The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Pastor John Reaves, Sr.
"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 spue 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 eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." Rev. 3:14-19.
"...anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
When the name Laodicea is spoken, the first thing that pops into mind is, "lukewarm," which is true. The church in Laodicea was neither cold nor hot, they were lukewarm. The Lord says, "...because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Their lukewarmness had made God sick and they were lukewarm because they said, "...I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing..." ver. 17. This is the scourge of Baptist churches today. Materialism and riches has lead many churches today into lukewarmness. Their zeal is gone. Zeal also speaks of fire. They have become lukewarm because their fire has gone out.
The sad part about the Laodicean church was that they were not even aware of their condition. "...and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" They thought they were rich and were in need of nothing but the Lord said they were poor, blind, and miserable. Many churches today, to the world, look as if they are successful, they have numbers, buildings, and buses but the problem is with many, they are just as blind as the religious crowd found in Matthew 13:15-17:
" For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."
You see, the Laodicean church had an eye problem, they thought they could see and they could physically but not spiritually. They had riches and comfort but they did not have fire nor power.
Many churches today are in the same state. They have lost sight of what it is all about. They have turned their eyes inward to their own little world and have lost sight. Our Lord tells the Laodicean church in verse 18, "...anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." Eyesalve was nothing more than a little cake-looking pad with medication on it. It was to be placed over the eye to produce the healing process, which brings to mind the account of the blind man in John 9:1-7:
"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing."
Jesus made His own pad with spit and earth and anointed the eyes of the blind man, but before he could see he had to obey, ver. 7, "And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing." After he went and washed in the pool of Siloam then he came seeing.
A lot of churches today are in need of eyesalve. They are in need of some healing, but they will not be able to see, they will remain blind, lukewarm, without fire until they obey and stop looking inward and start looking outward.
The Laodicean church started off right. They had the right foundation but they lost sight. They lost their focus because they took their eyes off of what they should have been on and put them on what
they should not have been on, riches and comfort.
Many churches today manifest their blindness by their preaching, their ordinances, their standards, and their lack of separation. Their services are lukewarm and meaningless. But if a church wants to keep their focus and stay on fire for the Lord, and not go spiritually blind, their eyes must be looking in the right direction.
One could ask, "Why does a church go spiritually blind which leads to lukewarmness and complacency?
The Church Takes Its Eyes Off The Lord
We are instructed in Heb. 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
An individual’s salvation begins with, the Lord says, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." Isa. 45:22. Salvation is only in Christ, John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Anyone who looks anywhere else for salvation will be sadly disappointed one day, because as Acts 4:12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Our salvation, our new life, begins with our eyes on the Lord and it is to continue that way, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." As a church or an individual begins to take their eyes off the Lord and looks elsewhere they begin to lose their spiritual eye sight.
True churches begin with the Lord calling a man to a certain place. He goes there by God’s direction, looks for a place to meet, by God’s direction, everything is according to God’s guidance and direction, then something happens, the church doesn’t grow the way he thinks it should. So he goes half way across the country to some pastor or shepherd’s school to find out how to build a church running 5,000.
Then he goes back to his church with his methods and plans on how to build a church running 5,000. He asks the Lord to bless his plans and his methods. What ever happened to God’s way, God’s plan? Jesus said, in Mat. 18:18b, "....I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Ps. 127:1 says, "...Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it:..." We need to look to the builder, its His church. We don’t need to look to some well known pastor that’s running supposedly 5 to 10,000 in Sunday School.
I have been to a few of those super churches and believe me I don’t want a church like that. The Lord does not build a church that doesn’t have standards and separation. The Lord doesn’t build churches based on emotionalism and ignorance.
The Lord builds churches as found in Acts 2:41-47:
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." and 4:31-32, "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."
That my friend is the kind of church I want to be a part of. You can have the old lukewarm, formal, blinded and cannot see a far off super church. I would rather have 100 people that love God and obey His Word than have 1,000 that look like, talk like, and act like the world. We don’t need lukewarm religion today, we need churches that can pray and shake the house. We need churches that preach the word and stand, in season and out of season, with such conviction that sinners fall on their knees and get saved.
The Laodicea church was so blind they didn’t think they had need of anything including the Holy Spirit of God. They, like churches today have their plans for salvation, the Romans Road, let’s go soul winning. They have their plans on how to build a church according to pastor and shepherd's schools, why do they need the Holy Spirit when they have everything? Just as James 2:26a says speaking of the normal body, "For as the body without the spirit is dead,..." So to is the local church, the body of Christ, without the Holy Spirit, the body, the church, is dead.
We need to get away from the McCarthers, the Hyles, and the like and do as Psalm 121:1&2 says, "...I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth."
Churches today are like the apostle Peter of old, they begin with miracles, walking on water, but they end up doing just as he did in Matthew 14:30, "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me." The moment we take our eyes off of the Lord we begin to sink. So why does a church go spiritually blind? They take their eyes off the Lord.
The Church Takes Its Eyes Off The Fields
In John chapter 4, while the disciples had gone into the city to buy meat, Jesus stayed behind and brought the Samaritian woman to salvation. In verses 31-38 we read:
"In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours."
That early church like the Laodicean church got caught up in what they needed, not others. They had gone to town to get something to eat but Jesus was more concerned about those coming to the well. His desire was to tell the lost Samaritans about true salvation. After the disciples came back from their shopping spree, the Lord tells them where their focus should have been, ver. 35, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." J
esus tells them to lift up their eyes, get them out of the grocery cart, and put them on the fields that were already white unto harvest. That early church, made up of the twelve, were only looking inward, their needs, meat. Many churches today are the same, they are concerned about their salaries, their buildings, and their ministry. My question to them is what about the harvest?
Philippians 2:4 says, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." A lot of churches need to apply this verse to their budgets and stop making excuses about why they cannot afford missionaries. You take your eyes off the fields and you go blind spiritually and turn lukewarm. What is it that puts the fire and power into the church? Acts 1:8 says, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." We are not just to take the gospel message to our town but also to the uttermost part of the earth.
People are asking, what’s happening to churches today. They are dead, no one is getting saved, the baptismal waters are not moving, the offerings are down, what’s wrong? They have taken their eyes off the fields.
Many Independent Baptists have the words down, mission minded, and missions burdened but they are only words. There is no way a church can have a real burden for some mission field if their not looking on their own field, Jerusalem. Acts 1:8 says, "...both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in..." Simply at the same time we are to be reaching home base, we are to be reaching the world. The church that says they are mission minded and they are not doing as that early church in Acts 5:42 did, they are just deceiving themselves. "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
I have heard all the excuses, door knocking doesn’t work anymore. Has it ever? But that doesn’t change the fact we are supposed to do it. Luke 14:23, "And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Go out, this is God’s way. Most don’t realize that soul winning, door knocking, visitation, and whatever you want to call it, is not just for the lost. We don’t just get a burden by praying, we must also GO.
When we go door to door we begin to see what those that are without Christ are really like, and thus, we get a burden. Through door knocking we develop a burden for our community and thus when a missionary comes by we can have a genuine burden for his field. Jesus had a genuine burden for Jerusalem, Mat 23:37, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" but He also must needs go through Samaria, John 4:4.
We too must needs go to, "all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." If we don’t we cannot be a scriptural church. The great commission was given to the church, Mat. 28:18-20. In Mark 16:15 Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." That is the church’s commission to go into all the world. If we are not reaching out to a lost and dying world, we are just playing religious games. The Lord does not start churches so they can sit back and get rich and increase with goods. Once a church ceases to be a mission sending station they have lost their reason for existing and are on the way down.
Many young preachers are told to go out, get a few families, get a building, get a salary, and then get involved with missions. I’d rather meet in a community center and support missionaries than have a building or a salary. Because you see, when a church gets involved in missions, its greatest mission, the Lord will add everything else. Mat. 6:33 works for the churches also, "But seek ye first..." I have never heard of a church that has missions at the heart, lack of anything. Most don’t realize that God doesn’t have a bank account. But He is looking for churches He can trust to send money through for the cause of missions.
Someone who says they cannot afford missions just doesn't understand faith promise. God is a debtor to no man and that goes for churches also. The 100,000’s of dollars we have given to missions, God has given it back to us in buildings and goods. We, at the Bible Baptist Church in Brandon, Manitoba, cannot afford not to support missionaries.
I have no desire to be like the church in Laodicea. A lukewarm, complacent church does not appeal to me in the least. They can have their big fancy buildings with its plush carpet, padded pews, and vaulted ceilings. I would rather have a church that has power to shake the house as that early church did, than to be lukewarm and religious. But if we don’t keep our eyes on the Lord and on the fields we will go the way of the Laodicean church.
I’d rather be like the church as found in II Cor. 9:6-16:
"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."