The Church of Sardis covers a period of time from about 1500 to 1750 A.D., known as the Reformation. People wanted the pure Word of God again. They did not want tradition, or rulings, made up in councils by the heirarchy of the church, added to the Word of God, and passed on to the people.
In Proverbs 30:6, the Word of God tells us this,
“Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
We come to the Reformation Period and this is the time when they wanted change. They wanted to go back to the Bible.
- Johannes Gutenberg of Germany had the first printing press using moveable type in about 1550 A.D. The first complete book printed was the Latin Bible (the Vulgate), known as the Mazarin Bible, or the Bible of Forty-Two Lines, because it contained forty-two lines to a page.
- John Knox of Scotland, was one of the great preachers and reformers. Many denominations started. But there were a few, Verse 4 tells us, that “even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments…”
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits (the all-knowing) of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (1) Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (2) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent (metanoia – change your mind). If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee” (3).
Psalm 55:23 tells us ,”..bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days...” You and I never know when God is going to take our life. We do know from Psalms that we have about seventy years. If we live to be eighty, we ought to be extremely grateful, but we do not know how long we are going to live. We could die at any time. We could be driving a car and some drunk could come out in front of us and take our life prematurely. We could die of a heart attack. In the complexity of our bodies, there’s nothing that guarantees that we are going to live until tomorrow, but whenever we die, Christians have this assurance,
“…that we are passed from death unto life.”
The grave has no victory over the Christian.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
Well, Christ took the stinger out of death for the Christian, so we do not have to experience that. Christians are looking for the Rapture at any time, as there is nothing in Bible prophecy to be fulfilled before He comes. The Blessed Hope of the Christian is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17,
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (16) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (17).
…so we have that to look forward to. We have hope that the world does not have. I pray that you have that hope.
We find out that, in Sardis, there were many who had defiled their garments. We find out, also, that there was a great Reformation going on of getting back to the Word of God. Many people today are hungry for the Word of God. When you go to church, do you take your Bible and follow along in it as your pastor brings the message? Beware if he gets another book out that is not the Bible, but teaches from the song book, or a Catechism book. That’s not the Bible, folks! The Bible is God’s Word, and He doesn’t really care what some other man wrote in a book. God wants you to hear about Jesus Christ who “liveth and abideth forever.”
During this Reformation period, there were people who wanted to go back and see what God had to say. The Word of God was precious to them.
“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (4) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels”(5).
We’ve had people ask many times, “What is this Book of Life?” We find out from the Book of Revelation that there are two books. The Book of Life is the Lamb’s Book of Life, and contains the names of those who have trusted Christ. Their names will never be blotted out, since they are sealed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The other books contain the works of the lost, and they will be used to determine their degree of punishment in the Lake of Fire.
Every person ever born has their name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If you die without trusting Christ, your name is then blotted out. It is a testimony against the lost at the Great White Throne Judgment, when their name cannot be found. Christ knows everything about you. He knows every date and time you’ve been given the Gospel. He knows how many excuses you have provided. He knows exactly what you’re thinking. He will bring you up out of Hades (Greek word for “Hell”), and you will stand there. Then, He will open the books, and show you everything about your life, all of your thoughts, all of your excuses, and all of your philosophy. Then, He will say,
“…Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41)
It bears repeating. Every person ever born has their name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. It is only when you die, that your name is blotted out. We find a case in point back in Exodus 32. Moses was sorrowful for Israel and begged God to forgive them for their sins. He said in Exodus 32:32,
“Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”
The Lord’s answer in Verse 33 is this,
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”
His name had to be in the book before it could be blotted out. Go with me to Psalm 69, where the wicked have their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We’re going to find out, they are going to be blotted out when they die. We begin with Verse 22 and go to Verse 28 to get the context.
“Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. (22) Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. (23) Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. (24) Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. (25) For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. (26) Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. (27) Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” (Psalm 69:22-28)
“…Let them be blotted out,” you see. But in order for their names to be blotted out; they already had to be in there.
Who is “He that overcometh…?” We find the answer to that over in 1 John 5:4,5,
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (4). Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (5).
“He that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God” is the one “who overcomes.” You have “overcome” death. You have “overcome” going to Hell. You have “overcome,” not with your own righteousness, because…
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us,…” (Titus 3:5).
I hope you have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. You have overcome, because He overcame through His Resurrection. You’re found in him…”
“…not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9):
How wonderful it is to overcome, because Christ overcame by the Cross. Death could not hold Him. Therefore, He died to pay for your sins, and my sins; and, now, offers eternal life freely. That’s why it is…
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (8): Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
“He that overcometh…” That is the Christian. It is the one who has believed on Christ, who is “the same shall be clothed in white raiment.” We are going to be clothed in the white raiment of salvation. That is the inner garment which is called a “tunic.”
In Revelation 19:7, 8, we find that we can also have “white linen” on the outside. Verse 7 tells us this is speaking of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready (7). “And to her (the Church) was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:7,8).
This was the outer garment. The Romans called it a “toga.” This outer garment is “the righteousness of the saints.” This garment is the same for all Christians. We are going to weave our own garment that will be seen on the outside. Yes, we already have the inner garment of righteousness, the tunic, which was given to us at salvation by Jesus Christ.
“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9):
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Christ took my sin and nailed it to the Cross, and gave me His righteousness, and put it to my account. What a wonderful Savior we have. You would never be righteous enough to go to Heaven yourself. How foolish it is to think that.
When we get to Heaven we will have two garments:
- The Tunic. – That is Salvation.
- The Toga – This is a robe of our own making as we serve the Lord.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)
God wants you to have a good testimony, so you can be an effective witness for Christ. When is the last time you passed out a tract? When is the last time you witnessed for Christ? Would you be in the era of the Reformers here? Would you be able to take a stand and say, “No, I don’t want all of this traditional junk!” “No, I don’t care whether a group of men sits up there in some council, somewhere, and adds something to the Word of God. Absolutely not! Count me out!”
Those men are not the Creator, they are the clay. The Potter is God, and the clay is trying to tell the Potter that He does not know what He is doing. They have decided to add to the Word of God because they think God is not intelligent enough to put it all together.
However, in Revelation 22:18,19, God says,
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: (18) And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (19)
God tells us not to add anything to God’s Word. Add nothing! Absolutely nothing! Everything God wants us to know is in the Bible here, from Genesis to Revelation. He doesn’t need some missy-mousy man down here to be God’s mediator, passing things in a council. Then they go into church, pretend that it all comes from God, and brainwash the people. Let me say this, “Study the Bible for yourself.”
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Have you reached the point in your life when Christ can count on you to never be ashamed of what He did for you?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (7)
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:7-8);
Martin Luther was one of the “Reformers.” When I was researching the writings of Martin Luther, I soon discovered that he was a master at deceiving the people. Luther, in his Small Catechism, under the heading of “What does baptism do? states:
- Frees you from the Devil; 2. Makes you a child of God; 3. And gives you eternal life.”
Another lie that Satan inspired Luther to inject in his Catechism was to add to God’s Word, when he put the word “HOLY” in front of baptism. Do you know that nowhere in the Greek text does the word “HOLY” ever appear before the word “baptism?” The Holy Spirit never inspired any writer of the Holy Bible to pen “HOLY” with baptism. God calls Luther a liar for adding to His words.
“Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6).
You see, baptism never makes you a child of God. John 1:12,13, tells you what does.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (12)
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (13).
Something you can check out for yourself. Get your Bible out, and turn to Exodus 20:3-17, and mark the Ten Commandments as God gave them, in order. Now, get a Lutheran Small Catechism, locate Martin Luther’s Ten so-called Commandments and compare them to God’s. You will find that Luther did not believe God’s Second Commandment and omitted it. He took the Third Commandment and made it “Number Two” in his Catechism. So, when he got to the end, he only had nine commandments after omitting the second one. Therefore, he took the last commandment and made two commandments by dividing it, thus showing Ten Commandments in his Catechism. No one would be the wiser, to the fact, that he had omitted the second one. In questioning many Lutheran pastors, I have yet to find one who has been aware of this “con-game” that Luther has manufactured. Luther was an unsaved man who has been, and still is, leading untold millions into Hell with him! His own words condemn him. “Baptism gives you eternal life.” Here is God’s Second Commandment as found in Exodus 20:4,5:
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the water under the Earth: (4)
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (5);
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” (Proverbs 30:5)
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:8-9).
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth (7); I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name (8). Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee (9). Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the Earth (10). Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (11) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name (12). He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
- The Church of Philadelphia brings us to another era of time, from about 1750 to 1910 A.D.
- There’s no reprimand for this church by the Lord Jesus Christ.
- This period of time, from about 1750 to 1910, is known as a “time of brotherly love.” They cared about winning souls.
If somebody comes up to me and says, “Sir, here’s a tract. I’d like to invite you to church. I’d like to tell you how you can know you are going to Heaven,” I don’t care what denomination you are from, I’m going to compliment you. That person cares about you, they really do. But if you go to a church, and you never see people from that church witness to anybody, I’m going to say it again. It shouldn’t have the title of a church. It should be called a social club. They don’t care about individuals, only about getting members into their social club, not about getting born-again believers into their church. It’s been a long time since anyone has witnessed to me.
- In this particular period of time, there were great missionaries and Bible teachers.
- Many great missionary societies were started.
Johnathan Goforth - Canadian Presbyterian Mission
Johnathan Goforth was the first Canadian Presbyterian missionary to China with the Canadian Presbyterian Mission, along with his wife, Rosalind Goforth. He became the foremost missionary revivalist in early 20th Century China, and helped to establish revivalism, as a major element, in Protestant China missions. (en.wikipedia.org)
My wife and I are just going through, for about the third time, “Johnny Goforth’s” autobiography, written by his wife. He experienced one of the saddest things that could happen to one of God’s servants. This man, and his wife, spent about fifty years in China doing a tremendous work! He led thousands of Chinese people to Christ. He did a great work, but when he came back to his home Presbyterian Church in Canada, it broke his heart. He had left a church that was thriving for the Lord Jesus Christ. They were missionary-minded. They sent money to reach the lost. They supported him when he went to China. He came back and found it was a dead church. They had almost done away with their missionary support. It broke his heart!
However, in China, he had led so many of the Chinese people to the Lord, that they built churches of their own over there. The men in those Chinese churches began to train missionaries. Believe it or not, they sent money back to the Presbyterian Church in Canada! This was the result of his fifty year ministry in China.
Mr. Goforth was quite a man. Yes, you may never have heard of him, but you should get the autobiography, written by his wife about her husband, and read it. It will be an inspiration to you. Johnny Goforth. A very eloquent man. A very intelligent man. I believe he lived to be 78 years old. He was one of the great missionaries of that time.
Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission. The First Independent Faith Missionary.
Taylor first went out with the Chinese Evangelization Society, which ran out of money in 1857. Taylor resigned, and became an independent missionary, trusting God to meet his needs. He was the first faith missionary, and established the China Inland Mission, believing that God could be trusted to supply the money.
Because there continued to be so many Chinese to reach, Taylor was criticized by other missionaries when he sent unmarried women into the interior. He never asked others to do what he would not do himself. He was a man of faith. In 1881, he asked God for another 70 missionaries by the close of 1884. He got 76. In late 1886, Taylor prayed for another 100 within a year. By November 1887, he announced 102 candidates had been accepted for service.
"China is not to be won for Christ by quiet, ease-loving men and women," he wrote. "The stamp of men and women we need is such as will put Jesus, China, [and] souls first, and foremost, in everything and at every time—even life itself must be secondary."
His new mission, which he called the China Inland Mission (CIM), had a number of distinctive features, including this: its missionaries would have no guaranteed salaries, nor could they appeal for funds. They would simply trust God to supply their needs. Furthermore, its missionaries would adopt Chinese dress, and then press the gospel into the China interior. He, himself, dressed in Chinese clothes and grew a pigtail (as Chinese men did). This was quite a shock to other missionaries, but Hudson Taylor’s ways, which others rebuked as radical, resulted in thousands of Chinese people being saved. He also translated the Bible into Chinese.
He worked hard and had absolute trust in God, and, though he never solicited funds, the mission prospered. He inspired thousands to forsake the comforts of the West to bring the Christian message to the vast and unknown interior of China. Though mission work in China was interrupted by the communist takeover in 1949, the CIM continues to this day under the name Overseas Missionary Fellowship (International).
- You find also that your YMCA movement was started during this period of time.
- Men like George Whitfield came to America and began to preach. Many souls were saved as a result. You had men like John, and Charles Wesley. You had men like Dwight L. Moody, and Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
If you have never heard of these men, you ought to get their biographies. See what some of these men accomplished who dedicated their lives, along with their wives, to winning souls for the Lord Jesus Christ.
When men can do great things for the Lord like that, it is a tragedy we still have Christians, sitting right in this area, too ashamed of Christ to witness for Him, because they fear they will lose their social standing. They are so afraid of hurting their image, that they will not even talk about Jesus Christ.
This was the era when men went out to win other people to Christ, because they loved them. Let me tell you this. We get this so mixed up in our minds with a false philosophy. Anybody that will give you a tract and witness to you that…
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
… is not a cult religion, my Friend. They care about where you are going to spend eternity.
Let me challenge you. When is the last time you witnessed to somebody for Jesus Christ. Do you know how to lead someone to Jesus Christ? Do you know what verse to go to? Do you know what John 3:16 says? Do you know what John 6:47 says, or John 5:24, or, John 11, or, the Resurrection Chapter in 1 Corinthians 15, or 1 John 5:13?
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
We are going to move on from the Church of Philadelphia, the true church, the church that was really winning people to Christ, to the backslidden church, the church of “the people’s rights,” the Church of Laodicea.
This is the last of the seven churches, and it means “the people’s rights.” It was straying away from the spiritual leadership of the Bible, and returning to the philosophies of men. Let us notice in Revelation 3:17,
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”
However, their opinion of themselves did not coincide with God’s opinion of them. They were filled full of pride. Everything was going good in Laodicea, they thought, but God said, “On the inside, you are really spiritually bankrupt!” There was just nothing there. They thought they were rich. They thought they were wealthy, but they were dead. This is what you call “dead Protestantism.”
This church covers a period of time in Church History from about 1910 until the Rapture. We begin in Revelation 3:14,
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (14) I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. (Revelation 3:14,15)
They’re not hot. They’re not cold. This was the kind of church they had in Laodicea. It was a church where they were backslidden. They could not stand to see the Lord, face to face, because of their guilty conscience. They had sold the Lord right straight down the drain. They weren’t hot, and they weren’t cold. In other words, they were undependable. They were not someone you could count on. They could only be counted on if they were with a certain group; and, then, they borrowed everybody else’s backbone. They didn’t have any of their own.
We try to teach young people to develop their own character. You do things the way God wants you to do, and let the losers go. You don’t have to run with this crowd at school that wants to go out and drink and “souse” it up, doing things that are immoral, and having no respect for anyone. These are the ones that just want to run “ram shod” over everything, and everyone. Let ‘em go! Let ‘em go! They think they have everything now, but they will end up with nothing.
This is what the church of Laodicea was filled full of—people with no character. It covers a period of time from about 1910 up until the Rapture. You are living in this time right now, in this Church Age, where its hard to find people with character anymore. You used to be able to shake someone’s hand and know that what they had promised would be done. It’s hard to find people who keep their word anymore.
The values of America have been so undermined by your modernistic philosophers and your educators. Their advice is, “You just do your own thing.” But in Revelation 3:15, God says,
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot”
The point I am trying to make here is, that we are living in the Laodicean period, a time when there are going to be no values. They are decreasing at a landslide pace.
I heard a man comment on a radio program recently. He was talking about wearing a hat. I don’t know how he happened to get on this subject, other than he was saying, “We have no principles or respect in America anymore. None! We’re not teaching our children how to behave.” I said to myself: “O-o-oh, Mister, If I could only talk to you a minute. We’re in the Laodicean Age. God prophesied that this is the way it is going to be, because the values are gone.” Do you know what he said? “I would never think of going in a restaurant and sitting and eating with my hat on!” This was just one of the principles that he brought out. Then, he gave a word of advice to teenagers. “If you teenage girls ever go out with some clod (That’s what he called them, just old clods.) that has no manners, and does not know how to treat a young lady, would not open a door for her, and, especially, if he has not learned to take off his hat inside the house or inside a restaurant—you better dump this loser right off the bat! You’re going to have problems with this guy functioning in society. He doesn’t know anything about how to operate in a social world.”
You are seeing these things right before your eyes, and God wrote it clear back here in 96 A.D.
- “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods,” God tells them, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich;” “You think you’re rich, but you have nothing.” Notice in Revelation 3:18,
“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
- “Anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” In other words, get your eyes open! You’re not always going to function in a little town that is your little comfort zone. There are other places in the world. Brother, if your mother and father, or your church, doesn’t teach you principles, you’ll never be able to leave the small town you come from, because other places will not accept you. You cannot go into respectable places, and not take your hat off. People will laugh at you behind your back. You can’t go, and walk in ahead of your wife, and not exercise manners. You just walk in, and leave her to struggle in behind you the best way she can. That’s not tolerated in a social world. But we’re in a world where all of those things are deteriorating. They have no value.
There’s no value on human life, anymore. None! We do not have the death penalty. I know you have seen the sign that says, “The most dangerous place for a baby to be is in a mother’s womb.” It is a true saying. We have disintegrated so much that we call the wrong things right. At this writing, the Supreme Court has just ruled same-sex marriage legal. We have homosexuals demanding rights. They are perverts, that is exactly what they are! They are perverts, and they will pervert your children. They have an abnormal lifestyle, and they go against God’s way of creation. They defy God, as God tells us in Romans,
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:27)
Now, they are exerting pressure to make America like the Sodom and Gomorrah that God has destroyed, because of the Sodomites and their sin. We are now calling it “Right!” Have we been brainwashed, satanically, to go against the principles that God has laid down? The Laodicean Church did. It surely did, and so are we in America!
We’re “wishy-washy” on everything. We’re “not hot, we’re not cold.” “I don’t want to take a stand on anything, because I might offend someone.” We have Christians like that. I thank God for Christians that say, “Hey, I want to tell you what I believe.” Whenever you call a pastor on the phone and ask, “What do you believe about this?” And you get an answer like this, “Well, now…you could take that several ways,” there is someone who is “neither hot nor cold.” I would rather have a pastor tell me, “This is exactly what I believe.”
It amazes me that a pastor will firmly take a stand on, “You can’t get to Heaven unless you have good works!” Then some guy will die, who is the most hateful drunk in town, and they’ll try to preach him into Heaven at the funeral. That is about as two-faced a situation as I have ever seen, and that comes from preachers!
Are we in a “hot or cold” era? No! We’re in a lukewarm period. That preacher will say anything in order to not offend anybody, so he can be the “good joe” around town. You couldn’t trust a preacher like that any further than you could throw him, could you? He’s in the Laodicean Age. He’s a Liberal; therefore he will say what you want to hear so that he won’t offend you in any way and lose a member out of his church. All of this is characteristic of what is going on today.
When it comes to murder, we think more of the murderer than the victims. You will find in kidnaps and rapes, consequences are lacking. One lady put two children in a car and sent it down into a pond, but we don’t think that’s severe enough for the death penalty! What we’re saying to the criminal is, “You can go ahead and murder someone, and still live.” We have no value on life. We have more value on the murderer, by letting them live, than we do on the one whose life was taken. We have more value on the offender, than we do on the offended. If we didn’t, we might render a verdict of capital punishment.
What I am saying, here, will be offensive to the liberal pastors of your town. They will say anything to appease you, but God ordains capital punishment. But, being in the Laodicean Age, now, we find out capital punishment doesn’t exist. That’s why the criminal can walk down the streets safely, and the people who are honest will get murdered, and raped, and shot. In a lot of cases, the offender will be back on the street within months. Almost every day in Minneapolis, Minnesota, you hear that some teenager shot this one, or some teenager shot that one. If you execute capital punishment, you won’t have that. Then the educated philosophers come in, those that I call educated idiots. Anytime you go against the Word of God, you’re an idiot. You may project yourself to be educated with a degree, but that degree should have “Idiot” stamped on it, because…
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psalm 14:1)
God laughs at your phony wisdom. God laughs at your phony philosophy. We’re walking through this old world here, and there’s danger on every side, Folks. Some nut may pass you in a car, roll down the window, start shooting at you, and kill everyone in the car. We live in a crazy society today where there is no law. We’ve handcuffed the policeman, instead of the policeman handcuffing the criminals. We’ve said, “If you go into a place without a search warrant and you see twenty pounds of cocaine, you can’t take it.” Are we nuts? I believe society and our laws need a complete overhaul to protect the innocent, and start convicting the guilty! I feel sorry for the policeman. We ought to, more than anything, respect our police force and policemen. They try their best to do their jobs, in spite of having their hands so handcuffed by a bunch of idiots in government passing ridiculous laws, which are immediately enforced by the Supreme Court.
I’ll tell you my position. I pray for our local policemen that we have. I pray for our Sheriff’s Department. I really do. They have a dangerous job. They can get shot and, if you want the truth, not a whole lot of people are going to care. It takes a lot of courage to be in their position, today, the way the Supreme Court does. The way the prosecutors do, when they don’t want to prosecute. It may take a feather out of their hat if they don’t win a case, because they may be heading for a judgeship somewhere. “After all, if I would take a questionable case, even if I know, and you know, the person may be guilty, I am not going to risk losing a case. I want to be able to go on record as saying to the Minneapolis Tribune, ‘I have been a prosecutor and I have never lost a case.’”
Yeah…that’s because you don’t have enough backbone to take some that you should prosecute, because you want a sure thing. What that really means is that you are a spineless, gutless prosecutor. I’m not saying that about our local one. I’m saying that about any prosecutor. Being on a police force for a large number of years, I’ve seen prosecutors do that, and I’ve seen prosecutors today doing the same thing. It is no wonder we do not have law and order the way we should.
If you did not know that before, it is good that you find that out. Perhaps you know of someone who should be prosecuted, but the prosecutor is not doing so. You can pay him a visit and remind him that, “Mister, you can be voted out! Why don’t you do your job? Are you getting paid off? What’s the problem?” You can find out what is really going on. Without the prosecution of crime, and without the police department, you and I don’t have a chance! Truthfully, I’m a little sick and tired of seeing the hands of the policemen tied. I’d like to see them have liberty to prosecute the criminals, instead of finding some technicality to get them off. Wouldn’t you?
“Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth” (Habakkuk 1:4).
“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
Why is America in the mess that it is in today? America thinks it is rich, but it is spiritually bankrupt. They are neither “cold nor hot,” and will not take a stand. Their philosophers, in their human wisdom, think they see, but in reality, they are blind.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:”
I am applying this verse, generally, to the age we’re living in, but Christ is also speaking to Christians who have departed from the Word of God, departed from the faith, and have walked out on the Lord Jesus Christ.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and CHASTEN… be zealous therefore, and repent (change your mind).”
You need to change your mind about what you are doing and where you are headed.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
This verse is not about salvation, as many have taught, but rather about fellowship. 1 John 1:6-10 is like a short commentary on Revelation 3:20, explaining what Christ is trying to get the Christian to do for fellowship. I have heard myriads of preachers use this verse for salvation, which is incorrect. It is speaking of fellowship, not son-ship. “Sup” means to sit down and have “fellowship.” “I will sup with him, and he with me.” Christ is saying, “I want you to open up and allow my Word to have control of your life, so that it can be productive.” The Lord said,
“…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).
I will say this honestly, probably of all the counseling that we do, most people—not all, now—bring their problems and troubles on themselves. It is totally unnecessary, and only happens because they refuse to do what God asks them to do as a Christian.
Parents, bring your children to church. Children never forget and, years later, they’ll say, “I wish Mommy and Daddy would have brought me.” These days, the parents don’t even send them! When the kids get into trouble, what the parents don’t understand is, the children really wanted parents that cared enough to lead the way. When you lead the way, you take your children by the hand, and you walk first. You bring them into church. If you really cared about your children, you would go to church with them every Sunday morning you are physically able.
However, most pastors and Sunday School workers are glad to have your children come to church any way they can. Many churches have large bus ministries, just to transport children to Sunday School.
Parents, if you think you can just let your child go and do whatever he, or she, wants to do, you are being very foolish. (Ephesians 6:1-3). The Lord, also, says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
But you have to give them a foundation, Parents, or they’ll have nothing to build upon except their own lustful desires. God holds you responsible. Teach your child the things of the Lord.
God, in His grace, allows Christians to go on, but only for a season! They can enjoy sin for a season...
“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” (Hebrews 11:25)
…then, God comes down with His chastening hand. He may have to take one of your children. He may have to inflict physical sickness upon you. It may take an accident of some kind. Who knows? But you’ve brainwashed yourself so much that you think nothing can happen. God loves me, and I can rebel against God, and nothing will happen. Are you ever deceived! Satan really got hold of you, didn’t he? Then, when “all Hell breaks loose,” or God just takes His hand off and says, “All right! Live your miserable life the way you want to!” After you have invited the problems and they begin to come, who are you going to blame?
He still thinks enough of you to say, “Behold, I stand at the door… I stand here, spiritually speaking, at the door, but you’ve pushed me outside.” Yes, the Holy Spirit is there, but you’ve quenched the Holy Spirit. There’s no more conviction because your heart is so hardened, and your sin is so great. I can’t penetrate that hard person who once was a faithful Christian. Now, you are just like a rock. But I still stand here, waiting for you to ask for help in your time of need.”
Well, tomorrow may be the day when the Lord’s patience runs out, and He sees that discipline is the only thing that will bring you back to Him. He’s going to have to grab you by the seat of the pants, and turn you inside out. Most of you reading this right now are probably saying, “That will never happen to me!”
But, today, Christ is saying, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Please, please come back to me. There’s heartache ahead that you never dreamed of. I know that there will be trials and testings ahead. I’ll help you through those, but you’re bringing heartache upon yourself.” Hear the Lord’s plea again,
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (21) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (22).
In conclusion, no one can do anything except teach the Word of God. This last church, the Church of Laodicea, is the culmination of the time before Chapter Four. Then, we will see a door open into Heaven, picturing the Rapture of the Church, when all the Christians are going to be taken up and disappear in a “moment, in a twinkling of eye.”
Maybe something I’ve said has spoken to you today. Maybe God is trying to talk to you, before His chastening hand comes down. He’s trying to say, “Look, I love you so much that I bought you with a price. I want you to come back. Let my Word have a place in your heart. Start living in a manner that’s conducive to a Christian life. I’ve come that you ‘might have life and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10). Get some happiness in your life. Get away from people that are always a ‘downer.’ Get away from people who are always griping and complaining. Get around some people who are witnessing. Get in a good church that has a good spirit in it, and where you can be happy and enjoy yourself.” That’s what God wants you to do.
If you’ve never received Christ as your Savior, I hope that you’ll do it today, before it is forever too late. Your sins are all paid for. Your home in Heaven is already purchased, and Christ offers you residence for eternity as a free gift.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (8) Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
“For we know that if our Earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.“ (2 Corinthians 5:8).