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Hollow-hearted prosperity?

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Genuine Hope | 0 comments

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:14-16

How many sermons have you heard over the years warning about being lukewarm? Years ago I came across this quote describing the danger of such a condition that appears to be a very real danger for us today.

It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel. It is a proud, sensuous, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity.”

Frederick Huntington, Forum Magazine, 1890.

In Jesus’ final letter to the seven churches he addresses the church of Laodicia. According to John MacArthur’s commentary on Revelation, “Laodicea was known as a wealthy banking center. The city was also famous for the soft, black wool it produced and its ancient medicine, particularly an eye salve. All three industries – finance, wool, and eye salve – came into play in this letter. Laodicea’s water supply was also relevant to the message in this letter as the water had to travel several miles through an underground aqueduct before reaching the city. Therefore, the water arrived foul, dirty, and tepid – lukewarm, just like the people in the church.

The church saw itself in a very different way than the judgment of Christ –

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Revelation 3: 17-18

The church had everything it thought it needed. There was no need to trust God. There was no need to wait on God. As a result, they neglected their relationship with God and they neglected their service and mission to others

Jesus’ command was one of repentance and while it is often seen otherwise in today’s world, calling someone who wanders from the faith to repentance is a loving act as Jesus reminds the church – “those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”


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