Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Are we down or up?

Twenty-some years ago, Paul Carnegie, a realtor from Stratford, Ontario, was telling us about houses that he had thought would be difficult to sell. In one case, he drove out to a small village in response to a call from the owner and located the house. He walked up to the living room window and looked in through a missing window pane, then went up to the door and knocked. An older man let him in and showed him around the house. There was a hole in the kitchen floor large enough to look down into the murky darkness of the dirt basement. Beside the hole was a pump powered by a small gas engine to draw water from an open well in the basement.

“I can’t understand it,” the man said. “All this luxury, and she left me.”

Paul offered some sympathetic words about the incomprehensibility of women and wrote up the listing. He never expected to get an offer on the house, yet it did sell.

Lee Hazelwood once wrote a song entitled “I’ve been down so long it looks like up to me.” That seems to have been the case with this homeowner. Evidently the picture looked different to his wife.

What shall we say about ourselves then? Are we comfortable, at ease, content that God is pleased with us? Do we dare ask what our life looks like to God?

Consider the message to the leader, and the members, of the church at Laodicea:

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17).

They were lukewarm, comfortable, feeling that conditions were just right and nothing better could justifiably be expected of them. Yet the message from heaven told them they were:

wretched: They imagined themselves to be among the blessed and free and could not see that they had become slaves to sin and unbelief.

miserable: deceived and pitiable.

poor: lacking the true spiritual riches.

blind: both to their own condition and to the needs of those around them.

naked: lacking the wedding garment and the garment of praise, no more covering for their sin.

We are often tempted to become complacent and self-satisfied in our Christian life, thinking that all is well. Yet here we have the Lord Jesus telling us how distasteful this is to Him. He finds those who are lukewarm so disgusting that He will spew them out of His mouth.

Yet there is hope. Hear the conclusion of the message to the church at Laodicea: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:19-20).

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