The Great Offer
The Last Message Of Jesus Christ - Part Three
The message of Christ to
By Chris McDonald
Text: Rev. 3:14-18 -
 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things
saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of
God;  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou
wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor
hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and
increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art
wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:  I counsel thee to
buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment,
that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.
The church sits in the middle of its most important, yet most perilous hour before Jesus returns. I know that statement sounds trite and simplistic to some but it carries with it eternal weight. As we have stated many times in our writings recently we see two things happening before us right now, a great harvest and a great falling away, both of which were foretold by prophets and apostles. The prophets predicted a coming harvest of souls prior to Christ's return to Earth after the Great Tribulation period. A majority of this harvest would be the rebirthing of Israel, both as a nation, and as a people of God once again. Millions of Jewish people all over the world are coming to their Messiah for the first time in record numbers. No other time in human history has seen such an ingathering as we are seeing today. This will increase in its intensity as we draw closer to judgment into the Tribulation which will end with the Second physical return of Christ to this Earth. The blooming of the fig tree is a sign to us all that it is getting late and it's harvest time!
If you want to know the plan of God for this earth - watch Israel! Israel is God's time piece and the hands on that clock say "ten to midnight" today! That clock is travailing like never before - but yet she is not travailing as severe as she will even in her coming future when she will be placed in such a spot where she will cry "blessed is HE who comes in the name of the Lord." That is why the Psalmists urge us to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem." We are not merely praying for the protection of a city, but when we pray those words we are taking up the Holy Spirit's cry "even so come, Lord Jesus." Oh praise God. My, oh my, what a thought, Jesus FULL salvation brought, victory, victory. Let the powers of sin assail, heaven's grace will never never fail, victory, victory. And friend the powers of hell have assailed Israel and Jerusalem, especially over the past few decades, but her night of suffering is some to come to an end. Weep not oh' Daughter of Zion, your Redeemer is coming. He's coming on a white horse with millions of his saints and He's coming to be your King. We're on the precipice of that neighbor. We're on the brink of something major prophetically. That's why the words of this last message of Christ to His church are so vitally important.
The second thing that is happening, which was mainly foretold by the apostles, is the falling away, or apostasy, of the modern church. Paul said that "in the last days, perilous times shall come." He predicted that MANY "would give heed to SEDUCING spirits, and embrace 'doctrines of devils.'" John said that the spirit of Antichrist was working in his day but would increase even more in the days prior to the return of Messiah. Jude said that in the last days the saints would be called to "earnestly contend for the faith," because false doctrine, false teachers and false messiahs would arise and draw many away from truth and the doctrinal preaching of the bedrock of all Christianity - the cross.
Peter exhorted us to "be sober and vigilant" because the enemy would wage war against the saints of God and seek to cause many to fall from their own steadfastness. He said false teachers and false prophets would arise, "having eyes full of adultery," never being able to cease from sin. The term "adultery," means the act of fornication but it carries even a heavier eternal meaning of "spiritual adultery with the world." In other words much of the ministry of the last days will preach a gospel that is laced with new age humanism and a co-mingling of spiritual things and worldly things. It will be a gospel that allows men to commit fornication and adultery with the world system while still claiming to be saved. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Neighbor, if you are born again you have been saved "from this present evil world system." You have been delivered from the spirit of "this age." You ONCE walked after the prince of this world, but NO LONGER. You are a NEW CREATURE in Christ, bought with a price, separated unto God and called to give yourselves "WHOLLY UNTO GOD, which is YOUR reasonable service."
Jesus' last message was to Laodicea, a type of the apostate church that would be
on earth prior to Christ's return.
In the midst of all this rests a Body of people who have not apostatized. There is a remnant voice still calling the apostate church to return to her Saviour and to the foot of the cross, where ALL things center around. All sound doctrine is rooted in the cross. All that we have from the Holy Sprit is because of the finished work of Christ. To state it another way, we are to understand three very important points that will keep us out of this apostasy.
1. We are to understand that everything comes to us from God by the means of the Cross of Christ (I Cor. 1:17-18, 21, 23; 2:2, 5).
2. Understanding that, our Faith must be anchored squarely in Christ and what He did for us at the Cross. This is very, very important! (Rom. 6:3-14; Gal. 6:14).
3. The Holy Spirit, Who Alone can do this work within our lives, and Who functions entirely within the parameters of the Finished Work of Christ, will then work mightily for us, in us, and through us (Rom. 8:1-2,11).
In our first two journals we took a look at Christ's rebuke of this church. In this journal I want to take a look at the "great offer" Christ made to Laodicea, which if she accepted, would bring her out of her darkness, depravity and state of destitution. It would set her free from the apostasy that was destroying her, as the apostasy is destroying the church today. If we will but hear what the Spirit says to the church, we too will saved from our destruction!
Gold Tried In The Fire
The first offer Jesus makes to Laodicea is for her to “buy of him gold tried in the fire.” It speaks to us of the words of Isaiah as well when he cried over 700 years ago:
Isaiah 55:1 - Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
This is which Jesus spoke, is to be bought, but not with money. Regrettably money was the coin that the Laodiceans were attempting to spend in God’s economy, which is not legal tender. Jesus has already paid it all. He paid for this great Salvation, along with all of its victory, by the pouring out of His precious BLOOD on the cross of Calvary. There he “bought” man’s redemption and redeemed Adam’s fallen race. In fact, the price is so staggering that it defies all description. But praise God we can say that whatever that price was, it was “paid in full!"
How then do we as believers “buy” this gold tried in the fire? We “buy” this gold by the giving of ourselves totally and completely to Christ. The price is our faith in the cross and nothing else. Our faith, tried in the fire, is more "precious than gold" according to Peter. The Holy Spirit then sets about to purify what we have, thereby bringing us to the place of NO DEPENDENCE at all on the flesh, and ALL on the HOLY SPIRIT. We don’t come to this place quickly or easily.
I want to repeat three things we said in the previous journal about the place we must come to in these last days to stay out of apostasy:
1. 1. The cross is the central message of the gospel, nothing else, and everything we have from God - even as Christians comes to us as a result of the finished work of Christ.
Salvation, healing, baptism in the Holy Spirit, prophetic unction, gifts of the Spirit, fruit of the Spirit and all workings of the Kingdom of God are built upon one foundation -the finished work of Christ! As Paul said, there is NO OTHER FOUNDATION that men can lay except the foundation of the cross of Christ! Many miss the central message of the cross. It is not just that Jesus died for us, for how He died that is important. The cross was not merely a cruel form a death, but it humiliated its victims; it was used to execute those who were most cursed. The procedure with all its torture ended with the victim naked, with no rights, no reputation, and no recourse. Thus the cross not only proves the gracious love of God toward sinners but also the depth of our sin and rebellion against Him. For us to love sin would be like loving the knife that was used to kill a child.
Sir Robert Anderson wrote once "the cross has shut up man to grace or judgment. It has broken down 'all partition walls' and left of world of naked sinners trembling on the brink of hell. Every effort to recover themselves is but a denial of their doom, and a denial too of the grace of God, which stoops to bring them blessing where they and as they are."
In other words the cross embraced and understood exalts NO ONE or NO THING that it first does not humble; it gives life and grace only to those whom it first "puts to death." ALL MINISTRY revolves around this principle. It is the source of ALL of God's grace and anointing. The cross exposes the futility of our self-righteousness; it reminds us that we are sinners, incapable of bringing about our own reconciliation with God. Before the cross we can only stand with bowed heads and a broken spirit.
The central theme of Christianity is the cross. The message of the cross changed the first-century world and it was what Laodicea had departed from. This message proclaims that human beings are guilty, helplessly guilty of sins for which they cannot atone. The cross shatters ALL pride and undercuts the ultimate value of self-effort. The cross stands as proof of God's great love but also reveals our own ugliness.
Laodicea did not see itself as ugly. It saw itself as "rich." Laodicea did not see itself as utterly sinful. Instead it saw itself as "without need of nothing." Laodicea did not see itself as destitute without God, it saw itself as "increased with goods." The Lord's offer of gold tried in the fire was to allow Laodicea to see her utter need for Him.
The disciples of the first church proclaimed that the cruel, humiliating execution of Jesus was God's most wondrous saving event. No wonder it was a stumbling block to religious, prideful people and foolishness to those who deemed themselves wise. AND NO WONDER IT CHANGED THE WORLD!
In modern circles today, we are awash with what might be called "cultural Christianity." Its the type preaching and teaching that wraps the cross of Christ in an American flag or the flag of some other nation. Thus there is a Christian political agenda, with nationalistic overtones regarding defense, freedom of religion, and boycotts of various kinds. However worthy these goals, by identifying such initiatives as "Christian" we have often clouded the one message the world needs to hear with clarity and power. Ask any average Christian American what they believe and they will give you multiple answers, often reflecting political agendas. Few know the central doctrine of Christianity is DEATH. It's about what Christ did at the cross to save fallen humanity - even religious humanity - from an eternal fate for those who die in unbelief.
2. 2. Our faith must be anchored SECURELY in Christ and what He did for us at the Cross. If our faith is in any other source, we are doomed for failure and in many cases the loss of our eternal souls.
If our faith is in ourselves, our “money,” our “education,” our "church" or our "denomination" to save us or keep us saved, we will miserably fail. We are not under Law, but under Grace.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin.  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God.  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
3. The Holy Spirit, who Alone can do this work within our lives that needs to be done, and Who functions entirely within the parameters of the Finished Work of Christ, will then work mightily for us, in us and through us.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
P.T. Forsythe wrote when speaking of the cross as being the focal point of our faith:
"If you move faith from that center (the cross) you have driven the nail into the Church's coffin. The Church, then, is doomed to death, and it is only a matter of time when she shall expire. The church can only live and breathe at the cross; without it, there is no life and no reason to exist. Properly proclaimed, it truly becomes the 'power of God unto salvation.'"
God's power is more clearly seen in the message of the cross than in ANY political agenda or church agenda man can muster. Even man's best laid social plans are mere "fig leaves" to hide man's sinfulness and wickedness. Those fig leaves may hide us from others, but the eyes of the Lord walking among the church at Laodicea sees our wickedness. He sees the need for us to buy of Him this gold tried in the fire. He sees the need for us to allow the testing of our faith to bring forth HIS GOLD in our lives instead of the cheap imitation the apostate church offers the world today. Man's search for some antidote to his ills goes unfulfilled in the church today because we as the church have lost confidence in the power of the cross to save people from the inside out. The cross is not just a part of our "message series," neighbor - it is the bedrock of what we must believe in. It is the bedrock where we anchor our faith. It is the port where we direct lost souls to find salvation. And it's messy. It's ugly. It's not easy. It humbles sinful wicked and prideful man. It makes man admit he is a sinner and in need of God.
As Mr. Forsythe wrote, if our faith is moved from that center then we die! If our faith is moved from that place of total dependency upon God we will lose the power of God. That is why our churches are deader than polar bear noses on Sunday. The Holy Spirit will not abide in a place where the emphasis is not on the finished work of the Son. The Holy Spirit's main thrust of ministry is to baptize us "into HIS DEATH!"
Many born again believers have lost their way with God in these last days and found themselves gripped by this spirit of Laodicea. Friend, the Lord loves you and if you're reading these words, this is His love reaching out to you. He does not wish any perish but that ALL be saved. Your faith may be going through hell itself but keep your focus on CHRIST! Keep your focus on the cross. The trials of our faith will produce eternal life if we keep our faith anchored in the right place.
I can tell you from experience that when you are tried in the fire there are no formulas to get you out of the process! But if you will stop trying to wiggle out from underneath this process you will see your faith come forth as gold. Job declared it. Peter declared it. The trials and tribulations of this life are not meant to destroy us but to purify us and keep us on the path of life.
8 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hides himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
1 Pet 1:7-9
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
16 He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.
17 Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears.
18 Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.
The shores of time are littered with millions of people who when they went through the trials and tribulations they ceased trusting in the Christ of the church. They put their faith in things that would not prosper and will not save. Neighbor when the storm comes, and it will come, your faith has only one anchor – and that is the CROSS OF CHRIST. That is the anchor of your soul when the winds blow and the waves rage. As the days approach rapidly toward the Great Tribulation, more and more will we as true believers be tested in our faith.
Know today that the Holy Spirit’s work in you is not temporal but eternal. For that reason ALL things are working together for the GOOD of your life.
You may be reading this today and going through trials so hot that maybe you have become discouraged. Your infirmities and weaknesses have gotten the better of you. My word to you to day is to rejoice oh Child of God. The Spirit of God who lives inside of you is there as your intercessor on earth and to keep your faith anchored in Christ. Paul said it so beautifully in Romans 8 when he said:
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
He then goes on to say:
And he that searches the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Neighbor that promise is to you and that promise is to me. The Spirit of God is interceding on your behalf today for those things that “we know not” how to pray for. Thank God, thank God for the Lord Jesus who came to die on Calvary’s cross that we might have the fellowship of the Holy Ghost who has opened the door for fellowship back to the Father and the Son. Without the Blood, there is no Spirit. Without the Spirit, the reality of the blood will never be fully experienced in our Christian walk. Buy of the Lord today “gold tried in the fire.” Anchor your faith in the cross of Christ and His finished work of redemption in your life today. He sits at the right hand of God interceding that that work become eternal as we speak to you this second.
The second thing Jesus offers the church at Laodicea is "white raiment, that ye may be clothed, and the shame of your nakedness do not appear." This refers to garments of Righteousness, not just any Righteousness, but the Righteousness which is exclusively of Christ. It is given to the believing sinner upon Faith in Christ (Jn. 3:16), and what Christ did at the Cross.
Laodicea had self-righteousness, which is always the end result of attempting to live for God by means of legalism, or the performance syndrome. Israel stumbled over Christ because of her self-righteousness. The church is stumbling over Him today for the same exact reason. Most of what is preached today behind pulpits puts the onus on man, and not God. Man is the "performer" and if man "performs" right and uses the "right" formula then God will be pleased, at least according to modern preachers. That is false doctrine. The same faith that saved you friend is the same faith that will sanctify you. The same faith that saved you friend is the same faith that will keep you grounded when the winds and temptations of life blow so hard you don't know what day it is.
Self-righteousness takes on so many ugly forms in the church today. I'm reminded of a church my dad pastored when I was young in Atlanta, Ga. This church was so infested with a legalistic spirit that if a man had hair beyond the length of his ears they deacon board was having meetings wanting to get rid of him. If a lady wore a pair of pants to church she was labeled jezebel and basically asked either to wear a dress or leave. You can believe what you want to about clothes but friend that stupidity is not Christianity. That moronic view of God is not Christianity. And don't think that with now over 2000 years of Christianity behind us it has stopped in 2003. Most churches today stink of a self-righteous spirit that drives people away from church instead of ministering and bringing people closer to a right relationship with Christ.
Self-righteousness is what caused the religious leaders of Israel to crucify Christ. It was self-righteousness that caused Cain to kill Abel. It was self-righteousness that caused Peter to almost destroy God's plan for the Gentiles to be grafted into this great plan of Salvation through the Holy Ghost. It was self-righteousness that made the Pharisee to stand up and thank God he was not "like this sinner woman, who if the Lord knew what type woman she was, wouldn't let her anoint His feet or hair." That smug attitude stinks in the nostrils of God. Yet, our churches reek of it on every corner. No exceptions.
The word "gospel" means "good news." When the true gospel of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed, it is good news that is being proclaimed. The gospel is not the law. Many people have an incorrect understanding of Christianity and the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ has not one single solitary "thou shalt not" after another. The gospel message is a call for man to put his faith in the finished work of Christ and to repent of his sins for eternal life. Paul's epistles to the Romans and to the Galatians focus on this theme of righteousness. They teach us how an unholy, unrighteous human being can be made holy and righteous in the sight of an awesome God. The underscoring lesson in each of these books is that our righteousness didn't save us, nor will it keep us saved. Many have fallen prey to error and legalistic righteousness because they have taken their eyes off the finished work of Christ.
The righteousness Christ offers us is not a righteousness that comes by being good. It is not a righteousness that comes by doing the right thing (MAN CANNOT DO THE RIGHT THING IN HIS FALLEN STATE), nor can it be obtained by abstaining from acts of sin. It is not a righteousness that we earn by being religious. This righteousness cannot be attained by spending hours in prayer or hours in Bible study, as wonderful as those things are. Going to church will not bring this righteousness. Tithing, soul-winning, taking care of orphans, and supplying food and shelter to the homeless will not give us this righteousness and make us acceptable to God. To the contrary, this righteousness, which Jesus offered Laodicea, and is offering us today, ONLY COMES BY FAITH IN WHAT JESUS DID AT THE CROSS. It comes by anchoring our faith in the finished work of redemption that HE DID, not what WE DO!
The righteousness that the Bible teaches cannot be bought, earned, merited or purchased in any way, by anyone.
Mother Teresa died in the fall of 1997. She was a Nobel prize winner and was admired worldwide for her work among the poorest of the poor in India. Mother Teresa did many, many great works, there is no doubt about it. BUT NOTHING ON HER LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS and good deeds made her righteous and acceptable in God's sight. Mother Teresa's ministry to the poor did not qualify her to make heaven. Ministering to the poor, as grand as that is, as honorable as that is, as wonderful as that is, cannot get ANYONE into heaven. If Mother Teresa is in heaven it's because of one thing and one thing alone neighbor and that is she put her faith and trust in Jesus Christ! It's because she believed in His death on the cross for her sins. She believed in Jesus burial and in His literal, physical resurrection. In other words, if Mother Teresa made it to heaven it was not HER RIGHTEOUSNESS that got her there - it was THE LORD JESUS Christ's!
And this is the great offer Jesus made to Laodicea that He is making to the 21rst Century church today. It may sound strange to say it but it's an offer that many in the church have refused! It sounds insane to say that we in the modern church world have become so enamored with money and possessions that we would rather have the tawdry and beggarly elements of this world and this world system that to be enamored with HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS on us.
Neighbor, when you have churches that go under the guise of Christendom denying the blood of Jesus as the only source of man's salvation you have apostasy! When you have churches preaching a gospel that demeans the cross of Christ as the greatest "defeat" in the world instead of the world's greatest moment of victory, you have apostasy! When you have churches labeling that which is Satan of God and that which is God of Satan you have apostasy. My Lord help us. My Lord open our eyes. My Lord give us YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. We are lost and undone Lord without YOU. We are naked without YOU. We are naked and barren without YOUR SPIRIT and YOUR OFFER of WHITE RAIMENT to clothe us in YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS and not ours! Lord cover us today! Cover us, cover us, cover us, cover us with YOUR BLOOD. Cover us with your anointing. Take away the blindness of our eyes that we may see. Take away our nakedness that we may not be ashamed!
The term "white," as used in the Bible, at least in this context, doesn’t refer to the color, but rather to purity. This perfect Righteousness comes to us exclusively through Faith, and by that we speak of Faith in Christ and His great Sacrifice. It is as Paul said: “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified” (I Cor. 2:2).
The Laodiceans were attempting to obtain Righteousness by their own performance, which is climaxed by them stating “we have need of nothing.” This was and is self-righteousness, which God cannot condone, in fact, to which he is utterly opposed (Rom. 8:8).
As stated, this is the Righteousness of Christ that He has purchased with His Own Perfect Life and, above all, His perfect death, which satisfied the demands of the broken Law. In other words, Christ did for us as our Substitute, what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He lived this life perfectly, meaning that he kept the Law perfectly, and did so as “The Man, Christ Jesus,” which thereby gained the Righteousness of the Law. To be sure, the Law definitely contained Righteousness, but of that Righteousness to be obtained, the Law had to be kept perfectly. While no man could do this nor can do it now, Jesus did do it, and did it grandly!
But still, there remained the curse of the Law to be dealt with. This refers to the penalty of the broken Law. In other words, man has broken the Laws of God, and that matter has to be addressed, which it was at the Cross. Jesus gave His life, which was demanded as payment for sin, thereby satisfying all the Law’s demands. Simple Faith in Him and what He has done for us at the Cross, gives to us His spotless, pure, Perfect Righteousness – the only Righteousness that God will except and justifies us in the sight of God as being "not guilty" under the curse of sin. Praise God.
No one will be declared righteous in God's sight by obeying the Ten Commandments or any other commandments. Obeying commandments cannot and does not make us righteous. Most people think if they are good enough and keep enough commandments they will go to heaven. The sad footnote to that statement is the reason most believe that is that it's the message being trumpeted by the modern church world. That is an absolute LIE. Many people hold to an erroneous theory that states good people go to Heaven and bad people go to hell.
The Rich Man And Lazarus
That basic idea of good people going to heaven and bad people going to hell is what gripped Israel throughout the Lord's ministry. It's why most of the religious in Israel had a hard time with Christ. His ministry was mainly to those the religious of the day deemed "bad." He ate with publicans, sinners, drunkards, lunatics, possessed and the like. The view of religious Israel was that those who were in sin were under a curse and because of that curse they were forever alienated from God. As Lazarus sat at the rich man's gate each day with sores and in deep poverty most looked at him and said "he's a sinner and that's why he is covered with sores." The rich man on the other hand was looked at by many probably as a fine example of the community and probably a synagogue member in great standing. He probably tithed and donated tons of his money to worthy causes.
To be frank with you the rich man would be welcomed in 100% of the churches in America today with open arms while Lazarus would have had a hard time getting 1% of any churches (especially American churches) to help him at all. Let that sink in friend, it's the truth and most of you reading this know it.
But when Jesus told the story of the two, He totally annihilated the myth the Pharisees had (and many have today) about who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell when they die. The Bible says in Luke 16 that Jesus said when Lazarus died he was escorted to Abraham's bosom by the angels of glory (Abraham's bosom was Paradise at the time prior to the crucifixion), while when the rich man died he was buried and opened his eyes in torment. Those listening to this story gasped at that. I can almost hear the gasps, "You mean the poor man with all those sores was righteous and went to heaven while the rich man in all his glory and attire here on earth wound up in hell?"
Hear me friend. Stop what you're doing right now and read these words and let them rest in your spirit man for years to come. Lazarus did not die and go to heaven because he was poor, nor did the rich man die and go to hell because he was rich. Lazarus died and went to Paradise because his faith was in the coming Redeemer of Israel. He also went to Heaven because he didn't allow his poverty to hinder him from believing and trusting in the one true God. The rich man on the other hand didn't believe in the true God of Abraham. His faith was in his riches, which he never understood to be a blessing from God to bring him into an intimate relationship with the Redeemer who was to come. When the rich man died his soul was required of him and found eternally wanting.
And before you say "that was then, this is now," let me give you a news flash. We in the modern church have a very similar view of humanity today! If you look at most churches our members are well dressed, well liked, well off, well respected people in the community. Since when have you walked into a church and seen the front row filled with beggars, drunks, drug addicts, prostitutes and criminals? Since when have you seen a church willing to reject the rich tithe paying members' money to accept those who are poor and needy into their fellowship and minister to them at all costs?
If the rich man were alive today he'd be a member in good standing. If Lazarus were alive today he'd be an outcast now just as he was then. But Jesus laid down the gauntlet for us all to hear. The rich man wound up in HELL, Lazarus wound up in Paradise.
The Pharisees thought the rich man's goodness put him in a place where he "deserved" to go to Heaven, while the sores on Lazarus' body put him in a place where he "deserved" to go to hell. Insane thinking there but thinking that grips MILLIONS in the so-called church world today. It's called self-righteousness and it's delusional and demonic.
FAITH in Jesus Christ and His work on Calvary's cross is the only thing that makes you acceptable to God. If you single-handedly led every human being in the world to Christ and you were depending on that to make you righteous and get you into heaven - you'd utterly fail and spend eternity in hell. If you personally fed every hungry boy and girl in the whole world and you were trusting in that deed to get your soul into heaven - you'd die lost and spend eternity in hell. That is why most people who die will go to hell and not heaven. I know that sounds cruel but it is just restating what Christ warned us about in His teachings. He said "many" would seek to go through the wide and broad way that led to destruction. That "wide and broad" way is nothing more than man trying to obtain righteousness through other means than admitting he is a sinner and coming to the foot of the cross of Christ for forgiveness and cleansing.
While these Laodiceans were saying, “We have need of nothing,” the Lord was telling them that they were “spiritually naked.” What does this mean?
It means that the only covering that God would recognize is the covering of the Shed of Blood of the Lamb (Ex. 12:13). And the major problem with this modern Church is that it doesn’t have the proper covering of the Blood. IN other words, whether from ignorance or unbelief, this present Church is not preaching the Cross. Inasmuch as “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,” this means that not much faith presently is expressed in the Cross, but rather in other things (Rom. 10:17). So, the Lord is counseling this Church to have the proper clothing, which is the “Robe of Righteousness,” which can only come through Christ and Him Crucified.
Absent this Righteousness, the individual is naked, and it means to be naked to the Judgment of God.
As one commentator put it:
"The Judgment of God is destined to come upon every single person in this world, who hasn’t availed himself of what Christ did for them in His Atonement at Calvary’s Cross. Now please note, there are no exceptions (Ex. 12:13). The problem in every life, the cause of every difficulty is an improper understanding of the Cross of Christ, or rejection of the Finished Work. Judgment is and will be on everything that’s not covered by the Blood. This goes not only to those whom we know to be wicked, but as well for those in the Church who have placed their faith in something else (I Cor. 1:17-18)."
Any faith that’s anchored in anything other than the Cross of Christ, will ultimately be brought to “shame.” And it is the “shame of nakedness,” which refers to not having on the proper wedding garment, and thereby coming under the Judgment of God. Sooner or later, shame always comes to such a circumstance.
The Anointing of the Eyes
The third offer Christ made to Laodicea that He is making to us today was to have their eyes anointed with eye salve. The phrase, “And anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see,” refers to seeing properly. Only the Holy Spirit can anoint our eyes for us to see properly. When we reject the Holy Spirit, we wind up in darkness!
For the Holy Spirit to have the latitude he needs in the life of the believer, that believer must have his Faith exclusively in the Cross. This and this only gives the Holy Spirit latitude to work. If that is not the case, in other words, if the faith of the Believer is somewhere else, then despite whatever else they might have, even an abundance of this world’s goods, there will be no peace of mind, and they will be “wretched and miserable” and ultimately he will become "blind." It cannot be otherwise! It doesn’t really matter if the person is a millionaire many times over, or whatever place and position they may occupy. If they don’t have Sanctifying Peace, which can only be obtained by Faith in the Finished Work of Christ, then the description given by our Lord will prove to be very accurate.
That I May Thrust Out Your Right Eye
Israel of old, actually when Saul was first appointed king, the Ammonites came against them. The Scripture says: “And all men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, make a covenant with us, and we will serve you.” The Scripture further says: “And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, on this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel” (I Sam. 11:1-2).
Now there was a reason that this heathen king wanted to thrust out the right eyes of the Israelites.
In those days, they fought with sword and shield. The shield was normally held by the right hand. It covered the front of the body, even about half the face, with only the right eye looking over the shield, so they could see to fight. If their right eye was put out, that would leave them effectively blind.
Israel did not submit, actually winning a tremendous victory over the Ammonites. Satan hasn’t changed his tactics from then until now. He is still trying to blind us, and if we make a pact with the world, spiritual blindness is the result. Basically, that’s what’s wrong with the far greater majority of the modern Church. It is spiritually blind, and cannot see where it is, who it is, and what it’s supposed to do. It has little spiritual perception. But despite stumbling around blind, it is still saying, “We have need of nothing!” Concerning this, Paul said: “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the Saints” (Eph. 1:18). The church needs to have its eyes opened.
Today, if anyone preaches the unadulterated Word and reproves and rebukes, he is accused of "dividing the body." As a consequence the church has puppets instead of prophets. Today we wallow in conformity. NOTHING is wrong anymore. NOTHING is subject to rebuke and reproof. Instead the church screams at its parishioners to accept and approve all winds of doctrine even if those doctrines are false and as Peter described them "damnable heresies."
I love the Catholic people but friend, Catholic doctrine is unscriptural and is sending millions to hell. To place a Catholic priest behind your pulpit preacher in hopes of garnering "unity" among the brethren is insanity and delusional. Furthermore, to invite an Islamic cleric to speak to your people so you can show you are embracing "all faiths," is further madness. ALLAH is not God. We don't worship the same God as the Moslems do Christians! Some ignorant folks think we do. I respect Ted Haggard a great deal but me and Ted have a STRONG difference of opinion about Islam. Mr. Haggard rebuked Franklin Graham last year for calling Islam an "evil religion." Uh, memo to Ted - ISLAM IS AN EVIL RELIGION Ted and if the Islamic world had its way you'd be dead Mr. Haggard. Get real. Mr. Graham was RIGHT. This colonel who is in hot water at the Pentagon for saying Islam's god is an idol is RIGHT. Those who say otherwise are the ones who are wrong and that includes our President who on the issue of Islam is being sorely misguided by those from whom he receives counsel! Islam is not a religion of peace and Allah is not just another form of deity. It's an idolatrous religion rooted in the pits of hell. The people who head this religion would carry the world back to the dark ages if given their way. It's the battlefield of the last days to be frank. And there will be greater persecution between the seed of Ishmael and Isaac as we get closer to the rapture of the Church and even into the Great Tribulation with the rise of the Great Whore.
It's this wishy-washy, "lets all get along" nonsense that has our society going to hell without hesitation. Everything has become a "gray area" for many in the church. Friend, eternal life is not in a gray area!!!!
Today our teenagers have little idea of what is right and wrong. Where does this problem lie? The problem, in all too many cases, is occupying the PULPIT. Our preachers are not preaching anymore. We are no longer producing preachers from our seminaries but talk show hosts with great smiles but shallow hearts and souls.
Why do two million teenagers attempt suicide yearly and a number of them succeed? Why are so many of our teenage girls pregnant before they get married? Why do so many young people contract syphilis and gonorrhea? We can blame the kids, like many do, but the issue is not the kids. It's the deadly and grotesque silence coming from the pulpits in America about the sins that cause these things to happen.
When preachers stop telling their people that social drinking is wrong, that pre-marital sex is wrong, that watching dirty filthy movies is wrong; that gambling is wrong; that nightclubbing is wrong; that partying is wrong; that associating yourselves with the worldly crowds is wrong - then people do what they want to do without a clear degree of understanding of what is required of them. Oh yes, they can read the Bible themselves. No argument there but sadly most do not. They will stand accountable to God for their state to be sure no matter what the preacher does or does not say. But the blood of that person's soul will rest on the hands of the hireling and shepherd without conviction at the judgment bar.
Our preachers need to preach about hell again. We need to preach about heaven and repentance. We need to be hearing the Holy Spirit cry "break up the fallow ground," until the conviction gets so hot and heavy that men, women, boys and girls come running down aisles crying, weeping and bellowing out to God for cleansing and salvation. We hold seminars telling people how to get rich instead of pointing them to the place where the true riches of heaven are found - the CROSS. We tell seekers to confess new bank accounts and new clothes and new homes - when we need to tell them to confess a new heart. We refer the troubled to the "Christian psychologist," instead of referring them to the altar where they can have an old-fashioned counseling session with THE COUNSELOR - the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost!
The church coined a phrase not too terribly long ago called "inner healing." That term is a cop out for man's REAL need of justification and sanctification through the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost. Today the voice of the prophet has become less and less heard and the voice of the church psychobabblists are heard more and more. As a result we are dying, yet the sadder statement is that we are blind to the fact we are dying.
Repentance is not a pleasant message, which is what most prophets are sent to proclaim. Prophets are not liked too much. Jeremiah was buried in mud up to his armpits. Tradition tells us Isaiah was sawed in half. Daniel was thrown into a den of lions. Every single apostle, with the exception of John, died a martyr's death. The Apostle Paul was beheaded. Peter was hung upside down on a cross inside Rome. John himself would have probably died the same type death had God not saved him. Domitian placed him in a pot of boiling oil which didn't kill him, thus causing the demonic Roman ruler to exile him to Patmos, where we know he received what we call "Revelation," in our bibles.
Entire mainline denominations are no longer calling people to the altars to repent but to be psychologically rehabilitated. Sin is not called sin anymore. Adam and Eve are no longer the world's first sinners, but are now called the first "dysfunctional family." Man no longer needs repentance, some cry, but "rehabilitation." But neighbor, SIN IS STILL SIN and sin calls for repentance. We will deal with repentance more in part four of this journal, but the question needs to be asked now, "Is it possible we have had our eyes plucked out by Nahash, the 'bright shining serpent?'"
One pastor said the other day that he don't call people down front publicly anymore to repent because it's "uncouth" as he put it. He says the old way is not 'vogue' anymore with modern church growth principles. Nahash has put out his right eye.
Another pastor I heard recently said that he didn't believe in making people feel "bad," in his church and this repentance message hurt too many people's feelings. Neighbor, it's better to hurt their feelings NOW than to have them slip off into eternity without God and your preacher stand before God with blood on his hands for the untold thousands he led astray and failed to warn?
A rock singer came to the Lord in a California church not too long ago. The pastor of the church was thrilled. Two Sundays after the rock singer's conversion, he came to church with his hair cut, the earrings out of his ears, and totally cleaned up since Jesus came into his heart. His pastor calls him into his office and says "let your hair grow back and replace the earring in your ear." The pastor told this rock star that if he would continue to sing rock and roll music perhaps he could and would attract many young people to the church. And that is the rub isn't it? We want people to be attracted and drawn to our CHURCH instead of them being attracted and drawn to Jesus Christ. This pastor has had his eyes put out by Nahash and is blind. He is in need of the great offer of Christ to receive sight in his spiritual eyes.
I know there are preachers out there who haven't made a covenant with Nahash. The Rev. Gerald Horne of Rose City Church of God in Thomasville, Ga. is one such pastor. Rev. Neal Baggett, pastor of Pine Hill Assembly of God in Calvary, Ga. is another. Rev. Jesse Roland, pastor of Barbourville Pentecostal Holiness Church in Barbourville, Florida is another. Rev. Scott Cagle of North Star Church of Knoxville preaches the gospel the way it should be as well. These names are a few and that is the reality of this message - only a FEW are preaching the gospel that in essence will be accepted by just a FEW!
We are in the most dangerous and most victorious hour of the church's history since the time of the apostles. Harvest time is just ahead and what we preach and teach NOW may well determine the depth of that harvest. God will get His harvest in, make no mistake, but it speaks to the accountability of our generation of what we are doing to preach the gospel to the nations in light of the opportunities and abilities the Lord has granted us in these modern times.
As Laodicea stood blind, naked and lost without Christ, He offered her the greatest offer in the world to help her out of her apostasy. He is making this same offer to us today. I can almost feel our Lord's pathos over Laodicea as I write these words. I can almost feel His pathos over the modern 21rst century church today as well. We're so rich, so increased with goods, so arrogant, so prideful of our standing and state before the world, yet we lack the very thing that makes eternal life possible - true faith in Christ tried in the fire, clothed in HIS righteousness and our eyes anointed with the vision of the Holy Ghost.
Neighbor it's getting late. Some of you reading this journal today are lost and without God. Some have departed from the faith and are believing a lie. You may put on a good front for others at church and maybe even at home and work - but when the lights go out at night you know in the deepest recesses of your heart things are not right with you and God. He loves you today. The very fact you are reading these words right now is an indication of His love for you. He is pleading with you through the words of this journal to repent and come back to Him while there is time. If you are breathing there is time for when you die it will be too late then. David said nothing in the "grave praises You Oh, Lord," meaning that there are no altar calls beyond the tomb friend. The choices you make on THIS side of eternity determine your fate on the OTHER side of eternity - which is heaven or hell for all of us - no exceptions.
He is making a great offer to you just as He made to Laodicea so long ago. Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church before it is too late today!
Lord, help us today. We receive your great offer in this modern hour. Help us see our condition first so we can then see the condition of the world around us. Help us get angry and enraged at sin again. Help us hate the destructive powers of Satan. Let it be a holy anger but let it wax hot. Let us feel YOUR anger over the rebellion in the hearts of men today. Let us also see and feel YOUR passion for those who are bound by the same sin. Let us feel YOUR LOVE for them today. Let us do everything we do as an act of worship unto You so that the world will see that we have received Your offer today and want it too. Help us Lord to see our condition as "undone," and "unclean," without Your righteousness covering us today. POUR OUT YOUR SPIRIT upon us. POUR OUT YOUR ANOINTING UPON OUR EYES so we can see. POUR OUT your fire that we can be tested and tried and able to stand in the days of trials and tribulations ahead. Lord we receive your offer today. We receive your great offer in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem And The Continued Hand Of God's Mercy Upon America!
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