foot in the church. He claims to love God, and in the same breath, love the world; but 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. The lukewarm person thinks that to love God means to have an emotional feeling toward God. Friend, to love God is to obey Gods word. If you are living contrary to the word of God, let it be known that you are not a lover of God, but a hater of God!
8. The lukewarm person seeks the praises of men, and at the same time, wants Gods approval; but the bible makes it clear in Galatians 1:10, that if you seek mens accolades, you cannot be a servant of Christ.
9. The lukewarm person may be confused about what it means to be a Christian, but God is not. In Matthew 12:30, the Lord Jesus said, He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. If a person is not wholly devoted to God, then, he is against God. The lukewarm person is in essence against God!
10. The lukewarm person is a danger to the Body of Christ. He is like a malignant cancer, and must therefore be removed from the Body; otherwise, there will be a spread to other parts of the Body, bringing death in its wake. The lukewarm person is like leaven or yeast, and must be removed from the Body of Christ, otherwise, he will infest other believers in Christ with the disease of lukewarmness!

The good news is that lukewarmness has a cure; it doesnt always have to result in excision from the Body of Christ. The way out is through repentance; hence, the Lord said, 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. Friend, the Lord is waiting for you to open the door of your heart unto Him, so that He can heal you of your lukewarmness! Do not hesitate to turn to God in repentance, even now!

In our broadcast today, we shall consider another significant remark of the Lord about the Christians in Laodicea. In the 17th and 18th verses of our text, the Lord said, of the church of the Laodecians, 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.

The lukewarm state of the church of the Laodiceans manifested in their boasting and reliance on their wealth. Brethren, it is important to note that God frowns at those who trust in anything apart from Him. God never called us to be independent, self-reliant, or self-sufficient; instead, He calls us to put all our trust in Him, to depend and rely on Him for everything; and to be sufficient in Him alone. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:5, Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God. The Easy-to-Read translation of this verse of scripture reads: I don't mean that we are able to do anything good ourselves. It is God who makes us able to do all that we do. The first of the beatitudes is, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) To appreciate what it means to be poor in spirit, let us look at some other translations of Matthew 5:3.
The Amplified Bible says, Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperouswith life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
The New Living Translation says, God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Contemporary English Version says, God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven!; and,
The Easy-to-Read Version says, Great blessings belong to those who know they are spiritually in need. God's kingdom belongs to them.

From the few translations we have looked at, we can state that the poor in spirit is anyone who realizes his need for God in a spiritual and moral sense. It is this kind of person who will receive the blessing of Gods salvation. Unfortunately, the Christians in Laodicea boasted in what they had, rather than admit their need for God. They thought that they did not need to seek Gods approval for anything, since they had the money to do things for themselves. For example, they didnt see the need to pray to God about expanding their church auditorium, neither did they seek Gods face about whether or not to buy land; they simply went ahead and did what they wanted with their money. This nature of self-reliance permeated every sphere of their lives, so that they did not pray about anything; they just went on ahead to buy whatever their heart desired and their money could obtain. The only time the Laodicean Christians prayed to God was when they did not have the means. Friend, the fact that you have money does not mean that you wouldnt seek Gods face on how to appropriate it; otherwise, money becomes your god! In John 15:5, the Lord Jesus said, I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. All that the Laodicean Christians did amounted to nothing: their deeds were dead works, because they were done independent of God!

What has been said of the church of the Laodiceans is quite true of many Christians and many of our churches today! Today, we find people who are engaging in all sorts of business transactions without divine approvalfor example, one wonders what a Christian is doing selling hair attachments, make-up, or skimpy clothing that do not cover the nakedness of the body. What is a Christian doing operating a bar or restaurant where alcohol is sold? What is a Christian doing participating in beauty contests, where semi-nudity is one of the criteria for selecting the winner? What is a Christian doing giving or receiving artificial insemination for pregnancy? Today, it is common to find so-called Christians getting married without seeking Gods face to know His willusually, the basis for marriage among many so-called Christians today is physical, sensual, and sexual! We also find today that people are involved in ministry not because God called them into it, but because they want gain, fame, and glory. No wonder our cities are littered with all kinds of handbills and posters that advertise programmes which have nothing to do with the kingdom of God. We heard of one such poster which had a theme: America on my mind!

Beloved, let us state here unequivocally: If you, your money, your possessions, and resources, are not surrendered to the Lord for His use, all that you do and use such monies, possessions, and resources for, will amount to dead workseven if it is toward building a church or buying a car for a pastor! And when we talk of the Lord using something, we mean it is as He directsnot as we feel! The fact that a church has money does not necessarily mean that God approves of that church! Having money is not a mark of divine approval; obedience to God is!

The Lords assessment of the church of the Laodiceans in spite of all that they had done, was that they were wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. You see, God does not see things the way men see things. While men saw a wealthy church, God saw a church that was destitutea church that was wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked! That was why He counselled them to come and buy from Him (without money) things of eternal value: faith which is much more precious than refined goldfaith that has been proven in the fiery furnace of affliction and suffering; the righteousness of Christ which is the only true covering for mans nakednessthe righteousness which exalts even nations; the revelation which is from God, and which truly enlightens a man, and eliminates spiritual blindness and ignorance (but what many people call revelation today, is just prediction based on observation and probabilitynothing more!)

If, today, you have come to the realization that you have in fact been relying on your wealth, possessions, resources, and, abilities, to the exclusion of God, we counsel that you repent of these dead works and turn to God in faith, declaring your desperate need for Him, and He will come and change your life, and enable you henceforth, to do good works!

Let us pray!