Anglican Morning Devotion for 13 October 2021 Anno Domini
, a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;” 15 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” 16 “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” 17 “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” 18 “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.” 19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” 20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (REVELATIONS 3:14-20)
Whether these verses above were intended to represent a prophetic description of the modern church, or not, the description still fits today’s church in every particular.
In his book, Patton’s Principles: A Handbook for Managers Who Mean It! By Porter B. Williamson, one will find many simple, yet extraordinarily effective, principles of leadership. One, however, impressed me as one that has proven very useful in my own work environment – “If you have a luke-warm friend, make an enemy of him as soon as possible – then you will know where he stands.” I suppose that principle worked best in my past military career instead of in my profession today as a minister of the Gospel.
A good leader does, indeed, despises luke-warmness in his followers. If a task is worth doing, it is worth doing right and with alacrity. Half-hearted work will never live up to the standard of a professional. But such a principle was espoused by our Lord Himself. Christ would rather see a complete rebel to faith over and above one who pretends faith and practices infidelity and compromise of God’s Word.
It strikes me as very likely that our Lord would shun the modern churches of America, and many abroad, for their half-hearted and irreverent regard for Holy Living based on the Word of God alone. A bar-room brawl carries a greater measure of respect than a half-hearted worship service in which entertainment excels worship and preaching. At least the bar-room brawler has SOMETHING worth fighting for.
A dead soldier is cold and motionless. We need not fret about him for he cannot wield a weapon against us. But the warm soldier of living flesh is dangerous. He is not dead, but he is not wholly alive either. That description typifies the luke-warm Christian soldier in the Army of God. He is alive, but timid and reluctant to leave the trenches – and he just may sell out his friends for thirty pieces of silver if pressured.
We must prefer a hot-bloodied and dedicated soldier willing to lay his all on the line for the cause for which he has been conscripted. He loathes lingering in the trenches and cannot suppress his inclination to leave them and get at the enemy’s throat. This is the kind of spiritual soldier we need today in churches – those who are courageous for Christ and unashamed to confess Him at all times and places.
“And he said to them all, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” “For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:23-26 The cross of Christ is not some gold-plated trinket. It takes courage to take it up and follow wherever that decision leads us. It means putting one’s life on the line for righteousness and the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ – even the shameful death of the cross if need be. The servant is not above his Master.
It is high time that our churches awaken from their drunken stupor and arise to the call of battle – a battle more intense spiritually than any land battle can be physically. Do you fail of courage? Look to the leading Ensign that is Christ. Rally around Him and the victory is assured. We build beautiful edifices called churches, but they are devoid of spiritual truth and reverence. It is not the vessel that bears the value, but the contents. The luke-warm Christian cannot admit that fact, and the dedicated Christian will never allow it to be a reality in his worship.