November 03, 2007

A Poor Church

Revelation 3:14-17

"You say, 'I am rich...' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked."
Rev. 3:17


Tomorrow is Sunday. I would especially like to invite you children to look around when you sit down in church. You may be worshiping in a grand cathedral, or perhaps you are meeting in a house. Your church may have carpeting or a dirt floor, padded pews or boards propped up on blocks of wood. But more important than what the building looks like is the spiritual condition of the people who gather within.

Laodicea was a wealthy city because it enjoyed bust­ling trade in woolen cloth and eye salve. The church in Laodicea could afford the best. But Jesus, the Lord of the church, said to this wealthy church, "You are wretched, pitiful, poor , blind, and naked."

The spiritual decline of the church in Laodicea was tragically tied to arrogance born of material wealth. Jesus compared the condition of the church to the water that churned some distance away in the hot springs of Hierapolis: "You are lukewarm." Therefore he threatened to spit the church out of his mouth.

Lukewarm religion is nauseating to the Lord. How does your church measure up? How do each of us as individuals measure up? Are we too blind to see what God desires?

Let's go to church tomorrow and be prepared to ­listen to God's Word with an open mind and heart.

Lord, we confess that our lukewarm existence can make us "poor" in your eyes, no matter how successful we may seem. Forgive us and set our hearts afire for you, we pray. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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