Sunday, November 10, 2013

Angels, Demons, and Lukewarm Laodiceans

The Message to Laodicea

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation:
15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
— Revelation 3:14-22 (NRSV)
There is a spiritual world all around us, eternally. It is invisible. It is amazingly powerful, far beyond the powers of our physical world. There is not only a spiritual world, but within that world, is a cosmic war going on. The stakes remain high in the fighting of this war for this reason: there are lives, so many lives, going toward hell, or so many lives destined to spend eternity devoid of Christ.
We are – the majority of the Christian church – the Laodiceans. We are “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
This is not said just to make us feel bad. But it is a realistic summing up of our present day church where leaders are just as lukewarm as their followers are.
We are lukewarm not just because of our privileged culture, but it’s also, and mainly, about the spiritual realm where demons roam and angels glide everywhere – to our complete ignorance.
We, as human beings, are influenced and sometimes even possessed by demons. There are formidable demons that do whatever the devil asks of them to do. Demons are specialists such that they might influence us in myriad potential ways. Angels, on the other hand, are there to protect our blindside, given that angels cannot help us when our will wavers into sin by our choice. Angels are instructed by the Holy Spirit; demons by Satan.
God wants us to make choices relating to saying “yes” to Jesus.
Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts; angels are urging us on; but, demons want to silence Jesus’ knock.
By our lives of faith and faith-fledged works – of trust and obedience – we show that we are true Christians (and not Laodiceans). This is important because angels have an easier job journeying with true Christians and demons have little influence on these.
The best protection we have against spiritual warfare is to do the will of God. Angels cannot protect us where we have the will to sin. Demons influence, possess, and destroy. They want us sinning and to continue sinning. But angels – cherubim, seraphim, etc – have the greatest delight when we do the Lord’s will.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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