THE LUKEWARM CHURCH

Lately I have been thinking about the seven churches in Revelation.

If I view the seven churches as just seven churches of early Christianity I can gain some understanding, but I think there is more to learn if I also view them as seven churches in time.

As I view them in time, some of the churches are easy for me to identify. The first Church, the sixth church, and the seventh or last church are easy, the rest not so easy. The last church, because I believe that we are living in the last part of time, is the easiest and the most important to me.

The first church in time is the Catholic Church. Jesus told them that they had forsaken their first love. The first love, of the first church, was Jesus. He also told them, “Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” It is obvious to me that they did not repent and that he has removed their lampstand.

A lampstand gives light to the world and light reveals God. The Catholic Church no longer gives light to the world. I am not picking on any individual Catholic. What I am saying about the Catholic Church should be said, so that all can think about the plight of those in the church. The sins of others are much easier to see and proclaim than one’s own sin, so it is also easy to see that I am not Catholic, because the sins of the Catholic Church are clear to me. However, that does not mean that I do not also sin.

The Catholic Church gives glory to Mary the mother of Jesus, but glory should only be given to God and Jesus. Mary may well have been blessed to be chosen to bring Jesus into the world, but she was only human and should not be exalted. God is a jealous God and He has said that He will not tolerate the worship of any other god. It is easy for a non-Catholic to see that Mary is bowed down to, but all of the baggage that Catholics come with makes it difficult for them see.

Look at what Jesus said about his mother. Matthew 12:48 (NIV) “He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Did Jesus exult Mary?

Then there is baptism, which the Catholic Church has distorted and therefore nullified. A proper baptism is to be buried with Christ, but not before that person admits that, they sin and are in need of a Savior. A baby cannot repent, as they do not even know that they will sin and need a Savior: I say will sin because I am quite certain that God would not punish the innocent and they have yet to sin. I also might add that sprinkling a little bit of dirt on a dead body is not a proper burial.

Then there is Matthew 23:9 (NIV) “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” It should be apparent that Jesus meant a Spiritual Father, as we all have an earthly father. All of the priests in the Catholic Church are called father and the Pope is called the “Most Holy Father”. What do you think goes through our Father’s mind when some mere man is called “Most Holy Father”?

Then there is Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” The Catholic Church is a very rich church that got that way by serving money. I have to say that most churches try to serve both God and money.

It is clear that there is no light coming from the Catholic Church today. Jesus has removed their lampstand, just as he said he would.

The sixth church (Philadelphia) is the church of the rapture. Relation 3:10 (NIV) “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.”

They were not told to do great things for God, but only to endure patiently.

That brings us to the last church (Laodicea), that is our church, and we had better wake up. We are truly lukewarm: neither hot nor cold. We say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing”, because we think that we have Jesus, the Savior, but we are ‘wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked’.

As I study God’s Word it seems to me that all God wants from us is that we love Him. Everything else is a result of that love. We say that we love God, but the truth is all that we love is what God does for us.

I see that most of the Christians of today do not think much about God after the church service is over. Everyone will say that they love God, but if you really love someone, you want to be with them all of the time and you hang on their every word.

Scripture says that we should hide and pray. Prayer is our side of the conversation between God and us. Reading God’s Word is His side of the conversation. If we really love God, then we would want to hear and understand everything that He says to us. So, if we believe that we love God, then shouldn’t we be reading and thinking about God all of our waking hours?

We have chosen spiritual leaders, that lead for money and we listen to them, but God has given each and everyone that has asked for a Savior, the Holy Spirit. Listen to Him. You can hear what He says, over and over, anytime, and anywhere, just read His Word.

Get hot or stop kidding yourself.

12 Responses to THE LUKEWARM CHURCH

  1. Debbie Price says:

    If you have some time, listen to this sermon and let me know what you think:

    It’s Francis Chan preaching about the Lukewarm church. Speaking of the Catholic church losing its lampstand, I’ve ran into Catholics who were selling vouchers/lottery tickets. My curiosity led me to question them where the money was going to. I assumed that it was going to charity or to feed the poor. Instead they told me it was going to be used to pay the church’s debt on their property/building. Sad but true.

  2. astudent says:

    Debbie,

    It seems to me that Francis was preaching more about money than about the sins of Catholicism. I do think that money has been a big part of what has destroyed the Catholic Church. They have fallen into the trap of thinking one needs money in order to serve God.

    Having said that about the Catholic Church it seems to me that all of the branches of the Church have fallen into the same trap.

    Money is not important. The question of the ruler was “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” and the answer that Jesus gave was that there is nothing one can do to inherit eternal life. At that time, Jesus had yet to allow himself to be sacrificed. He used money to show that there is always something that could not be done. Thank God that there is something that can be done now.

    If money were important then Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, and Solomon would have been poor. Money, like sex or pride, can become the most important thing to someone. It is as easy to place money at the top of the list of someone that is poor as well as someone that is rich.

    Having said that, I enjoyed the sermon, however I do not believe in sermons or praying in public. A proper church service is when everyone has a chance to speak what the Spirit within him or her wants them to say. 1Co 14:30&31 (NIV) “And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” BECAUSE, 1Co 14:26 (NIV) “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” Having one person only speaking has led to a weak church.

    Mat 6:5&6 (NIV) “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

    The synagogue was the church at that point in time. I feel like I am eavesdropping on a conversation between the one praying and God. Truth is the one praying knows that I am eavesdropping and he or she uses it to add validity to their message. I find it somewhat dishonest.

    I would not buy a lottery ticket no matter the reason it is being offered. I believe one should work with his or her hands and not just win a lottery. Lottery tickets are sold to those who are not satisfied with the wealth that God has given them.

    It seems to me to compound the wrong when a Church uses gambling to raise money. The person that buys a lottery ticket is not giving anything; they are spending their wealth attempting to gain more.

  3. Gianni Crivello says:

    astudent – I do not know how to otherwise approach you on some private basis, but I have some encouragement to offer you. I do not know your background, your personality, your interests, nor your capabilities apart from anything revealed in a scarce overview of your blog. Regardless, I felt the Spirit acknowledging to me a purpose for my stumbling on this domain. Please, listen, incline your to understanding if the Lord has a word for you.

    I have been following our Lord for 12 months and 5 days. Before that, I was a staunch atheist; a psychological enthusiast; a New Age spiritualist; addicted to hallucinogenic experiences, self-hypnosis, astral projection, a variety of drugs, etc.; completely prideful in my mind’s given capabilities; a terrific speaker, writer, and debater by nature. I was the raving atheist, I was the lazy hippy idealist archetype. I was the obsessive intellectual. I was the hypocritical cherry-picker-caller. I was the subject-shifting, name-calling, reductio-ad-absurdum-ing Youtube keyboard warrior who refused to give any bit of merit to anything with the title “Christian”. I was “that guy” in almost every sense of the type.

    I noticed that there have been moments in your blog’s archives where you mention that you have terrible doubts, haunting thoughts, etc. I recently went through a time when God’s voice in my heart was so small that it could be barely felt, and a barrage of psychological “wisdom” came flooding in to explain all spiritual things away. God was having me witness dozens and dozens of Christians who were “devout, zealous, evangelical, and orthodox” who had reverted to my prior position of STAUNCH, stoic atheism. Some of them vacillated back and forth in a multitude of superficial conversions and “deconversions”. He used this time, in a nutshell, to explain to me that it is only His power that guides us into being a true worshipper – that through all my doubts, and all of my questioning, His only responses have been like those of Jesus’ with Nicodemus, warning me that any attempt to rationally found our belief in Him is deceitful and does not come from spiritual renewal. Jesus Christ is our foundation – it is not our loving of God that saves us, but His loving of us. Through this, it was made clear that the fact that I am seeking true worship is a clear indication that the Holy Spirit has renewed me to seek out God in His wholeness. (John 3:21) We will never be able to form the foundations of salvation out of our own will – but His Spirit working us can accomplish ALL things.

    [please do not confuse this with anti-rationalistic fundamentalism – I hold true and solid that we are to love God with ALL OF OUR MIND – every bit of it, in everything we do. I also believe wholeheartedly that the intellectually gifted, only a special case among all who are to follow in wisdom, are gifted so in order that they might entirely express it and make their gift spiritually profitable. I absolutely encourage you to study the Holy Scriptures at every logical taxon, every type of analysis you can get your hands on – so long as you always remain 1. purposeful, ignited inwardly by a clear vision of the “end of the matter”, 2. moderated, keeping in mind the whole of God’s multitudinous gifting toward each of us, and 3. completely in love with the holiness and honorable nature of God’s revealed Word.]

    Every single moment of trial and weakness and every ounce of lack of God’s hand on your life has and will be made out for the good of all of the elect. Let this understanding flourish in your mind, that Jesus Christ has full reign and authority over all things.. including your mind.

    Every contemplation of spiritual things that you have had (for the sake of which this blog was established) will not be wasted in bringing you to a revelation of God’s calling on your life.

    Not a single moment of falling back and doubt will be wasted. God will make it all count. Do everything you can to discipline yourself into obedience to the truths of God, and make a focused effort to forget the things in the past and strain forward with everything that you have, redeeming every day to its fullest.

    You do not fight this battle alone. You have only victory and complete, eternal rest to look forward to.

    My e-mail address is giannicrivello1993@gmail.com if you would like to discuss this on a private basis! Otherwise.. reply publicly.

  4. astudent says:

    Gianni Crivello,

    As I read your comment, my first thought was how did you get the impression that I had terrible doubts and haunting thoughts! If you interpreted something, that I said as terrible doubts or haunting thoughts, you are quite wrong.

    No one, except Jesus, has ever had perfect faith and that includes me. Therefore, everyone has some doubts, but the more one understands God, the less the doubts.

    You have just over a year to learn God’s Word, but I have been studying for over 30 years. That is not to say that I could not learn something from you, but I, as all baptized Christians, have the Holy Spirit to teach me. Why would I listen to a mere man, when I can listen to God? Why would anyone, that has been given the Holy Spirit, depend on a mortal man?

    Your heart may well be in the right place, but it is not given man the ability to teach another man: God reserves that pleasure for himself.

    Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”. God made iron and there is no way that one can sharpen iron with iron. If a mere man could explain the Word of God to another, that person might think God loves the teacher more than the student.

    There is a play that, though it is fiction, describes a situation where a man loved a woman so much, that in order to make her happy, he gave the very words of love that was in his own heart to another man and because of his words, the woman fell in love with the other man (Cyrano de Bergerac). God is not going to make that mistake.

    You gave me some advice, so let me return the favor. Study the Word of God and encourage others to do the same, because that is where one finds peace and all thoughts of unbelief are answered. Then everyone will look to God and not to a man.

    I do not speak to anyone privately. Just for the very reason I just explained. I know that God has given me great understanding and I want everyone to know that, if they gain anything from this blog, that it is God’s Word and not mine. If no one knows who I am then they cannot mistake me for God. It is His Word’s and everyone should love Him: not me.

  5. Gianni Crivello says:

    Thank you for the advice – and for the time to read, consider, and respond! My prayer is that your studies will be more fruitful than ever.

  6. astudent says:

    Gianni Crivello,

    You display a good Christian attitude and that encourages me.

    Please stay and study with us.

  7. Gianni Crivello says:

    You can be sure I will 🙂 I am glad to encourage you in any way I can – what more are brothers for than to lift eachother up to the glory of God, giving thanks all of the way??

    I will! I’ll keep up with your posts via e-mail notifications. Always keep grace in your heart for me, though, for I am young, weak, and full of strife. I am double-minded and idle, and I find repentance a slow and difficult process. You may see commentary that strikes you as appalling. It will almost always be appropriate to promptly rebuke, but it may sometimes be appropriate to see that I am struggling with something of an underlying cause and discontinue disputing the issue.

    Also – do you care to relate to me what your process of study and dividing the Scriptures is like? I’m always interested to hear about the way people contemplate Scripture and extract meaning. I mean to establish a stable method for getting myself out of distraction and into His presence in a consistent way.

    In grace, with peace and love,
    Gianni

  8. astudent says:

    Gianni Crivello,

    Well, I have to laugh. I do not really have a set way to study the Bible.

    I am like a child (well I am a child of God) and children have no discipline. I start usually with a question. I found that when I first started to seek understanding, that I could just open the Bible, without trying to open it in any certain place and the first verse that I read would hold the answer to my question! It would not be immediately apparent, but when I read it over and over, the way it pertained to my question would become clear. I know that sounds odd to many, but nevertheless it was true.

    Do not confuse that with me having faith that God would answer me that way. Rom 10:17 (NIV) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” I tried it the first time because someone (I do not remember who) told me it worked for them and it did work for me.

    Having said that, sometimes God will not answer my question, but diverts my quest to a different question and then He shows me the answer to that question. I realized that God is in control and I am grateful for any understanding that He wants to give me. I am sure that He will grant me the understanding of the first question in His time. It is good to want all of the answers, but it is imperative to recognize that God is the leader and we should be as perfect follower as we can be.

    Now, I use the Bible on my computer and so I cannot just open it to a random verse. Well, I might be able to find a way, but I can still just start reading searching for understanding and I usually find it: not total understanding, but parts of it. I think that if God would grant me complete understanding that I might loose a great reason to listen to Him and I don’t think either my Father, or me, wants that.

    Bottom line is that I am not in control and I cannot demand an answer from God. I know from experience that God gives the answers to a man that He wants him to have and God always does the best thing for His children, so what ever answer one gets, it is the right answer, for the right question, for that man, at that point in time.

    I have a genuine love for Scripture. I use to go to sleep at night listening to the Bible as one listens to music. I don’t really think one learns a lot that way, but I just liked to hear God’s Word.

    Different people learn in different ways, but God knows the best way for you, or anyone, so I am not saying everyone should search the particular way that I do, but everyone should search for understanding as it strengthens one’s faith. When hard times come, and I think they are near, strong faith will keep one safe.

    Psa 53:2 (NIV) God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
    Pro 8:17 (NIV) I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
    Mat 7:7&8 (NIV) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

    All men are flawed, but Scripture is perfect, so seek your answers from God and not from man. Man only has the questions. But that can help, if you always consider it in that way.

  9. Gianni Crivello says:

    That is a good way to learn! I say this, because the intention is to understand. That is always good.

    What do you think when you consider resources like concordances, church elders, topical indices, commentaries, etc.?

    I understand entirely that it is wrong to lean on the arm of flesh, neither your own understanding or another man’s – however, I have had rather amazing insights come by the commentary of man, the “food” prepared for me from the Word by other men. (or by God, through them, depending on how you look at it!)

    Have you considered developing a discipline of focused study, to “fan into flame” your gift for intuitive understanding?

  10. astudent says:

    Gianni Crivello,

    Well, I have thought about discipline in all areas of my life. The world demands discipline, but I do not believe that God does.

    What is so important that I “must” demand something from myself? Knowing God is the only thing that I can think of, but God grants that in His own time. Making work out of gaining understanding, I do not think would please God, and it would take the fun out of learning. I would equate it to giving when it is a requirement and not a pleasure.

    Be very careful of what others teach. Every man or woman is flawed and that includes me. I only consider what others say as questions: not answers. If we have the perfect teacher, with all of the answers, and everyone that has been baptized into Christ does (The Holy Spirit), then all we need are the questions.

    Never take what a man says as the whole truth. That includes elders, concordances, commentaries, or anything that is written by a mere man; no matter how much you love and admire him, or her.

  11. Al says:

    For one the timeline doctrine is a Catholic doctrine and two the Catholic church is not part of the church at all but is a product of Satan. Jesus bought the real church with his blood. Satan made a counterfeit church to fool the nations. Read real early church history and find out. The real church was born in Jerusalem in 33. The false church sits on seven mountains and Revelation 17 calls her the great whore. We call her the Catholic church. Rome has seven famous mountains. Aventine,Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal. The seven churches in Revelation are just that and they reflect churches throughout history each has it’s own personality and message from this book.

  12. astudent says:

    Al,

    Well, I kind of agree with you, but I see some things just a bit different.

    As I understand, the Catholic Church was the first church and the “one like a son of man” in Revelation 1, said that if the first church did not repent and do the things that it did at first, he would remove that church’s lampstand. The lampstand gives light and the Catholic Church no longer gives any light. So, I do not think Satan made a counterfeit church, but corrupted the Catholic Church. It is a mute point as Satan has made it a counterfeit church by changing it.

    The Catholic Church calls a mere man “Most Holy Father”. It has corrupted baptism, and tithing, has become a sanctuary for sexual perverts, and it exalts Mary when Jesus did not.

    I think that you are right when you say the seven churches reflect churches throughout history. I think that we are in the time of the last church.

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