Zephaniah 1-3, Psalm 134
We have a Nigerian couple who attends our Discipleship Home Group who told us that their parents frequently warn them to not adopt American Christianity, but keep the ways of Nigerian Christianity. What they mean by this, was don’t replace the realness, passion, and authenticity of the Nigerian church with the complacent, half-hearted, convenient faith of the American church. We who have lived our whole lives in this nation only know what we grew up in. Billy Graham, in describing why people do not take seriously Christ’s return and follow Him wholeheartedly said, “The teaching of Christ’s return cuts across the plans and dreams of millions of people. They want to eat, drink, and be merry and have their pleasures endlessly. Christ’s return would interrupt what they are doing.” Interestingly when I was discussing the coming of Messiah with one my Orthodox Jewish patients (she views it as His first coming, we His second) with excitation, she stated she hopes He doesn’t come soon, because she has so many young children that she wants to raise. The question everyone must face is what do we love more, Our God or our present life and circumstances. In Zephaniah 1:12, the prophet writes, ” And it shall come to pass at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And punish the men Who are settled in complacency, Who say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.” This verse, as so much the prophets state, had both near and far implications. This certainly relates to the nation of Judah who within 10 years of this prophecy would be taken into captivity. But, it is just as true for us today, as we are so close to “The great day of the Lord” (Zeph.1:14), when The world as we know will find itself living in the reality of the book of Revelation.
One of Satan’s greatest tools is procrastination which is a natural result of complacency. People can believe what they want, but their is no sense of urgency. The persecuted church views the world very differently. When someone misses the DHG meeting at our house, we never think, “Were they arrested?”, “Were they killed for their faith?” Though we often pray for the persecuted church, believe it or not they are also praying for us, for they know and recognize the dangers of complacency. In Revelation 3, as Jesus gives his messages to the 7 churches, His final message is given to Laodicea, the complacent or lukewarm church. His warnings to that church are so pertinent to our times. In Revelation 3:15-17, Jesus says, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are luke-warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’-and do not know you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-.”
We in the Church in America need to look in the mirror individually and collectively. We are so close, we are on the door of His return, complacency must die. While there is still time, may we evangelize, pray, worship, get into His Word like this is our last day. The prophets of old urged this and Jesus urged this (Matthew 24:36-51). May we in the American church awake from our slumber and listen to our Lord and believe on Him as the most important part of our lives.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: