Spiritual Apathy: The State of 21st Century Church
By Evangelist Sophia Jeffrie
From WCM Return to Your First Love Series
Give Honor to God
The Lukewarm Church Revelation 3:14-22 NKJV
14 “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: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 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— 18 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. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”
PRAYER: If I had to give a title to this I would say: Spiritual Apathy: The State of 21st Century Church Revelation 3:14-22 NKJV
Here the Apostle John has penned a message to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor from Jesus Christ, hence the name of the Book of Revelation. So, in this 3rd Chapter, this letter was written to the Church of Laodicea. To me this was not just an ordinary letter or book, this was more like an examination report. You see, Jesus is our Doctor, He is called Thy Great Physician because He is a Healer! And according to Proverbs 4:22, the Word of God is our medicine. So, Dr. Jesus has called for a spiritual examination of the Seven Churches and after the exam was completed, He gave each church a report of His findings. Just like in the physical, we go to see our primary care doctor for a physical checkup. Jesus is requiring a Spiritual checkup on the church today, not just the building but in the body of Christ. In the natural, for the doctor to prescribe any type of medication, they must conduct an examination to try to figure out what is the source of the sickness. But Dr. Jesus in His omniscience has already diagnosed their disease before they even knew that they were sick or before the exam even started. Cambridge Dictionary defines Apathy as a behavior that shows no interest or energy in a person and it also shows that someone is unwilling to take action, especially over something important. Apathy also coincides with such terms as half-hearted, spiritless, passionless, noncommitted, and lukewarmness. Spiritual Apathy is a disease that has taken over Laodicea and unfortunately today’s 21st Century Church. Yes, some of today’s churches have started to look more like Laodicea than Christ! Many of today’s church, looks more like the world than the image of Christ that God designed us to be! This spiritual checkup was designed to bring about an awakening to the Church of Laodicea and the 21st Century church of Christians and to allow repentance, healing, and restoration back to the Body of Christ. So, I would like to share with you this Spiritual Examination report that Jesus outlined in His Word.
1. From the doctor’s notes…. Spiritual accountability starts with the Leaders of the congregation in a Spiritual Apathetic Church! Verse 14 says, 14 “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: Here Jesus is speaking to the Pastor of Laodicea and He has made it clear that it was Jesus who is the One Who is addressing the Church! You see the Pastor is the one who is ultimately accountable to God to deliver the Word of God exactly the way God said it in His Word. 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season! Meaning whether the people like it or not!! Just as parents are accountable for the state and condition of their homes while they have children being raised there to teach them right from wrong. So, are Pastors/Leaders are accountable to God for the spiritual state of the church because God has placed them there to speak the truth in love from the pulpit. In this passage, Jesus calls Himself the Amen and the Truth because what He says It is so! Jesus is the way, the Truth, and the Life and after this report is given, no second opinion will be needed! So, one of the causes for the State of our 21st Century Churches today is spiritual apathy in our church leaders!
Why did Jesus address the Angel of the Church first about the state of the Church?
2. Lukewarmness is a symptom of Spiritual Apathy! Now Jesus is reading the medical history of Laodicea. Verse 15 says, 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. Jesus’ complaint about the works of the church members then, is not too much different from what it is now with us. A side effect of lukewarmness is complacency, indifference, half-committed, half-heartedness, and self-absorption are all a depiction of our churches today. When believers are indifferent and complacent toward the things of God, they are headed for trouble. Luke 9:23 tells us how Jesus desires His disciples to be. The Amplified Version says it like this 23 And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]. So, the problem, with Christendom, is that we want to say we are following Christ but then do what we want to do or what the world is doing! The world says it’s all about me! Don’t worry or be concerned about no one else! I have to make it happen for myself! John the Baptist had it right, he said in John 3:30, He must increase, but I must decrease! So, the culture today is dictating the climate of the 21st Century Church, hence the result is Spiritual Apathy!
What can help Leaders prevent lukewarmness and spiritual apathy from seeping into the congregation?
3. The consequences of Spiritual Apathy bring about A Warning before Rejection! Verse 16 says, 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. This was an eye-opener to me because Jesus is making it plain how He feels about indecision! He is saying pick a side and stick to it! Either you are going to be on the Lord’s side or the devil’s, but you can’t do both! John 10:28 says that 28 …. neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Jesus says no man can take your salvation from Him or you, but Jesus is saying that He spit you out of His mouth!
How many of you have eaten some food, that didn’t taste good or that instantly did not agree with you and you had to spit it out of your mouth? How about food poisoning?
Well, when we are lukewarm Christians and not doing the things of God, but we are claiming to be a follower of Christ but not adding value to the Body of Christ, we give God spiritual nausea He will vomit you out!! That’s pretty bad, you know it’s one thing when people don’t want to fool up with you. But when God doesn’t even want to be bothered with you, you’re in bad shape. Now that means you all jacked up! Pride comes before the fall. Just like in the natural, when people are borderline diabetic, or they have borderline high blood pressure that the doctor gives them the warning to change before it’s too late. Jesus is doing the same thing here for this dysfunctional church suffering from Spiritual Apathy!
Pride can take us farther than we really want to go. Have you ever seen or experience where pride or distraction caused the destruction of something because they refused to acknowledge the truth?
Proverbs 16:18 18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
4. The condition of Spiritual Apathy leads to Spiritual Bankruptcy! Jesus is now telling the patient the ugly truth that at times is never confronted until it’s too late. Verse 17 says, 17 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— This is a glimpse of the 21st Century Church in full display. They have made money and material things their god because of the wealth and riches they possess. Just as high blood pressure is considered the silent killer, Spiritual apathy is even more deadly because you are spiritually dead and don’t know it. Matthew 7:21-23 says, 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and, in your name, perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
See, the members of Laodicea were professing to be followers of Christ but never knew Him because they refused to submit to Him in their hearts. So, therefore Jesus said He would spew them out of His mouth because they were never His in the first place. Paul tells us about these same types of pretenders in 2 Timothy 3:5 NIV, which says 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. So, just because they were are attending church, quoting scriptures, and doing church service didn’t make them saved! They needed to get the Church in them, which is Jesus Christ our Lord! Many Christians are trying to be like the world and live their “best life” by doing what the world does but Galatians 2:20 tells us, 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. So, while we are living our Best Life, let us ensure that Christ is the center of our lives and that He is living through the US! So, because of their deception and spiritual blindness, they really were not aware of their true spiritual state of destruction. Unfortunately, this is the state of our 21st Century Church because Spiritual Apathy has crept in!
Why did Jesus address them so harshly?
Are suffering from Spiritual Apathy yourself?
Where is your focus? Money, material things or Salvation of others?
Colossians 3:1-2 New King James Version
3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
5. Now Jesus gives the Antidote for Spiritual Apathy which is true Repentance! Verses 18-20 says, One of the greatest things about our Heavenly Father is that He allows U-TURNS! Verses 18- 20 says 18 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. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.
There is so much meat in these verses, Jesus is giving them another chance to get it right. You see salvation requires you to not only turn to God but also turn away from your sin! Jesus said buy from Me spiritual gold, spiritual clothes, and spiritual eye salve. What I love about the Kingdom of God is that faith is our currency that’s why Jesus said only believe! Isaiah 55:1-2, gives us the perfect example of how God blesses His children when all they must do is come to Him! It says, 55 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy, and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. 2 Why do you [a]spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. God wants us to depend on Him. You see Laodicea was a wealthy city and that’s why they wanted for nothing, But God says that He will provide all our riches in Glory by Christ Jesus. The gold represented the riches and spiritual blessing that God has for us. The white clothing is Christ’s righteousness that we get when we receive Him. The salve for the eyes to remove the spiritual blindness, that can only be cured through Jesus Christ deliverance into the marvelous light! God requires us to repent and He chastens us because He loves us that much. He is knocking at the door of your heart, but the question is will you let Him in?
God Allows U-Turns!!! Is there anyone who needs to repent and turn back to God before it’s too late?
6. The Prognosis for Recovery Brings about the Promises of God! Verses 21-22 says, 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’” If you are a believer then this is and should be your goal, to sit on the throne with Jesus! Matthew 25: 21, should be our hearts cry to God to hear Him says, 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
So, in closing Spiritual Apathy and Lukewarmness is a sickness that God is refusing to tolerate in the Body of Christ. Jesus while He was on Calvary on the Cross dying for our sins told our Heavenly Father “ 46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
If Jesus submitted to God’s will for His life while on the cross, then why do you think you don’t have to submit to God while you are carrying your cross?? Time is out for lukewarmness. It’s time for the real church to stand up! I challenge you as saints, as believers and followers of the Most-High God through Jesus Christ to stand up and be the Church. It’s time to stop playing church and be the Church!!
2 Chronicles 7:14 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
RETURN TO YOUR FIRST LOVE!!! JESUS CHRIST
About the Author
Evangelist Sophia Jeffrie is an ordained Reverend and called Evangelist into the Gospel Ministry where she serves the Lord with her whole heart! Evangelist Jeffrie is a retired Chief Petty Officer from the United States Navy, where she led, guided, trained, and ministered to thousands of Sailors throughout her career. God placed in her an assignment where He has positioned and trusted her with guiding His most troubled and vulnerable youth. It was there the Lord revealed His true purpose for her life and birthed in her the vision and purpose for what is now “Wisdom Truths”, a life-changing personal growth and development workshop designed to enhance the overall social and spiritual growth of At-Risk Youth. Evangelist Jeffrie has allowed God to use her as He heals and transforms lives by ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ on a larger scale! Her message of love and purpose is relatable to those from all walks of life and will certainly serve as a blessing to you as well. Evangelist Jeffrie received a Master of Arts Degree in Ministry from Luther Rice College & Seminary in 2018. She has two sons, a stepson and two stepdaughters, and has nine grandchildren.