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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live?

            Some has said, "It is not science nor atheism that will quench the light of the Gospel in our day and age; rather it will be the proud, sensuous, selfish, hollow-hearted church-goer who professes to be a Christian who will quench it."  I believe that this is a truthful analysis.

            In the parable of the Sower (Luke 8:5-15), Jesus mentions four kinds of "soils" (heart-soils). He mentions the hard hearted; the shallow hearted; the heart that is choked with the riches and pleasures of this world; and, the good hearted.  Ironically enough, when people hear this parable, most "assume" they are "good soil."  Why? Well, because we like ourselves -- we think we are a pretty good person -- and we don't want to think that we might be lost!  How about you? You do fit into the parable somewhere.  Do you assume your hear is "good soil?"

            It's been my observation over the past 40 years (even before I was a Christian and still looking for the Truth), that many (if not most) American church-goers are on "thorny ground."  Thorns are anything that distracts us from God.  When we pile the things of the world on top of our commitment to God, our spiritual life suffocates.  A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, secret sins, social activities, and recreation are piled on top of it.

            Let me ask this: Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God's Kingdom (God's Rule), in your life? or are you slowly choking it out by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world?  Are you satisfied that you are "godly enough" to sneak into Heaven on Judgment Day, especially when comparing yourself with others you know? (Which is not a wise thing to do - 2Corinthians 10:12).

            In Revelation 3:14-19, Jesus addresses the church in Laodicea. He accuses the church of being "lukewarm," and encourages them to repent so that He is not forced to disown them.  Physically, the church had need of nothing, but spiritually Jesus Himself said they were "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked -- and didn't even know it!  Now, I'm forced to wonder why God recorded such a negative thing about one of His congregations --- shouldn't He have just left it out of His Book?! --- shouldn't He have been more positive and upbeat?! How in the world does God expect His church to grow when He says things like that?!

            We need to understand that "The eyes of God do NOT go to and fro throughout the whole earth searching for big, physically rich, congregations!"  "His eyes go to and fro throughout the whole earth searching for those who hearts are faithful to Him (2Chronicles 16:9).

            Do you truly hate sin? (Psalm 119:128). Are you truly sorry for your own sin, or are you merely sorry because of the penalty God has placed on sin (Romans 6:23)?  The mind-set of the lukewarm goes something like this: "My buddy has cheated on his wife 10 times! and I've only cheated on my wife 5 times -- so I'm not nearly as bad as he is!"

            To put it plainly, the term "lukewarm Christian" is an oxymoron, i.e., there is no such thing. The thought of a person calling himself a Christian without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd. Only "disciples" are called Christians (Acts 11:26)!

            Were these "church-goers" at Laodicea saved? Well, Jesus Himself said that spiritually they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked -- does that sound like they were saved?  They COULD be saved, but before they could do that, they had to "repent."  God's grace is available, but He will not force it on you, you have to come and get it (Matthew 11:28-30). If you want to be saved, you have to LIVE like you want to be saved.        


--Toby Miller

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