The Fourth of July, or July Fourth, less popular but more accurately referred to as Independence Day, in the United States is a federal holiday celebrating the approval of our Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies considered themselves a new and separate nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire, nor under its rule.
Our Independence Day is a day we all should thank God for the freedoms we have enjoyed, at least up until recently.
Many years ago, some may remember, we held firmly to a battle cry, and cry of victory: “For God and Country!” Now, it seems to be: “For Me, Mine, and My Liberal Views Imposed on All!” —Where did God go? He is still as near to us as ever, but we as a nation, have moved far away from Him, His Word, influence, grace and mercy.
The many varied things America struggles with and in today are because we have moved our hearts and purposes away from God. And because we have, we are very definitely, under God’s judgment. In Biblical history, God has often used pagan nations, sinful, not God-fearing nations, to bring judgment upon His people who have basically abandoned Him. Wouldn’t it be like God to use a pagan people from within our own nation to bring judgment on the whole? America has all but thrown God and His principles out the window as a society. Of this, there is no mistake; and it can only get worse until we, as a people, return to our Creator God in repentance, starting at the House of God! Some would say that we have nothing to repent of. That thinking is the first thing in need of repentance.
Am I the only one who sees some possible parallels with the Laodicean church and the modern American church?
I Know Your Works . . .
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ” (Revelation 3:14-22)
Here, the LORD described the “lukewarm” heart posture of those within the Laodicean church, a stance revealed by their actions. This Church was neither cold nor hot in their walk with God, merely lukewarm. Hot water can cleanse and purify; cold water can energize and liven up. But lukewarm water offers no value or desire. I have been enduring the “devil’s disease” for 12 days, I have been also enduring lukewarm bottled water to drink. It is lukewarm, good for nothing. In reality, it was disgusting, and beloved, that was Jesus’ reaction to the Laodicean Church—He was sickened by them, so much so that He said, “I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16).
The members of this church saw themselves as “wealthy” and “self-reliant,” they had many social helps programs, much like today’s American churches, but the LORD Jesus saw them as wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Vs. 17). In regard to their many pride-filled works, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that this is a dead church.
Those whom the LORD judges to be lukewarm are those who declare to know God but they live their lives as though He doesn’t apply to their need. They practice a manner of religion, but their inner splendor is one of self-righteous smugness. They allege to be Christians, but their affections remain untouched, and their pretense is stomach-turning to the Almighty Creator God.
The actions of the faithful Christian will always be “hot” or “cold”— specifically, they will profit the world in some way by a changed life. On the other hand, lukewarm activities, done with the absence of pure love and joy for the Person of Jesus, or the passion of the Spirit, do a great deal of damage to the watching lost of the world.
Revelation 3:20, in the depiction of Jesus standing outside of the church knocking to be let in, gives us a clear warning that those lukewarm folks to whom Christ Jesus speaks are questionable in their own salvation. He has not yet been whole-heartedly welcomed into their gathering. In loving reasoning, He reproves and rakes them over the coals of judgment, mandating them to be remorseful and repent (Vs. 19).
“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Vs. 18)
Our resurrected Jesus from glory urges them to be serious, or passionate, and hand over themselves totally to Him. He compels them to humble themselves to be purged as gold in His refining fire, and to be clothed in the white garment of His righteousness. He is compassionate and merciful giving the lukewarm point in time to fully repent.
Church, we are deceived, deluded, and the need of the nation, yes, and even of the church, is that we see ourselves as we truly are. No person, even a Christian person, will ever change deep within until he sees himself—truly sees himself as he is—the church will not be revived until she at last sees herself as she stands before our holy God!
The picture we are seeing in this letter to the Church of Laodicea is the Church being purified by fire. Beloved, that is the purging the American Church must, and will, experience before she comes alive—revived! Church, pray for a purging, purifying fire as David prayed in Psalm 51.
Church, have we grown to the position that we have deeper feelings for the nation where we live and the rights and freedoms she brings, than we do for the Kingdom for which our Savior died so that we might be citizens together with Him forever?
The Church has a purpose in the world, and for the world. When the world hopes the Church has what they need, they must find purified, holy people of God—not just another bandage program that will pull at the scabs of life again in a few days. They need to see hope and love lived out in the human spectrum—they need God!
“Father, forgive us, we know not what we do! And precious LORD, may America Bless You again, because of Your Church!”