Allow me to introduce Ikonograph’s first guest blogger, Michael Beatty. Michael is a dedicated member of the high school ministry which I direct, and he is marked by a passionate concern for the holiness of other professing Christians. As a fellow believer who has a desire to serve others through exhortation, we agreed that guest appearances here at Ikonograph would be a great way to do this. I hope that many of you share Michael’s zeal for God’s glory.
“I recently sat down to a holiday dinner at the house of a relative, anticipating a delicious holiday meal complete with all of the trimmings. To my great surprise and utter disgust the meal was tepid; the things that were supposed to be cold, were not and the things supposed to be hot were not. Due to propriety I consumed a polite portion of the meal but immediately pushed my plate away when I had taken enough to be polite. This reaction is extremely mitigated compared to God’s reaction (which is not dictated by man’s propriety) towards those who claim the name of Christ yet their lack of fire for His name reveals their true spiritual condition, that they are not saved.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” (Rev. 3:16-17)
These verses were written to the church at Laodicea, an area known for dirty, tepid water. The Laodiceans were neither cold, openly rejecting Christ, nor hot, filled with spiritual zeal. Instead its members were lukewarm hypocrites professing to know Christ, but not truly belonging to Him. These self-deceived hypocrites sickened Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
A believer should be on fire for Christ and His word. The life of a believer should be characterized by the daily pursuit of God’s wisdom and knowledge revealed in His word. God’s wisdom is better than anything that can be attained through the world’s faculty (since they are all corrupt, unless characterized by the pursuit of Christ and His gospel).
Another area where Christ should be visible in the believer is through the service given by the believer to the body, ultimately to Christ, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). This service should be scrutinized by the believer to check the motives behind the offered service. Is it for the further promulgation of God’s glory or is it for selfish gain? Evangelizing and proclaiming God’s word to the lost should be a primary concern, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20). The grammar used in the Great Commission is not passive but is in the present tense commanding believers to spread the gospel, i.e. evangelize. If these are not in character with your life, I urge you to check your spiritual pulse to see if you are alive in Christ and not still dead in your sins, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:1-2). If the Holy Spirit does not reside in your members as He does in the believer, the ruler of this earth/prince of the air (Satan) manipulates you. Therefore repent and turn to Christ and His gospel in light of the cross and His act of Justification by which we are cleansed.
Many of us have been blessed to have been born into a Christian home, watched Christian movies, eaten Christian themed food, listened to Christian music, played Christian games, gone to church, and assumed that these things indicated that you were a Christian as well since you partook of so many Christian things. Things are not an indicator of belief but rather our actions are the litmus test for our belief or lack thereof.
Some food for thought:
- Do you yearn to read God’s word and to pray?
- Does your speech and thought life coincide with God’s word?
- Is it edifying?
- Are you serving others?
- Do you disregard benefits to self and serve for the furtherance of Christ’s glory?