The Baptist Beacon
Youíve Got Mail
by Timothy Don Binion
These letterís written to the seven Churches of Asia in Revelations chapters 2 & 3 are not only historic but are representative of the different types and conditions of churches down through the ages. They forward perceive and project both good and the tragic characteristics present in churches century after century. This makes the promises and warnings written in these two chapters for all ages.
The letters were written in an according to the order of a mail carrier route but the last one to the Church of Laodicea seams to fit the most courant trend. We must learn the underline lesson taught in this latter letter that seems to jump off the page and say "If religion is worth anything, it is worth every thing". Christ expects us to be in earnest. When Christians are lukewarm they project a false opinion of Christianity.
We live in a time when certain words are considered vulgar, off color or discriminational. The courant day refinement of religion has become the vogue of our race. Some churchs pole the community to find out what the world wants to hear and then they tailor church to the community. Men use carnal ingenuity to make the Bible and God Politically Correct and non offensive. Before long Daniel and the Lions den will be a petting zoo, the three Hebrew children were thrown into a sona and Abraham was not going to sacrifice Isaac but rather put him in time out. We need to return, to plan speech and divine truth that produces power.
The Bible is a book that deals with things as they are. It uses words that are natural and simple. ISA 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! The Bible does not call foul things by a fair names but rather uses straight forward understandable words and phrases.
Jesus used a plain metaphor, one all of us are acquainted with. He came right out and said it - -You make be want to vomit.
Can you imagine, that the condition or attitude of church would make the Almighty nauseous. To thing man can sicken and disgust the Infinite!! What caused this condition? Why is lukewarmness so distasteful?
Lukewarmness is the confounding or mixing of hot and cold which caused a Hakuna Matata condition. They obviously claimed Christianity valuable yet placing other interest before it or had little or no worry about its. The result was a false sense of security. A zeal mixed with eccentricity or zeal but not Christ centered made them lukewarm. They may have had fervor and prayer but mixed with scheming to connive or earnestness mixed with murmuring and ranting or enthusiasm with mere delirium and extravagance. Prophesying one thing and projecting something else. Lukewarmness is the mixing of Sympathy and "Apathy" the treating of things treasured like trash. Fare things in a foul way. Things dear we let go a drift. Our passion becomes passive. Co-mingle enthusiasm with indifference. Our passionate devotion to things of value are filled with unresponsiveness disinterest and insensibility.
Any mixing of Hot and Cold is a direct insult to the Lord Jesus Christ: One who says I do not believe what Christ teaches. We conclude he is blind and lost but if one says I believe what Jesus teaches but I do not think it overly important or refuses to be changed or disturbed by it or give our selves to it. This must be a greater resistance of the Word of God then a devil deceived lost person. To see but refuse to observe is lukewarm. To love but refuse to obey is lukewarm. To yield but refuse to give is lukewarm. To believe the truth that Christ taught and yet chose to be indifferent is to be lukewarm. To know you should give the Lord your all but chose to be apathetic and share your heart with others is to be Lukewarm.
Was there earnestness in securing our salvation? Was it import for Christ to leave heaven to come to earth. The gospel, Church, Baptism, were not these so valuable that precious innocent blood was shed to purchase them?
Lukewarmness undermines the value of salvation and is an "in your face" kind of insult to the Lord Jesus Christ. It like saying; "I love you Lord" but plan to love others or "Your my Lord" but I plain to do it my way. Have you considered the kind of insult it is to God when we let aries of our life become lukewarm? These conditions drive the Lord away chases him forth from our Church and before long He stands out side and knocking for admission. Indifferents makes us look like pretenders to the world. If religion is a real thing, it is the most excellent thing. If it is not real it is the most vile imposture. If worth any thing it is worth everything.
One of my greatest concerns is our lukewarmness toward divine institutions: One of the fist things God instituted was the Family or home and through the coming of Christ we have the privilige of having a "Christian Home". PSA 68:6 God setteth the solitary in families: Our homes are unique and a priceless possession which can never be replace. God has set the solitary in families. Resently Iíve found myself gravitating toward the family unit in my preaching for a fear weíve not heard enough preaching on the Home. Personlily I find no greater pleasure then having a Christian Home.
God organize and instituted the first Home or Family. Gen 2:22 The rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. How many Eveís did God create for Adam. "One" Why not that dating game? Two continue a family. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (or one home). The undervalue and dishonor of spiritual authority has produced Families without Foundations. When God gave the command to Honor father and Mother he ment for the home to be founded on honor. We should give honor to the Home and to the Spiritual authorities that controls its outcome. I am all for equal rights but not for equal roles. The roles and requirements within the home for the husband and wives that are unconditional and different. Read Eph 5:22-33 and you will see what roles we are to assume. However, saying we believe these passages and not doing them is lukewarm. It is a shame and dishonor to see spiritual cross dressing accoring in our homes. I believe this role blending is unscriptural and has made our Homes and families sick.
If we ever fix America we must first fix the family. Max Jukes lived in New York. He did not believe in Christ or in Christian training. He refused to take his children to church, even when they asked to go. He has had 1,026 descendants; 300 were sent to prison for an average term of 13 years; 190 were public prostitutes; 680 were admitted alcoholics. His family, thus far, has cost the state in excess of $420,000. They made no contribution to society.
Jonathan Edwards lived in the same state, at the same time as Jukes. He loved the Lord and saw that his children were in church every Sunday, as he served the Lord to the best of his ability. He has had 929 descendants, of these 430 were ministers; 86 became university professors; 13 became university presidents; 75 authored good books; 5 were elected to the United States Congress and 2 to the Senate. One was Vice President of his nation. His family never cost the state one cent but has contributed immeasurably to the life of plenty in this land today.
HOME Jonathan Edwards is well known as one of the greatest theologians of American history. It was his voice that played such a significant role in America's First Great Awakening. He is remembered for his powerful sermons and his seventy "Resolutions." But one word from history that has long been neglected is his view of the home. He and his wife, the former Sarah Pierrepont, established something that is more noteworthy than the Northampton Church. Together, they formed a family. His value of this family, and all families, can be seen in a statement made during his "Farewell Sermon." "Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by His rules."
A young person reading this may exclaim. "A home? Why do I need a home?" I was born in a hospital, educated in a college, courted in an automobile, and married in a church. I get my food at the delicatessen and restaurant. I spend my mornings at golf, my afternoons at the club, and my evenings dancing or at the movies. And when I die, I shall be buried from the undertaker's. Why do I need a home? All I need is a garage! While this may be a distorted picture of the American home, it is, nevertheless, sufficiently characteristic to give us concern.
I spoke with a young man this past week: "He said Iím not making any advancement in life because every thing he made went toward making the ends meet." I told him that loyalty as a father and husband will advance him father and sustain him longer then all the money in the world.
The bible contains 30 verses on baptism, 225 on prayer, 300 on faith, 700 on love 2,350 on money and 3,664 on the family (counting the genealogicís recorded) Do you realize that there is a complete unbroken chain of genealogy from Adam to Christ. A 6,000 recorded pedigree or royal line in Luke 3.
Lets notice these four areas the Formation; Foundation; Fortification; Felicitation
Four Elements in Forging a Family:
Spiritual: Emotional; Intellectual; Physical: The bypassing of Spiritual; Emotional; and intellectual compatibility breads fornication. Formation is strongly rooted in Spiritual realm: John 4:24 God is a Spirit: 1 John 4:8 God is Love: To many homes have these missing ingredients. The Bible contains the only genuine blueprint for a successful relationship both with him and others. ECC 4:12 threefold cord is not quickly broken. Man - Woman - God bound together form a strong union. I believe the Spirit of God has the ability to draw two people into harmony union one in spirit. This spiritual intercourse forms a stable foundation for courtship and marriage.
Emotional intercourse: The Home is a bundle of Emotions. Once established we should legislate kindness in the relationship. Getting on the same emotional level stabilizes the relationshp. This involves conversation and mutual understanding and value of feelings. Husbands and wifes must be able to talk on a deep emotional level and yet have sensitivity to individuality. This leads to Intellectual Intercourse: or Verbal Intercourse for suport and compainionship.
The homes Foundation must be HONOR. Honor carries a literal meaning that has been lost. Greek word honor calls to mind something "heavy or weighty" Dishonor brings to mind a literal picture of a mist or steam. Why? Because this was the lightest most insignificant thing that Greeks could think of. Honor means it carries great weight with us. Or extremely valuable. Honour has in America turned to a Vapour
Let's look at the five reasons for Rome's downfall, as set forth by Edward Gibbon in his classic work The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. They are:
1. The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home.
2. Increasing taxes and spending of public money for bread and circuses.
3. The mad craze for pleasure, with sports becoming more exciting and more brutal.
4. The building of gigantic armaments, when the real enemy is the decadence of the people.
5. The decay of religion, with faith fading into mere form.
1Peter 3:1-6 Wife. . . 1PE 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
How would you rate the honor in your marriage relationship right now? Is he or she a close 9. Genuine love is honor put into action regardless of the cost. PRO 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. MAT 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. Ex 20:12
MAT 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Woman not only bring companionship "It is not good for the man to be alone Gen 2:18 but she is a help meet. She completes what is lacking or does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. She brings to the home strengths that the husband does not naturally have himself. Whatever else may be said about the home, it is the bottom line of life, the anvil upon which attitudes and convictions are hammered out. It is the place where life's bills come due, the single most influential force in our earthly existence. A cartoon in the New Yorker showed a father scowling over a very bad report card while his little boy stood by, asking, "What do you think it is, Dad? Heredity or environment?"
1% of the childís time is spent under the influence of the Sunday School; 7% public school; 92%under the influence of the Home.
Fortified by the Favour: Grace . . .Grace put a Hedge around Jobís home. Grace in the home hinged history with the hope of heaven. Going to the throne of Grace holds the home together.
The beauty of a house is harmony, the security of a house is loyalty, the joy of a house is love, the plenty of a house is in children, The rule of a house is service, The comfort of a house is God Himself.
In order for the home to be fortified with favour it must be built on Godly Guidelines and Heavenly principles; Creator centered homes that donít give place to the devil. We need parents that push away or shun the appearance of evil. Itís time we fight for the sanctity of the home. We need homes that are Holy Spirit Kept Homes with Holy Angels camped all about. It is not the 10 commands removed from our schools thatís demoralizing America (I wish they were hung there) its their removal from the home. Deut 6:9 "write them on the posts of thy house, and on thy gates".
A mother and father decided to use psychology in raising their children. For example, at bedtime they would say to the children, "Would you like to take your doll to bed or your teddy bear to bed?" You see, the beauty of this is that in either case the child is choosing to go to bed. But the whole system collapsed when the three_ year_old, who was never allowed to go out after supper, said to her parents one evening, "Do you want me to go out the back door or should I go out the front?"
Felicitation by Fervour: Rekindle our zeal toward the value of our homes. We can not have Family Values with out a valuing out Familyís. If you want a happy home put forth some vigor and rigour to make it happen not with Clamour, Glamour; but honor.
Gospel musician Hilding Halverson told of overhearing a conversation between his son and two other little boys. The youngsters were bragging about their dads. One boy said proudly, "My dad knows the mayor of our town!" Another said, "So, my dad knows the governor of our state!" Halverson's son then came up with this touching comment, "That's nothing __ my dad knows God!" Upon hearing this, Halverson quickly slipped away to his room and with tears in his eyes said, "O God, I pray that my boy will always be able to say, 'My dad knows God.'" He knew he had been paid the supreme tribute.
Could I climb the highest place in Athens, I would lift my voice and proclaim: "Fellow citizens, why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and take so little care of your children, to whom one day you must relinquish it all?"
People used to get home sick, today we have sick homes.