Saturday, 11 January 2014

LUKEWARM IN LAODICEA / THE PARABLE OF CANTRE'R GWAELOD.


"Unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write... I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."
(Revelation 3:14-16)

The Lukewarm Church

The Laodicean Church had problems. Big ones. Have you ever poured yourself a glass of squash, only to find that because the "Cold" had not been run for long enough after using the "Hot", you ended up with a mouthful of tepid liquid. Was your instinct to spit it out immediately? This is exactly the reaction that Jesus Himself conveys in this graphic indictment of that part of His Church which resided in Laodicea. 

The biggest problem you can have is perhaps being in denial that you have a problem in the first place. A lack of admission automatically leads to the lack of a solution. This was the case with the misguided Laodiceans. Look at the next verse:

"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."
(Revelation 3:17)

Their perceptions were all wrong. Let's put some flesh on the bare bones, and examine the background to this story, for in so doing the stark contrast between the Lord's and the Laodiceans' expectations becomes very apparent. 

Increased With Goods (or "Bads?")

The city of Laodicea was noted as being a centre for:
  • Banking.
  • Black woollen clothes.
  • Medicines, including eye-ointment.
As a financial and manufacturing metropolis, Laodicea had "status". This "status," as Jesus emphasized, was of a worldly and not of a spiritual nature. He urged them to change their mind-set, and put their faith in more important commodities:
  • The richness of the Gospel of grace, rather than monetary gain.
  • White (spiritual) raiment, instead of the black (sinful) raiment they were so proud of.
  • The "eyesalve" of the Spirit of Truth, to allow them to see the eternal things of God rather than the transient things of this world. 
"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."
(Revelation 3:18)

The Laodiceans just couldn't see it. Or perhaps it was just that they didn't want to. It all comes down to a question of emphasis. God acknowledges that we require a certain level of material things while we are in this world:

"Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of."
(Matthew 6:8)

The point is that we bring nothing into this world with us when we arrive, and we will definitely take nothing out of it either, when we depart! Everything we have is temporal: it is on short-term loan only! Majoring on materialism is a grave mistake:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth... But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
(Matthew 6:19-21)

We can all quote, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."  (Matthew 6:24). Regrettably, we cannot all take it to heart.


Why Exactly Was Laodicea "Lukewarm?"

There are three possibilities:

1

It was originally heated to a high temperature, but then cooled off. In other words, they were "on fire" for the Lord once, but their initial enthusiasm wore off.

2

It was never heated above a low temperature in the first place. In other words, they never made much more than a token commitment.

3

It ran mixer-taps.

Mixer-Taps?

Consider. These Laodicians knew, and had accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The term "church" refers to believers, and believers alone. Yet the Lord rebuked them in the strongest terms. To understand precisely why they incurred His deepest displeasure we might use the analogy of mixer-taps...

Mixer-taps by definition mix the cold and hot water to give a temperature somewhere in between.

In spiritual terms, if we think of the "C" of the "Cold" as standing for "Carnal" and the "H" of the "Hot" as standing for "Holy" we can perhaps more clearly see what was happening in Laodicea. Their faith was being severely compromised by their attempted fusion of righteousness and worldliness.

Like oil and water, they don't mix. The things of God are the things of God, and the things of the world are the things of the world. Period.


"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
(Isaiah 55:8-9) 



The Compromising Church

In Laodicea, compromise was the order of the day. Words are wonderful things. Let's consider where the word "compromise" comes from. It stems from the Latin word "compromissum":

compromissum n. mutual agreement to abide by an arbitrator's decision. 
(Collins Latin Gem Dictionary).

Consider. God's Word says quite clearly:

"There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
(1 Timothy 2:5)

The "compromissum", or mutual agreement between God and men, brokered by the only arbitrator available - Jesus Christ - is that of salvation by faith. The Father's great compromise is that instead of facing the utter condemnation which our sins deserve, we can receive unconditional forgiveness and inherit eternal life through our repentance and the acceptance of the Son.

This is Righteousness. Everything else is Wrongeousness! (Yes, I did just invent that word!) Jesus' approval is everything!

The Laodicean Church certainly did not have His approval! It is clear, then, that their "compromissum" or mutual agreement was not between God and men. And if not between God and men, it could only be between Satan and men, and brokered by someone other than Jesus Christ, some mere mortal usurping the position that only He can rightfully hold!

Just as in Elijah's day, men were attempting a fusion of the holy and the profane. Israel would worship Baal on the high places, and then go to the Temple to worship Yahweh. It didn't work, of course, but it didn't stop them trying. It was a practice nauseating to the Almighty in Elijah's time, in Laodicea's time, and also IN OUR OWN TIME!

The 21st. Century Laodicea

Laodicea, the seventh Church of Asia, models the seventh and final Age of the Gentile Church.

This is not just some kind of academic study. This is a terrible warning to the Church today, to get its act together once and for all, or face the awful consequences of disobedience: being spat out of the Saviour's mouth!

"Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
(Matthew 10:16)

Let's not deceive ourselves. The Church today mirrors exactly the Church of 1st. Century Laodicea. Now, as then, greed is seen as godliness, God's blessings are measured in terms of personal possessions; the Gospel of grace has been displaced by a gospel of gain. The biggest "names" in the pulpit today are Prosperity teachers, the "name it and claim it" brigade who dominate so-called "Christian" broadcasting. It is sad, and it is bad.

Naturally, this was all foreseen by our omniscient God:

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
(2 Timothy 4:3-4) 
Itchy-eared people today want to have them tickled by teachers giving them words they want to hear, not words which question the flesh and properly feed the spirit. This is why "fables" like the Word-Faith movement with its "Prosperity" teaching, Dominionism, Purpose Driven, the Toronto Curse (yes, Curse not Blessing!) and its offshoot "outpourings," Restorationism/New Apostolic Reformation/Third Wave, etc., have gained such a hold. Men and women have lost the wisdom and the discernment - and not least the desire -  to test the spirits.

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God."
(1 John 4:1)

The most effective lie is the one which contains elements of the truth. So it is with these heinous false teachers who have set out to seize control of the Church, who run their mixer-taps of holiness and carnality and fill our cups with their vile lukewarm water, in which spiritual bacteria breeds bountifully.

The Spirit of Truth is One of 100% Truth. Anything less than 100% means it is the spirit of error, and comes not from God but from the Abyss. Even 99.9% truth means 0.1% lie and so cannot be of God! Even that 0.1% has huge import, for as the Scriptures affirm, not once but twice for emphasis:

"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
(1 Corinthians 5:6 and Galatians 5:9) 

The Enemy has been on both sides of the counter. He knows exactly how to make - and sell - counterfeit goods!

The boundaries have become blurred, and the eye salve of the Lord increasingly rejected in favour of the Laodicean fake.

I heard a report of increasing concerns about unregulated medicines being available for purchase, and the need for us to exercise caution and be aware of exactly what we are taking. How much more should we be aware of what we are taking in the spiritual realm, where the long-term effects may not bear thinking about! 

Friends, please ask yourselves this question, and give an honest answer. Which eye salve are you anointing your eyes with?


The Parable of Cantre'r Gwaelod


Here in Wales we have a legend you might have heard of.

There was once a low-lying land called Cantre'r Gwaelod, protected from the sea by a dyke which had flood-gates. One night the drunken gatekeeper Seithenyn left the flood-gates open; the sea swept in, and the land was lost.

The many false teachers in the Church today are just like the inebriated Seithenyn. They are intoxicated with the things of this world, and the flood-gates of Truth have been left open for the sea of lies to rush in unchecked. The fertile land, the Body and Bride of Christ, is being lost to the hungry waves of heresy.

Beware:
"In the last days perilous times shall come."
(2 Timothy 3:1)
 
It is said that the church-bells of Cantre'r Gwaelod still ring out in times of danger.

This article has stretched out a hand to pull the bell-rope. Please heed the warning, before it's too late!

We can deceive ourselves. We can deceive others. But we can't deceive the Lord. As He has said: "I know thy works."



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"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."

(2 Timothy 4:2)

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