THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 12-3-06

LESSON TITLE: "THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA: THE CHURCH AT LAODICEA"

WELCOME

Jesus once proclaimed, "You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you," John 15:14. Good morning and thank you for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. We are excited to have you with us for this time of offering and encouragement, as we participate in the things of God. We are glad that you have joined us for this worship to our Savior.

Our commitment this morning is to give glory to the Creator through the singing of songs of praise and through the study of His Word. I hope and pray that each of us will do our part to make this service acceptable in His sight. Now will you bow with me in prayer.

(Prayer)

Today we are excited to begin using our newly tapes songs for this program. We again thank all of those who participated in this activity for God. What a great opportunity it was to accomplish His Will and to Praise His glorious name.

So this morning, we will begin with a hymn which reminds us that our God guides us every step of the way. So won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

This morning we began with a verse which reminds us that we need to be friends with God. Furthermore, we learned that we are friends of God by obeying His commands.

Certainly, friendship is an important topic in the Word of God. In fact, we see that Jesus also instructed us to be friendly if we want to be befriended by others.

I remember in the Old Testament probably one of the most famous friendships ever mentioned in the Bible. That is the friendship between Jonathan and David. Jonathan was the son of Saul, David's main enemy. Yet they nurtured a friendship which we can all learn a lot from. In 1 Samuel 18:3, we read the following, "Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul." Notice here that a true friend loves the other as their own self.

Sounds familiar doesn't it. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 22:39. There He clarifies for us the second and greatest commandment which we are all to follow. That verse says, "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

We must all learn to be true neighbors and friends, by treating others as we want to be treated and by loving others as we love ourselves. If we can learn this lesson from God's Word and apply it in our lives - just think how much better our lives would be with those types of relationships in them. The wise man Solomon concluded, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother," Proverbs 18:24. Are you proving yourself to be friendly? Do you treat your friends like brothers? Why not follow this example of Jesus and be found pleasing in His sight.

Today, we will be continuing our series entitled, "The Seven Churches of Asia." Our next lesson together will focus on the "Church at Laodicea." So, please continue with us this morning, and in just a few minute we will be led in this important study of the day.

As far as our speaker of the day, we welcome brother Darin Chappell. Brother Chappel helps as one of the part time instructors at the Bible Institute of Missouri and this brother is also a fine gospel preacher and a good worker in the Kingdom of God. We look forward to him leading our thoughts after we sing another song together. The name of the second hymn of the day is, "Standing On The Promises!"

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Darin Chappell

Good morning. Thank you very much for tuning in with us as we continue on in our study concerning "The Seven Churches of Asia." This morning, we're going to be examining the last of "The Seven Churches of Asia" that are described in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation. It is perhaps the most commonly read and heard of congregation of the seven that I mentioned, but I fear that at times, it is perhaps the least properly applied congregation and the problems that are contained therein, as well.

The seven churches are representative of all of the congregations the world over for all times. There are good congregations. There are congregations that are not doing as well as they could, and then there are congregations who have completely turned away from the truth of God's Word and have gone the way of the world instead.

The last congregation that is addressed, the congregation at Laodicea is one of those that has turned away from the truth of God's Word. They didn't intend to it seems, but nonetheless that's where they find themselves. The Lord Jesus addresses this congregation through the writings of the apostle John as He approaches them in the book of Revelation chapter 3 beginning in verse 14. The Lord says to the apostle, "And unto the angel of the church of Laodiceans write, these things sayeth Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God..." Jesus Christ Himself is being described here. He says, "I know thy works that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou work cold or hot so then because thou are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth."

Jesus here condemns the congregation at Laodicea for being neither cold nor hot but rather lukewarm and that which is referring is their spiritual attitude. They weren't concerned enough about how it was that they were going to be witnessed in the eyes of God to be either cold or hot. They were simply lukewarm. They were apathetic. Jesus said in fact that He wishes that they were cold or hot, either fully right or fully wrong because at least if they were fully right, they would be acceptable in the eyes of God or if they were fully wrong then perhaps they might be persuaded. They might be able to be reached in some fashion. But because they simply didn't care enough to be right or wrong and because they were apathetic in their approach, there wasn't anything that was going to be able to reach them so long as they remained within that mindset concerning their own spiritual condition.

Far too many individuals in the church today, far too many Christians simply have fallen into this same lukewarm, apathetic mentality. They're just not concerned about what goes on in their own lives spiritually. I know it's extremely easy to get wrapped up in things that are going on at work or in our home, with our children at schools, or the difficulties of the world around us. The news is depressing from time to time and it is just easy to get so wrapped up in the here and now that we forget to think about the weightier things of life. The simple fact of the matter is that we each, individually, and collectively as Christians have a responsibility to make certain that we are continually striving for that perfection that is given to us within the Word of God. Far too many individuals have forgotten the simple fact that we as Christians, though acceptable to God upon our obedience to the gospel, we can indeed fall from that position of grace that we once obtained (Galatians chapter 5 and verse 4).

It is necessary for us to make certain that we make our calling and our election sure as we are old in 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 10. I

It is absolutely necessary for us to make sure that we are studying the Word of God that we might be the approved soldiers of Christ that we must be, workers that don't need to be ashamed (2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 15).

The prophet Isaiah, God spoke through him in chapter 4 and verse 6 saying, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Sadly, that's where far too many individuals today find themselves. For a lack of knowledge, a lack of studying God's Word, they are not motivated to do that which is right. They are not motivated to seek to be better in the sight of God. It is because of that lack of motivation, because of that lack of concern that far too many of them are the lukewarm, apathetic individuals just as we find described here in Revelation chapter 3 concerning the Laodiceans.

The Lord through the apostle, John, continues on though, He says, "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 in 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 did not appear and annoint thine eyes with eye salve that they mayest see."

In order for us to fully understand what the Lord was seeing here, we have to first realize that the city of Laodicea was known as a great city of commerce with great banks and the system of banking that they had was revolutionary at the time. They had a medical school that was world renowned for its abilities that they were teaching future doctors and the practices that they contained. The Laodiceans believed themselves to be technologically and economically so far advanced that they simply had no worries in the world whatsoever. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Because they were so self-sufficient, because they were so determined to be able to do it themselves, they simply didn't see a need to appeal to God for help or for anything else. In the process because they felt so comfortable in their own skin, they simply saw no need to reach out to God and lost that opportunity that they had only through Him.

The apostle Paul tells us that those who measure themselves by themselves are not wise. The reason that they are not wise is because we, our own individual lives, our attitudes, our wants, our dislikes, those things are not the standards of right and wrong. Those are not the standards of whether or not we will be acceptable to God in the final judgment. Instead, it is only and always the Word of God itself which serves as a standard of right and wrong. It is by that standard which we will be judged upon according to John chapter 12 and verse 48 when it is that we have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ wherein we will be judged according to the things that we have done in this life whether they be good or bad (2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 10).

We cannot allow ourselves simply because we are comfortable to tell ourselves that we have no need, that we have no concerns, that everything will be alright. I have preached in Central American countries where poverty is rampant and the people there understand what it is to rely upon God. They understand what it is to need to have hope. Far too many individuals in this country, far too many individuals in the church simply have forgotten what it is to rely upon God.

Jesus continues through the apostle John in verse 19. He says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore and repent."

The Hebrews writer tells us in Hebrews chapter 12 verses 5 and 6 that God calls us to repentance because we are His children, because He does love us and because He is concerned about our ability to be acceptable in His sight. He wants us to know when it is that we are in the wrong so that we can be motivated to do that which is right. That's why He chastens us through His Word and tells us what it is that we need in order to be acceptable to Him.

Jesus continues there in verse 20 and following where He says, "Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with Me. To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with Me at My throne even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father at His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth unto the churches." Jesus says that it is upon this repentance that an individual can be acceptable to God and He knocks at the door, the door of your heart and of mine, telling us that we have the opportunity, that each day is a new opportunity to be able to respond in faithful obedience to the Word of God. Each day is a new opportunity to rise from the morning and say, "Today, I will serve the Lord." We each have the opportunity to be what God wants us to be if we choose to do so but that requires us to examine ourselves and see ourselves for who and what we truly are, not as we like to think of ourselves, not as we like to be seen of others, but rather as God sees us instead.

The Greek philosopher, Socrates, said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Now what he was meaning by that was that it is wasteful for us to simply go through life with blinders on, going through the motions day by day working, feeding ourselves, clothing ourselves, providing shelter and never considering the larger picture, the larger concerns of life and never being focused upon the things that make us a better human being, a better person for the sake of simply be

Sadly, far too many Christians also live unexamined lives. They've gone through the motions of obedience. They've gone through the motions of worship. They've gone through the motions of their lives and the home and their work and school, but unfortunately they have failed to comprehend the weightier things of life. They fail to comprehend the weightier things of the Word of God. The Psalmist in the 1st Psalm says that, "The law of God ought to be our meditation both day and night, that we ought to love it, that we ought to consider it for all that it is worth and to consider ourselves." That takes a great deal of courage and personal honesty for us to consider ourselves as we truly are. It takes a great deal of courage for us to be able to recognize the difficulties that we have in our lives. It takes a great deal of courage for us to see the sinfulness for what it is and to recognize that we have a need, a need to be free from it.

That's what the last verse of this chapter, this last verse and this letter to the Laodiceans is talking about. He says again, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth unto the churches." He that hath an ear is simply saying not that this is addressed to those who have physical ears, but rather those individuals who are willing to hear it. Far too few people are willing to hear it. Far too many people are simply willing to go the ways of the world and never consider their own spiritual condition, never consider how they truly are in this life until it is too late. The simple fact of the matter is that we have a responsibility in the here and the now to see ourselves for who and what we are and wherein we are found wanting to respond in obedience to that gospel call which is given to us because it is the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans chapter 1 and verse 16).

Now that recognition of who and what we are as individuals causes us to begin a path, a path that leads us toward Heaven and it begins with the first few simple steps, those steps which are those first steps to salvation. First of all, we are told that we must hear the Word of God because that's where faith comes from (Romans chapter 10 and verse 17). We must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts chapter 8 and verse 32). We must be willing to confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God before others (Matthew chapter 10 verses 32 and 33). We must be willing to repent of our sins so as to no longer live the way of the world but instead to live always and only for the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Acts chapter 17 and verse 30). And we must be willing to be buried in baptism, that is immersed in water, for the remission of our sins (Acts chapter 2 and verse 38) so that we can be added to the church which Jesus built by God Himself (Acts chapter 2 and verse 47, Acts chapter 8 and verse 12, and Acts chapter 20 and verse 28) tells us that that church that institution that He built was purchased with His own blood. Then once we've taken those first few steps, we need to continually examine and re-examine ourselves so that we might be acceptable in His sight so that we might be found faithful up to and including the point of death so that we can indeed receive that crown of righteousness which is promised to us just as He told the congregation in Smyrna (Revelation chapter 2 and verse 10).

Friends, it is up to each of us to do as the apostle Paul told the brethren at Thessalonica and prove all things. Hold fast to that which is good. Abstain from all forms of evil. But that requires us to examine it openly and honestly for ourselves. Is that the type of life you're living today?

I thank you for your time.

(SONG # 3 - "An Empty Mansion!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.

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May we never be guilty of being luke-warm like the church at Laodicea. Rather may we remain hot and active in the service of God, that we might be found well pleasing in His sight!

(Program closing)