1)The trying of our faith is more precious than Gold, to come forth as Gold, and being partakers of Christ suffering; all these aspects of 1 Peter 1:7, Job 23:10, and 1 Peter 4:12-13 relate to the counsel given to the laodicean church in Revelations 3:18 by God. Gold and precious stones in the Bilbe categorize eternal values, as our lives are tried by fire and all the wood, hay and stubble(the worldly values) are burnt away in our judgment at the Bema seat (1 Cor 3:11-13). When God counsels the laodicean church to buy gold tried in fire, He is instructing us as believers to first build upon the cornerstone Jesus Christ( 1 Peter 2:6) and second use eternal building blocks of faith, trials, sufferings, and tribulations in Christ. From 1 Peter 1:7, We know the trying of our faith is more precious than Gold, even when it is tried by the unquenchable fire of God it stands secure, because it is built upon the statutes and principles of Jesus Christ and applied in an eternal value lifestyle. When Pastor Stevens mentioned the scripture from Proverbs 23:23 we see that the eternal building blocks are simply made in applying(“buying”) truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding from God into our lives. When we buy truth we own it and use it in our lives and from this we see that holy purchase of gold tried in the fire from God. When we walk in practical truth, wisdom, and understanding from God every aspect of our life will be built with precious stones, eternal materials from heaven. We see Job 23: 10 relate to the counsel as Job lived a life of trial and unlike most of the world around him, he did not sell out. Instead he had his life come forth as Gold before God, because he stood secure on the cornerstone, immovable from the truth invested into him by God. We in revelations 3:18 are encouraged and challenged to buy that gold, that truth, and as we see in 1 Peter 1:7 and 4:12-13 we are to walk with it. Walking with truth is dangerous in this world because with truth comes great riches from eternity as we are building with precious stones that withstand the trials and tribulations and ultimately stand secure in the fire of judgment before God. If we suffer as Christ suffered, travail as Job travailed in faith, and buy truth, we will walk as victors truly on fire for God and not lukewarm as our atmosphere and age tempt us to be.
2) Repentance is of great benefit to a teachable believer as it is the key to walking in a spiritual capacity over the fleshly capacity. Having a repentant heart produces the “be attitudes (Matt 5), fruits of the spirit (Gal 5), and a healthy perspective of our value before God. Unlike being introspective, a repentant heart has us look into our lives with spiritual eyes discerning the motives, thoughts, and actions without judgment. Repentance also is pinnacle in renewing our spirit to receive the things of God. In our natural capacity we cannot receive anything from the spiritual realm/ kingdom (I Cor 2), therefore we need to be before God, within a spiritual mindset, clean(repentant of our sins), and hearing to receive the gold of the spirit speaking through the Word. A common misconception of repentance is that is looking into oneself, judgmentally and feeling condemned as we daily fall short of God’s “expectation”. Repentance simply put is going before the Father through the Son to cast our sin or our cares as 1 Peter 5:7 puts it and let grace reign in our life as that is what God is lavishing upon us. Repentance is letting go of our life, putting our sin aside to the one who has died for it all, and living in the new life provided through Jesus Christ’s gift(Eph 2:8-9). Repentance is vital to a teachable believer, because without it we will be pre-occupied, consumed by our lust, and lost in the sea of guilt shame and fear. We, without repentance, cannot hope to be mentally capable to receive from the spirit as we are operating completely in our old nature. Paul instructs us in (Eph 4:22-24) to put off the old man, and put on the new man, to remove ourselves from our former conversation, to have the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5). To be teachable is to be living within repentance or relationship with Christ. The two cannot hope to operate independently as they are integral to Jesus’s character and the Father’s heart. We as believers come before the Father in relationship knowing our sin is paid for, and we cast all our concerns, our doubts, our shortcomings to Him and proclaim victory. (Heb 12:2).
3) A pastor has a tremendous weight of responsibility in leading a local body to the heartbeat of Christ and His Word. The booklet explains how the pastors of the laodicean age fall typically into these “camps” of preserving their reputation and status to a community they may or may not serve(another point of the booklet). These pastors neglect their responsibility to preach simply the word of God. A pastor within God’s will preaches God’s word and therefore the message has an edge that cuts through the surfaces of the souls that attend and reaches the heart. The largest distance in the world is the distance from the pulpit to the heart of a man. Pastor Scibelli has said this and its truth couldn’t be more spot on to what we see preached and proclaimed from the “modern church”. Pastor’s not only have a responsibility to preach the pure Word, but also to shepherd their congregation to the feet of God where they also are recieveing from God and hearing from God. If all a church has is a positive message it is no different than a counseling session, that the world pays thousands for. The words of God counsel and encourage, but their purpose is to reach the soul and change lives. If the church is not being transformed by the message, the message is not from the transforming power of God’s word. The message is in desperate need of an anointing from God, therefore must be prepared before God in prayer and in relationship to His heart, which leads to evangelism. God’s heart beats in love towards others. As Paul says in Corinthians 13, if we have not love, we do not have the spirit of God speaking, teaching, or leading us. God loves others and a pastor should lead and live in love towards others. A pastor is no more than a laid down life sold out in God’s transforming love, burning with a message. Not to diminish who a pastor is, but simply put it is a life that is on fire. Therefore a laodicean pastor does not even qualify in the standard set before us in Revelations. We are instructed to be on fire, because without a burning message from God in Christ’s love, we will never hope to pastor effectively, because it is Christ who builds the church and only His way will carry that out.
4) The three areas of a lukewarm attitude are within outreach, care for the lost, and prayer. Being lukewarm within these areas results in an unfruitful Christian walk and a stagnant lifestyle that is not moving forward in Christ’s kingdom. To not have a burden for the lost, a burden for prayer, and a burden for moving in evangelism is cause for concern in a believer’s life. Not in a condemning way, or an introspective emotional spirit, but within discernment do we find that our life may be lacking the application of doctrine within our life. We fall short in many ways to the standard and zeal set before us, but only through proper self examination can we recover from this short coming and live in grace from God. The answer to a lukewarm life is simply grace. We need a perspective of grace that we have not been in before; we need to realize that because of God’s grace we can have amazing zeal and fire all through our life. A lukewarm spirit is a spirit caught up in the world’s winds and waves. Up and down, back and forth, to and fro we will follow the steps and functions of the prince of the air if we do not refresh our life with grace and come to grips with it. We examine ourselves before God in grace and realize the immense power we have in it, the overcoming spirit within, and the overwhelming mercies showered over us daily. In grace we will run to the Word of God hungry, in Grace we will be longing for transformation of lost souls, and in grace we will be fervent in prayer praying for the sun to stand still before our enemies. We must not be calculative or formularize our approach to the laodicaean spirit trying to overcome by natural means. We must be approaching the cross, examining ourselves, and reaching out towards the lost in the grace from God. It is grace that has set us before the throne of God, and it is grace that will sustain us there. A lukewarm attitude is produced by man, and only by a solution from God can we overcome and operate in outreach, care for the lost, and prayer as God meant us to. By grace we are saved through faith, not of ourselves for it is a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast. Eph 2:8-9 We cannot hope to properly examine, discern, or operate in the spirit apart from God’s grace. Simply put Grace is the answer to a lukewarm spirt!