A MATERIALISTIC PEOPLE
In the book of Revelation, chapter 3, there is a discourse on seven churches listed that prophetically explain the church ages that historically will transpire. The last church listed is the church of Laodicea. Here is the description of this church.
"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, 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.” (Revelation 3:14-19)
One of the characteristics of this church is its wealth. It has long since kicked God out, because it does not need Him. Things go on as usual in spite of the fact the God is nowhere around.
This church is indicative of the apostate church. The churches and their members have become preoccupied with their riches and material wealth. You know, their ‘stuff’. Today, churches that want to hold their members have to diversify. They have to cater to the wants of all of the age groups that attend. Because those who attend church expect a standard equal to what they have at home, churches have been forced to spend funds on things that don’t relate to the furtherance of the gospel at all. They have created an environment in which the lost sinner can come, partake of ongoing activities, and never be confronted with his sin and his need of salvation.
The modern church must supply various amenities in order to hold their people, to stay in competition with the various outside options. Gymnasiums, bowling lanes, putt-putt courses, baseball diamonds, swimming pools, you name it. You know, entertain me, but don’t preach to me! These church leaders fail to remember a simple principle. Whatever it takes to draw them, it takes more to keep them.
In many cases, church members have a standard of living much of the world dreams of. Nice houses, nice cars, big screen TV’s with all the electronic accessories, fine furniture, on and on. Who needs God?
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with having nice ‘stuff’. These are in many cases blessings from God. He gives us the capacity to earn a living that translates into a high standard of living.
I define the problem with a simple question. Do you own your stuff, or does your stuff own you? The latter is an increasing problem in the church. If I climb out of a comfortable bed, reach into the refrigerator for my breakfast makings, put on nice cloths and climb into a nice automobile, then drive up to a nice comfortable, air conditioned church facility, to listen to a feel good, social message, and then return home to watch my flat-screen TV … why do I need God?
This is the worst form of idolatry, because it lures us into spiritual compromise. Our dependency shifts from the One who feeds the sparrow to the one who supplies the paycheck. When people who profess the name of Christ depend on their material things for their well-being, they are ‘apostate’ in their thinking, and the apostate church has to meet them there.
* ‘Word of God’ refers to the Bible only, in all instances in this work. No other source is assumed in that phrase. The Bible is God’s inerrant, infallible, and complete and sole Word to mankind. No other work on earth appends too or replaces the Bible.
** All Bible references are from the New King James Version (NKJV) unless otherwise noted.