God is bigger and more powerful then anything we are going through. We look to Him to help us in all things. We look to His character, and Who He is, to trump anything that overwhelms us in life. He never changes. Our lack of faith doesn’t diminish God’s power. Even our way of thinking or acting or reacting to things doesn’t change God’s character. God is BIG and always will be BIG no matter what happens in us or this world.
We looked last week at how God is bigger then our fear. One of the things God is BIGGER then is our complacency. Today let’s look at the word and see what the Bible has to say about it, and what to do with it.
Complacent: “marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.”
Complacency creeps on us and we don’t even know it. If you think you are not complacent, think again. There are so many areas in our life that we can be complacent in. Our passions for God, Our love for God, how about our love for others?
We need to be aware of this tool the enemy uses to vier us off course of our walk with Christ and what He has called us to do.
Complacency is lukewarmness. Complacency is getting in a rut. It is not having motivation to change or to bring the change. It is settling for the mundane mediocre and thinking you are okay when you are not.
Some Quotes on Complacency:
-Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. ~ A.W. Tower
-Complacency the mark of a wasted life
-May your hunger for change be greater then your complacency to stay the same
The opposite of complacent, in my book, is zeal. We may have lost our first love. It’s easy to lose our zeal or first love for God and life. I think we all need to go on our second honeymoon with Christ and bring back our first love.
The church in Ephesus was a loyal church but the Lord had a complaint against them.
Revelation 2:1 – 7 (NKJV)
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place-unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicoliatans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.””
Paul talks about some good things the church is doing in Ephesus like having patience, and not bearing those who are evil. They have tested and found apostles who say are, but found they are not. They have persevered and labored for Christ’s name sake and not grown weary. These are all good things, but they are not the most important thing – loving their God.
We can find ourselves in this church as we get caught up in works or making sure there is sound doctrine or sound teachers. We might even leave a church over this issue.
Having our love for God gone or growing cold is the very reason we have become a Christian. We love Him because he first loved us (John 3:16). We need a personal revival. After God has revived your heart don’t let your love grow cold. Find ways to keep your love for God strong. Spend time with Him. Worship Him constantly. Be thankful and love on His people. These all help immensely.
You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling
These verses also tell us that we need to repent for allowing our love for God to grow cold. We are to remember where we have fallen from. The word “fallen” literally means “to drop away; specifically be driven out of one’s course.” This implies that someone or something has driven us away from the course we were on of loving God. How easy it is to let “things” take the place of God in our life. It could be our jobs, or relationships, or our riches.
Most people don’t think it is wrong to allow their love for God to grow cold. They believe it is not sinful, but just how life goes. It is a sin to allow your love for God to grow cold. If you find yourself indifferent to God and His ways, it is because you have allowed your love to grow cold towards God. Repent quickly before He comes and takes away your lamp-stand. This is your light or illuminator. This is what you are to be doing in this dark and dreary world; shinning for God’s glory. Without the light, we are just another person struggling in the dark. It also means God is our spiritual light. He illuminates His word in our spirit and gives us revelations. Without this we become stagnate and lacking zeal.
Then God commends the church at Ephesus for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans. Nicolaitans means: “Conquering the Laity, and Victorious over the people.” Apparently this group claimed some kind of superior status that permitted idolatry and immorality. God hates this (Revelation 2:15). This church seemed to do a lot of things right. Yet, they neglected their first love.
Reveations 2:4 NASB
But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
They were known as the loveless church. Love is so important in a church body. For that matter, love is so important in our walk with Christ. If we lose our first love for God our zeal, our fire grows dim and we become complacent.
Many are simply lukewarm, unzealous, or uncommitted. I believe complacency in our churches has reached utterly pandemic proportions.
Being lukewarm means to be slightly warm, also to not be enthusiastic: not having or showing energy or excitement. We could say an indifference. Lacking zeal. Lost your first love.
Another church in the book of Revelations who was complacent was the church in Laodicean. They were a lukewarm and uncommitted church.
Revelation 3:14 – 22 (NKJV)
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, “These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
“… I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
They didn’t keep their flame burning. Their flame was almost out. Have you ever tasted lukewarm soda? It is terrible. On a hot summer day I enjoy a cold Diet Pepsi. It is one of my favorite drinks. If I leave it out in the sun and forget to drink it, it will get warm. Not even thinking I will pick up the soda and start pouring it into my mouth. Immediately I spit it out as it is terrible to drink when it is not ice cold. The picture I am painting for you is not a very pretty one.
I never want to imagine God spitting me out of His mouth. I want my worship and life to be a sweet thing to God. To find me lukewarm in my walk with Him is like slapping God in the face and saying, “I am too busy to take the time to be on fire for You.” Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary states; “But the lukewarm has been brought within reach of the holy fire, without being heated by it into fervor: having religion enough to lull the conscience in false security, but not religion enough to save the soul.” This is a scary place to be.
God would rather us be cold or hot then lukewarm. Why? He would rather you be anything better then this condition. Hot means you are burning for God and on fire with zeal for Him. We understand that. What about being cold? Being cold, as sad as this state may be, you are being honest. There is no faking or hidden agenda. You are cold to God and the things of God. This marks a higher character then one who is lukewarm.
Looking at the character of Saul of Tarsus there is a zeal and passion to kill the Christians. There is an element of greatness. Looking at Judas Iscariot there is no greatness or zeal. He was sneaky and greedy. One was capable of becoming honorable; the other, even being taught by the Savor of the World for years, didn’t amount to anything but a traitor. There is a chance of turning the heart of someone who is cold. Turning the heart of someone who is lukewarm is very hard. They don’t see what condition their heart is in. They think they are okay. They rely on themselves instead of God and don’t see the need for leaning on Him.
“… Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”
They were rich and wealthy and needed nothing. They were full of self-sufficiency and complacency. Indifference had settled in. They probably had a little religion or faith mixed in, nothing to change their outlook or behavior. Just enough to make them feel good about themselves, not enough to change their hearts to love God fervently. They didn’t know they were wretched.
The word “wretched” from Dictionary.com means: “very unfortunate in condition or circumstances; despicable, contemptible, or mean, poor, sorry, or pitiful; worthless: condition of extreme affliction or distress, and is outwardly apparent.”
Miserable refers more to the inward feeling of unhappiness or distress and it means: “wretchedly unhappy, uneasy, or uncomfortable, wretchedly poor; needy, of wretched character or quality; contemptible, attended with or causing misery.”
What a terrible state of condition they were in. To not even see themselves like this surely shows their blindness. What hope do they even have of changing, let alone to see the condition of their hearts? God brought this out into the light for this church to take note.
It was up to the church to repent and turn from these actions. Poor, blind, and naked shows exposure of their sin was seen by others, yet they were blind to any thought of their weakness.
We need to ask God daily to show us areas in our lives which do not please Him. Never think you don’t have weaknesses. We all do. The true test is what are you going to do with the knowledge of your weakness? My prayer is that you grieve in your heart over your complacency and self-sufficiency.
My friend and fellow minister, Rev. Philip Gideon Agene, from Lagos, Nigeria, states; “To rejoice in righteousness and grieve over wickedness is proof of a genuine Christian!” This is a true statement.
“… I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”
Here the Author is using the Laodiceans own language of riches. It is not that we can buy salvation or anything from God, but there is a cost in receiving more of God. The number one price is ourselves and possibly our comfort. God wants all of us, not just a portion. He wants to pour out His wisdom and revelations but He doesn’t just give them away, He chooses who and when to bring revelation into our life. Often the cost is time spent with Him. Time alone in your secret place of prayer. Time thinking about and worshipping God. It also cost the Laodiceans their self-righteousness and giving up of things dear to them. Don’t look at this as a bad thing. It isn’t. We are all full of ourselves and we need to be set free of it. Spending time with our Creator is the best time spent. Also it will cost you your pride. We have talked about this costly character trait before. It can never be said enough. Pride robs us.
White garments signifies purity. Remember that Christ’s blood washes us as white as snow.
His righteousness is easy to wear, ours is filthy and stinky.
His righteousness covers our nakedness. Our righteousness exposes us and shows our true character.
It is easy to get complacent and even prideful of your walk with Christ. If you have been a Christian for years the taste of God’s grace and mercy might become very bland. This shows our flame has grown dim, and our spiritual eyesight is weak.
“… and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”
Jesus has a far more costly ointment for the Laodiceans then anything they could have found in their city and beyond. Laodicea was known for its riches and wealth. There was anything at their disposal to buy, including eye salve. Christ’s eye ointment was far more valuable. It was the Holy Spirit to open their spiritual eyes to see. Just like applying eye drops in your eye, or a healing ointment into your eye, it hurts at first, so the Holy Spirit applied to our spiritual eyes smarts with the conviction of sin, and then the healing comes. Christ opens our eyes to the wretched condition we are in and then we finally see how precious He is as He brings His healing to our spirit. Eye salve is mandatory according to this scripture.
“… As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” True love will correct and discipline. I love my children. I want to see them succeed and flourish. I would be a terrible parent if I didn’t sit down with them from time to time when I saw some concerns in their life. Keeping our children safe with guidelines is a mark of a loving parent. Children respect and want this (in spite of what their actions may say).
We are to be zealous and repent of our lukewarmness. Once we see that we are lukewarm, repent quickly and wholeheartedly. Don’t let another minute go by before you do. If we don’t, I am sure God will bring upon us something that will rebuke us of our ways so we will come back to Him. That’s what loving Fathers do. Let’s be the one to make the first move – repent and become ablaze for God again.
“… Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
I am sure your mind goes to the famous picture of Jesus knocking at a door that only opens inwardly, with no door handle to open from the outside. Jesus stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. This shows He is a gentlemen and won’t force His way in. Standing implies waiting with long-suffering.
This is the hour of Christ knocking. The hour of grace. Soon, the knocking will stop. He is the Door, the way to heaven. Salvation is available for everyone if we would open the door and let Christ in to dine and fellowship with us. How can you pass up this gentle loving Savior? He loves us so extravagantly. Open the door and you will never be the same again!
“… To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
This is the first time in these letters that the reward of overcoming is to sit with Christ on His throne! What a reward for overcoming lukewarmness. It shows how important it is to rid being lukewarm from our life.
Being hot for Christ shows our passion for Him. Jesus wants His followers to be excited about following Him. Christianity is not passive. Christianity is being very active in our love for Christ and telling others about Him. If we are not excited about Jesus, we won’t share the Gospel to others. Therefore, people will die an eternal death because we are passive and complacent in our walk with Christ. We have to look at the bigger picture. Our lukewarm hearts can hurt a non-believer and make them have no desire to come to Christ just because of our example.
Sitting with Jesus on His throne allows us to share His joys and triumphs. Jesus has overcome and is set down by the Father on His throne. Christ’s throne and Father God’s throne are the same. On this very same throne we, who are faithful, are given the privilege of sitting. How amazing is this? How humbling to know this is our reward.
“… He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Where do you fall in these churches? Do you find yourself doing similar things that God hates? Let’s learn from Revelation how to keep our spiritual flame burning and not get caught up in losing our love for God. Quickly repent of any wrong doing.
Don’t give up when you are being persecuted or experiencing a trial. Don’t compromise and follow other gods. Keep yourself from corruption. Guard your heart from allowing anything in that shouldn’t be there. Don’t carry any dead carcass with you. Allow God’s fire of revival to burn resurrection life into your body today!
We are more than conquerors in Christ over anything in our life, including complacency!
Romans 8:37 NKJV
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
It’s time for a personal revival. Ask God to help you awaken and walk away from being complacent. How hungry are you for God? Do you love Him? Do you have zeal and passion for God, His people, and the lost? If your answer is no to any of these questions it is time for personal revival!!!
Lord Jesus please forgive me for losing my first love and becoming lukewarm and complacent in my walk with you and others. I want to be more like you and have passion and compassion for people and the things you cherish. Help me to walk in your footsteps and not my own. Put a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain or control, I want more of You God! ~ Amen!
Your sister in Christ,
Pastor Kris Belfils