by Kim Josephson
14 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;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 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:
18 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.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
These scriptures were spoken by the resurrected Lord to the New Testament Church. They are not isolated. In fact, there are seven letters to seven different congregations in the second and third chapter of Revelations. In five of the seven letters Jesus rebukes and corrects His Church! What church is this? It is the Church. It is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His bride. They are the blood bought believers - the born again Sons of God. They heal the sick, cast out devils, speak in tongues, preach the gospel and go everywhere full of the Holy Ghost.
I list all those wonderful attributes of the Church so that we will come to the realization that their church was not so very different from our own (unless you say theirs was more alive). And yet Jesus thought they needed correction. Jesus scolded them for lukewarmness. He challenged their self-satisfaction and threw the hammer of His Word at the heart of their conceit. Jesus was obviously not aware that sin was no longer a problem in the Church. He was evidently not aware that His blood had so eradicated the sin problem that it no longer needed to be mentioned in the Church.
He didn't realize that it would only produce a sin consciousness that would be detrimental to ones advancement in the faith. I guess He forgot that when He looks at the Church He’s only supposed to see the blood! Poor Jesus had not been taught that people needed only to be shown their position in Christ and their rights as believers. Poor Jesus came from that Old Testament School and had never been taught that negative teaching like this only disheartened the people and would probably only make the offerings and attendance lower. Poor Jesus didn't realize that beating the sheep like this, that is, pointing out the sin of a congregation and commanding repentance would only encourage more rebellion and hostility to the gospel.
Poor Jesus didn't know that these poor suffering young Christians knew what their problems were. They didn't need to hear that they were falling short of their calling and were disappointing God. They didn't need this condemnation junk. After all, what about their self image? Doesn't gospel mean good news? All they needed was a word of encouragement from Him. All they needed was a compassionate touch from the wounded healer himself. Poor Jesus just doesn't seem to understand. He just doesn't have a pastor's heart. Poor Jesus. Poor, poor, Jesus.
I CALL IT HERESY, yet this is the drivel that is going forth today. I know I am writing with a sharp tongue, but I cannot do otherwise. I cry for the glory of God. I cry for honesty in the pulpits and pray for the truth to break forth and heal the land but instead it's getting worse and worse. Where are the men of God who cry against sin in this generation? Where are the men of God who care more about the honor of God than honor from men? Where are the men of God who will cry aloud and spare not and show my people their sin? (Is. 58:1)
Jesus said “As
many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Yet in
our day there is no correction, no repentance and no place for it in the Church.
The crying shame of it all is now, the young ministers are taught just exactly
the opposite. They are given the wine of success and acceptance to drink and
commanded to prophesy not. (Amos 2:12)
The Word of God says in Jeremiah 23:22 “But if they (the prophets) had stood in my counsel and caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” Jesus was faithful to this instruction before, and after his resurrection, likewise Peter, James, John, Paul and all the other apostles. The great soul winners of days gone by like Whitefield, Wesley, Finney and Sunday followed suit, but not so today.
God forbid that a prophecy or a message in tongues with interpretation or even a sermon should be so negative as to be against sin. In our day, it is called beating the sheep. Young ministers are told “Don't warn the wicked of the wrath to come. Don't talk about hell fire and damnation. Don't talk about the righteous demands of a Holy God.” These subjects are on the “Ten Least Wanted List” of the Church and God help the preacher who dares to touch them!
Again, I CALL IT HERESY! Heresy comes from a Greek word that means to choose. When one chooses only a part of the truth and holds only to that part, he is in danger of being a heretic. Truth pushed to the extreme is error and error that becomes foundation for other doctrine is heresy.
One great piece of truth that is often misused and pushed to the extreme is “God is Love” (I Jn. 4:8) In our generation men think that God is so loving that He would never send anyone to hell. Yet in Matt 25 when Jesus speaks of the judgement, vs. 41 says “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” It goes on to say that these people protest but it does not change the outcome. Vs. 46 concludes “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” Is God Love? Of course He is. That is His essence, but He is also righteous. He makes holy demands that must be met. “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29) “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:31)
The simple rule of interpreting scripture is this: All scripture must be interpreted in the light of all other scripture. Unfortunately, in an effort to remain positive, anything negative or unpopular is being dismissed wholesale. The balance of the Word is being abandoned to accommodate the current trends. Preachers are actually standing in their pulpits and saying “Don't preach on hell fire and damnation. Nobody needs to hear that stuff.” Yet Jesus preached more about hell than anyone in the Bible. Is Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever or not? (Heb 13:8) Preachers want the power but won't preach like He preached.
Is it any wonder things are going absolutely wild? Sexual immorality is statistically the same among “Christian” young people as among non-Christians. One out of two marriages ends in divorce in or out of the Church. In our generation “sipping saints” are everywhere boasting of their liberty and damning multitudes of their weaker brothers in the process. Come on! How many “Christians” are addicted to alcohol, movies, soap operas, sex, sports or something else? Where are men and women addicted to Jesus? Addicted to pleasing Him? Addicted to serving one another?
II Timothy 3:1-5 says “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godilness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Obviously that time is now! It would seem that the Church would come out from among such junk and be separate. Who could believe that instead of heralding holiness in the wicked day in which we live, preachers would cry “Peace, peace.”? (Jer. 6:14)
Plain and simple, it is the result of damnable heresies slipping into the Church. Men who should know better will not receive correction and consequently multitudes will be deceived. As tough as this article is, I must tell you that I write it with a broken heart, a heart broken for the honor of God, a heart broken for Jesus' words which are being ignored and a heart broken for the multitudes whose eternal destinies hang in the balance. Jesus said “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten, be zealous therefore and repent.” (Rev. 3:19)
The fact that we can repent is wonderful good news. If you've been guilty of embracing only the parts of the gospel that you like - if you've been deceived by the “new doctrines” that are being peddled as truth then simply repent. Go back to your first love! Take His correction and embrace your Lord. Pray that He will teach you the fear of the Lord and that He will keep you from offending Him. I've loved you enough to tell you the truth. I pray that you will receive it and let it prosper your soul.