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Fence Sitters Need Not Apply

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Published on: August 23, 2019

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  –John 14:6

There is a war raging for the soul of the Church throughout America, but few see it. Christian leaders—some notable—are falling one after another for a false gospel that is leading millions of biblically ignorant and likely nominal Christians astray and into the pits of hell.

Pastor after pastor; leader after leader; church after church and denomination after denomination have fallen prey to the unholy gospel of Satan himself, the committing heresy and apostasy against the Word of God.  They have, in essence, become the church of Laodicea prophesied about in Revelation 3:14-15. “And to the angel [or messenger] of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.” 

The Church of Laodicea.  So, what was the failure of the church of Laodicea according to Jesus?  Of the seven churches mentioned in chapters two and three of the Book of Revelation, the Laodicean church was the only one that Jesus did not commend for something.  First, for what did Jesus commend the other six churches?

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To the church in Ephesus, Jesus said, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;” (Revelation 2:2).  To the church in Smyrna, Jesus said, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9).  To the third, the church in Pergamum, Jesus said, “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells” (Revelation 2:13).  

Once again, to the church in Thyatria, Jesus also offered His commendation.  “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first” (Revelation 2:19).  To the church in Sardis, Jesus had a warning and a commendation.  “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. . . . You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy” (Revelation 3:1-2, 4).  Although the flame of faith was dying in Sardis, there was still hope because of the faithfulness of a few. The last church to receive a commendation from Jesus was the church in Philadelphia. To this church Jesus said, “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Revelation 3:8).  Even though this church was weak, they had kept the Word of God and did not deny the name of Jesus Christ.

So, what was the sin of the Laodicean church?  Since Jesus did not commend them for anything that He commended the other six churches, it can be surmised that they were guilty of the opposite.  So, unlike the church of Ephesus, were the members of the Laodicean church tolerating evil in their midst? The church in Smyrna was commended for enduring tribulation and poverty while not tolerating blasphemy in their midst.  The Laodicean church was wealthy and did not recognize their spiritual poverty. Jesus commended the church of Pergamum for their faithfulness while living in Satan’s evil domain. The church at Laodicea had no understanding or awareness of the evil among them.  To the church in Thyatria, Jesus commended their good works of faithfulness; their love and patience. In Laodicea, the church was unfaithful and blinded to their wretched deeds. They only had love for themselves and their own wellbeing. The church at Sardis was barely alive spiritually, but had hope of revival due to a faithful few.  The church in Philadelphia was also weak, but Jesus commended them for remaining true to the Word of God and not rejecting Him. However, the church in Laodicea failed to recognize their failings or their need to repent and turn back to the truth of the Gospel and the true nature of their calling in Jesus Christ.

How many churches and denominations today, led by ignorant and deceiving spiritual leaders fall into the description of the church of Laodicea?  Unfortunately, far too many and it is getting worse by the day. Thousands of churches across America and their unbiblical leaders are straying from the real, unadulterated Gospel of the New Testament.  They embrace abortion, gay rights, perversion of various persuasions, environmentalism, social justice, anti-Semitism, anti-Israel, embrace Islam and Muslims as “brothers and sisters” and a host of other non-biblical viewpoints, while ignoring the weightier commandments and admonitions of Jesus Christ and His Apostles.  

The consequences of being neither cold nor hot.  Of the seven churches, the church of Laodicea was in the wealthiest city.  The church had become “fat and happy” so to speak, and apparently had the reputation of not standing for anything but falling for everything when it came to Christian doctrinal issues.  They became indifferent and spiritually lazy when it came to the finer truths of the Gospel. In modern terms, they had become ChINOs (Christians-in-Name-Only). Although they were no longer “hot” for the Gospel of Christ and His commandments, they were not totally “cold” to the truth.  Instead, they were “lukewarm,” showing little enthusiasm for sharing the Good News with the lost. They had become indifferent, apathetic and unmoved by the salvation message they had been given to share with others. Because of this, Jesus said He would vomit them out of His mouth.

“I know your works,” Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, “that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  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” (Revelation 3:15-17).  In stating such, Jesus was indicating that He wanted nothing to do with this lukewarm, spiritually lethargic church—unless they turned from their gospel of indifference and heresy.

“I counsel you,” Jesus warned, “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” (Revelation 3:15-18).

The Apostle Paul had a similar warning to members of the churches in Galatia. “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-8).  Strong words for those who pervert the Gospel of Christ and create their own alternative gospel from worldly minds.

Jesus Christ is not looking for, nor does He want fence sitters—those that are ambivalent or reticent to sharing the Word of God with others.  “Preach the word!” Paul instructed Timothy. “Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).  All followers of Christ should do the same.

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