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The Spirit of the Laodicean Church in America

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"From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them," says the LORD. Jeremiah 6: 13-15 (NIV)

 

Let us examine these warnings. First of all, God is saying that there are no exceptions. From the least to the greatest, none are exempt. I believe this speaks to the propensity we have in this country for looking down upon someone else as a means for avoiding looking in the mirror. Modern American Christianity is too externally focused. It is constantly engaging in what is wrong with the world or with the culture and society of the world. Remember, the actual problem the world has is not the symptoms we usually look at. Their problem is not gay marriage, abortion and taking God out of the classroom. Their problem is not the war on Christmas, evolution, or apathy towards God. Those are all symptoms of the actual problem; which is their separation from God. Jesus did not instruct us to go into all the world and convert people with the morality of religion. He did not say that we should hit people over the head with the Bible either. God's Word is a two edged sword not a blunt instrument. We are fond in the church of being outraged when the world behaves as the world is expected to behave. We are fond of speaking about healing our land. But what does God actually say about that:

 

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. 2Chronicles 7: 14-15 (NIV)

 

WE are the people called by His name. We are the Christians. We are supposed to humble ourselves, seek His face and repent if we expect God to heal our land. Remember, whenever someone is crying for repentance it should always start with "me". We all need to repent. God continues through Jeremiah to say that all are greedy and deceitful, including the prophets and priests. We see the wanna-be prophets of today, prophesying about money and schemes to make your life better by "sowing seed" into their ministries. Go back and read the prophets in the Old Testament. They were not bringing news of glad tidings to God's people. They were usually telling them to repent; again a repeated theme we have trouble with.

 

What is interesting is the charge God makes against the people who claim to represent Him. First, they dress the wound of my people as if it were not serious. Note the usage of the singular. God does not deal with whatever other "wounds" we might be experiencing, the symptoms, because only the condition matters. That open wound is the state of the soul in relation to God. Saved or unsaved. Modern American Christianity has turned salvation into a three sentence magic prayer viola! Now you are going to heaven! No, you are not. Going up to the altar does not make you a child of God anymore than going into a firehouse makes you a fireman. There has to be repentance which means a turning away from the sins in your life. There needs to be a regeneration of the heart which means you are no longer the same person you were. God has changed your heart towards Him and away from the carnality of the world. So I believe what God is saying here through Jeremiah is there is too much of an emphasis on surface salvation, people in the pews, and fancy church growth schemes than there is on the gaping open wound we are actually charged with tending to. Secondly, God says that His ministers say "peace, peace" when there is no peace. Once again, God reaffirming that not only are His ministers not addressing the wound but they pretend that they are. They tell people that they have peace with God when in reality they are not at peace at all:

 

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. Romans 8: 5-8 (NLT)

 

If you say the sinner's prayer without repentance and regeneration, your sinful nature will still be hostile towards God. Someone can say "peace peace" all they like but it is only the spirit controlled mind that leads to life and peace. Jeremiah concludes by lamenting that not only does this sad state of affairs exist but that those who perpetrate it have no shame about it. They do not even know how to blush! God forbid that we get so full of ourselves that we stop seeing God. That we think it is somehow glorifying of God to remove His name from our lips or our ministries. That we think repentance from sin is not necessary language for ordained ministers. That to avoid looking in the mirror, we assail the world for its symptomology instead of its sickness. God forbid we continue to become the Laodicean Church.

 

And that bring us back to our key verses. Jesus Christ is addressing seven churches in His Revelation to John the Apostle. In some of the other letters, Jesus starts out by praising what they are doing right before addressing what they need to change. Not so with the Laodiceans. Jesus starts right away by demanding that they decide what they will represent or He will spit them out of His mouth. Lukewarm is having just enough Christianity to appear right to the untrained eye and the unsaved soul. We see it in many churches today. It is more about the band and choir than God. Worship songs speaking more about what God can do for us than about what He already has done through His son. Self-indulgence distracting worship. Youth Ministries more focused on being hip than being right. A study in self help disguised as the Word of God. Dead preachers, preaching dead sermons, to dead congregations. Everything may sound right and may look right but deep down you know it doesn't feel right. Because what is missing is the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit that brings you into His presence during worship. It is His Spirit that convicts you during the Word and brings you to the altar for repentance. Look at the key verses and what God is saying to the Church with the Laodicean spirit! We think we are rich and blessed because we employ the latest church scheme. We think we are rich and blessed because attendance has risen every year for five straight years. We think we are rich and blessed because we have attained mega-church status.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
 
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