I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would that you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white clothing, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness does not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 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 hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will eat with him, and he with me. To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter. (Revelation 3:15 to 4:1 KJ2000)
I have been through many sufferings and rejections through the years at the hands of well meaning but ignorant Christians in the church system. But remember, Jesus came to His own people with salvation and healing and they still rejected Him, yet He prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” As we read the scriptures we find that rejection is part of the package if we are to follow Him as our Savior and Lord. Yes, we can be rejected for being obnoxious and obstinate, but this is not what I am talking about.
Many of us have found ourselves marked for rejection by that apostate system and it often came without us knowing why! Dear saints, it is in our DNA… It is Christ IN us that they reject. We join a “church” and soon the initial welcome wears thin and we find that people start to distance themselves from us. We can never seem to get into that “inner circle” where everybody seems to be best of friends. Why? They know that we are NOT one of THEM! Even without making any waves, we may even eventually be asked to leave. Of course this is accelerated when we dare to point out that “the king (pastor, prophet, apostle, whatever the title) has no clothes” or that he is teaching things contrary to the scriptures. The kind of coldness and shunning that takes place afterwards proves that we were associated with a cult in the first place, not the ecclesia of God.
Jesus and Paul were emphatic about keeping the unity of the faith and maintaining fellowship through thick and thin. The early church leaders were never above being corrected when needed. Yet, in a system that is marked by schism (43,000 different denominations and sects) which is constantly dividing against itself, it easy for people to divide from one another at the first sign of disagreement, especially when the head wolf (“pastor”) is involved.
In all these seemingly negative experiences we go through in Christendom, we are given a chance to go beyond the hurt and bitterness and go through an open door in the heavens and obey His call to “come up here.” Jesus does not stand outside that closed door church system of Laodicea forever, begging to be let into the lives of individuals, but calls us out of it unto Himself. In this NEW relationship with HIM in heavenly places, as the One who truly loves us, we are healed. It is here that He shows us HIS heavenly perspective of what HIS kingdom is about. It is from this tearing and healing process that we are then given an opportunity to be used to comfort others who go through the same things. As Paul so rightly shared from his own experience:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 RSVA)
Remember it is in the sharing of Christ’s suffering, which we are allowed to experience, that we grow in love (Just read Isaiah ch. 53 and compare it to your life as well and you will see what I mean). This is the deepest form of fellowship, “the fellowship of HIS sufferings”(see Phil. 3:10). In the controlled atmosphere of organized religion, “fellowship” is a time when we get together, put on our plastic smiles, and share empty platitudes as we eat snacks in a special room called “the fellowship hall.” How empty compared to sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and the comfort we receive from Him as we do. Comforting another with the same comfort we have received from Him is REAL fellowship and it just keeps getting richer. No wonder that the church in the first two and a half centuries grew in leaps and bounds as it was so heavily persecuted by the Jews and the Romans. It was all in the plan of God. It was when the Emperor Constantine banished church persecution and made it the official religious body of the Roman government that the church went stagnant and almost died.
So, dear saints, today we don’t have the Romans and the Jews to persecute and reject us, but we have a church system that has gone bad to do the job. I thank the Lord for what it has become so that the REAL members of the body of Christ might shine forth in His love. God bless you all.