How did God Communicate in the Scriptures? (Psalm 19 and others)

How did God speak to us in the Old Testament? Further, how does God speak to us today? That is my theme today:

How did God speak to us in the Old Testament? Further, how does God speak to us today?

We have already looked at a video of stars praising the Lord. Last week we talked about Rev. 4:1-11 and how we see worship in Heaven. We have this great and awesome God and guess what, He has revealed Himself to us in more than one way.

C. S. Lewis said God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our consciousness, and shouts to us in our pain.[1]

  1. In the Bible God spoke through General Revelation. God still speaks through General Revelation. General Revelation means that God has revealed Himself through creation.
    1. Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God;
      the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
      Day after day they pour forth speech;
      night after night they reveal knowledge.
      They have no speech, they use no words;
      no sound is heard from them.
      Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
      their words to the ends of the world.
      In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
      It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
      like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
      It rises at one end of the heavens
      and makes its circuit to the other;
      nothing is deprived of its warmth.
    2. The law of the Lord is perfect,
      refreshing the soul.
      The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
      making wise the simple.
      The precepts of the Lord are right,
      giving joy to the heart.
      The commands of the Lord are radiant,
      giving light to the eyes.
      The fear of the Lord is pure,
      enduring forever.
      The decrees of the Lord are firm,
      and all of them are righteous.
    3. 10 They are more precious than gold,
      than much pure gold;
      they are sweeter than honey,
      than honey from the honeycomb.
      11 By them your servant is warned;
      in keeping them there is great reward.
      12 But who can discern their own errors?
      Forgive my hidden faults.
      13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
      may they not rule over me.
      Then I will be blameless,
      innocent of great transgression.
    4. 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
      be pleasing in your sight,
      Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
    5. There are other passages concerning General Revelation and they are in your sermon notes. (John 1:14-18; Acts 17:22-31; Romans 1:17-21; Hebrews 1:1-4)
  2. But what I think you really want to talk about is Special Revelation: group together: How many different ways?
    1. Special Revelation is the Word of God, the Bible, today. But in the Old Testament and the New Testament this meant that God revealed Himself to people in real forms.
    2. Name some? Anyone name some ways that God communicated to people in the Bible…
      1. Verbal: God talked with Adam: Genesis 2 indicates that God spoke to Adam about his needs both personal (“I will make a helper suitable for you”) and in regard to civilization (“Be fruitful and multiply”).
      2. Visions (Gen. 15)
      3. Angels (Luke 1 and 2)
      4. Dreams (Matthew chapters 1 and 2)
      5. Animals, specifically a donkey (Numbers 22:28)
      6. Weather events (2 Kings 19:12)
      7. Urim and Thummim: (Ex. 28:30)
        1. So that would be 7 different ways that God communicated to people and I have the verses in your sermon notes. I also have further references available upon request of various ways that God communicated.[2]
  • How does God speak today?
    1. The Holy Spirit is the agent who brings revelation home to the human heart (John 14:26: 16:13–15; Rom. 8:15–16; 1 Cor. 2:10–12; Gal. 4:6).[3]
    2. Today God speaks through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
    3. John Piper: “How Important is the Bible?”given at Lausanne 2010:
      1. “God talks to me no other way, but don’t get this wrong, he talks to me very personally. I open my Bible in the morning to meet my friend, my Savior, my Creator, my Sustainer. I meet him and he talks to me. … I’m not denying providence, not denying circumstances, not denying people, I’m just saying that the only authoritative communion I have with God with any certainty comes through the words of this book.”
    4. Let’s apply this…
      1. It was 1991 and it was announced that we were sending troops into Iraq, it was now the Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. My dad came home from work and wanted to watch the news, something important was happening. I remember how serious that was and how my dad would not let me talk over the news that night. He wanted to know what was happening.
      2. I have grown up a little bit in the five years since 1991, 25 years, and I realize now, sometimes you need to listen.
      3. If something important is happening, you tune in and listen.
      4. God has spoken, God continues to speak, tune in and listen.
      5. We tune in by going to the Lord in prayer and opening our Bible. That is like tuning in on a radio, or television. Tune in to what God has to say.
      6. Anyone remember Bob Ross? Bob Ross taught people to paint. But you would follow his instructions on Television when you tuned in to his program. Tune in to God’s Word, listen to Him.

 

Closing:

 

Jesus was baptized and at His baptism the Spirit came down like a dove and there was a voice from the Father saying, “This is my Son in Whom I am well pleased.” We have that same opportunity today. We have the opportunity to follow Jesus’ footsteps in baptism and also to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has not changed either. (Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1)

 

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

Footnotes:

[1] G. Curtis Jones, 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1986), 145.

  1. [2] Abraham’s meeting with the three travelers (Gen. 18:1-19:1).
  2. Moses heard him calling from the fiery bush. (Exodus 3)
  3. God spoke through Balaam’s donkey (Numbers 22:28).
  4. Job heard God speaking from the whirlwind. (Job 38)
  5. Samuel heard him calling in the dark. (1 Samuel 3)
  6. David heard him speak through the prophet Nathan. (2 Samuel 12)
  7. Elijah heard God speak through a gentle blowing (2 Kings 19:12), though God was not in a strong wind (2 Kings 19:11), the Lord was not in an earthquake (2 Kings 19:11), and the Lord was not in a fire (2 Kings 19:12).
  8. Isaiah felt the burning coal and heard assurance that his guilt was taken away and sin atoned for. (Isaiah 6)
  9. God spoke through symbolic actions (Jeremiah 18:1-10).
  10. Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37)
  11. God spoke through dreams such as Matthew 1 and 2 and Acts 10:9ff with Peter
  12. God spoke through angels (Luke 2)
  13. This is my Son in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1).
  1. Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch
  2. Saul and those traveling with him on the road to Damascus heard Jesus asking why Saul was persecuting him. (Acts 9)
  3. Prophets and teachers at Antioch heard the Holy Spirit tell them to set apart Barnabas and to send out Saul. (Acts 13)
  4. 2 Cor. 12:1-4 Paul was told to keep what he saw hidden.
  5. John felt the glorified Jesus touch him and heard his assurance that he didn’t have to be afraid.

[3] Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 884.

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Worship in Heaven, worship on earth (Rev. 4:1-11)

Introduction:

 

Another time and another place I was in college. I was sitting outside the lecture hall where my Old Testament class was supposed to meet. As I was sitting there, probably reading, the professor came and sat down. This professor was also a pastor. We started a conversation and I commented on the church I attended and something going on and he responded, “Worship wars.” I don’t know where the conversation went from there, all I remember is “worship wars.” I had never heard that phrase before. I am not criticizing what he called it, but I will be critical that it happens. We can have wars about many things, but not worship. Maybe part of the problem is that we worship the wrong things. We may worship our food, or our car, or even the past and miss the future.

 

I like to eat and I once received email that may make it easier for me to eat with a good conscience: this is only part of it.

HEALTH QUESTION & ANSWERS with Dr. Kenmiester:
Q: I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it…don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.
Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn.  And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.
Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.
Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can’t think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain…good!
Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU’RE NOT LISTENING!!! These days, foods are fried in vegetable oil. In fact, they’re permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?
Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.
Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO! Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It’s the best feel-good food around!
Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, then explain whales to me.
Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! ‘Round’ is a shape!

 

Now, certainly that is humorous, but we do put food in front of God, right. Worship is our response to what we desire most. What do we most desire? We can follow the trail of our time, energy and money and then find out what we worship.

 

If our understanding of worship is off to begin with, then it will follow that we will have wars about worship.

 

I want to come back to this after we read the passage. Let’s read Rev. 4:1-11 and talk about Worship in Heaven.

Our Theme is that in Heaven we see unashamed worship of God. This is unashamed exaltation of Jesus Christ.

Our Application is that we also worship God now as unashamed believers exalting Jesus.

 

Read Rev. 4:1-11:

 

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures   had six wings   and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“‘Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,’

who was, and is, and is to come.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

 

  1. Let’s briefly look at this passage in order to gain some understanding.
    1. When I was a kid my parents took me to see Mount Rushmoore and I really was not that amazed or that shocked. It was a cloudy day and it just did not strike me.
    2. A few years later my parents took me to see the Grand Canyon and wow! That is all I can see. The Grand Canyon is amazing! I went there a few years later and it was the same reaction on my part. When I see the Grand Canyon, I am reminded of how little I am and how Great God is.
    3. But, even before that, I was going into third grade and we went to Myrtle Beach and I saw the ocean for the first time. I love, absolutely love looking out on the ocean. The ocean reminded me of how great God is and how big the world is.
    4. I remember being a child going into a planetarium at the Dayton Museum of Natural History. “Radical” was an adjective that I recently had learned. The person leading the show was showing us all the galaxies and where earth is and I said, “Radical” in a way that everyone could hear. Then the man leading the show said, “Is that the word these days?” “Radical” is a good word, but “awesome” is the best word. Seeing how big outer space is shows our awesome creator.
    5. We are little God is not just big, but amazing.
    6. In this text John is trying to describe the indescribable.
    7. Verse 1 is the beginning of this vision. John says that there was a door and a voice like a trumpet said “Come up here so that I can show you what must happen after these things.”
    8. In verse 2 John is “immediately” “in the Spirit.” This could mean that he was in the Holy Spirit, or Spirit just is a spiritual state.
    9. So, it appears what he is describing in this passage is similar to Revelation 21:9 so it is possible that John is seeing the New Jerusalem right here and then he particularizes the New Jerusalem in chapter 21.
    10. So, he describes a beautiful throne room with all kinds of jewels. Then he describes 24 thrones with elders on the thrones. The elders had crowns. I like the belief that the elders are reflecting all believers. For example, in Rev. 3:11 Jesus said not to let them take your crown. In Rev. 1:6 we are called a Kingdom of Priests. In the Old Testament there were 24 priests. 24 was an important number in Judaism. 1 Chronicles 24 we have a listing of the 24 orders of priests. The beginning of Luke’s Gospel we see Zechariah’s vision and we see Abijah was one of the 24 priests.
    11. Verse 5 references flashes of lightning and thunder. These are always signs of God’s presence. God is in the middle of this throne room. Remember what I said, John is trying to describe the indescribable. There is more in here but let’s skip to verses 8-11.
    12. There are four living creatures that never rest. They are contantly worshipping the Lord.“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”
    13. Up until now we have talked about the setting and Who was at the setting and that is God. God’s presence was with them. Now, the response to the setting is worship.
    14. Look they say “Holy” how many times. Anyone, share how many times we see the adjective “Holy.” Three times. In Jewish language they could not say “holiest” so they would say something three times and that meant “most holy.” They are saying that God is most holy. He is the holiest. He Is Lord, He is God, He is most powerful or almighty.
      1. He is eternal.
      2. Then, whenever they gave glory, honor and thanks to God, the elders would throw themselves down. Wow!
  • That is humility. Dr. Mulholland of Asburyt Theological Seminary shared:
  1. We are not a bowing culture. When Dr. Mulholland enters the room the students do not bow to him, but when he taught in Korea when he came in they would bow and if a student came in late they would bow. Bowing acknowledges God as God.
  2. Worship is allowing God to be God. Not just praising God and saying God you are God, but allowing God to be God.
  3. Next, these elders did not simply fall down. They offer their crowns before the throne. This is surrender. They cast their crowns. The crown represents role, authority. The Elders, who represent us, are surrendering their rule of their relationship to God, to God. Are we allowing God to be God on His terms or our terms. Casting crowns allows God to be God on His terms. John uses the present tense, they “are casting.” They are continually casting crowns. Our relationship with God is a love relationship which means we are free to say “no.” This means that we continually offer our authority and power before God and surrender and say, “You are Lord and I am not.”
  • Lastly, they worship as well.“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
  1. Some applications:
    1. Who is worthy to be worshipped? God.
    2. Who created all things? God.
    3. Your will they were and were created.
    4. John is seeing who we are and who all creation is, what all creation is.
    5. John is seeing that we existed in the heart of God’s love before we were created.
    6. Ephesians 1:3: Paul notes that our lives are immersed in blessings. Verse 4: God chose us before the foundation of the world. “chose” this means to speak forth. Genesis 1: God spoke forth creation. We were in the heart of God before we were created, before anything created. There was no emergency in Heaven when we were conceived, maybe in our mother’s life.
    7. Psalm 139
    8. By God’s hand we existed and were created.
    9. We are not accidents.
    10. The only response is self sacrificial worship. The only response is worship in humility.
    11. The only response is to join the elders, which we may be in that group anyways and say, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power.
  • How can we let the devil make us fight over worship?
    1. Look at this picture of the throne room of God. Does it not move you to worship?
    2. 6:10-12 says that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms… (My paraphrase)
    3. The devil wants to do everything he can to take our attention off of God.
    4. As church leaders it is critical that we try our best to exalt Jesus in the worship service.
    5. As Christians it is important that you try your best to focus on Jesus and make it about Him.
    6. The devil wants you to focus on what is not right.
    7. The devil wants you to focus on your own preferences, whatever they may be and that is not at all to say they are no important.
    8. Listen, preferences are important. We all have them. We all have certain desires that effect how we worship. That is okay. Without those desires there is no way we would even begin worship individually or collectively.
    9. Think about it:
      1. Do you like drums? That is a preference and that is okay.
      2. Do you like guitar? That is a preference and it is okay.
      3. Do you like piano? That is preference and it is okay.
      4. Do you like organ? That is a preference and it is okay.
      5. Do you like Air Conditioning in the sanctuary and what temperature? Preference.
      6. What type of lighting do you want?
      7. What color carpet?
      8. These also effect worship.
    10. What is not okay is treating preferences equal to Scripture and that leads to worship wars. The worship wars are all about preferences.
    11. Sometimes we make these preferences into idols, but then we are in idolatry. If we can’t worship without___________ fill in the blank, then what are we worshipping instead of who are we worshipping.
    12. Churches die over preferences.
    13. People stay away from churches because they are so burnt out over preference wars.
    14. I get them and I am burnt out by them. There are a number of complaints I get that are about why something is somewhere and it must be there, but rarely or almost never is it a Biblical issue.
    15. I really wish that the concerns would be about Biblical issues because those must really be taken care of.
    16. How can we miss Jesus and let anything get in the way of worship?

James MacDonald writes:

“Nothing brings glory down in church as quickly and as powerfully as when God’s people unashamedly adore God’s great Son, Jesus Christ. Not just a few enthusiasts in the front row when the service starts but a room packed to the walls with fired-up Christians. Not simply testimony to personal benefit resulting from gospel belief but passionate ascription of worth to the God of the gospel. When that happens, an unbeliever coming in will “worship God and declare that God is really among you.” A whole body of believers worshipping with their whole beings can expect to get the only thing we have to offer this world: “Is it not in [God’s] going with us … that we are distinct … from every other people on the face of the earth?” All church activities that dilute, diminish, or detract from worship destroy Verticality, deny the priority of doxology, and forfeit what Vertical Church is all about—glory.”

 

Excerpt From: James Macdonald. “Vertical Church.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/hePBG.l

 

Close:

Jesus is greater than food. Food will keep you alive and yet kill you, but Jesus gives you eternity.

Jesus is greater than the organ, the piano, the drums, the guitar, the church building itself. I did not come here to worship you, this building or any other instrument, so I cannot allow the use of anything or the absence of anything to keep me from worship. I must address it as it is, it is the devil keeping me from worshipping God.

What about you?

What is keeping you from worship?

When you look at this passage about the throne room of God, does it compel you to worship?

 

Let’s unashamedly worship Him now.

 

Pray

Laodicea, the Church that was not a church (Rev. 3:14-22)

Introduction:

 

Just a show of hands…

  • How many of you remember prayer in schools?
  • How many of you remember when businesses were closed on Sundays?
  • How many of you remember when it was normal to go to church more than once a week?

Times are changing, right? I read the following:

 

Inoffensive Celebration

To avoid offending anybody, the schools dropped religion altogether and started singing about the weather. At my son’s school, they now hold the winter program in February and sing increasingly nonmemorable songs such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Frosty the Snowman” and–this is a real song–“Suzy Snowflake,” all of which is pretty funny because we live in Miami. A visitor from another planet would assume that the children belonged to the Church of Meteorology.[1]

I think there is some truth to that. The times are changing, but at least in beliefs the church cannot change.

Look at this passage: Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Jesus does not change, the Word does not change.

My theme and application today:

Theme: Laodicea, the Church that Wasn’t a Church

Application: Are we cold, hot, or lukewarm? Be zealous and repent.

 

Let’s read the passage from the Message:

To Laodicea

14          Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says:

15–17                  “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.

18                       “Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.

19                       “The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!

20–21                  “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!

22                       “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”[2]

 

  1. First, our great and awesome Jesus is speaking to us (verse 14)
    1. The second part of verse 14 reads: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
    2. This is about Jesus. This is also a different introduction. The other introductions to the churches were more about an attribute of Jesus, but this introduction seems more conclusive of His being. This introduction is more about Jesus as the authority.
    3. This church is the worst of the churches and this could be why Jesus is setting up His authority.
    4. Laodicea was a very affluent city. They were on a north-south, east-west trade route. They had a major earthquake in 60 A.D. and Rome offered loans to help them rebuild but they chose to do it on their own. They were a city of banking, a city of commerce, specifically wool, and they were a city with a medicine trade. They would trade a type of eye salve. Laodicea was also the home of a medical school and the manufacture of collyrium, a famous eye salve. But the city had no good water, so they would pipe the water in from a city some 5 miles away. They got their water from Hierapolis, the soda- laden, lukewarm water piped in from Hierapolis. By the time the water got to Laodicea it was filled with sediment and was lukewarm. It would make one vomit. They had a type of black clothes they would wear which contrasts the white robes which Jesus will mention later on.
    5. So, they thought they had it altogether. This church thought they were okay because of their great wealth, but nothing could be further from the truth. They were fake.
    6. This is the worst of the seven churches. Jesus has nothing good to say about them.
    7. So, Jesus sets up His authority. Jesus is the Amen.
    8. This has the idea of “The Truth.” This as the idea “so let it be.” Jesus is the final amen meaning what He says is to be done and it is the truth.
    9. Jesus is the faithful witness. He is the witness that matters, He is the resurrection and the life. (John 11:25)
    10. Jesus is the beginning of creation. Don’t get confused thinking that Jesus had a beginning. The Greek word really means first place. You can see this in Col. 1:18. This means that Jesus is the Ruler of all creation. If we read Col. 1:15-20 (maybe read it now) we see that Jesus has all authority over creation.
    11. Colossae was very close to Laodicea and they may have had the same heresies denying Jesus.
  2. Before we get the tough stuff consider what happens when we overcome (verse 21)
    1. Verse 21 reads: To the one who is victorious,I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
    2. This is a very powerful and encouraging ending.
    3. When we overcome we rule with Jesus. Don’t miss this. We must stay loyal to Jesus, we must stay true to Jesus, but we will be with Him in the end when we do.
  • Here is the application: We must be hot or cold, don’t be lukewarm. Look at verses 15-16: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
    1. Being hot or cold are both good things. Cold is a benefit on a hot day. Hot is a benefit on a cold day, but lukewarm is not any benefit. Jesus vomits this church out. They really are not a church. Jesus says that they make Him sick. So, they must repent. Jesus stands at the door and knocks. This means that He is waiting for them to repent. It was always a big deal to dine in those days and that is what Jesus is talking about.
    2. Repent: David Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote on repentance: “Repentance means that you realize that you’re a guilty, vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, and that you are hell bound. It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, and that you long to get rid of it, and that you turn your back on it in every shape and form; you renounce the world, whatever the cost – the world in its mind and outlook, as well as its practice – and you deny yourself, and take up the cross, and go after Christ, your nearest and dearest. And the whole world may call you a fool or say you have religious mania. You may have to suffer financially, but it makes no difference: that is repentance. Repentance is only going to come if you realize you’re not rich, and you’re not wealthy and in need of nothing.
    3. Repentance is not simply saying your sorry. Dr. Mulholland of Asbury Theological Seminary tells the story of learning to fly when he was in the Naval Academy. He had to learn how to stall the plane, they were old World War I type planes. He stalled the plane once and started moving again and then a second time and the plane did not come out of the stall. All he saw was the Chesapeake Bay. He says that being sorry was not good enough. He could be sorry all the way down to the ocean. His instructor said to let go of the controls and he would take over. Repenting means changing our actions. We are sorry and we let God take control.
    4. Some principles under the application:
      1. This means we must have a correct understanding of Jesus (verse 14).

John MacArthur shares: There’s a wonderful story about a woman theologian named Lindemann – you remember the story, I know it’s deep – who was a Christ-denying, Scripture-denying liberal scholar. And by the grace of God – and, of course, a part of a church that was no church, a church where Christ was outside. But she opened the door, Christ came in and saved her – very rare – in the midst of liberalism. And she had written books and books and books, denying Christ, scholastic books denying Scripture. And after Christ came in, people asked her, “What do we do with your books?” Her famous answer is this: “Throw them away like I did; they’re worthless.”

  1. This means that we must go to Jesus (verse 18). Go to Jesus for our well being not riches and material things.
  2. This means we must be zealous and repent (verse 19).

Times are changing:

A Church Building Gets ‘Converted’ into a Luxurious Home

It was an online description of a real estate listing in Dallas. The headline just said, “Converted church.” Once it had been a church, now it was somebody’s house. According to John Whiteside, the realtor showing the house, “De-sanctified churches are the number-one type of building converted to residential use.” Whew! That’s something of a mind-bender for Christians who call each other brother and sister, and talk about their church home.

The article said, “The altar has been adapted for use as a granite and stainless steel themed kitchen, in homage to the cooking gods.” That’s the words they used—”in homage to the cooking gods”! It went on, “The choir loft has been rewired for a home theater.” There was no baptistery, but there was a soaking tub—and, among other things, a game room, a music room and an exercise studio. All this for about $2 million!

Oh, and the 15,000 square foot church/home now has 11 bedrooms. Nice to know the folks there can sleep comfortably, once the church has been “de-sanctified” and “converted.”[3]

When things like that happen it doesn’t matter because the church is already dead, or was never a church to begin with. The church at Laodicea was dead.

I hope that we are never this way. I hope that we are real and authentic and it does start with our understanding of Jesus.

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

[1] Dave Barry in his “Notes on Western Civilization” (Chicago Tribune Magazine, July 28, 1991), Christianity Today, Vol. 35, no.

[2] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), Re 3:13–22.

[3] CNNMoney.com, 5/28/10; “Live in a cave or a tower: 6 cool homes”; submitted by Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois