Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 7:15 a.m. – The Lord Jesus continues to put in my mind the song “Bless This House.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 3 (NASB).
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore 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 will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
So, I am reading in Romans, and I read Romans 3 this morning, but when I sat down to type, I “accidentally” typed “Revelation 3” instead of Romans 3, but then the Lord said to me that this was not by accident. This is where he wanted me to read and what he wanted me to write about this morning, so this is where we are.
The speaker is Jesus Christ. He is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He left his home in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins, ministered to people’s needs, died on a cross for our sins, was resurrected from the dead, ascended back to heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. Then he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, and to empower them to live righteous, godly, and holy lives. He now lives within each one of us who are his by God-given faith in him. We are his body, his temple, the church, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Holy City of God.
Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not just so we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. When we believe in Jesus Christ, with God-given faith, we are divinely persuaded of God as to God’s perfect will for our lives, and thus we surrender our lives to his will. Faith that comes from God is not like human faith. God-given faith is convinced of our need to turn from our lives of sin and to turn to our Lord, from our idols, to now make Jesus Christ the ONLY Lord (owner-master) of our lives. Otherwise, it isn’t God-given faith. It is human faith. For when we believe in Jesus with God-given faith we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like him in true righteousness and holiness.
Not Hot or Cold
Jesus is speaking to the gathering of the church in a specific location. I believe that today he is making application of this letter, which was to the Laodicean church, to the church here in America. She, overall, is not on fire for the Lord nor is she completely emotionless (detached, unaffected) by him, though certainly this does not describe every fellowship of believers or every individual Christian in America. But, it does describe the vast majority. So, how did the American church get like this? How did she get so far away from her Lord? And, is there still hope for her? I believe there is!
I believe there are several reasons why the church in America has gotten to this point. One is that, in the 1950’s, she turned to the US government for help (her Egypt) instead of trusting in the Lord to supply all she needed. It was then that the church was talked into incorporating as a not-for-profit business via the 501c3 tax exempt status, and under the headship of the US government. She did not need to do this. She was already tax exempt, but she was persuaded that this was a good thing, but it was not, for that put the US government in authority over the church to where pastors and their people are now accountable to the government instead of to Christ.
What this also did was bring much of the world into the church gatherings. Now that the church was being defined as a business, she began (if she hadn’t done this before) to work more like a business of men rather than as the body of Christ, with Christ as her only head. She began to listen to clever enchanters who convinced her that she needed to market the church just like any other business, and to use the same kinds of marketing techniques (schemes, tricks) as businesses use. These are geared toward attracting the world to the business, and to pleasing the customer base, so they will want to come back. Thus, the church began to dilute the gospel to make it more pleasing and acceptable to the world. And, they turned their “worship” services into large stage productions, with worldly entertainment, to attract the world to their gatherings, and to keep them coming back.
Another factor in this decline of the American church is TV and the internet, though certainly they have been used for good, too, such as having a place where we can share the gospel with people throughout the world. I believe television is the image (likeness) of the beast, and it is worshiped in most American households. Living rooms are often organized around the TV set, so that every chair and sofa faces the TV. And, people’s lives and schedules are often scheduled around TV, as well, although with Netflix, I do think that TV watchers do have greater control over when they watch their favorite TV shows. But, still, TV and the internet consume a great deal of time of the average American. And, many of them are hypnotized and are brain-washed into believing the lies of the beast and of his workers of iniquity.
Yet, another factor in the downfall of America is her affluence. I am not saying that everyone in America is wealthy, but even some of the poorest Americans still have cable TV, and the internet, and smart phones or other internet connected devices. And, so Americans, at large, are continually plugged in to the world and are daily taking in its thinking, values, lies, deceptions, attitudes and behaviors. As well, because Americans, on the whole, are not really lacking in the basic necessities of life, and there are so many distractions for them, and they are so entertainment driven, God has taken a back seat in many of their lives. They don’t really see their need of God on a daily basis to supply all that they need, and to guide them in the way they should go, because their lives are so filled up with all this junk.
So, our Lord wants to bring us to the place where we will look to him to meet our every need, and where we will be free from all these distractions. He wants us to gladly forfeit all of earth’s treasures so that Jesus’ perfect likeness we wear. He desires of us that we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, then he will supply all that we need (not all that we think we need or want, though). He wants us to be rich in faith, not in all this stuff, 95% of which we don’t really need, if truth be told. And, he wants to give us pure hearts and holy lives, set apart from (different, unlike) this world of sin because we are truly being conformed to his likeness. He wants to bless us, in other words, but not with more junk so we can get even more distracted and disengaged from him. The way in which he wants to bless us, I believe, is to give us eternal benefits from God, which have eternal and lasting value.
The Lord has been calling out to the church in America for many years, confronting them with their idolatry, witchcraft, spiritual adultery, immorality, and complacency, but not many are listening, at least, not yet. I believe the events of 9/11/01 were a judgment of God on this nation, and its purpose was to revive (cleanse) the church (his temple) here, but American Christians, for the most part, went right back to how they were living before, once the disaster had passed. So, he has plans to come against us again in judgment, only this time it will be much more severe, because he wants to get his bride ready to meet him when he returns, and she isn’t ready.
In the meanwhile, which could be a very short time, he is still calling out to his church to repent of her sins and to follow his counsel to her. The reason he is standing on the outside of the church gatherings is not because these are not his people, I don’t believe, but because they have pushed him out the door. They have sent the Holy Spirit packing, and they have let humans become their gods, instead, along with all their marketing schemes for how to build and grow their “churches,” i.e. their human-based businesses. And, they have married (partnered with) the US government, thus making this evil government, which is the whore of Babylon, their head. The Holy Spirit is not invited into many of these church fellowships because they are following men, and their goals, and their business objectives, instead.
Yet, our Lord has not given up on us. That is grace! He is standing at the door of the church here and he is knocking (speaking loudly, but gently and clearly) through his messengers. If we will but hear his voice, and we will listen to him, and be willing to turn from our sins, and to obey him, he will come back into our gatherings, but this means we have to leave Babylon like he has counseled us to do. We have to give up all these distractions that are consuming our lives, and we have to give our all to him, fully surrendered. And, we have to make him our ONLY Lord (owner-master).
Then, he will return to us when we return to him. And, he will fellowship with us once more. So, there is hope! But, time is running out. Today could be the day when disaster strikes America once more, and many lives will be lost for eternity. We don’t have time to keep playing games with God. Surrender your all to him today! Let him make you pure and free from slavery to sin, and fit to dwell with him for eternity. Amen!
Bless This House
Helen Taylor / May H. Morgan
Bless the people here within,
Keep them pure and free from sin . . .
Bless us all that we may be,
Fit O Lord to dwell with thee . . .