To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
May/June 2014 Issue – ‘Revive us again’
Today’s text for reading and meditation:
Revelation 3:14-22 (NIVUK): “‘To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so that you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
In today’s study, Selwyn considers ‘some of the arguments of those who believe that revival is irrelevant in today’s Church’.
The curious thing for me, is that since starting this issue (May/June 2014) on ‘revival’, the number of people who read this blog has noticeably dropped. Perhaps, the lack of interest is due to this belief – that, revival is irrelevant. My only response would be – just look at church attendance in the western world – is it dramatically growing?
Selwyn has this to say: “The exponents of this view say that the Church possesses everything she needs to live an effective life here on earth.” I think you can extend this view a little further – in that, there are many people who believe that the Bible holds an answer to any spiritual problem and all that is needed is the appropriate application – by the individual – of the truth of God’s Word. While the core component of what they say is indeed true, the focus is solely on the individual’s actions, to the exclusion of the Holy Spirit.
Further on, Selwyn goes to the heart of the matter: “Those who see the Church as an institution rather than a community of people brought into being and maintained by the influences of the Holy Spirit and the Word will see the whole issue of revival as unnecessary and irrelevant.
The Church is a body empowered and made alive by the Holy Spirit. And the secret of her survival in this world is in continually opening herself to the Spirit who gave her life. She was not only born of the Spirit but survives and thrives by the Spirit. No Spirit – no life.”
The church at Laodicea was wealthy; probably had an eloquent and popular preacher, nice buildings and comfortable chairs. (I don’t know if they did, but it’s a reasonable assumption, based on my limited experiences!) From all external human measures – this church had the appearances of a church blessed by God. Yet, this is what He says: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” You probably couldn’t receive a more comprehensive, ‘fail’.
I think they were operating on their own strengths and total dependence on their wealth – at some point they had drifted away from seeking direction from God’s Spirit. Yet, even with such a huge failure – God is full of compassion and mercy; He is prepared to lead His people into repentance and full restoration of their relationship with Him. (As indicated by His willingness to sit down at the same table, and share a meal.)
What did you think of today’s study – do you agree with what Selwyn has written?