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Worthless Christianity

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
August 27, 2021 8:00 am

Worthless Christianity

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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August 27, 2021 8:00 am

Coffee is great when it’s served piping hot or cold and frosty. But lukewarm? Well, that’s nothing but a disappointment. Join Dr. Tony Evans as he explains why God feels that exact same way about people. Discover the steps involved in relighting the fire of your faith before you become spiritually useless.

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What should define us is our pursuit of God, our passion for Christ, our witness to the world. Dr. Tony Evans says if our goals have become clouded, it's time for a reset. You have to change your priorities. You've got to make the spiritual more important than the physical, the sacred more important than the secular. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Have you ever sat down for your morning coffee only to discover you've waited too long and that piping hot first cup is now a lukewarm disappointment? The Bible says some Christians can be like that, and today Dr. Evans explains how we can turn up the heat on our faith to make sure our Christianity has meaning and impact.

Let's join him as he begins. When our kids were growing up, one of the places we went on vacation was to Universal Studios. One of the things that they did was they took us through where movies are made. And as we were on the tram riding through the the various towns that had been constructed, the gentleman on the tram said, what you're looking at is a facade. He says behind these constructs and construction is nothing, but you would never know it watching the movie when it is filmed here, because what we do is we put a face on it. But behind it, there is no reality. It just seems real, feels real, and looks real.

But it is actually a facade. In Revelation chapter 3, Jesus wants to talk to the church at Laodicea and the Christians in that church. And by speaking to them, He wants to speak to us, the church today, and warn us about worthless Christianity, Christianity that is merely a facade, Christianity that has a good face on it, with limited or little reality behind it.

And how worthless that is to Him. We read beginning in verse 14, to the angel of the church in Laodicea write. To the angel, that is the spiritual leader, the pastor at the church at Laodicea, here's what I want you to tell these folk. Laodicea was a special town. It was a major trade route in Asia Minor that was critical for people moving products from one direction to another direction. It was about 45 miles away from the city of Philadelphia, one of the churches spoken of, and it was a key location for three reasons, and all three reasons are going to be brought up in this passage and relate to us today. First of all, it was a place of great fortune. It was a banking center. A lot of money exchanged hands because of all the trading that occurred in Laodicea. It was a place of great function and fortune. It was also a special place in addition to its fortune. They had a major textile industry there. The clothing factories were robust, and people could get not only clothes, but expensive rugs for their homes at Laodicea. Then it was a place of medical science and pharmaceuticals.

It was known for its advancement in medicine, and so this city was well known. Jesus says to this advanced prophet-making, good-looking, and medically secure environment pastor of the church at Laodicea, here's what I want you to tell them. He says, I know your deeds.

I may not be there, but I know what's going on. That you are neither hot nor cold or 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.

Ooh, I felt that reading it. He says, y'all at your church have a problem, and your problem is lukewarmness. You are lukewarm. You're neither hot nor cold.

Now let me give you the reason why he uses this terminology. Laodicea is located between two cities. Colossae, where you have the book of Colossians, and Aeropolis. One was ten miles away from Laodicea.

The other was six miles away from Laodicea. So they were close cities. Aeropolis was known for its hot springs, like Hot Springs, Arkansas, but Colossae got its water from the snow and the ice melting, flowing down from it, from Colossae into Laodicea. So that was cold. So when the hot springs flowed down from Aeropolis and the cold water came down from Colossae, they met. And they met at Laodicea.

But when the cold met the hot, it's now lukewarm. So he tells them about his disgust. This church was in a state of emergency. They needed the emergency room. They were unhealthy, but they didn't even know it. So what was it that made this church lukewarm?

What made them worthless? He says, because you say, verse 17, I am rich. I have become wealthy and have need of nothing. And you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. You dress good and don't know you don't have clothes on. You got money in the bank and don't know you're poor.

You think you understand what's going on and you're blind as a bat. In other words, you are a self-deceived Christian going to a self-deceived church, but you're still having church. The problem is that this church measured their spirituality by their external benefits. There was money in the bank, good clothes.

They had good medical insurance. Put in an everyday word, these Christians would have gone around and they would have been saying, I'm blessed and highly favored. That's what they would say, I'm blessed and highly favored because God is taking care of me.

And he says, and you don't even know how bad off you are. Your physical looks good, but your spiritual is emaciated. In Western culture particularly, we have allowed the benefits that have accrued to us to trick us into thinking just because things are looking okay, we're okay. Whenever the physical defines the spiritual, then that means that things are backwards and that we have become lukewarm Christians in lukewarm churches, and we don't even know that Jesus is not in the building.

Externally, they look good, but when measured by the divine standard, they fell way short. Dr. Evans will come back to tell us more about how to avoid a worthless form of Christianity when he continues this message from his brand new series, Divine Reset. If you're feeling troubled, tempted, or trapped, or there just seems like there should be more to life, then this life-changing collection of lessons is for you. There are messages on moving beyond complacency, unlocking God's power in your life, finding triumph after trials, and experiencing God in this life and the one to come. We want you to realize all God intended for you, so we'll send you all ten full-length CDs or digital downloads in this set as our thank-you gift when you make a contribution to help keep Tony's teaching on the station. Along with it, we'll include his helpful booklet, Winning Your Spiritual Battles. This valuable resource can offer hope and guidance as it helps you identify areas of spiritual weakness and prepares you to stand firm against the devil's attacks on your life. You'll get both of these resources in the series with our thanks when you make a donation and request them online at tonyevans.org. Or let someone on our resource team help you by calling 1-800-800-3222 anytime of the day or night.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Dr. Evans will come back with part two of his message right after this. Coming to theaters this November. I'm here in Bethany, the place where Lazarus was raised from the dead. I'm here in the place where it's believed was the tomb from which he walked when Jesus raised him from the dead.

Dr. Tony Evans brings the New Testament Gospels to life as he visits the locations of Jesus' earthly ministry, connecting them to their significance for humankind today. What do you think has died in your life? Maybe hope has died. Relationships have died. Maybe your dreams have died. Guess what? Jesus is still the resurrection. He can take things that are dead and bring them back to life again. November 15th, 16th, and 17th. Travel with Dr. Tony Evans on a life-changing, eye-opening journey with Jesus.

Find theaters, showtimes, and learn more at toneavans.org. Remember I told you Laodicea had fashion, fortune, and pharmaceuticals? It was known for that. So what did the people have?

Fashion, fortune, pharmaceuticals. In other words, they took what was happening in the culture and brought it into the church. They took the success of society and let that define whether they were a successful Christian or whether they were a successful church. They let the society define whether they are all right. What we have done today in far too many places, and what we must resist, is letting the world define our spiritual condition, letting the society tell us whether we are all right rather than the Amen, the True Witness, and the originator of creation defining our reality. Until Jesus tells you, you all right, you ain't all right. Until Jesus tells me, I'm all right, I'm not all right. Until the spiritual trumps the visible and physical, we do not have the proper measuring stick. And that's the problem when you have a prosperity emphasis that makes you think, if you prosper physically or financially, you must be spiritual. Nothing wrong with prospering legitimately in any of those areas.

Everything is wrong with letting that define you to make you think because those things are okay, or those things are just okay, because you're living in a place that told you it was okay. You didn't watch too much television. He says to them, you've got the wrong view. You're miserable, poor, blind, and naked. That's why you can have folk looking good on Sunday who are miserable on Monday. You can find couples sitting together in church on Sunday who are cussing each other out on Monday. You can find people singing victory in Jesus on Sunday who are addicted to something on Monday, because that fortune and fashion and pharmaceuticals, all it is is camouflage.

It's a universal studio façade. So Jesus says, we've got to reset this thing because y'all are making me sick. You need a spiritual reality check. How do we do a divine reset from worthless Christianity, lukewarmness? Verse 19—now stay with me here—"Those whom I love I reprove and discipline, therefore be zealous and repent."

Ah, did you see that? Those whom I love I reprove and discipline, verse 19 says. The Bible is clear that a parent that does not correct and discipline their child does not love them. Let me explain something. We are in divine discipline. And yes, it's in the culture, but He's talking to the church, because the job of the church is to affect the culture. You've got to go in another direction. You have to change your priorities. You've got to make the spiritual more important than the physical, the sacred more important than the secular.

Leviticus 18, verses 24 to 28, he talked about don't be like those nations. Don't let their value systems, their priorities define you. That's not who you are. Don't misunderstand me. He's not complaining that they had fortune, that they had fashion, that they had pharmaceuticals. He is complaining they didn't have it in his right place.

They're not buying from him. They were defining themselves by it. We're not to be defined by facilities or clothes or what our budget is. That has its place. But what should define us is our pursuit of God, our passion for Christ, our love for one another, our witness to the world. That is what should define us. And so he says, Behold, I stand at the doorknob.

Verse 20. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and I will dine with him and he with me. You remember the Sidney Poitier movie, don't you? Guess who's coming to dinner? Where a black man shows up at a white family's home, dating his daughter.

That was one of the first movies that recognized interracial relationships. Guess who's coming to dinner? Jesus says, Behold, I stand at the door and I knock. If any man will open the door, I will come in and dine with him.

Guess who's coming to dinner? Jesus says, I'm knocking on the door. Now wait a minute. He's knocking on the door of the church. This is written to the church of Laodicea.

Wait a minute. Jesus, why don't you just break the door down? It's your church.

They're using your name. They're preaching from your book. I only come where I'm welcomed. I only come where I'm invited. Behold, I stand at the door and I knock. But watch this. If anyone opens up the door, ah, he's knocking on the door of the church, but he wants to know what individual is going to come and open it. You can't do anything about everybody else in the auditorium or in your house. The question is, what you gonna do?

What am I gonna do? Behold, I stand at the door of the church and knock. Now I want to see which individuals answer it. Whoever opens up the door, I will come in and sup with him. All of us have had FedEx come to our house with something that needed to be signed for. They knock on the door.

Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. But then they leave if there's no answer and they take whatever they had with them. You know why? Because if it's something that they're bringing that has to be signed for, it's special. It's only for you.

It's not for the general public. And FedEx has got a guarantee that you get it. So they drive away and come back another day.

But they knock on the door to see if somebody will come and answer it. Jesus Christ is special. He's the Amen. He's a true witness. He's beginning of creation. So He's gonna knock on the door.

And if there is no answer, He'll have to come back another day. Y'all just go on and have church without Him. But if you open up the door, He says, I will come in and I will dine with you. That's intimate fellowship. That's intimate connection. That's intimate love.

That's intimate association. And notice the last verse. He who comes, I will grant him to sit down with me on my throne.

Whoa. Jesus says, if you let me into your house, I'll let you into my throne room. Hebrews 13, 13 says, go outside the camp.

That means outside religion. And let's enter into the pursuit of a relationship. Buy from me. Relate to me. Pursue me. Don't just come to church because it's Sunday.

Don't just dress up because you need to look good. Me! Make it about me!

Closest with me! Don't just visit me. I want to come into the house, the house of your life, and of course, the house of this church. And until this church, every church, any church gets this right, that American culture is not to define the church house or how Christians live and what their value systems are. Then he says, you can have me. Well, I'm not going to force my way.

I operate on invitation only. Dr. Tony Evans, encouraging us to make sure our faith is real and not just a pretty facade. It's just one of the powerful messages from his current series, Divine Reset.

This 10-lesson collection will help you redefine your focus, turning your attention to what's truly important in life. And right now, when you make a donation to the Urban Alternative and request this complete series, we'll be happy to send you a bonus, a copy of Tony's popular booklet, Winning Your Spiritual Battles. As I mentioned earlier, we're offering both of these resources as our thank you when you support the ministry of Dr. Evans here on this station and around the world. This is a limited-time offer, so be sure to visit tonyevans.org today, where you can also sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional. Again, that's tonyevans.org. Or call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our friendly team members assist you.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, as you've heard, the Urban Alternative is in the midst of celebrating 40 years of ministry this year, which means your support is an investment in an organization that's been faithfully carrying the good news to a needy world for many years. Dr. Evans recently spoke about God's early calling on his life. 1968, our little church became part of an evangelistic crusade in Baltimore led by an evangelist named B. Sam Hart.

His organization was the Grand Old Gospel Fellowship. It was a tent crusade, and I was an 18-year-old working on this crusade with our church. And on the first night he preached, he talked about being fully committed to being used of God. And that night is when I sensed God calling me to serve him. I really then got more involved in the crusade and got to know Sam Hart. And then he sent me to Guyana, South America, to work on his crusade that was going on there, which of course is where I met Lois. So it was that crusade in 68 that started the ministry direction for me. Well, your support of the Urban Alternative makes possible the important work that continues even today. So again, contact us at 1-800-800-3222, and let us say thanks for your help by sending you Divine Reset and Winning Your Spiritual Battles.

Again, that's 1-800-800-3222, or you can make the arrangements online at tonyevans.org. It's been said that some of the most important truths in life are contradictory on the surface, and only when we look beyond what seems most obvious can we see the real wisdom of God. On Monday, Dr. Evans will explore a remarkable paradox that only when we surrender completely to God can we fully unlock His power in our lives. Be sure to join us for that compelling message. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative, and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-12 23:44:59 / 2023-09-12 23:52:58 / 8

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