The self-reliant church

40 blogs of Lent – Day 26

The self-reliant church

Messages to the churches – Day 21

Laodicea – Day 2

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realising that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so 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 eat with him, and he with me.

Laodicea

Many Evangelical commentaries on this text seem to me to miss the point. They make the whole thing personal, yet the context of all these messages to churches is … well, to churches, it is corporate in its scope.

I am not denying that there is an element of writing to individuals here, the ‘To the one who conquers passage at the end of each section seem to be to individuals, but to write as if this is to individuals only is to miss the point.

I am going to skip the lukewarm bit for now, I have read it a lot of times, and I think people are just copying what others have said, every commentary says the same thing. What I want to look at is not that the Laodicean church was lukewarm, but why.

The problem with this church was that they got nothing from God because they asked for nothing from God.  They were too self-reliant to ask for anything, they said. “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.” They got exactly what they asked for, nothing.

What is wrong with being self-reliant? Is it not a good thing not to rely on others? That is not such a modern idea, and although they could not go to Waterstone’s to see the shelves of self help books, or browse the even bigger selection on line at Amazon they still had the same idea as we have today. (Other high street and on line booksellers are available.)

They were too reliant to ask from God, and therefore cut themselves off from hearing from God, otherwise they would have known that to God they were wretched, they were pitiable, they were poor, they were blind, and they were naked. This is true of some churches today, they are busy following the religion of Christianity is a self-justified, self-centred, and self-absorbed way, and being proud of their achievements, that they forget the church is actually Christ-justified, Christ-centred, and and should be Christ-absorbed.

Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield

In the blog about the church in Sardis I mentioned that a prophesy given to the leadership of our church which mentioned the Sardis message. Well this was the second of the three passages mentioned in the prophesy, Which is the reason I am dealing with these messages out of order.

Continuing from the previous blog (for link see below). The church had waited on God about whether to re-order or just repair the church. Re-ordering was what we got. The total breakdown of the heating system was taken as God’s confirmation. So we tendered for it, got plans made up, the contractors were arranged and we moved out into the church hall. It was only after we had moved out as act of faith that we started to raise the money.

And the amount pledged on that first Sunday passed all our expectations. Work was done, as the church worshipped in the hall, and the church was drawn together like never before. God was good.

So we moved back into the church, things were great. Then the money started to run out.

It was not as if we were a long way off, proportionally we were well on the way to getting the funds. But when we had started to raise the money we had pledged to give away 10% of anything that came in to give away as a tithe, we had pledged to help others as well as ourselves. So far the other people had received nothing. If we were finding it difficult to get up to the 90% to pay for the building work, how hard would the last 10% be, whwn there was no urgency to raise funds. We had been faithful to God, but now we were in self-reliant mode. We were no longer trusting in God.

The first part of this blog about Holy Trinity’s re-ordering was published on Saturday 10th March 2018, and the last part will be published on Tuesday 20th March.

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realising that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so 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 eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered 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

 


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Seven Churches – Day 1

2 thoughts on “The self-reliant church

  1. Pingback: The incomplete church – Making an ass of myself

  2. Pingback: A suffering church – Making an ass of myself

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