July 15, 2016

Dear Brethren,

(14) “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: (15) I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. (16) I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:14-16).

As we see in Revelation 3, verse 15, Christ wishes that an individual be either “cold” or “hot,” rather than “lukewarm” (verse 16). Is Christ then saying He’s pleased when a Christian is cold, or spiritually dead? Is being cold just as acceptable as being hot, or having spiritual zeal and fervor? What is meant by “I could wish you were cold or hot”? There are varying opinions on this subject in Biblical commentaries.

Clearly, Christ does not want TRUE Christians to be spiritually dead! 

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Ephesians 2:4-5).

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

Also note what Christ tells the Sardis Church era in the book of Revelation: (1) “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. (2) Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. (3) Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent… (Revelation 3:1-3).

These scriptures show us that Christ is not commending the Sardis Church for being spiritually DEAD. Therefore, in Revelation 3:16, we can easily conclude that Christ is not telling the Laodicean Church that being “cold” spiritually, is equal to being “hot” spiritually.

Actually, in Revelation 3, verse 16, Christ prefers that the Laodiceans be EITHER “cold or hot.” In other words, Christ is saying, either be one or the other, but don’t be lukewarm or somewhere “in-between.” We could even say that lukewarmness would be similar to being spiritually adrift between two opinions. Christ knows where we stand by the FRUIT we’re producing. He knows if we’re COLD, if we’re HOT, or HO-HUM (lukewarm). (21) “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word” (I Kings 18:21).

Remember, NOT ONE of us is IMMUNE to becoming LUKEWARM. No one intentionally seeks to become “Laodicean.” But, that CONDITION is possible, if we’re not GROWING through God’s Holy Spirit. Just where do we stand with God? 

In Matthew 25, Christ warned the “virgins” in a parable (Mr. Armstrong taught that this parable referred to the Laodicean Church):

(1) Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

(2) Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

(3) Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,

(4) but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

(5) But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

(6) And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’

(7) Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.

(8) And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

(9) But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’

(10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

(11) Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’

(12) But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

(13) Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming (Matthew 25:1-13).

If we are losing ground spiritually (Revelation 3:16), we too could find ourselves spewed out of the MOUTH of Christ. All of the virgins in Matthew 25 slumbered and slept (verse 5). They don’t even realize their spiritual condition. The five “foolish” will be shut out of the wedding supper entirely! That’s very sobering!

I’ll end tonight’s letter with a section from a “Brethren Letter” written by Mr. Armstrong on July 25, 1967.

         How about it, Brethren? 

         Are we the CHURCH OF GOD that will be taken to a place of

safety? Or are we the contented, lackadaisical, lukewarm LAODICEAN people who are going into slavery in the Great Tribulation – into TORTURE and MARTYRDOM?

Are we putting GOD’S WORK FIRST, or are we allowing other interests, desires, entertainments, to fill our minds — and take our money? WHY is it, dear Brethren, that Communists can be SO COMPLETELY DEVOTED to their damnable destructive CAUSE — can DEVOTE their whole souls and lives and interests to it — but God’s people have to be reminded, prodded, aroused out of lethargy and LUKEWARMNESS?

Brethren, lukewarmness is not acceptable to Christ. God didn’t call us to backslide, or to fail. “And this is the promise that He has promised us–eternal life” (I John 2:25). That’s His promised reward to those who are faithful!

 

Please have a good Sabbath!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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