The Laodicean Message
by E.H. ‘Jack’ Sequeira

Laodicea is Rebuked

Please turn your Bibles to Revelation 3, I want you to look at a passage that is important to us.  It would be wonderful if the Laodicean message would have ended with the counsel of verse 18, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t.  And it seems that, like the Jews, we have been kind of stiff-necked and stubborn.  And the result is this, that God had to take a further step.  He doesn’t stop at verse 18.  And this further step is verse 19 which is what I would like to look at today:  God rebukes and chastises Laodicea.  Verse 19:

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest, and repent.

Before we actually look at this passage I would like to read some Spirit of Prophecy (by Ellen G. White) quotes found in 1T 181 and 185:

“The testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded.  The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded.  This testimony must work deep repentance and all that truly receive it will obey it and be purified.”

That’s a clear statement.  The next one:

“The message to Laodicea has not accomplished that zealous repentance among God’s people which I expected to see.  And my perplexity of mind has been great.”

Here’s the cry of the messenger of the Lord.  And you know folks, I am convinced that the reason why the second coming has been delayed is not because of an unfinished work, but because of an independent work.  We are trying to do it, maybe subconsciously, of ourselves.  And I am convinced that bigger budgets, and better quality printing and paper, and more sophisticated gadgets will never finish the work, important as they may be.

When I first came to Walla Wall, Washington, in 1982, just three or four weeks after I arrived, there was a big evangelistic effort held in the Treasure Valley, and all of us Pastors had to take part in it.  It was a new experience for me.  The evangelist had 13 projectors and three screens and a computer.  I was just amazed, coming from the [African] bush, to see this computer working, and these projectors.  I said to myself, “Boy, if we had this in Africa maybe we would baptize them by the thousands.”

But we baptized only 26 in that effort:  10 of them were children from our schools who were already on their way to baptism, and another five were people who had already been ready for baptism before the evangelistic effort.  And I said, “With all that money we spend, and all those gadgets, the result was very poor.”

I believe there has to be a work done.  I don’t know if you are familiar with the statement by Ellen G. White concerning the message of “Justification by Faith” that came to this church in 1888.  She said the work of this message is to take “the glory of man and put it in the dust.”  Unless that takes place, unless we can say from the heart, “Not I,” Christ cannot take over completely and fulfil his work and cut it short in righteousness.

Okay, having laid this foundation, let’s look at verse 19, let’s analyze it.  The first thing I want you to notice is how He begins, the rebuke and the chastening:

Those whom I love...

So I thank God that He doesn’t rebuke us, and He doesn’t chastise us out of anger.  He does it out of deep concern for his people.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.

Turn to Hebrews chapter 12, because God did the same thing to the Jews.  I want to remind you of verse 6-12.  Please notice what he says there.  Verse 6:

...Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.

And then he goes on to explain.  He first compares it to a human chastening and then he explains why.  Verses 7-8:

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.  For what son is not disciplined by his father?  If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.

And then he goes on to explain in verse 9 that our human fathers sometimes chastened us not out of love but out of anger; they wanted to give vent to their feelings.  Look at verses 9-10:

Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.  How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!  Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

Then he goes on to explain in verse 11:

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Please notice, it has to be exercised, we have to be trained.  And so verse 12 says:

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.

Stop being discouraged, God has a purpose.

Well, let’s go back to Revelation 3:19:

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline....

Do you know that God loves us?  He loves us in spite of our failures.  He loves us because his love is unconditional.  Because He loves us He does two things:  Those whom I love...

  1. I rebuke and
  2. I discipline.

Now the word, “rebuke” means “to scold” or “to tell off,” “to correct,” “to reprove,” and normally the word, “rebuke,” as used in this text, has to do with verbal rebuke.  In other words, God scolds us or rebukes us because we have not listened to the counsel.

For example, you remember Jesus was telling the disciples that he was going to die, and you remember Peter grabbed hold of him and he said, “This can never happen to you.”  It’s found in Mark 8.  You remember what Jesus said to him?  Mark 8:33:

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter.  “Get behind me, Satan!” he said.  “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

That was a rebuke.  He was rebuking Satan for using Peter as a tool.  “Get behind me, Satan!”

If you go to Mark 16:14, you will notice that Christ is rebuking the eleven disciples, one of them was not there, he was rebuking them for their unbelief.  And the word in the King James is, “He upbraided them.”  He rebuked them for their unbelief concerning His resurrection.

Or if you look at John 12:7, you will see that Jesus is rebuking those who were criticizing Mary:

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied.  “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”

“Leave her alone,” He says.  So a rebuke normally refers to a verbal correction.  And God has sent this church, just as He sent to the Jews, many times, rebukes, especially through the Messenger of the Lord.  In fact I want you to look at this statement.  The reason I want you to look at it is because it was penned in 1891, if I remember correctly, a time when we thought we were progressing.  Listen to what Ellen G. White says.  It’s found in 5T 719,720:

“The rebuke of God is upon us because of our neglect of solemn responsibilities.  His blessings have been withdrawn because the testimonies He has given have not been heeded by those who profess to believe them.”

Please notice, He rebukes us, and we don’t accept it.  And in 1888, they were not even listening to her.

“O for a religious awakening.  The angels of God are going from church to church, doing their duty, and Christ is knocking at the door of your hearts for entrance, but the means that God has devised to waken the church to a sense of their spiritual destitution have not been regarded. The voice of the True Witness has been heard in reproof (and that’s the rebuke) but has not been obeyed.  Men have chosen to follow their own way instead of God’s way because [please notice] self was not crucified in them thus the light [i.e., the truth as it is Christ] has had but little effect upon minds and hearts.”

This is a tragedy, folks.  So God is rebuking, and He’s rebuking, and He says, “Look, won’t you please listen to Me.”  But you know, after rebuking, and you don’t listen, God has to take a greater step, a much tougher step.  And that is the next word: “Those whom I love, the first thing I will do is, I’ll rebuke you.  And if you don’t listen, I will discipline you.”

Now the word “discipline” (“chasten” in some translations) means “to punish,” not in the sense of eternal punishment, because that would give none of us any hope, but to punish in terms of correcting.  And the punishment could be physical, it could be economical, it could be political.  But it is normally something that happens to you that is allowed of God for a purpose.

Now I want to give you an example:  the Babylonian captivity.  For years, God tried his level best to get the Jews to turn from idolatry, but they would not listen.  He corrected them, He rebuked them from prophet after prophet, and, finally, as a last resort, He said, “I’m going to chastise you.  I’m going to allow a foreign, pagan government to take you into captivity.”  And so we have the Babylonian captivity.

Why did God allow the Babylonian captivity?  It was his final resort.  And folks, if we don’t listen to God, He’s going to do the same thing to us.  I don’t know what it will be, it could be a financial collapse, it could be something, and we would be desperate, our whole system would come into trouble.  The Babylonian captivity was devastating to the Jews.

In the study of Hebrews, I gave you a series of texts which talks about this, “Whom God loves He chastises.”  I called it the “refining work of God.” Read them for yourself when you get a chance, because it has important lessons.  These are the texts that talk about the refining process of God.  And remember, the main purpose is what Hebrews 12 brings out, “Whom God loves He will chasten.”

Now some of it is because of our stubbornness, some of it is because of refining us.  Remember the experience that Jesus illustrated in John 15, “I am the vine and you are the branches.  And if I want to produce fruit in you I have to prune you.”  Pruning is always painful, but it has a beautiful purpose.  Deuteronomy 8:5:

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

Job 5:17:

Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

Psalm 94:11-15:

The Lord knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile.  Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law; you grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.  For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.  Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Now these are all texts that deal with this same subject.  Proverbs 3:11-12:

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Isaiah 48:10-11:

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. p; How can I let myself be defamed?  I will not yield my glory to another.

Malachi 3:1-3:

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.  Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.  But who can endure the day of his coming?  Who can stand when he appears?  For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.  Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,

And then, in the New Testament, John 15:2:

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

That’s the one I just mentioned about the vine and the branches.  Romans 5:3,5:

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; ... And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Part of the refining process to reproduce God’s love in us, 2 Corinthians 4:15-18:

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Then, of course, Hebrews 12:5-14:

And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:  “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.  For what son is not disciplined by his father?  If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.  How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!  Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.  “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.  Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

And a couple from Peter:  1 Peter 1:3-7:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 4:12-14:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

Now all these texts deal with this one purpose, and that is to refine us.

But now, in the Laodicean concept, going back to Revelation 3, why does God rebuke us, why does He discipline us, what for?  Why does He take these drastic measures?  Well, look at verse 19:

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest, and repent.

Both of them — “rebuke” and “discipline” — are in the present tense.  He will continue doing this until we become “zealous” and do what?  Repent.

Now it’s very interesting, the word “earnest” (or “zealous” in some translations), the word that John uses here, the Greek word is zaylowoe, is the same root word as the word, “hot,” zestos in this Laodicean message.  You remember, Jesus, the True Witness says, “You are neither hot nor cold.”  And we discovered that “hot” refers to works of faith which originate with God and are motivated by love; whereas “lukewarm” works are works of the law which outwardly appear good but in God’s eyes are filthy rags.  And what God is saying is, “I want you to turn hot in terms of your works by repenting.  Be zealous, therefore, be fervent, and repent.”

Now the word “repent” simply means “a change of mind.”  That’s what the word means, meta noia, two words, change of mind.  A good way of explaining it is a U-turn.  You’re driving on the freeway, and you discover that you forgot something like your airline ticket — I’m talking from experience — and you make a U-turn so that you may get it.

Works of the law is living a life independent from God.  So what God is saying here is that “I want you to make a U-turn.”  In what sense are we to repent?  Now we must look at the context.  We need to remind ourselves of verse 17.  What does verse 17 say?  It is an evaluation of us.  The evaluation is two-fold.  We have our own opinion of ourselves and we think, because works of the law have deceived us, that we are “rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing.”  Christ says, “You do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”

Now there are two opinions here of ourselves.  One is ours, one is Christ’s.  To repent means to give up our opinion of ourselves and accept Christ’s.  And if we don’t do that, we will have to learn it the hard way.  I’ll give you an example:  one of the disciples of Christ, well, the others too, but especially one who had to learn the hard way through chastisement, and that is Peter. Turn to Luke 22.  This is an incident that took place at the Passover feast where Christ instituted the Lord’s supper.  Luke 22 and we will look at verse 31 onwards.  Jesus turns to Peter after the Lord’s supper in verse 31, and the Lord said:

“Simon, Simon,...”

Whenever the Jews repeated a name twice or repeated a word twice, it was for emphasis.  “Pay attention, Peter,” He is saying.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.”

In other words, Satan would like to pull you out of Christ.  You see, in the Middle East they sifted wheat on a basket.  They threw the wheat up and the wind would blow away the chaff.  And Satan would like to treat you like chaff to get rid of you out of Christ.

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”

Please notice.  What was Satan trying to destroy?  Satan was trying to destroy Peter’s faith, and that’s always his plan.  When he discourages you, when he makes life difficult for you, he has one objective, to destroy your faith.  And so Jesus is telling Peter:

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back [i.e., when your faith becomes unshakeable and when you have really understood the truth], strengthen your brothers.”

Now I want you to notice Peter’s response, verse 33:

But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

In other words, “What on earth are you talking about?  My faith fail you?  You are mistaken, Lord.  You may be right about the other fellows.  I am ready to die for you.  How can you talk about my faith failing you, and praying for my faith.  I don’t need your prayers.  I am Peter.”  He didn’t say, “I am the first Pope” but he could have said almost that.  “I am infallible, I can never fail you.”

Well, did he fail or not?  Yes, he did.  And that is why, folks, Jesus put Peter through a very bitter experience, an embarrassing experience in John 21.  This is after the resurrection when Peter had failed and he was broken and he repented.  I want to remind you that, even though Peter failed, Jesus did not say to him, “I told you so, now you suffer.”  He did not do that.  Do you know the first thing that Jesus did even before He met Peter, even before he appeared to any one of the disciples?  He told Mary through the angel — remember, Mary was in the tomb and the angel spoke — He told Mary through the angel, “Please tell the disciples and Peter.”

You see, in the Jewish system, in the Jewish mentality, if you denied your God (“Yahweh,” to the Jews), if you denied Him with cursing and swearing, and this is what Peter did the third time, you had committed the unpardonable sin, there was no hope for you.  God could not forgive you, that was the Jewish teaching.  So when Peter denied his Lord with cursing and swearing, being a Jew with his Jewish mentality he felt that there was no hope for him.  And Jesus said, “Yes, there is hope for you.  I knew all along that you would deny me.  I told you, but you wouldn’t listen to me.  But I want you to know, Peter, that I have not forsaken you.  Even though you did not believe me and you failed, I want you to know that you are still my disciple.”

That’s why the angel singled out Peter, because if Mary had told the disciples, “The angel told me that I will appear to the disciples,” Peter would have said, “That doesn’t mean me.”  But Jesus wanted Peter to know that he was part of the disciples even though he had failed.

Now we need to know this because there are many today that say the Adventist church no longer belongs to Christ, it’s Babylon because it has failed.  Folks, God is very longsuffering, He’s very patient.  He has been rebuking us, and to some degree He has chastised us.  We have had some crises, but nothing to what He will put us through if we don’t listen.

Peter had to learn the hard way, and in John 21 after the resurrection, Jesus met the disciples by the Sea of Galilee, and in verse 15, after they had breakfast, you remember Jesus asked him twice, “Do you agape Me?” and Peter replied, “I phileo You.”  And it’s important that you understand the play of words, which is not in the English language.  Jesus was asking the question, “Do you love Me unconditionally?” That’s the question, because the word, “agape” means “unconditional love.”  And Peter replied, “I love You,” but used phileo, a human love which is fluctuating and unreliable.  And Peter said, “Lord, You know that I phileo You.”

In other words, “You knew Lord, you knew all along, but now I admit that you are right.”  Peter had repented, folks.  He had admitted, “You are right, I was wrong.”  He repeats it the second time, and, of course, the third time Jesus kind of switches and says, “Is this the only kind of love you have for Me?”

Because the third question in verse 17, “Simon, Son of Jonas,” Jesus did not use the word agape, He used the word, phileo.  “Phileoest thou Me?”  In other words, “Peter, is this the only kind of love you have for Me, this human love, which is unreliable, which fails?”

And Peter was grieved, it was embarrassing.  But he admitted, he was a converted man now.  He said, “You know all things.  (You know what’s inside me, even more than I did.)  You know that I phileo You.”  (That’s all I’m capable of.)

And Jesus was not discouraged, He said, “Now I can use you.”

In all the three statements Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.”  “Feed My sheep.”  and “Feed My sheep.”  Why?  Because God cannot use us, folks, fully, unless we have lost confidence in ourselves.

There is a statement, I could not find the reference but you can look for it, where Sister White says:

“When God’s people put self aside and make room for the Holy Spirit to take over, the work will be finished.”

And that is what God is looking for.  We need to repent, folks, repent, number one from our pride, whether it’s individual pride or denominational pride, we must repent.  We must say, “Lord, we have failed You.”  Just like Paul said, “You claim to know the truth.  You claim to understand what is right and what is wrong from the law of God, but you have blasphemed the name of God in the eyes of the world.”

One day, one of the members of our church came to my house and brought me a document.  It’s a document that was requested, it was a survey that was requested by our denomination by a firm that takes polls of different issues.  And this investigation was to see what was the situation of the American people in North America regarding religion, regarding church going, regarding the Adventist church, and regarding their view of Adventist literature.

They took three cities:  Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania], Des Moines [Iowa], and Seattle [Washington].  Pittsburgh was primarily dominated by Roman Catholics.  Therefore, they hardly listened to us; they knew very little about us.  Des Moines was a mixture of Catholics and Protestants.  Of the three cities Seattle was the worst.  They said the majority of the inhabitants of Seattle are non-church goers, are not interested in religion.  The ones that are interested are mainly Protestants.  So there are very few Catholics, they said.

Number one, in all three cities, but especially Des Moines and Seattle, the people who were not going to church said, “We do not need religion, because there is in man a certain amount of goodness.  What we need is a better interchange of human relationship.”  So they were doing the mistake of what Romans was condemning.

Number two, the people who were in Seattle, said that they found the literature that was put out by Adventists — mainly regarding Revelation Seminar pamphlets — was revolting.  “It presented a God Who is out to punish you, the emphasis is fear....”  That’s what they said.  And they said, “Some of the pictures on these pamphlets look almost like pornography.”  Very few of the non-Adventist people found it appealing.  So it was quite devastating to find out what people thought about us.  It was quite negative, in all three areas, mainly Seattle.

So while we, God’s people are boasting, people have a very low opinion of us, according to this investigation.  And I think that they’re going to send this to all the Pastors.  This came through a private source.  By the way, the survey was made in Seattle on October 18, 1988.  So it’s not too old.

You know, you only have to mix with other Christians and you will discover that most of them have a very low opinion of us, as Christians.  They don’t think of us as a loving people, they think of us as a proud, self-righteous people.  When I was chaplain of Nairobi University, there were five chaplains; I was the only Adventist.  Of the others one was a Baptist, one was a Lutheran, one was a Roman Catholic, and there were two interdenominationals:  World Vision was one of them and the other represented Campus Crusade.

And when I began mixing with them, one day the Baptist Minister said to me, “You know, you’re the first Chaplain of the Adventist Church who is willing to mix with us.  All the others gave us the impression that we were dirt.”

And this is the impression that some of us have given.  You know:  “You are Philistines, we have nothing to do with you.”  You need to read one of the Calvinistic scholars, who has written a book about us, it’s about Adventism.  He is from Grand Rapids [Michigan].  He wrote it as a text book.  And one of the big issues he deals with is the word, “Remnant.”  He says, “Adventists admit that there are true Christians in all denominations, but they are the only ones who are the Remnant.”

Now you see, the word “Remnant” means, “the faithful ones.”  So he goes on to say, “In other words, they think that we are third-grade Christians, because they are the only ones who are faithful to God.”  And so this is the kind of thing that is coming across from the other people.

But the thing is, folks, that is not the big issue.  The big issue is, are we willing to say, “God, You are right.”  Are we willing to say, “God, we have failed to reveal to the world Your character of love.”  Have we failed?  Because you see, the negative talk about us is not always the main issue, because they talked negatively about Christ Himself, they talked negatively about the early Christian church.

But the big issue is, Christ is saying to us, “I want you to repent.  I want you to give up your opinion about yourself, and I want you to take your righteousness and put it in the dust, and accept My white clothes, accept My faith, accept My eye salve.  Open your eyes and see.”  And that is the cry of God.

And so I would like, in closing, to look at this quotation, because it is a statement that we need to look at:

“The Lord calls for a renewal of the straight testimony borne in years past...”

Now, remember, we dealt with this in our last study.  The “straight testimony” is the counsel to Laodicea.  The counsel is God’s remedy for our lukewarmness.  For us to accept that counsel, there has to be repentance, zealous repentance.

“...He calls for renewal of spiritual life.  The spiritual energies of His people have long been torpid [which is another word for lukewarm].  But there is to be a resurrection from apparent death.  By prayer and confession of sin we must clear the King’s highway.  As we do this the power of the Spirit will come to us.  We need the Pentecostal energy.  This will come, for the Lord has promised to send His Spirit as the all-conquering power.”  [GW 307-8]

Please notice, there is no sign here of, “You are Babylon!” There is a plea for us to repent, there is a plea for us to turn round.  And I want to remind you of the disciples.  The disciples at the Passover feast, where Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper, they were full of confidence in themselves.  Every one, not only Peter, but every one disagreed with Christ when He said, “All of you will forsake Me.”  They were full of confidence; therefore, they were full of self; therefore, they were always fighting.  And even at the Lord’s supper, they were fighting which of them would be the greatest.  This is also found in Luke 22.

But after the cross, that was the means of shaking the disciples.  You see, the ambition of the disciples was egocentric, they were looking for Christ to establish His kingdom on this earth and each of them was thinking, “I will be the Prime Minister,” and “I will be the Finance Minister,” and so on.  And I suppose you have the same thing every time we have an election.  We join parties and those who are close friends of the candidate say, “Boy, when you get into power, I hope you will give me a high position.”  And I suppose every one is anxiously waiting to see who he will choose to be his cabinet ministers.

The disciples had that same mentality.  Then the cross took place.  And you know what happened?  Their hopes were dashed to pieces.  You remember the two men returning home to Emmaus, and Jesus met them, do you remember what they said to Jesus?  “We thought He was the One.  We thought He was the One Who would have restored the Kingdom and established....but now He’s dead.  Our hopes are dashed.”  They were downcast.  Their hands were down, their knees were feeble, and Jesus had to open their eyes.

These same disciples, 40 days later in the upper room, were of one heart and one mind.  Self was crucified; they experienced a deep repentance.  They had turned from self to Jesus Christ; the cross had done its work in their lives.  And folks, we have to experience the same thing.  Self must be crucified.  It is painful, and God demands it.  It is the only way because the formula of the gospel is “Not I, but Christ.”  And when that takes place in this church, and in this denomination, when we in repentance say, “God, I admit that in me there is nothing good.  All the sins that have been done in this world I am capable of.  When I see what Hitler did, and what Idi Amin did, and I realize that these men have the same nature as I do, that given the chance, and the environment, and the circumstances, I am capable of doing what these men did.”

We look at the holocaust and say, “Boy, I don’t know how those Germans could do it.”  The reason they did it is because they turned their backs to God.  When Hitler turned his back to God, then you have unrighteousness.  And folks, when this country turns its back to God, we in America are capable of doing exactly what Hitler did.  And we are doing it to some extent, when we agree to have abortion.

And so, my dear people, it is important that we repent.  I hope that God doesn’t have to chastise us any more.  We must realize that God loves us, He has a concern for us.  Let us surrender to His testimony.  Let us admit that we do not know that we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, that He is right, and that our only hope is to accept the heavenly merchandise, so that we may be filled with His Spirit and His power, and we will turn the world upside down.  That is my prayer.

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