Month: November 2012

What Jesus is saying to His Church in Idaho Falls? (7)

And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also 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.”

In application, are we like the ancient believers in Laodicea?

Ask yourself these questions.

1. Am I more excited over my purchases that I made at Ol’Navy on Black Friday than the treasures that I might receive on Sabbath Sunday?

2. We might enjoy buying in Idaho Falls. So what brings us the most pleasure to buy? And from whom?

3. When has it been the last time that I have been to a prayer meeting, simply to join others to pray? Am I in need of nothing?

4. Do believers get together every morning in Idaho Falls to pray? If not, how come villages in other countries do this, but not us?

5. Do we actually consider ourselves to be “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”? Does our wealthy farming, medical, and scientific community sense this? The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings, “Ah, turn me not away, receive me though unworthy” in the song: “O Divine Redeemer”. Do we believe that?

6. We might say that we see. So in our defense, what are we seeing during the week? What do we seek to look at?

7. In all of our busyness, do we even hear the Lord knocking on the door?

I think we have as a big a problem with lukewarm hearts in Idaho Falls as the ancient believers in Revelation 3:14-22. What does the Lord need to do to get our attention?

The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life

Some quick observations about this latest book by Terryl Givens, joined with Fiona (Oct. 15, 2012):

  • Right out of the starting block, Terryl attempts to throw the God of Augustine, Abelard, Pascal, Luther, and Edwards under the bus and declare Him as not worthy of worship.
  • It’s man’s common sense at its best.  I would imagine that this book will be offered by LDS thinkers to their non-LDS friends whom they consider thinkers and philosophers.
  • Preexistence is fundamental to LDS.  For the authors and others, only preexistence can explain human freedom, and it is man’s preexistence that frees God from being culpable for man’s sinful, wretched choices.
  • Terryl writes, “If we are co-eternal with God, then it is not God’s creation of the human out of nothing, that defines our essential relationship to Him.”
  • But that statement begs this question:  does co-eternity mean co-equality?  For LDS, the answer is no.  So you can only imagine how that extends in belief to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
  • The book provides typical discussion of playing Wesley against Whitefield.  No dilemma for me.  I just see the two men in church history holding on different ends of the same stick.  My case is that Joseph Smith never held on to any part of the stick.
  • If I worshipped the God who weeps, portrayed by Givens, I would weep.  Who would be loving and powerful enough to stop an eternal war?  But the bigger issue is Givens’ disregard of biblical revelation of the character and work of Father, Son, and Spirit and the obliteration of the Creator/creature divide.
  • In characteristic fashion, Dr. Richard Mouw gushes with praise over academic LDS scholarship as he gives a short testimony of compassion, “I received in reading it some deeply personal lessons about the tears of God.”  Another one of those Krister Stendahl “holy envy” moments?  This is robust dialogue?  Very frustrating for me.
  • For my LDS friends:  as you share this book with others, I suggest you peruse sometime a book that was very encouraging to me, 15 years ago –  When God Weeps.
  • And if you desire to taste a broader picture of Augustine in Idaho Falls than what Terryl Givens writes about, connect with Pastor Dave Bass of the New Geneva Orthodox Presbyterian Church in town.  He is leading weekly discussion meetings on Augustine’s Confessions.

The church of the Laodiceans

Berean Baptist Church in Ammon, Idaho is currently in a study on the church of the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-22).  We introduced this subject last Sunday morning.  And we will probably be camped out in this text for the next two Sundays before Thanksgiving Sunday.  Many say that believers in America are lukewarm.  What do you think? 

Some believers in other villages in the world gather every morning before sunrise for prayer meetings.  Why don’t we do this in our American towns and cities.  What is King Jesus saying to the believers in America? 

What about right here in Idaho Falls, Idaho?

What Jesus is saying to His Church in Idaho Falls along the I-15 Corridor (6)

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens“:  “I know your works.  See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.  Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie–indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.  Because you have kept My command to persevere, I will also keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  Behold, I am coming quickly!  Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.  He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.  I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God.  And I will write on him My new name.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:7-13

  • Jesus has a lot to say to the church family named for “brotherly love”.  Look at all these promises!  Meditate upon and relish each one of them!  Your local congregation might be small.  Perhaps you don’t have a lot of influence in town.  Tiny financial budget.  No building to meet in.  In fact, you have no church website and you are not even listed in the phone book.   But no matter.  The holy, true, sovereign King of the kingdom sees you.  And like a loving father at Christmas, He is here to blow your mind away with gifts that exceedingly surpass what you might see in American television shows.  And no one here in town is powerful enough to shut that door upon you, to exclude you from your King and the eternal kingdom.  Hey, He has the key!!!!
  • Maybe you have been excommunicated.  Well, what was it that you were kicked out of?   A “synagogue of Satan”?  Some religious leaders claim to be the authority of God.  But Jesus says that they are not.  And you will be vindicated, you who keep God’s Word, you who do not deny the reality and the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • And not only vindicated, you will be protected.  Preserved!
  • And not only protected, you are treasured.  Jesus is coming!  And you will be the pillar in the temple of God Almighty, and the name of your heavenly Father will be engraved on you.
  • How can we even begin to imagine and describe what is in store for you believers in Idaho Falls who flesh out the ancient church in Philadelphia?  You are the King’s sons and daughters.  And all will see this shortly.

What Jesus is saying to His Church in Idaho Falls along the I-15 Corridor (5)

And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,

These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.  Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.  Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.  You have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.  He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Revelation3:1-6

  • You might have the name of Jesus included in your church title.  The church name might be advertised in the community.  But Jesus says you are dead.  You are not connected to the Vine.  Actually, your church is just a business, in competition with Fielding or Rose Hill Cemeteries.
  • How can Jesus say this about you?  He knows all things.  He carries the local churches in the palm of His hand.  He is the One who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.
  • What is the solution?  (1) Be watchful.  This is not a time to be sleeping.  Wake up.  It’s code blue at EIRMC.  (2) Start strengthening what is about to die.  Magnify the truths that you hear in the hymns, the catechisms, the prayers, and the scripture readings in the church service liturgy.  Put your strength into building the Sunday School.  The fellowship.  The worship.  The prayers.  The discipleship.  The evangelism.  The world-wide missions.   (3)  Remember what you where first taught in your denomination.  The fundamentals.  (4) Repent.  Let the Spirit of God cut away the disease.  Seek out and embrace God’s divine pruning. 
  • There are a few undefiled among you.  Thank God for them in this town.  Run to them.  Seek their mentoring. 
  • I don’t believe that verse 5 should be interpreted that you can lose your salvation.  But what a warning!  Jesus will not be confessing any fake Christians in Idaho Falls before His Father and the angels of heaven.

What Jesus is saying to His Church in Idaho Falls along the I-15 Corridor (4)

“And to angel of the church in Thyatira write,

These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:  “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.  Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.  And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.  Indeed, I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.  I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts.  And I will give to each one of you according to your works. 

Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not know the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.  But hold fast what you have till I come.  And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations–‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’-as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. 

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:18-29

Commendation:

This is praise to you from the One who sees everything about you, the One who has piercing eyes like a flame of fire.  (1) He notes all your service for Him in Idaho Falls.  You are taking care of people in this community and alleviating some of the suffering of those who have very little.  You are outdoing even the Boy Scouts with all your service projects.  Your church bulletin is packed with doing things for others.  (2)  Your love is abounding.  It’s agape love.  You are showing compassion to others with no strings attached.  Your acts of charity provide a striking contrast to the greed and selfishness.  It’s warm and attractive.  (3) Your faith is strong.  You pray, give, and build big.  It’s astounding to watch. (4) And you have the patience of Job.  There is a perseverance under all kinds of obstacles.

Rebuke:

But we have got a problem.  You are tolerating a Jezebel in your midst.  She might be charming and a good teacher, and it could be that she has a large following from those in the church family, but this has all got to stop.  She is an activist for sexual immorality.  In your love and compassion for others, she is desiring to exploit this.  Sh e is probably telling you that toleration equals love.  If you don’t tolerate, than you became the narrow-minded Christian.  The hateful bigot.  The homophobic.  And the list of names goes on and on.  So some might decide it to be better to just show love, grace, and patience and not confront the false prophetess in your midst.  This is a fatal mistake.

Time has been granted to repent.  But there has been no change in her heart.  So Jesus is going to act, resulting in destruction and death in the midst of the church.  And other churches on the outside in Southeastern Idaho are going to know that it is clearly King Jesus who searches the minds and hearts of professing Christians in Idaho Falls.

Praise the Lord for the small pocket of faithful in your church family.  The Lord commends you and tells you to hold fast.  To you who are faithful to the end, the Lord will give to you (1) power over the nations and (2) the morning star.  And what better gift is there?  The Morning Star.  If you have the Star, you have everything.