Cold, Hot and In The Middle – 12-5-22

I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” Revelation 3:8 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:                                                                   

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of The Revelation of Christ, chapter 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).

The Dead Church

“And to the [a]angel of the church in Sardis write,

‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before [b]God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. [c]You have a few names [d]even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

The Faithful Church

“And to the [e]angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, [f]and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept [g]My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 [h]Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

The Lukewarm Church

14 “And to the [i]angel of the church [j]of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither [k]cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.[l] Therefore be [m]zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Jesus and John are still giving messages to the churches – and even the best message so far shows that ALL of us need work. On one hand John seems to tell us in his letters – that it is possible to overcome sin completely, while Paul speaks of it more as an eternal struggle and then played out in the early church (since you and I are not the likes of Paul or John and more like a preacher, teacher, prophet, evangelist or member from the 1st century church) we see they all and we all can use some work on our relationships with Christ.

The message about losing your first love (to Ephesus) ALWAYS strikes resonance with me – I never want to lose that. I pray often that God can help me maintain it. I live in an economically and love depressed area in New York. No one can afford anything and no one can keep love going in this area – knowing we are under that principality, and watching everyone around me fall out of love with Christ, you’d see there is reason it hits home for me. I have been chewing on this book all weekend.

I was also thinking I could have been more direct about the church at Pergamos – their sin was their compromise and acceptance of compromise. They tolerated. This is really a big deal in the modern church.
Having left the church and came back… I came back to black sanctuaries, light shows, fog machines and song services having left a bright cheerful sanctuary with a worship service.  I was in darkness… I did not need more darkness. In HIM there is NO darkness. Light cannot fellowship with darkness! Someone PLEASE take the black dirty sin out of the sanctuary!!! I am running from darkness and death into the glorious light!!! I did not need a church that was more like the world – I needed something different. I tried the world and it DID NOT work! I needed God. I still need God. I need HIM desperately and the compromise is like a rope holding us back as we try to flee sin! We cannot win until we let God make us a new creature and surrender to the light! (The black and dark paint on your walls is not the problem, but I have never seen a sanctuary with dark – that did not have a problem with hidden sins! And they will be exposed. It is like the fig leaf trying to hide the nakedness.)

Before we get off track – let us dig into the reading for today; starting with the dead church:

1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’”

This church has good works and to some the symptoms of life – but God knows the heart. They may have hit the snooze button too many times and fallen into deep sleep…. The deepest: aka dead. There are a few in that church who are really living this out. But for the most part – they do good, because that is what they are supposed to do. It is not because of love or calling or a true obedience, but because they are in a rut that has killed them.  Prophets and evangelist walk in and speak over the bones to live – and they sign, hit the snooze button and roll over and go back to bed. They don’t even have watchmen who can stir them awake when the hour is near – THE HOUR IS NEAR!! SO MUCH MORE NEAR THAN MOST THINK! Did Sardis ever wake up? Did those people make it to heaven? We can pray outside of time for them and their souls to make it, but what about the church down the street, or the one around the corner? How many local churches are there and how many are dead? I just looked on Google and within 4 miles of my house are 25 google registered churches. Now to tell if they are alive? This area has a disproportionate homeless population per capita, and are fighting an outside Christian organization who is coming in trying to expand its services to the homeless. (I guess they think it is better to leave them on the streets.) This area has the highest population of mental health needs out of any other county in NY. This area has the highest levels of welfare recipients outside of New York City – and the food pantry (not run by a local church) struggles to meet the needs. I am going to say it: the local church is dead and failing these people!!! God placed me in a position of need and very few have reached out to meet it and those who did were also in need. A LARGE POPULATION IN THE MODERN CHURCH ARE DEAD! Zombies! Useless to the Kingdom and to God. It is a terrible truth.

What should the church look like?

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

In stark contrast the church that is doing it – Jesus doesn’t talk about their works specifically, because it is NOT ABOUT WORKS. They have little strength, humbly acknowledge it – yet serve meekly. THEREFORE God opens the doors for them, God multiplies their work, And God gets all the glory and perpetuates His kingdom through them!
The warning to hold fast to your crown is not a warning about hanging onto a reward for doing good as much as it is a very real warning about the level of spiritual warfare going on to destroy them and their activities that further the kingdom! The reward in heaven is great because there is more on earth to overcome.
So, if you are in the dead church and overcome – do not get proud that you are not asleep… it is a little thing to overcome and be awake, let that be your boot camp training. If you move into the Philadelphian Church – then, yes then you will understand overcoming a real spiritual warfare and the fight to survive and overcome.

Finally, for those who are not dead or alive. To those who are so complacent, they don’t even care about compromise – they neither tolerate nor confront it. They may have a Jezebel in their church, but they insist that if they do not acknowledge witches and curses and demons – they cannot hurt of have power over them. Yes – the church in the absolute worst state is the church in Laodicea.

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’”

The modern global “church” has been vexed with many of the issues from all of the churches… especially this.  As I visit many churches and have the opportunity to speak with so many Christian at so many churches, I have learned that they all say their pastors do not feed them, because they have outgrown their pastors and so they watch online churches to get fed – then list a bunch of false prophets as their food source! Gasp! As I sit in their services and hear the preaching and think – why are they refusing to humble themselves to this, it is sound teaching. But week after week, the pastor and guest speaker speak and they never apply the messages. They say – it is not for me; I am not wretched, miserable, poor, blind or naked. But we all are and cannot be made righteous except through our humility and faith which would permit us to receive that message as well as the deeper messages yet.

We are surrounded by Laodiceans! We could possibly be one ourselves. Let us remain humble and recognize we may be surrounded by members from many of these churches – or we could be a member of one of these churches ourselves. Please take the time to be honest with yourself – bring it to the light and deal with it – have ears to hear and repent to get back on track.

As you can see – revelation is NOT that scary or difficult. Now, when people read this book a couple hundred year ago, a few things seems difficult to understand – like the whole world instantly knowing something. Now a days we are shocked when it takes a full day for news to get to us. AND Jesus does a GREAT job of explaining everything! Sometimes you have to keep reading and we might get the explanation in a day or two. Luckily – I have read this book before, so we shouldn’t get off track (I know what the explanations are). The biggest sign of our time in history and how very late it is – is how much easier this book is for us to read and understand. John, being so much more primitive must have been overwhelmed by visions of our modern world. He could easily get lost trying with his vocabulary to describe a crystal city that lights up at night – and having no sky scrapers or electric lights it must have seemed like magic. When you and I could say: sounds like New York City, Minneapolis, San Francisco or even Dubai.

So I hope, now that it seems less scary – that you will continue with us studying this book.

***

I also wanted to remind and inform all of you, that instead of writing a book on fasting (since it is the topic I get asked the most about) I have created a Facebook group that is designed to be interactive and give you all the Bible verses on fasting, all the types of fast, and how to fast. In the group are specialist to help us along the way, like the creator of The Fasting Protocol (fasting for health and weight loss; which is part of fasting and important to know about – He can also speak to fasting in a healthy manner). The group is new and other experts are invited, I am hopeful they will join. So let’s join the group and see what we will learn about prayer and fasting. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/509149707741862

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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