Laodicea

What Does The Bible Say About Self-Sufficiency?

Tim Lundy
Feb 28, 2021    41m
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What does the bible say about self-sufficiency? The Book of Revelation teaches us that the church in Laodicea was dependent on their own riches and forgot their need for God. Jesus rebukes them strongly and calls them to repentance, but He never gives up on them and He will never give up on us. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:01 Well Venture, as we finish out this series Letters From Jesus, I don't know about you, but is really been helpful for me to go through this study. I think something about the fact that he's writing churches, it's words directly from Jesus, and as we've seen it, it's real churches, with real people, with real problems. And every week each of these letters, there's something in it that really convicts me or encourages me, as I realize how well Jesus knows us.

Tim Lundy: 00:31 And so this week we've got the last of these letters, in some ways maybe it's the best for last, it's the strongest for last. It's the letter to the church of Laodicea. And if you've got a Bible you can turn to Revelation chapter 3, we'll be looking at verse 14 through 22, the last of the seven letters. And when I say the word Laodicea, if you grew up in the church, you probably have a real negative connotation. If you lived in this region at that time, and you told people, you lived in Laodicea, everybody would kind of turn and give you second look because Laodicea was the place to be. I mean, out of all these towns, this community was known in the area, and it was known for several things. I mean, it's kind of like that old song Moving On Up, if you finally moved up to Laodicea, you had made, it it's the high rent district. It'd be like around the Bay area, you know, if somebody told you, well, I've got a house in Atherton, or I'm in Los Altos, or even Los Gatos, I mean, these are nice areas, and so Laodicea was the same.

Tim Lundy: 01:43 A little bit history around it, because you're going to really see it in this letter, it was known as a really wealthy city, I've been saying that, it had a huge banking system. In fact, they were so wealthy in 60 AD, there was an earthquake, and I've talked about earthquakes in this region. You got to remember back then, they don't have the same building materials we have, so even a minor earthquake could level a city. And so there was an earthquake in Laodicea in 60 AD, it leveled the place. Now being a part of the Roman empire, usually you would look to Rome, they're he federal government at that time, Rome would come in and help build the city. And so after this earthquake, Laodicea was leveled, Rome is ready to step forward and help. And Laodicea looked at Rome and said, hold my beer, we've got this, just step out of the way. And they rebuilt the city themselves, they didn't take one drachma, or dime, or any money from Rome. It stood out so much, Tacitus the historian, he wrote these words. He said, "Laodicea arose from the ruins, by the strength of her own resources with no help from us." So it's a really wealthy city. It was a city that had a garment industry, they produced a wool there that was known worldwide, it was this black soft wool, that people would note, if you've got it from Laodicea, it was like the mark of quality. The third thing that marked him as well and was a resource for them, is they had a medical school. And it was specifically a medical school that they did the study of the eye, they produced an eye salve or an eye medicine that was known worldwide as well.

Tim Lundy: 03:30 And so with all of these resources, I mean you could see, when you are a part of Laodicea, I mean, you'd tell people, the ought to see ya. I mean, I made it, I arrived, and they have that attitude. In fact, everything was great about this place except one thing, the water, the local drinking water, it was just horrendous. Now, I love most things about California, but where we live in our area, and if you ask my family and my kids, probably the most common complaint is the water. And part of it, we were spoiled, you know, I grew up in Memphis and they're used to water in that area. And Memphis is known to have some of the best drinking water in the country, because it was built on artesian wells. And so you've got all these natural springs and these wells that come up with it, that by the time, I mean, the water out of your faucet is crystal clear. And so when we're out here, I mean, even with filters and systems on your house and everything else, you still struggle with water. Now, the water out here could be bad at times, in Laodicea, it was horrible, I mean, it was dreadful. They had to pump it in, they had no natural water, and so they brought it into these aqueducts. These big, there were three foot pipes, two of them, that came into the city. And it was known that there was so much sediment in the water, that even though it was a three foot pipe, they would often get clogged with the carbonate. And so that water came, and they kept it in a collection, a big tank in the city. And so you could imagine this water that's coming in, it already has impurity, sits in this tank, these are stone pipes, and so it was known for just having horrible drinking water.

Tim Lundy: 05:17 Now I say all that, because I love how Jesus is a communicator, and Jesus is a master communicator guys. As you read how he taught, how he speaks, he's always looking for illustrations in real life. He's always looking for ways, that whoever he's talking to, can relate to it. And when he comes to this last letter, he's going to hit this church right between the eyes, and he's going to use illustrations, he's going to use points that they would immediately understand. Look at it as Jesus, in the form of these letters, he's always starts with a characteristic of himself, so we have this characteristic of Christ. He says, “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation." Now, look at this, the words of the Amen, that's a strange way for him to describe himself. He says, I am the Amen. And if you're didn't grow up in the church, or maybe if you did, you know, usually we say amen in one place, at the end of a prayer. In fact, sometimes we don't always know why we're saying it, other than to say the prayers over now, so I will say amen. Or we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. The word amen, it means so be, it means truly, or verily. Sometimes Jesus would use the same word when he was about to teach, when he would say truly, truly I say to you. And so when you say Jesus' name amen at the end of a prayer, what you're saying is everything I've said to God, I'm only able to bring this prayer to him because of what Jesus did, I'm praying this in Jesus name. And then when say amen, I'm putting that exclamation of so be it, this is the truth, this is what's been declared.

Tim Lundy: 07:10 You know, in some churches, it's always fun for me, maybe people that aren't from church, time to time somebody, you know, in the middle of a sermon or something, they'll call out amen. You know, in the South, especially, amen brother, and then they'll declare that. And it can be startling if you're not used to that, or you wonder what's going on, it's one of the few contexts in the world where people talk back to the speaker in that. They're not doing it discouragingly, in fact years ago when I was in Little Rock, every year we would do a pulpit exchange. A little bit like Beautiful Day now, we had a big service projects that we would, with different churches, serve all over our city. And as part of that, to culminate the weekend, oftentimes we would, switch pulpits with different churches.

Tim Lundy: 07:53 There was a really large African-American church, and I would switch with them from time to time. And I loved going there, I mean, it was always this different experience, and the senior pastor of the church would come preach in our church. And when I would go there, his wife was co-pastor, she was actually known as the first lady, it was the official title, and you went, she carried authority. I remember the first time I was preaching there, and someone had told me, he said, now you need to be prepared. I mean, people will talk with you, and they'll talk at you, and they'll amen and everything with that. But you want that, because if they're being quiet, it means you're dying, you're doing a horrible job. And so I was feeling the kind of the pressure of that, and, you know, I went and I started the sermon. And while I'm preaching, she's the first lady, she sat right on the stage, she had a big chair. And some of the deacons would be up there, and some of the other pastors, so you're preaching, you've got the full group behind you there. And she's kind of listening, and I realized everybody in the place is taking their cues off of her, whether this was worth listening to, much less worth amenning. And so I got to going a little bit, and part of it is, you have to get in cadence, you've got to emphasize, you've got to alliterate in some ways. I mean, you got to bring some skill with it, you can't just talk. And as I was going, every so often I started to hear her kind of out of my ear, she would start going, hmm. That was kind of her signal, okay, this is getting better. And then a little bit later, I heard her say, come on, come on, preacher, bring it preacher. And that was her way of come on, you're kind of getting there, let's get going. And I was feeding off of it, so you know, I'd kind of go off of it. And finally I'd really got going, and she was going a little bit more, and here's what kind of opened the flood gates. Finally, at one point, she really liked what I said, and she went amen and amen. And suddenly the room erupted, it was kind of like I had the seal of approval, and from then on, I mean, when you're saying the stuff, you're hearing from the crowd, and they're amenning, and they're talking, come on, bring it, and all the different parts with it.

Tim Lundy: 10:07 Now that is different from our experience, a part of it, if you study the African-American church, and some of the greatest preachers in our country came out of the black church. And part of it I admire, it's a communal experience, it's not just a passive we're listening, and so there's an engagement with it. And I've got to tell you, it was hard, it was hard the next Sunday, especially when I went back to our church, it was a lot like Venture. And you talk about, I mean, you know, I'm preaching, everybody's quiet. I mean, the most you get is somebody might take a note, or now they tweet. They go, oh, I like that, I'll tweet it. But you're not getting anything, I mean every so often I wanted to stop and just go, now come on, that was a good point, give me something. I mean, it's that much harder now with the camera, you know, you get nothing in it at this point. But I'll never forget that wanting an amen, wanting someone to speak up with it.

Tim Lundy: 11:04 Now, here's what I love about Jesus with what he's saying. He didn't want an amen, he is the Amen, he is the final authority. He's literally, I don't need the validation of anyone else, living walking truth, so be it, I'm the Amen. And then he follows it up and he says, I'm the first of creation, he's the final authority when it comes to the truth. And then the second thing he says right with that, he's the source of everything that has been created. You want an authority, I'm the end and I'm the beginning, I'm the Alpha, I'm the Omega, I'm everything in between. So when I speak, when I see, when I say something, man, this is it, you better listen. That's pretty strong introduction, and the reason he says it with this strength, the reason he points at himself and says I'm the Amen, is because he's about to speak some truth, some truth they need to hear.

Tim Lundy: 12:12 And usually in the letter, at this point, there's some compliment that he brings. There's no compliment for this church, look what he does, he immediately goes to the criticism. He says, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." Now look what he's describing here, he says, you're not hot or cold, you're tepid, you're lukewarm. And you'll hear this preached from time to time, sometimes people will describe it in the way they go, you know, Jesus either wants you really hot for him and passionate about him, or he would rather, you're totally cold. And you look at that and you go, wait, what? You either have to be really hot and fervent for him, or be totally cold, I don't think that's what he's teaching here. Because when I looked through scripture, cold-heartedness, being cold toward him, is always a bad thing.

Tim Lundy: 13:14 What I think he's describing, is everything about this letter points to what's going on in this city? Remember we go back to the water supply in the city, and right near Laodicea there were two other cities and they had water. So right to the North was Hierapolis, do you know what Hierapolis had? It had hot springs that were considered healing springs. And so people would leave Laodicea, oh man, I want to go up to Hierapolis, the, water's so hot there, and they'd sit in the hot springs and it had a healing quality to it. Right below Laodicea was the city of Colossi, do you know what Colossi had? They had cool springs, it was known for it's drinking water, and so you'd go down to Colossi and you could get the water right out of the spring, and it was so cold, and it was fresh, and refreshing. So here you've got these hot springs, and you've got these cold springs, and in the middle, you know, you have, you've got this city that every so often you'd get the water and it's so tepid, it's lukewarm. And you'd take a sip of it, and it was just so bad, you just, you had to spit it out of your mouth. That word spit, it's not like this gentle, oh spit, literally, it's the word vomit, puke.

Tim Lundy: 14:34 So here's what Jesus is saying in this, you've become so useless, you make me want to vomit. You literally are so useless, you're not hot, that's helpful, you're not cold, that's helpful. And he's trying to help them equate with how they've experienced, oftentimes they'd have a sip of water and they go, oh, that feeling you have. Hey, that feeling when you sip your water, that's how I feel about you, you make me want to puke. You go, whoa, those are strong words. And here's what you know in scripture, when Jesus is strongest with his words, it's because he needs to wake up people who don't realize how much they need to hear him. You notice, broken people, people that are sinful, people that are dealing with their stuff, and they feel it. Jesus is very gentle with them, Jesus is very healing with them. People that find themselves very religious, people that find themselves very sufficient, Jesus is really strong with them. And he's saying this man, you guys are so useless, you make me want to puke, and he uses this physical analogy for them to see it.

Tim Lundy: 15:43 He does the same thing in Matthew 5, when he talks about salt, remember he talked about being the salt of the earth. He says, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet." See, the salt, salt in of itself can't lose its saltiness, but the salt they had in Palestine, it often wasn't pure. Sometimes the salt itself would evaporate out, and they'd be left with kind of this white powder that looked like salt but didn't taste like salt. And you couldn't do anything with it, you couldn't put it in the grass, or you couldn't put it into the ground, because it would kill anything. And so they would take it, when the salt had become like this, and they'd go out in the center of the road and they'd pour it in the center of the road. And if you're walking along and you see this white patch that's there, you know, oh, it's salt that's lost its saltiness, it's literally good for nothing except to walk across.

Tim Lundy: 16:40 See, Jesus uses these analogies like this, salt that lost its saltiness, you're like that water that I just want to puke when I taste it. And how did this happen to this church? How do you become like this? Was it major sexual sin? That must be it, because we know that's really, really bad, isn't it? He'd never mentions it in this letter. Well, maybe it's doctrinal sin, they got way off, they got a false teacher. No mention of it in this letter. In fact, some of the major problems, we would say, he doesn't talk about it at all. But look, what he says has happened. If you go back that verse, he says, I want to spit you out of my mouth. Why? "For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing." See, he knows their attitude. Man, we're the church of Laodicea, we're it, we've prospered, we've arrived, God must love us, look how blessed we are. Jesus said, "You don't realize you're actually wretched, you're pitiable" Look, he says, you're poor, you think you're so rich with your banking, you're so poor. You're actually blind, you think you're so great with your medical school and your eyes salve? You're actually blind. You're naked, oh, you've got a huge garment industry, not in my book.

Tim Lundy: 18:13 Do you feel how strong he is in this? And what he's describing, here's his point, if you go to it, your wealth and your self-sufficiency has blinded you to your pitiful condition. All these things that you think are strengths, all these things that shouldn't be blessing in your life, you've turned them into Gods in your life, you've turned them into the source of your life. And this church, and from what we can tell, it's the whole church. He doesn't talk about a remnant, he don't talk about anybody standing out. He says, as a church, as a whole, you've embraced this mentality, and you've literally become useless for the kingdom.

Tim Lundy: 18:54 And guys, this should be startling to us. Because when you look at our church, you look at our area, I don't think we're in this condition, but I think we could have this temptation. In fact, I think it's the temptation anybody who's been blessed, anyone who's rich, it's one of the greatest warnings in scripture. That's why Jesus says, it's so easy to make God or money your true God. That's why he said it's easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle, than a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. He's not anything against rich people, he's just saying the temptation is there when you have so much, when your life is self-sufficient, when you don't need for anything, you can rest on that, and hold on to that, instead of looking to God.

Tim Lundy: 19:44 Now the reality is, it doesn't matter if you have the riches or not, you can still struggle with this. That's why Paul said to Timothy, look in First Timothy 6. He says, "Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." And again, "For the love of money..." He doesn't say money's the root of all evil, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." It's through this craving, it's through this desire, he's warning here, you may not even have the money. You may hear this right now and you go, Tim, I am not rich. It doesn't matter if you consider yourself rich or not. One, you need to realize almost everybody in this church, we are in the top 1% of human history when it comes to wealth, and probably in the top of that. Just in comparative to the ages, we would be people that God looks at and he says, you're rich. But even if you go, Tim, I am not rich. You can still through the love, through the desire to be rich, through this craving that develops in it. Anytime we look at the stuff of life, anytime we look at any resource of life, and it may be that it's not even just money, maybe it's any other strength that you have in life. And you go, man, that is what I'm resting in for my security, Jesus says you're in danger of literally becoming kingdom useless.

Tim Lundy: 21:21 And I think it was startling for them to hear that, because they go kingdom useless, out of all these seven churches, man, we've got the most resources, we've got the most stuff. And he goes, yeah, and you've been diluted by it. You go, well Tim, is God just against rich people, are you saying you can't be rich? No, I love how Paul, even two verses later, just right down later in the passage. He says, "So as for the rich of this present age." So maybe you are rich in this life right now, he'd be talking to us. He says, "Charge them not to be haughty." Don't get stuck up about it, you can't have an attitude about it. "Don't set your hopes on the uncertainty of it." Man, if you're building your security on that, that's a bad place to be. "But on God..." look what God does, I love this line, ",,,who richly provides us with everything to enjoy." So if you've been blessed, he's not saying you walk around and go, oh man, I feel so guilty about that. He goes, no, you just recognize, it's not my hope, it's not my security. In fact, anything I get in life, whether it's riches, whether it's health, whether it's great family, whether it's any of those strengths, God's given you those things and we actually enjoy them. But notice as well, he says, "They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." See, he's warning them. He's like man, you've been blessed by God, enjoy, but use it. Man, use it to do good, use it to be generous, use it to store up treasure where it actually counts. I mean, this is part of it, both in Paul's book and Jesus' book, they look at the big picture of it and they go, man, are you guys so shortsighted that riches here is all that counts for you and it's all you're living for. If God chooses to bless you here, great, but use it here so that it's an investment there, use it here for good works now, use it here in a way that your security actually comes back to him instead of being based on it.

Tim Lundy: 23:42 And for this church, they've missed it, they've lost it. Everything is based on their strength and their riches. So what does Jesus say? Look at the call to action in this, he says, "I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire." You think you have real gold, you need my gold, "So that you may be rich." He says, "Get white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen." He says, you think you have this garment industry, oh, you've got your black wool, oh great. Do you know what you need? You need my white cloth, you need the clothes only I can provide. He says, "salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see." You think you got your eye medicine, you need mine. "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent." See, I love how in point by point, Jesus calls them, and here's what he's telling them. If you look at the point here, he's telling them in this, look to Jesus as the only one who can provide what you really need. Don't look to what you have, look to him. And he says, you need to come buy it from me, that's kind of strange one. I mean, what do you mean Jesus, how do I buy it? What's the currency? What do I need to do?

Tim Lundy: 25:09 He uses similar language in Isaiah chapter 55, look at how he says it, "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." He said to Israel there, the same thing that Jesus is saying to this church, you need to come to me to get what you really need. And the reality is, you have nothing to bring to get it. You don't have the right kind of currency, you can never be good enough, you can never be strong enough, you can never do enough things that I'm going to look at it and go, okay, you can buy that now. Here's what he's saying, the only way to buy it, the only way to get it, is to recognize you have nothing, you bring nothing. That's why he says in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Blessed are the people who realize they're destitute, blessed are the ones who realized we bring nothing to the equation. It's only when you come to God with your pockets out and you go, I got nothing, that you're then ready to receive what only he can give. That's the beauty of the gospel, that's the beauty of Christianity, that we don't bring anything to the equation and God still loves to give, but we have to recognize that we don't bring. And we have to continue with the mindset that anything I have, it's not based on me, and it's certainly not the security for my life.

Tim Lundy: 26:51 To do that though, he says, you've got to repent. You need to repent, because God is disciplining you because he loves you. And this is that point in scripture, you know, if you look, Hebrews says that if you go to the point with it, "It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?" He says, you're experiencing this because you're his kid, and you're going a through hard time in that. In fact, a little later in Hebrews, he'll continue on with it. He says, "For they disciplined us (our earthly fathers) for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good." It's the same thing that Jesus said, I'm disciplining you for your good. "That we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

Tim Lundy: 27:49 So Jesus is walking through this, he says, you need to embrace, and you can see the points that we looked at. The first one, you know, you look to Jesus. The second one, you need to recognize and embrace his discipline and repent. You've got to embrace that, and that's hard. And I want to encourage you, because we've been talking through these letters about suffering, we've been talking about painful experiences. And in some of these churches we've seen, they're going through suffering, they're going through painful time, not as discipline, but God's using it as a refinement, God's using it for his purposes. Like Job in the old Testament, Job wasn't being disciplined by God, but God was using suffering in his life. But there are other people, and scripture speaks to it, and this church is one of them, that God is using pain in your life. And it's not just random suffering, it's directed discipline. It's not punitive, it's not doing it because you got to pay for something, he's doing it because he wants to get your attention.

Tim Lundy: 28:56 You know, I know a season of my life where I was more rebellious, and there was time God was using painful experiences. And at one point I remember praying to him and I said, I was like, God, would you just stop picking on me? And I even said to him, my belief system is in place, but I knew he wanted me to deal with my behavior, and I didn't want to deal with it. God loved me too much to let me get away with it, and so as his child, as his son, he loved me so much, he was using that painful experience in my life to discipline me, to get me to stop. You know, this is true about some of you. Some of you are going through suffering right now, and it's not based on anything you've done wrong. And you don't ever have to sit around and wonder, I wonder if God's disciplining me? When he is, you know he is, you know because he's convicting you. And some of you right now, he's been convicting you, and he's been telling you to repent. Some of you, you're making some choices about your relationships, or maybe it's about your money, or maybe it's about somebody in your life, maybe about work practice. I don't know what it is, but there's some of you that the pain in your life continues, and you're almost mad at God a little bit. Maybe you're like me, and you're going, why is he picking on me? And you need to hear me, he's not picking on you, he loves you enough that he's willing to use pain to get you to repent, so that you can experience real life with him.

Tim Lundy: 30:38 In fact, look at that last verse, that last point with it. If you can go back to that last point, he says, open up. He says, open up, he wants you to have an intimate relationship. And despite all that they're doing, he hasn't given up on him. Look at the verse, you can see it in verse 20, and it's a famous verse in Revelation. We use it a lot, usually about salvation, but he says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." It's this picture of Jesus knocking, and again, we use it a lot of times with children, we talk about inviting Jesus into your life when you first begin that relationship. But he's talking to believers actually in this verse, he's talking to the church, a church that is on life support. A church that makes him want to throw up. And isn't that amazing about our God, here are people that Jesus said, when I look at you, you make me want to puke, and yet I'm not done with you. I mean, I've got be honest, people that make me want to puke, people that when I think about them, I might want to even vomit, I don't want anything to do with them, much less to have a close relationship.

Tim Lundy: 31:54 And I love that Jesus is looking at these people that need to repent, that their value systems all messed up, they're focused on the wrong thing. And yet here he is, and he goes, hey, I'm knocking, I'm knocking, I'm knocking, I haven't given up, but you got to let me in, you've got to open up. And when I come in, it's not just for a visit, he says, I want to come eat with you. And in that time period in Palestine, in that region, the mealtime, the supper time, it wasn't just a utilitarian let's eat quick, it was hours, they would recline at the table and they would talk. That's how you often see Jesus with his disciples. And Jesus looks as this church and he says, I want that with you. And there's some of you, that despite maybe even your sinfulness, maybe despite the ways that you're being disciplined, despite anything else going on in your life, Jesus is still looking at you going, you know what, I want in, I want to do life with you, but I need you to open up, I need you to trust me. And that can feel scary, because you know if you really open up, and he comes in, and you do life together, maybe some of the things you've been holding on to, he says, yeah, you've got to let that go. Maybe some of the control you like to have, you know you have to give it to him. Maybe some of the things he's convicting you about, you know you're going to have to obey, and repent, and deal with it. And as scary as that is, hear me though, he loves you enough, he's not going to give up, he'll use discipline. He loves you enough, he's not going to give up, he'll continue to knock on your heart. He loves you enough that no matter how much it might scare you open the door and let him in, and experience life his way.

Tim Lundy: 34:01 He makes a final promise, even to this church, even to this church that blows it in every way, he makes this commitment to him. He says, "The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear. Do you see what he's promising here? This church that thought they were rich, this church that thought there were powerful, he says, look what I give to conquerors, he promises to share his authority and riches. He says, you want it now, you're focused on the here and now, he says, man, trust me, and one day you'll actually get to sit on the throne with me. One day in heaven, I'm going to give authority to those who trust me, I'm going to give riches to those who trust me.

Tim Lundy: 34:46 And guys, it's based directly on how you live now, it's based directly on this life. If you look at it, in fact, I'll just close with this point. Life here is but preparation for the real life to come. Everything we do here, is just preparation for there. And that's why when we look at life, we don't know how to evaluate. One part of it you can go, man, people that suffer, you know, I don't understand why some people have to go through more of it. But here's what I know, they have an opportunity in it to be more like Jesus, and to experience that much greater reward based on their response. For some people here, they're blessed, they have a lot of wealth. And it's easy to be jealous of them, but notice what this passage says. It says, be careful because it's easy for those people to put everything on the here and now, and lose out on what really matters. I don't know where you are in that journey, but the more you focus on there, you realize how much we need him.

Tim Lundy: 35:59 In fact, Bryan Chapell talks about a student in the seminary where he taught, a young man from Africa who was preaching his first sermon. And this young man Lawrence who he was talking about, he said, you know, it's been great to be in America these few months. And he says, here in America I've seen unbelievable wealth, and unbelievable houses, and cars, and everyone has so much. He said the interesting thing though, is I go to church, I don't hear anyone talk about heaven. He said, I haven't heard one sermon yet on heaven. He said, in Africa, we talk about heaven a lot, we think about it, we long for it. And maybe it's because we don't have much here now, we know how much we need it. You know, that's great perspective. Guys, in the blessing of life, and I love where we live, and I'm thankful for the blessings we have. And I don't think God's calling us to walk around and feel guilty all the time, that's not what Paul calls us to, it's certainly not what Jesus teaches. But he does warn us, he says, don't get diluted by it, don't put your security in it. Don't, as a church, get so focused on what you think is your strength, and your riches, and what you have, and miss how much you need him.

Tim Lundy: 37:40 And so, as we finished today, I don't know where you are, but I've got to think for some you, Jesus is knocking, maybe he's been knocking for a while and you need to let him in, and you need to repent. And when you do that, and you know if I let Jesus in, I've got to admit my problems. In fact, some of you don't want to let him in because you go, I have messed up so much. And Jesus looks at you and says, hey, I've got that, forgiveness is my specialty, let's deal with it. For some, you don't want to let him in because frankly you like being in control, but it's wearing you out. And Jesus says, hey, trust me, let me have control. For some of you if you let him in, you feel that threat to your stuff, you like your stuff, you like your life, and you don't know what he'll do with it. And to be honest with you, I don't either. But I know this, it will be for your good, and it will be the most freeing thing in your life to truly let him have it. Guys, as we come to the end with this very pointed letter, I can't think of anything worse than to be so diluted by all the things you have around you, that you've lost sight of the fact that when Jesus looks at you, he goes, oh, it makes me sick. But I can't think of anything more freeing than to realize that same God, no matter if you're like that, comes to you and says, hey, I haven't given up yet. I'm still knocking on the door, I still want to do life with you guys, let me in.

Tim Lundy: 39:43 Let's pray. Father, I thank you for Jesus. I thank you for the conviction of his words. I thank you for how direct he is. I pray those of us who need to hear this today, we'd hear it, that it would be as strong as it needs to be. Lord, I pray those who need to be encouraged today, you would encourage through it. Father, for all of us, help us see life from your perspective. we don't want to live life for the here and now and miss what it's all about. I pray that you would use our lives here to prepare us for real life there. Lord, I thank you for Venture, I thank you for our church, I thank you for your word. May you continue to mold us and shape us, may we be the kind of people that the door stays open, that we do life with you and enjoy what it means to have that kind of intimacy. Lord, I pray for those who need to begin again, maybe today, and even as we close out with this last song, Lord, I pray, would you use the words of it? If there is anybody that's hearing this message, that maybe they need to make this their prayer as well, I pray you'd use this, and that they would release to you and embrace what you want to do. And I pray this in Christ' name. Amen.



Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600