Friday, July 1, 2011

Settling for Less - More Stupid Christianity #8

-8 Settling for Less - Mediocrity in the church is a foothold for Satan. As church members are lulled into lifeless religious pursuits, believers grow lukewarm in their relationships, commitments and passion.

Revelation 14"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

We have all heard this verse. Most church hoppers use it at least once to describe the church they are leaving for another church.

The question is this: is being lukewarm the fault of the believer, or the fault of the church?

I believe the answer is both. When individuals are not passionate about their Jesus, about the mission of the church, then, for lack of a better word, they get bored like teenagers on MySpace. When you have enough of these folks, then it becomes widespread in the church.

If we look over the letters to the churches in Revelation, we find the following faults and encouragements:

Ephesus Revelation 2:1-7
-Left their first love

Smyrna Revelation 2:8-11
-Be faithful, even to the point of death.

Pergamos Revelation 2:12-17
-Hold the doctrine of Balaam (Balaam's heart was perverse and he spoke for gain, abuse of grace)
-Hold the doctrine of Nicolaitions (A spiritually smug hierarchy, a ruling class in the church, abuse of power)

Thyatira Revelation 2:18-28
-Allowed Jezebel to seduce God servants to commit fornication and eat things offered to idols. (She was a Phoenician queen that turned Ahab's people from Yahweh to Baal.)

Sardis Revelation 3:1-6
-Have a name that you live but are dead. There deeds were not complete.

Philadelphia Revelation 3:7-13
-You have kept my command to endure patiently.

Laodiceans Revelation 3:14-30
-Think you are rich and increased with good, but are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.

I believe that there are two teachings that can help turn these church "faults" around; neither of which I have ever heard preached on 30 years! I believe the manicured American church suffers from some of the failures listed above. The following two spiritual principals embody the encouragements to the churches at Philadelphia and Smyrna. (The other 5 were to repent)

-1 Excellence - This is the spiritual principal of running the race in such a way that we push ourselves for a better time each lap.

Matthew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This is a verse that can be casually dismissed by saying to ourselves and to others, "No one is perfect, so why bother trying?" Yet, it embodies the very essence of the new man in Christ.

The pursuit of perfection is called excellence. As Christians we don't get to say, "That is good enough for me." We need to ask ourselves if it is good enough for God?

-2 Commitment - The principal of adhering to a godly vision regardless of the personal cost. Commitment is the determination to finish the race in spite of all hurdles, obstacles and conditions.

Matthew 5:37 Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

This is another verse that can be causally dismissed and yet it is very powerful when we think about how many of us, can run our lives apart from committing to God, the church, and His people.

Paul reiterated the message.

2 Corinthians 1:16 I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 When I planned this, did I do it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, "Yes, yes" and "No, no"? 18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No."

And finally, mediocrity is sin. Without godly repentance, and a spiritual commitment to life building activities, we are just going to end up in the same place.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

I have come to believe that if a person will seek God's face in repentance, they will be in a personal revival. If a church does this, they will be in revival, and if a country does this, they to, will be in revival. No matter what the church global does, their action is the result of the individual decisions that are part of that entity in which they are a part.

Repentance is a hard lesson, but in it is the essence of dying to self, and the promised release of God's Spirit - which this writer finds very exciting!

We need revival, are you willing to repent, to work for excellence, and commit to the process?


photogr said...

Yep. I have been waiting for a renewed revival for some time.

Tracy said...

I'm willing, but I find that I mess up a lot. I'm sure grateful that I have a high priest who intercedes for me with the Father!

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