They Didn't See Christ
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
-1 Corinthians 2:14, emphasis added
Did you notice Christ's commendation to this church? There is none! Any good word is grimly missing in His letter to the Laodiceans. They were tepid, thoroughly evangelical, but not evangelistic. Tepid is the condition where conviction does not touch one's conduct, heart, or decisions. Tepid is when the cross brings delight as an ornament but not a grisly, painful reminder of how we must die to our self, flesh, and pleasures daily. Jesus said, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23 RSV). That was His call to those following Him faithfully as His disciple.
The church at Laodicea had facilities (probably paid for), programs, budgets that were filled, and respect in the community. However, they lacked humility, contrition, depth of prayer, and passion for the lost. Worship to them was simply another service rather than a personal longing poured out to God.
In Isaiah there is a passage written like a miniature portrait of the whole Bible: But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no One who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities. But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:6-8).
That is an indictment of us today. In my ministry experience, the number-one sin that saints struggle with is getting anything out of the Word of God. We need to cultivate a burning passion for the Word, and cool our passion for the world (entertainment, health, exercise, finances, hobbies, and our children's advancement).
The Laodicean church didn't see Christ, and He is also hiding His face a great deal today because of our misplaced values. We ought to value knowing God, and leading our families to know and seek Him, rather than fashion, success, sports, and riches. Many parents want their children to attend the top schools to become professionals, but that is a worldly desire. What if, as they go to that high-status school, they lose their faith and never return to God's church? I would rather have a poor, but righteous, eighth-grade graduate than a graduate from a prestigious university who mocks God.
Do you see Christ moving in your life? Or is He hiding His face from you because of misplaced values? Have you examined your priorities in light of God's Word? To whom have you given first place in your life? If any of this hits home with you, ask the Lord to give you a burning passion for His Word-and to cool your passion for the world!
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