Putting God's Word into Practice…

Revelation 3:14-22 ~ Lukewarm…blah!

There are several things that when experienced as lukewarm are worthless. A lukewarm “I love you” or hug leaves me feeling uncertain about the giver’s love. A lukewarm shower leaves me feeling unclean. Lukewarm coffee is not nearly as comforting as a steaming hot one.  And lukewarm eggs or oatmeal will usually find themselves in the trash and myself feeling undernourished.  People can be “lukewarm” in their faith, too.  And Jesus said, lukewarm people leave him with a sick stomach!  “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (vomit) you out of my mouth.”

Lukewarm things and people don’t generally know that they are lukewarm.  Usually when we judge our lives we feel just right.  Unfortunately, we aren’t the judge of our lives!  Jesus is!  In verse 14 He describes His writing as, “The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning (source/originator) of God’s creation.”  Amen literally means “so it is.”  Amen is a word that signifies absolute truth, it is constant and unchanging–the final word!  Jesus has the final word when describing our lives, and only His opinion matters.  When I think of a faithful and true witness, I picture a courtroom and the one on the witness stand swearing on the Bible to give “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”  What Jesus says about our lives is sworn truth–even if it is different from our perspective!  And because He is the source and originator of all creation, Jesus has supreme authority over our lives and permission to judge them.

When the Laodicean Believers measured their own lives, they were blind to their self-sufficiency, their spiritual poverty and blindness.  They were keeping Christ outside of their lives and trying to go it alone.  This isn’t just a judgment against the Laodiceans–I find this to be true in my own life on a regular basis. What we provide for ourselves doesn’t make us prosperous, only what God provides can do that because He knows the true definition of prosperity.  When we think we are covering our sins, we are really exposed.  Only Jesus’ righteousness covers our sin and shame.  When we feel like we are insightful and humanly wise; we are really blind.  Only Jesus can open our eyes and cause us to see clearly.  We have nothing apart from Jesus– we are just lukewarm oatmeal!

In the following verses we see that Jesus is loving, faithful and patient with us.  “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so BE ZEALOUS and REPENT.”  GET HOT!!!  As I’ve been typing, my coffee has become lukewarm =(  I could let it sit on the table all day and get film on the top until I decide to empty it and wash it out, or I could add hot coffee to it and stir it up so it’s drinkable or zap it in the microwave.  (I chose option 2.)  It is the same with our spiritual lives.  In February I experienced a real soul revival, but by April I’m back to feeling stagnant.  Guess what–Jesus doesn’t want me to stay stagnant!!  He wants me to get hot and repent!  He loves me too much to let me sit around and get film on my life.

Repentance is the first step!  But we also have to let Jesus back into our lives–in every area.  Verse 20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”  Jesus, the one who holds the keys, is standing outside knocking???  Jesus doesn’t force Himself into our lives or willingly leave us to ourselves.  When we push Jesus out of our lives, He patiently knocks and knocks and calls to us until we open the door and ask Him back into our lives.  He wants to be close to us, He wants to experience life with us.  He offers to eat with us–to be part of a daily necessity.  He doesn’t offer us renovation and domination–He offers us fellowship.

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2 Peter 3:1-10 Knowing

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your SINCERE MIND by way of REMINDER, that you should REMEMBER the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, KNOWING this first of all…

The Christian life is not based on feeling but on knowing!  Christians are not mindless droids or ethereal drifters.  God has made us in His image with a mind, and if we are followers of Jesus Christ several times in Scripture we are told we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5).  The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, MIND, and strength.  God wants us to be mentally engaged with Him and His truths.

Specifically in this portion of text, Peter is reminding his audience of the promised return of Jesus Christ.  Without being reminded of what we know to be true through the predictions of the prophets, the commandments of Christ, and the past faithfulness of God to fulfill His promises; we would be tempted to “feel” like Jesus is never coming back–like we are just drifting and living day-to-day without the promise of eternity in our hearts and minds.

Personally it is easy to forget that Jesus will return and that my purpose is to live like Him on this earth and point others to Him as long as I have breath.  Sometimes it “feels” like He will never come back and I am merely rolling towards death.

Although I don’t “deliberately overlook this fact” like “scoffers” do, it is easy to forget that an Almighty Creator set this world in motion–creating everything from the power of His command.  He is sustaining everything with the strength of His Word. And that with just one word, He will bring it all to a close.

God is the creator of time, and He holds time in His hand.  The fact is the Lord is NOT slow in keeping His promises, but He is patient.  The Lord wants all people to have an opportunity to repent and turn to Him. As long as there is breath, as long as Jesus is on His throne in Heaven–there is hope!  Time is a gift from God!

But the day of the Lord WILL COME like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:10)

Remember this my friend!  Let it give the believer and follower of Jesus Christ urgency and purpose in spreading the truth of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation.  And let it compel the non-believer to seek the truth while there is still time.

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1 Corinthians 13 ~ True Love

I have been scared to get to these verses.  They are beautifully received in marriage ceremonies, but in day-to-day living they are too weighty for me!  Already this morning I have been impatient and irritable, which equals being unloving!

Paul just finished teaching the Corinthian people about the spiritual gifts by saying, “I will show you a more excellent way.”  That excellent way is love!  Why is love better than healing, miracles, faith, wisdom, prophecy, etc…?  Love never ends!  Love is eternal!  It never disappoints or lets us down.  Everyone responds to love!  Chapter 13 finishes by saying that love is better than faith and hope.  Why is that?  Love is now!  Love is tangible!  Faith and hope rest in future fulfillment.

So how does the Bible describe true love–love that never fails?

  • Love is patient–it suffers long
  • Love is kind
  • Love does not envy or get jealous
  • Love does not boast or brag
  • Love is not arrogant or proud
  • Love is not rude.  It doesn’t not act unbecomingly.
  • Love does not insist or demand it’s own way.  It is not self-seeking.
  • Love is not irritable or easily angered.
  • Love is not resentful.  It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.
  • Love does not rejoice with wrongdoing, evil, unrighteousness, or injustice.
  • Love rejoices in the truth.
  • Love bears all things.  It never gives up
  • Love believes or trust all things.  It never loses faith.
  • Love is hopeful in all things.
  • Love endures or perseveres all things.

I don’t know about you, but as I look through that list, great conviction washes over me, along with desperation at the overwhelming impossibility of loving like that.  When there is discord, strife, and unrest in my relationships; I can see where I am at fault.

We are all incapable of living lives of true love.  But there is hope!

  1. Romans 5:5 says that God poured His love into us by the Holy Spirit.  Then we can freely love others with His supernatural love.
  2. Galatians 5:22-25 says that love is one outcome of living by the Holy Spirit and from killing our selfish desires.
  3. 1 John 4:7-8 teaches that love comes from knowing God and being His child.

To love–really love–we need help.  I want to love like God loves.  I want to love sacrificially, humbly, selflessly.  I need more of His Spirit in me, more times of surrendering my will to His, more putting others before my self.

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