Written by someone who was born in America and loves his country. And due to the precious freedom of religion in America, he was free to come to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior many years ago.
Revelation 3:14 “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.
The evangelical church in the West is neither cold nor hot. We are not cold like the progressively liberal, mainline church which bends her knee to our culture and among other things accepts the homosexual lifestyle and even gay pastors. But neither are we hot like the early followers of Jesus who lived under severe Roman persecution, and for that matter like many present-day followers of Christ in China, India and in the Middle East. We are definitely lukewarm. The Lord says he is about to spit us out of his mouth.
17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
We say ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ Yes, the annual income of the church in America is a good chunk of a trillion US dollars. Some churches own buildings, property, various accounts, and other assets. Moreover, believers living in America and the West naturally of course seek to enjoy “the good life”—which Scripture actually does not promise to the followers of Christ. Rather, 2 Timothy 3:12 promises that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…“
We in America were given the unusual luxury (or can we say the “wealth”) of having the right to defend our “God-given rights” for freedom to worship God and for freedom to pursuit happiness. Thus in that way believers in America might also feel “rich”, especially in comparison to oppressed believers in non-Western nations who lack such rights. But Scripture tells us we do not realize that in fact we are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Unlike the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, Scripture guarantees us neither the “right” to gather in church every Sunday nor the “right” to pursue happiness on earth. The Church in America is living in a bubble—a fragile bubble which could now burst at any time. The only right we have is the right to become children of the One True God if we believe in His Son Jesus Christ, thus receiving eternal life (John 1:12). Should we use our “right” to pursue happiness only for ourselves in this life, when millions of our brethren overseas live under oppression, and billions have never had the freedom to hear the gospel of life even once? Is it because we are favored by God that we happened to be born or in live America?
Or is it because we are blessed to be a BLESSING to the NATIONS?
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
What is now coming upon the Church in America is purging and refining through the fire of persecution. We need to put on robes of actual—not simply imputed—righteousness by living holy and fruitful lives by the power of the Spirit. We must realize that grace does NOT give us license to sin. We need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to what Scripture actually teaches about our purpose in this life—instead of the constant drumbeat of the American Dream, prosperity here-and-now, and success in life.
What have we done with the precious freedoms given to us? Yes, we have used them to make “the world a better place” for ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors. But has the Lord called us to make “the world a better place”, or to be His witnesses and to do His works while it is still day before night comes when no one can work? Indeed it was due to the Judeo-Christian values spawned by the gospel that America prospered as no other nation in the history of the world. But that was and is not the primary purpose of the gospel. The purpose of the gospel is to prepare and take us to the life beyond this transient earthly one.
John 9:4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
But Jesus graciously loves his Laodicean Church in the West. At this time in the history of America, it would appear that he is rebuking and disciplining His church. He calls us to be earnest and to repent.
To repent of what?
For one thing, the church of Laodicea in America should repent of our nearly single-minded focus on ourselves in this present age. Yes, we are naturally concerned about the nation in which our children will grow up. But should our focus be mostly political at this time? Could there be an even greater—meaning eternal—issue at stake at a time such as this for the evangelical church?
Perhaps it is time to LOOK UP in anticipation. In view of what the current administration is doing, the possibilities that traditional Judeo-Christian values will be restored to our culture and that revival will take place with millions of God-hating liberals turning to Christ—are increasingly unlikely. Rather we are likely in the very Last Days before the end.
The time of the return of the Messiah is linked to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Shouldn’t the evangelical church in the West now put her resources, her strength, and her time in fulfilling the Great Commission by reaching and discipling the thousands of still unreached people groups—instead of seeking to keep from bursting the fragile bubble in which she has enjoyed life on earth for a season?
What have we done here after receiving Christ—after our salvation is settled? Many of us make the most of our lives on earth in terms of “success”. For the great majority of believers, little thought is given to storing our treasure in heaven for our eternal reward—and appearing with Christ in glory when He comes.