Monday, August 15, 2011
THE CHURCH AT LAODICEA: THE DECAYING CHURCH
Reverend Alvin pushed himself to wake up almost every morning. It was Saturday and having a late night Friday’s celebration in a five-star hotel for a member’s new business didn’t help. He had enjoyed all kinds of celebrations over the years as a pastor in this classy church located in a famous boulevard. His favourite theme of all his preaching series was “God is Rich and Able” and he presented them ever so convincingly. It was not a warm church as it used to be when it was first started. As church goers began to prosper and their lifestyle changed, the members began to disassociate themselves with the poorer section of the community. They came only for the positive messages that Alvin expounded with the help of some selected Bible verses to suit their rich and exquisite taste. Reverend Alvin even declared in the pulpit one time that the poor people really had missed God, just a little short in saying that God had judged them for their lack of faith. Some pastors around the vicinity had spoken and advised him but all to no avail. Alvin had a group of powerful rich deacons with him who gave him advice even on what to share on Sundays.
As he was about to freshen up in the bathroom, a bright light shone on him. He quickly covered up his nakedness and knelt down shivering.
A strong voice spoke…
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 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. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."*
Alvin clasped his hands to his face in shame. He felt so awful that he cried in repentance. It was more of tears of relieve that God showed him his disastrous faults. He began to confess his sins before God and promised to make it right. That day, he read the Bible to purely build relationship with God again rather than dissecting them for his preaching. And his eyes fell upon Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
*The verses above are taken from Revelation 3:14-22.
This ends the series, The Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation. Please feel free to check out the previous stories of the six other churches in this series.