We love Christ’s loving and pleasant promises, but what about His frightening ones? + weekly news


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Most Christians love God’s promises. In them we find encouragement and hope, but what about Christ’s other promises—the ones that bring condemnation. Yes, there are such promises, and they are found in Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation. Here are revealed “the things that are” (Rev. 1:19). These chapters are for us today (Rev. 3:22).

The Church at Laodicea

In a previous post I discussed the problems and the warning to the Church at Laodicea. Last week we looked briefly at how the church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7) had left its first love—genuine affection for Jesus. By the time we read of the church at Laodicea, we find Jesus doing the leaving. He had abandoned this church but was calling out individuals from that church to become members of His Church. In Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, he ends by directing the Colossians to make sure his letter was also read to the Laodiceans. Colossians is all about the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ. Yet, even with this clear teaching directly from the great Paul, the church there spurned Christ’s sufficiency and became self-sufficient, uninterested in what Christ was making available to them. Christ wasn’t needed or wanted, so He walked away.

Christ’s Frightening Promise

At least the church at Ephesus still had a chance. Here’s where we find Christ’s not so warm and fuzzy promise that applies to us. If they would not repent, He promised to remove their lampstand—no longer see them as a legitimate church. This is a promise today’s churches must take seriously. Today I’d like to look at how this promise and the sad states of our nation and our churches are related. I believe the Church at Laodicea offers some clues for why things are as they are in America.

Starting Well, Ending Poorly

As a Democratic Republic, we are supposed to be a society based on the rule of law with democratically elected representatives. We started well because our laws were largely based on the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. Our nation today is a mess, and a quote from John Adams explains why:

There is no government armed with power which is capable of continuing with human passion if those passions aren’t bridled by morality and religion…Our constitution was made for a moral and a religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Clearly, we are no longer a moral or a religious people, so what else can we expect? But what about our churches? Too many churches are just like the church at Laodicea. The name “Laodicea” is derived from two Greek words meaning the rule of the people. We call this democracy. The Bible clearly states how Christ’s churches are to be “governed” and run, yet many churches have found other alternatives more to their liking. They have become like the people in the days for the Judges, doing what is right in their own eyes.

In their own self-sufficiency, they base their goals on what they can afford instead of what Christ wants His Church to do. They base their message on what will attract people. My point is that every church needs to take Christ’s lampstand promise seriously and carefully examine everything it does, teaches, tolerates, and prohibits, as well as who is really in charge. We would do well to remember Peter’s solemn words:

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God… (2 Peter 4:17)



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