“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” Revelation 3:17 NLT
This sounds eerily similar to the church in America. As Americans, we have fine cars, nice homes, plush yards, restaurants on practically every corner, grocery stores, shopping malls, lake and beach properties, more clothes than we can wear, the latest gadgets of technology, and much more. However, we are #1 in illiteracy, drug use, divorce, violent crime, teenage pregnancy, and approximately 24 million children live in homes without a father. How can this be when we have churches on virtually every corner of our local communities? There is something seriously wrong with this picture. We are giving our children so many toys that we can't walk into their bedroom because of the clutter. We give our children video games, smart phones, and expensive vehicles. It's hard for me to imagine how a parent can give their 16 year old an expensive automobile to drive to school. We have lost our minds! We give them I-Phones and I-Pads but not the I Am. We have fully grown adults that spend more time on Facebook than seeking the face of God. We entertain in our churches rather than intercede. We are playing religion rather than praying for revival. We have supper halls filled with those who want to eat and yet we can't get a half dozen congregants to show up for prayer time. We have padded pews and callous hearts. We have climate controlled environments and out of control character. We have short sermons and long movies. We throw pennies in the offering plate and spend thousands on our pleasures. We say we can't afford to tithe, yet we live so high on the hog. We have plenty in our purse but nothing in our person. We have religion in our head but no salvation in our heart. I submit to you that we are just like Laodicea!! We need immediate and absolute repentance. I, too, have been the recipient of these things, but my heart aches when I see so many classify themselves as followers of Christ and yet I don't see the fruit borne forth in their lives. True followers of Christ don't have to be asked if they are going to church this week or if they are serving the church. Genuine faith results in authentic action. Those who are the church understand that they are a part of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. We are privileged and honored to serve. Are you a church goer or are you the church going? Jesus knows all about each of us and He calls us to so much more than congregate on a certain day of the week and call ourselves the church. The church is not a routine or a tradition. The church is the very institution of God placed here on the earth to represent Him. Our agenda doesn't matter, but His does! Our preferences and traditions are irrelevant if they aren't in line with His Word and under His Lordship. It is high time, in our nation, for the church to take a long, hard look at itself and let Jesus reveal what condition we are truly in. Are we just like Laodicea? In many ways, I believe so. Our only hope is to hear the voice of Jesus and submit to His Word! We must recognize that many churches, cities, and nations have existed in the past, only to lie in ruins in the present. Why? They lost their sight of God! No matter how blessed our nation has been, we are no better than previous generations. We, too, stand in the hour of decision. “Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the Lord will soon arrive.” Joel 3:14 NLT Just because we suppose ourselves right with God doesn't mean that we are exactly where we need to be. We can't assess ourselves by ourselves. We can even assess ourselves in comparison to the culture. “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12 NASB We must assess ourselves in Christ and Christ alone. Lord Jesus, the church belongs to You! We truly want to be Your church, not ours!! Will you pray this prayer right now? "God, our nation is in deep trouble. Our communities are ravaged by the wickedness of evil men. Our homes are in shambles. Our churches are cold and indifferent. In the name of Jesus, forgive my sin, expose the condition of my heart and the church I attend, and restore us to our holy calling. May I truly know that I am saved through Jesus Christ my Lord. Help me see things through Your eyes, feel them with Your heart, and hear them with Your ears. Help me be the salt and light as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Rev. Curtis Norris