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Worthless Christianity

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
December 15, 2021 7:00 am

Worthless Christianity

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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December 15, 2021 7:00 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 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, profit-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 10 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 go 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 in the 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 the new audio collection, The Best of Tony Evans 2021. It contains 20 of his most hard-hitting, life-changing lessons of the past year, including messages on how to get closer to God, finding freedom from worry and anxiety, how to make your Christianity count, and more.

It makes the kind of Christmas gift that can literally change a life. And we're offering the collection right now as our gift to anyone who comes alongside Tony's ministry for a year-end contribution. And as a special bonus, we'll also include an additional popular resource for you.

There's actually three to choose from. You can make your selection and receive them with our thanks when you visit TonyEvans.org. But this is a limited-time, end-of-the-year offer, so make the arrangements right away. Again, that's TonyEvans.org. Or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that contact information for you after part two of today's lesson.

Here's Dr. Evans. 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're 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 folks 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 facade. So Jesus says, we've got to reset this thing because y'all are making me sick. You need a spiritual reality check. You ever been to the doctor thinking you were okay and he finds something that says you're not okay or you thought it was one thing and you discovered, oh no, it's deeper than that? That's what he's saying. You didn't think it was this bad, but the amen is telling you it's real bad.

It's real bad. You have misdefined yourself because you've let the world dictate to you your status. You've climbed this ladder. You work in this job. You make this money. You drive this car. You live in this house.

You wear these clothes. And it seems like you're okay. Jesus says you are a hot mess. You're lukewarm.

I want to spew you out of my mouth. He says you have to start with my definition, my analysis. We've got people changing all kind of definitions of life, of humanity, of marriage, of human identity.

People are creating hot rules out there, and we bring in those rules in here. Jesus says, no, I'm the amen up in here. I'm the true witness in here. They're not defining stuff for you. I define who you are. I define how this works. I define how you live.

I define what your value is. I am the amen. So if you're going to say amen, say amen on that. You've got churches bringing secular thinking into the church and focus saying amen. Hallelujah.

When God's not saying amen to what they're saying amen to. It can come with money. It can come with identity. It can come with relationship.

It can come in any category. But he says, y'all a hot mess. Y'all make me sick.

You need to reset this thing. 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 a 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 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 door and knock, 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, 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 have 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. We'll come back in just a moment. Pain, uncertainty and division seem to be everywhere you turn these days until you look to Jesus. And now more than ever, the world needs to hear the hopeful story of the kingdom of God transforming hearts. That's why today we're asking for your year end gift to help meet our year end challenge amount to keep that hope going out through the Urban Alternative. Your generous support will ensure you and more listeners all over the world can continue to be encouraged by God's word through the Urban Alternative broadcasts. Please visit Tony Evans dot org to give today. That's Tony Evans dot org. If you'd like to get a full length copy of today's message to either review on your own or pass along to a friend, including content we didn't have time to present on the air, just contact us for details on the title Worthless Christianity. Better yet, get this message on CD or digital download as part of Tony's powerful new audio compilation, The Best of Tony Evans 2021. Don't forget, we put all 20 lessons in this giant collection in a special package that includes an additional resource of your choosing.

Pick between the instructive children's book made by God or the powerful kingdom men rising devotional or Tony's latest book, Kingdom Race Theology. This special resource bundle is yours as our thank you gift when you help support Tony's work with your year end contribution. Get all the details before time runs out at Tony Evans dot org, where you can also find many other great life changing gifts for the people you care about. Again, that's Tony Evans dot org or call our 24 hour Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. When you're reading a mystery, you don't want anyone telling you in advance how the story comes out. But when you're living through tough times, knowing there's a happy ending ahead can make all the difference. Tomorrow, Dr. Evans will explore why prophecy matters. Be sure to join us. 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 / 2023-07-09 03:45:07 / 2023-07-09 03:53:12 / 8

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