Tonight I heard a wonderful message from one of our young preachers as he brought a tremendous application from the letter to the Laodiceans in Revelation chapter 3.
He pointed out something that really intrigued me. He pointed out that the letter is not really to the church but to the angel of the church. And that little statement got me thinking. . .
Each of the seven letters to the seven churches can be viewed in three different aspects. First, the primary meaning is that each letter is to a real church that existed in the first century. As such, the letters describe the existing spiritual condition that prevailed in each of the churches.
Second, each letter contains a personal application - characteristics of individual believers - some good, and some not so good. So, as we read each of the letters, we may examine our own lives to see how we should apply the truths of each letter.
But thirdly, there is a prophetic picture to each letter where the characteristics of the church seems to parallel the characteristics that are prevalent in Christendom from the first century until now. And if that is true, then we are living in the Laodicean church age.
And that's where these two different thoughts bumped together in my head and I immediately began to see the letter in a much more serious light. You see, each letter starts out by saying, "unto the angel of the church of . . . ".
The word “angel" comes from a Greek word (angelos) that the KJV translators also translated as "messenger". In fact, it is translated as “messenger’ or ‘messengers’ in 7 places - Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2, Luke 7:24, Luke 7:27, Luke 9:52, 2 Cor 12:7, and James 2:25. So, even though, in the Book of Revelation, the KJV translators used the word as “angel" it is pretty obvious, when you consider the context, that the implication is for pastors of the churches who are held responsible for the spiritual condition that existed within their respective churches.
So what does all of this mean? It means very simply that those of us who are church leaders in this Laodicean age need to take the words of Jesus in Revelation 3:14-22 VERY personally and VERY seriously. If there is to be any prophetic application made, then WE are the ones who are lukewarm. WE are the ones who are self-sufficient and believe we are in need of nothing. WE are the ones who are totally blind to our true spiritual deficiencies. And WE are the ones who need to repent of our condition.
It's not my church, not my deacon, but it's me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer!
The longer I have been in the ministry, the more I have noticed just how prevalent that these conditions are in so many so-called men of God all over the world. We could all name pastors who no longer speak directly to the sins of their congregation because they try to be accepted by everyone. It is not that they preach heresy. They just don’t preach anything that would make their people uncomfortable. They are lukewarm. (Rev 3:16) They are not a refreshing cold drink of water on a hot day to nourish a thirsty soul. Nor are they useful as hot water to cleanse or purify (http://www.livestrong.com/article/421331-why-is-it-healthy-to-drink-hot-water/). They are lukewarm and practically ineffective. They may not be offensive to their followers and may even be well-liked, but Jesus said he will spew them out of His mouth.
We all know preachers who believe they can build their churches on business models, programs, or promotions. They believe that since they have nice buildings and comfortable bank accounts that their church is being blessed of God. Of course, they would never say that they are relying on these things but their actions speak loud and clear. But what is the Lord’s estimation of their attitude? Jesus says they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. (Rev 3:17)
You can go to just about any preacher's fellowship meeting and hear them brag about all the material assets that their church has attained. They equate their assets with the blessings of God. They speak as if riches or popularity is the measuring stick of God's favor. And the saddest part about this is that they don't really realize their true condition. “and knowest not” (Rev 3:17)
The Letter to the angel of the church of Laodicea ends with a command to turn back to Christ and allow Him to be our sufficiency. (Rev 3:18, 19) If we are to see true results to our preaching, it will not be in our oratorical training. It will not be in our carefully outlined sermons. We will know the power of God when we humbly beseech the God of all power. We will see true results when we repent of our pride and arrogance. We will will see true spiritual results when we open our doors (Rev 3:20) and allow Christ to take His rightful place as Head of the body, the church.
“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 do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” (Rev 3:18)
Are all Bible translations equal? Is there such a thing as a pure Bible free from error? What do the scholars say? But more importantly, what does the Bible teach about itself?Pastor Taylor is a veteran missionary and Bible translator who travels world-wide assisting Bible translation teams in their processes. This book is the result of the last twelve years of research into the Bible Translation debate. Available for purchase at Amazon (also available in Amazon UK), Barnes and Nobles, and Old Paths Publications!
Facebook. Love it or not, it is here to stay (at least for a while). Some people hate it. Some people love it. Some people use it to keep track of friends and family. Some people use it to advertise things. I read somewhere that 2 out of 5 internet users have a Facebook page. With that in mind, below is a list of things that Christians on Facebook need to remember:
1. The other day I saw a post from a preacher friend of mine that really caught my attention. It was a news article from some web-site about politics and it looked really intriguing so I clicked on the link to read it. The news article popped up. But so did a bunch of advertisements from a web-site that is not fit for Christian consumption. Hey Christian! Make sure you are not inadvertently passing on some of those saucy advertisements that some of those websites like to use.
2. And another thing, Christian! Before you pass on any of the news that you might be reading in one of your favorite alternate new sites, you may want to check to see if it's actually happening. Regurgitating phony news can only hurt your credibility. Not help it. General rule of thumb - if it sounds incredible, it probably is!
3. If your are a church leader, you should understand that some issues can be very sensitive in nature and if your purpose for having Facebook is to evangelize or edify, you might want to consider some subjects off-limits. Obviously, politics is not off-limits. But just make sure you are obeying the guidelines that the Scriptures give concerning how we are to respect our leaders.
4. Talking about sports is good – sometimes. But may I reemphasize the word 'sometimes'? Otherwise people think that's all you ever think about. I know christians who haven’t said anything spiritual in months. They have been real busy in sports and politics but seem to have forgotten that they are witnesses first!
5. If you happen to be a salesman for any product, you might want to find another way to get your product out. I have come so close to unfriending some very good christians simply because I get tired of the promotions for their products again, and again, and again. . . . Once more, if you are a preacher, you don't want to be remembered as the guy who sells Amway (or whatever).
6. Keep in mind that companies look at your wall and friends list before hiring. And if companies are doing it, you can be sure others do it too. You can call it stalking all you want but you know it is still happening. I wonder how many people do the same thing to preachers before visiting their church? What kind of person does your Fb page say you are?
7. Pictures – not everyone knows that what you are holding is actually a tall glass of water. The shape of the glass and the bottle communicates a message. It may not be the right message. I'm not saying that you have to drink out of a plain glass in all your pictures I'm just saying you might be careful how you post. By the way, glasses, water, and restaurants are not the only things we need to be considering. You might be dressed appropriately as you go to the park but the person behind you might not share your standards! (know what I mean?)
8. By the way, it is still gossip even though you are typing and not speaking. Keep that in mind before you post something about someone else.
9. And last but certainly not least, if you are going to post something, be aware that everyone in the world can see what kind of slang, language, or other distasteful words, that you like to use. So using phrases like "*@#$" the Broncos - definitely not that good for your testimony. Some people absolutely hate Facebook because of the "junk that gets posted on there". I agree that a lot of stuff on Facebook should probably not be there. But hey! You see junk because you have friends that post junk! And you know what to do about that!
10. As a rule, you ought to be spending WAY more time in your Bible than you do on Facebook. So honestly, which one do you "check" first in the morning? And how long do you spend there?
Except from Recent Prayer Letter:
Be Diligent !
Every year we have sought to encourage our church family with a Bible based theme that is challenging and profitable for our individual lives as well as profitable for the church. This year I emphasized the theme, “Be Diligent”.
It’s no secret that we are living in very dark days. Sin is rampant and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight to the public promotion of wickedness coupled with the tolerance of things that God doesn’t tolerate. At times it feels like no matter how hard we try, we are insignificant. Sometimes it appears as if we are not making any difference. But God has promised to produce fruitfulness in our lives. God has promised to reward our works of faith and labors of love. The only thing that He requires of us is to be faithful to the task. The closer we get to the Lord’s return, the greater the need for diligence in God’s people.
2Pe 3:13-14 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace,
Read the rest at: http://afbmissions.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/18/2016/01/Taylor-January-2016.pdf
A friend of mine posted the following article on Facebook today and though it was credited to the late comedian George Carlin, (it was actually written by Dr. Bob Moorehead, former pastor of Seattle-based Overtake ChristianChurch) I thought it was worthy of repeating:
"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We've conquered outer space, but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less.
We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill".
The Bible says this:
2Ti 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
No doubt, we are living in troublous days. I remember when I was a child, children walked to school without fear of kidnap. And when we arrived at school, we played with our friends. We didn't shoot them. We went to supermarkets, malls, ball-parks, and theaters and nobody ever thought for a moment that someone would try to kill them.
We are living in a time when men's hearts are filled with fear, and hatred.
So what should we, as believers , be doing?
Tit 2:13-14 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
I have been in Korea for 26 years. In the course of that time, I have seen quite a lot of saber-rattling between the North and the South. One of these days, the situation between the two countries will ultimately be resolved. It may be resolved by war. It may be resolved by economic collapse. And I suppose there could be other ways in which the situation could be resolved more peacefully as well.
Someone asked me what I will do if the two nations go to war. I plan to send my family back to the states. However, after having discussed it with my wife, Suk, she intends to disobey me and stay by her husband’s side, LOL!
But I plan to stay here with the men and women of the United States military. They are my mission. I certainly would not want to leave them when they need a pastor the most!
Of course, the government may not afford me that option. They could very well say that I must leave the country. If that happens, then I will take it as a message from God that it is time to go Until then, I am the pastor of a church here. I have a group of people who come to be fed every week. I have a responsibility to them.
BUT HERE IS THE POINT TO ALL OF THIS: I am not trying to be dramatic. And I am not trying to look like some kind of hero. I just believe that if you know what God's will is, you need to do it no matter what the situation is So even if my situation is looking a bit dark, I want to be found faithful.
Here is something else to think about. Since the two nations have been divided, only God knows how many North Koreans have died and gone to Hell because they have no Gospel. That means they have not Jesus Christ. Bottom line: as ugly as war may be, it may be the open door to reach so many hopeless people in the North with the truth of Jesus Christ .
No one wants to see a war and certainly no one wants to die in war. But our military men and women courageously signed their names on the dotted line saying they are willing to give their lives for the cause of their country. North Koreans, who have never heard the gospel, never got the choice. They never got to decide whether they wanted freedom or not. So as sad as it may sound, whether through economic collapse or war, or whatever, I would just love to see this situation get resolved.
Eternal death for so many who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel is even sadder than physical death. Jesus said, “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt 10:28)
The most important thing that we can do as believers is to stay in the center of his will so that whatever may come, we will be found faithful.
We had a decent amount of rain yesterday and, as any pastor will tell you, weather tends to have an affect on church attendance. But I was happy to see that our attendance did not waiver much. We had a good crowd of almost 80 people in attendance.
Years ago we had a lady who made sure EVERYONE knew when SHE was uncomfortable with the temperature in the sanctuary. She would fan herself profusely if it was the least bit warm. She would bring a blanket in the winter if she felt the least bit cool. Mind you, everyone else was perfectly fine. But she was there because her husband made her attend church with the family. She didn't want to be there. She didn't enjoy the preaching. And she wanted to make sure EVERYONE knew it!
Fair weather Christians. I am reminded of a short poem that I heard once: "In the summer we want it cool; in the winter we want it hot. Man is such a fickle beast. Always wanting what is not!"
There once was a young man who wrote a long and romantic letter to the girl of his dreams. he wrote: "Darling, I would climb the highest mountain, sail the darkest seas, swim the widest rivers, traverse the deepest jungles, cross the burning deserts, and even give my life just to be with you. PS. I will see you on Saturday if it doesn't rain."
Is that not how we treat our Lord sometimes? We say we will serve Him no matter what but when things get to be a bit difficult, we quit.
Let's not be fair weather Christians. Let's serve God whether it benefits us or not! Amen?
Greetings Prayer Warriors! Here is a link to our latest prayer letter. https://www.dropbox.com/s/swfdirtv0vyk7rr/Taylors%20times%2015-02.pdf?dl=0
If you have any trouble getting the file to open, or if you would like me to send you a copy by email, just let me know. God bless!
I just set up a new page on our website (www.hbcingunsan.com) and it is called "Pastor's Blog". Not very original but the best I could think of at the time! Anyway, I will be posting on it from time to time so make sure you check it out when you get a moment!
Meet The Pastor!
Pastor Jim Taylor was saved while serving in the US Air Force in February of 1984. Since that time, he has traveled from the coasts of Virginia to the mountains of Korea preaching the Word of God.