JESUS is talking to a church and saying,
“Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude]” ~ Amplified Bible.
I seldom hear about the CHASTISEMENT OF THE LORD from today’s pulpits. In fact, I don’t remember ever hearing about God’s discipline for people in the church. But it is an issue that all Christians should learn about, and sooner or later, most of us will probably discover what it is to be chastened of the Lord.
The Purpose for Chastening is…?
“The Lord has chastened me sorely, but He has not given me over to death” (Psalm 118:18).
The PURPOSE is not to destroy but to LEAD to repentance.
“…You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; bring me back, that I may be restored, for You are the Lord my God. Surely after I was turned [from You], I repented; and after I was instructed, I penitently smote my thigh. I was ashamed, yes, even confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth [as a nation]” (Jeremiah 31:18-19).
And to RESTORE God’s blessing.
“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law (Word)” (Psalm 94:12).
I must admit, I’ve never been fond of the idea of spanking–on the receiving end, or the giving end. Probably because as a kid I received quite a few spankings. And by the way, hiding under my parents bed to escape punishment never worked [It doesn’t work for God either.].
Mom would have an ever-present tree switch nearby, and would shout to me in my hiding, “If you don’t come out right now, the punishment will be much worse!”
Looking back now, I recognize that the discipline of my parents was necessary in keeping me out of trouble–and in many cases to spare me from greater pain and suffering. Of course back in those days, because of my immaturity, that reasoning wouldn’t make sense to a youngster.
Furthermore, I realize now what my parents went through during those years. I too experienced the same in the raising our three children– the ordeals of correcting–not because my parents dislike us, but because they love us. I don’t think my children understood that reasoning either while growing up, but its application was the same never-the-less.
That realization reminded me of God’s word in The Letter to the Hebrews– 12:9-11:
 Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live?
 For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.
 For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].
God’s Word Exposes the Church’s Hypocrisy…
“I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold or hot. Would that your were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing, and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17).
Though JESUS has just exposed church hypocrisy, and has implied that many are pretending to know Him, yet don’t, His reasons are not because He hates them for falling in such a state but because He deeply loves them; He wants to come into their lives.
He reminds the church that He is impartial, always consistent while confronting and discipline. That is the way GOD treats everyone He loves when they get off course, and believe me…I have certainly gotten ‘off course’ during my 42 years of Christian Life.
Proverbs 3:11, 12:
My son, do not despise or shrink from the chastising of the Lord [His correction by punishment or by subjection to suffering or trial]; neither be weary of or impatient about or loathe or abhor His reproof.
For whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
[Other Scripture to meditate on: Hebrews 12:5-11; Job 5:17; Psalm 39:11; Proverbs 15:10]
JESUS’ Harsh Assessment…Revelation 3:19.
His harsh assessment of this particular church wasn’t for the purpose of driving them away from Him, but rather serve to put them on notice–YOU MUST BE ZEALOUS–they must be “HOT” (verse 16) and “REPENT” [changing your mind and attitude].
God Wants What Is Best For Us–
He wants us to have SPIRITUAL LIFE, not death. All this language, the language of LOVE;
– it’s the treatment of LOVE
– it’s LOVE rebuking, chastising, and exhorting.
JESUS wants to see you restored.
For this very reason, He will discipline us who persist in sin; will even deal out correction if we show signs of APATHY or SPIRITUAL INDIFFERENCE.
Indifference robs a church of its MAXIMUM WORSHIP POTENTIAL-
It shows itself through…
Enthusiasm to Worship King of kings, Lord of lords, the Almighty living God will be missing (Psalm 122:1). Violation of God’s Word will rob the brethren and yourself of EDIFICATION in the body of Christ (Hebrews 5:11-12).
Our interest must increase for our worship to be a blessing– “I don’t get anything out of worship.” — Are you putting anything in?!
AGAIN, Revelation 3:19, [The New Living Bible]:
“I continually discipline and punish everyone I love, so I must punish you unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God.”
“I Hear You Knocking…”
Since I’m a product of the 50’s, and remembering listening to the music of the day on my old Silvertone Radio, the Fats Domino song rang out in my ear. Although the rest of the lyrics certainly don’t fit the topic, the title certainly does.
“I hear you knocking but you can’t come in”
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and be [will eat] with Me.
JESUS IS THE DOOR! – John 10:7.
Restoration is Made…
What a telling image Jesus gives. JESUS pictures Himself standing outside the DOOR of the repentive heart.
So often this famous verse is used to invite UNBELIEVERS to accept Jesus into their lives. And of course, that is the message. BUT the fact that He needs to ask to be let into the hearts of supposed Christians found in the church of Laodicea is a horrible assessment of their condition.
They, like the unbelievers around them, need to repent and welcome Him to come in and take control of their lives–to RESTORE the relationship they once demonstrated
Proverbs 15:10 says, “The HEART knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.”
Psalm 39:11: “When with rebukes You correct and chasten man for sin, You waste his beauty like a moth and what is dear to him consumes away; surely every man is a mere breath.”
Indifference Robs A Church!
Robs it of what? Of its MAXIMUM WORSHIP POTENTIAL.
It shows itself through neglected attendance, preparation and participation. My ENTHUSIASM to worship will be missing (Psalm 122:1):
“I WAS glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Violation of God’s Word will always ROB the brethren and yourself of EDIFICATION: The meaning “edification” in the sense of “being built up, strengthened in one’s faith” [Expository Dictionary of Bible Words].
Our interest must increase for our WORSHIP to be a blessing;
“I don’t get anything out of worship.” — Are you putting anything in?! [ [i] Referenced].
While Christ is Knocking at Our Door…(3:20)
He is directing some of us to knock at Him; “knock and it shall be opened.”
He will certainly hear our voice and open the door to us. He will not be DEAF to our voice, nor bar the door, nor keep us standing in the hallway, nor send us empty away.
Christ’s Church When He Comes…
The body (the church) will be found in different circumstances then, as well as now, and with many kinds of knocking; yet in all, it’s the same earnest desire on His part to be let in. He will not force the door; but still wants to be let in.
Don’t find yourselves repeating the lyrics to a song that was popular in the 50’s: “I hear you knocking, but You can’t come in!” How much you will lose out on!
In His Absence…
— NO outward prosperity,
— NO riches,
— NOR numbers can compensate…
IF HE IS KEPT OUT–all is sadness, and leanness, and poverty.
IF He is admitted, ALL IS WELL…
— HAPPY is the church where Christ is daily feasting…
— HAPPY the soul in which He has come to live…and who, is in daily communion by Faith and ENJOY the TASTES the Bridegroom’s LOVE!.
“I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.”
Reference: [i] www.bibleanswer.com/indiffrn.htm
Bible Translation Used: Amplified except where noted.