SERMONS & TEACHING

Sep 10, 2017
The Great Sins of the Church: Apathy: Week 1
Scripture
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.16 So then
because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
(Revelation 3:14-22, KJV)
 
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest 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 hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest 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 hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest 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 hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest 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 hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
Introduction

It's my hope over the next several weeks to preach and teach along a very important topic that I really want to encourage you to listen to thoroughly. It is entitled The Great Sin of the Church: The Sin of Apathy.

In Revelation, when Jesus is revealing himself to John, Jesus starts off around the second chapter speaking to 7 churches. The church in our text is the church of the Laodiceans. Now, a lot of folks like to group these churches into church ages, but I'm going to veer off from that ideology for a second and tell you that the Laodicean church is an actual church that existed in the time in which John was writing, real people, real so-called believers that professed the name of Jesus Christ, and they had a real problem.

The problem was they were apathetic. Now, that is where we'll pick up, in verse 15, and I want you to read this again with me in your Bible, underline it, highlight it. Verse 15 says this: "I know.This is Jesus declaring his sovereignty; he knows; he's not in the dark; he's not having to search CNN or track your life like we've been tracking the hurricane and many hurricanes out in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico; he's not having to pull up a data report on you; he already knows.

What he knows is your works; he knows what you're doing. He knows why you're doing it, the Word of God is quicker, is sharper than any two-edged sword, and it does dividing, it knows the intent of the heart, knows why you're doing what you do. Even our charitable works, our charitable giving can be found in sin, based on why we're doing it. If we're doing it for self-glory, then we're doing it out of a sinful heart. See, God knows these things, and we ought to honor him for his supreme knowledge and be in awe of him, and humbled before his majesty. Jesus being in the “know” should be humbling to us.

He says to the church of the Laodiceans "Thou art neither cold," you're not good for drinking, "Nor are you hot," you're not good for cleansing or washing. He says this great statement, "I would that you were cold or hot, I would that you stood in an un- redeemed nature, not knowing the truth, having the ability for redemption, being cold, un-churched, lost, I'd rather you be that, or either hot, fervently zealous, the character of a Christian, in love with me. I would rather you be one or the other, but I would that you were not standing between and be apathetic."
 
The Aim of the Series   
If you'll bear with me the next several weeks and give me the chance to unload, to unleash and to preach truth, that hopefully is life-changing for you as a believer, and soul-converting for you if you're lost. Do not look for me to attempt dynamics to woo you and wow you and win you. Please be focused on the scripture that we're going to give to you. The aim of this series is to hit you right at the heart. I'm not attempting to graze you, I'm not aiming to nick you, I'm aiming to wound you in your heart. I'm aiming to prod you with a hot iron, to sear you, to inflict spiritual awakening to your dead and maybe apathetic soul.

I'm taking aim wholeheartedly, with all my study and all my prayer life and all my preaching and all my demeanor and all the zeal God's given me, and I'm trying to be a marksman, I'm trying to hit you where it hurts. Hopefully, realizing the wound that you have can be healed by the Holy Spirit. Now I think before we go any further, we've got to answer the question..........

What is Apathy?

I want you to see the command of God and say, "He matters more. His command matters more. His request of me is supreme. It's more precious than even my own life." We want the church to leave apathy concerning missions, leave apathy concerning volunteering.

We are thankful that people have been passionate about giving, because the folks talking about giving have given good sound warning and truth and encouragement concerning giving. We took up more last week than we did in our 50/50 giving in July, so people are figuring out to be passionate in those areas. That's good, that's a start, but we want that zeal for God's word to amp up here.

We want folks to give, but we want to give around the Word and give because of the Word, and give because God is the Word, manifest flesh. We want you to get that. We want the music to be God-centered and Word-centered. We desire marriages to be God-centered and Word-driven. We are aiming to have Christ as the high prize of all that we do and this can only be accomplished by doing away with apathy toward our faith in God.

The Scriptures for the Next Several Weeks

Matthew 24:37-25:46

We will jump around, I will do my best to explain it, but you must do reading on your own time. This morning, I hope I make you one of two things: glad or mad, but I hope that one of those two emotions come to the forefront, because I'd rather you be one of those than a "so what" Christian. Let’s discover the character of apathy from the scripture. Let’s see what it looks like.

At the beginning of Matthew 24, the Lord is talking about his coming. He is talking about him returning. He's talking about some of the things that come along with it, some were in the present, in the future, but overall he's talking about his return. In Luke, he talks about, when the son of man comes, will he find faith in the Earth? Here He talks about his coming, and then he lays this out: “As the days of Noah were so shall the days be like at my coming.If you'll look and study Genesis, you will see a mirror image of what the characteristics look like in the society that we live in. As to when Jesus comes, look at verse 38. "For as in the days of Noah," here's what it looked like. Before the flood came, (judgment was the flood), before everything was wiped out they were eating, drinking, marrying, giving in marriage, until the very day that Noah entered the ark.” Verse 39: "They knew not," now, compare that to what Jesus says, "I know," and the characteristic of the days when Jesus is going to return. It says, "They knew not." Now link that up in the Old Testament, the prophets foretell that there is a famine coming that is greater than food, and it's the famine of the Word of God. That's where the "know not" comes from, because people don't want to know. Not that preachers aren't preaching it, not that singers aren't singing it, not that missionaries aren't going, but people just do not want to know. They're apathetic, “So what,he says; they don't want to know.

Christian Apathy Produces a Life Aimed at Normal

 

The first characteristic of what Christian apathy looks like is that Christian apathy has normal as its aim.The status quo is apathy’s aim. Apathy says, "If this is how society is going, this is how I'm going.” Apathy determines not to think rationally or spiritually. I am gaging what is going on, and throwing everything about me at it.In church we talk about modesty, which begins within and comes out, and that becomes a very, "You're a legalist and you're this and you're that," and I understand that there are boundaries, and I understand that there's the ditch on both sides of the straight and narrow, but what I can tell you is this: If you look at how the world carries themselves, and you have mimicked that completely, ask yourself, “Why?” If what you listen to is what the world listens to generally, ask yourself, “Why?” If the movies you want to go watch and fill your eyes with are the status quo of what's put out all the time, ask yourself, “Why? The answer is you want to be normal. You have set your bar with the world. You want the tattoos like everybody, the ear piercings all over. I'm not here preaching legalism, I'm trying to get you to think, why is that your norm? As a Christian that's been blood-washed, why are we looking there instead of in the Word itself to find out where we are to aim? Their (in the days of Noah) aim was normal, they had a normal life. In the days of Noah, they just wanted to make a living, eat, drink, marry their kids off to multiply. They just wanted to do what they were doing.

What was normal in the days of Noah? Normal was evil, and you also know the normal of their day, well they heard warnings, 2nd Peter 2:5 says, "Noah was a preacher." Normal was labor, celebration, and apathy toward the things of God, that was the norm, and that was the aim, and that's what they were after. What is your spiritual aim this morning, and what do you promote within your homes and your heart?

Christian Apathy Produces Anger at Others

Number two: anger at others. We leave this parable and we go a little further down (Matthew 24:42-51) where Jesus is talking about what the coming days would be like when he returns. He introduces us to two servants that had responsibility, and he said, "I'll come back. I will return. Be responsible. Stay alert.” He used the word "watch", which means vigilant, awake, aware.

He says, "Be aware that I will return. Keep good accounts, work, be diligent. I will return." One kept it, and the other said, "The lord is delaying his return, or he won't return," and he got this attitude, "Who cares? God will not really judge me," which, by the way, is the very first doctrine of scripture that was challenged by Satan, "You surely won't die, God's not really going to judge you. You're okay, you're okay just like you are." It said that he (the servant) got angry. His anger, you know what it led to? It led to abuse of others. Now pay attention to that, because it's very important. He had apathy toward others, "I don't care about your life, I don't care about your needs, I don't care about you, this is my stuff, my house, my belongings, my money, my job, I work for this, mine, mine."

When you say, "My, my, my ", you're letting out little smoke signals that you're angry, that you're selfish, and that you're not hearing or heeding the Word of God. Now, there's two things that happen with this anger, he pointed it toward others. Then because he was angry, he turned to addiction. He was probably angry and didn't want to be, or either he wanted to stay angry, or he didn't want to worry about his anger. Whatever it was, he was angry and drunk. Addiction is an outlet to deal with a sin that's not necessarily the addiction itself. The addiction is the manifestation of the sin or the brokenness that's within.

Now, it's not hard to figure out that we live in an angry society, anti-bullying is where we bully bullies. It irks my nerves to see divisions in society that make people angry promoted within churches, within pulpits. Social media makes me nauseous, makes me zealous for the things of God, and makes me want to tell you if that's the way you are and the way you act, the signs are you will not inherit the kingdom of God. I'd be very cautious. How do you feel about others? Do you see them as intrusive, or are they God's people, and you love them as God does?

Christian Apathy Looks Qualified but is Lacking Substance

Three, "Appearances of adequacies that are truly lacking." We begin at Matthew 25, and we start off with a parable about a wedding, and there's 10 young ladies, 10 virgins that are selected to go out and meet the bride and the groom when they're coming back to the home and it's evening and it's dark. You're invited to do this, it's a very important thing, a very precious thing. The bridegroom says, "Look, you need lamps, you need oil, make sure you have them, because you're going to escort us in, this is going to be a big celebration. You're all invited, you're all special to me, you're all precious to me, be involved with it," so they're invited.

Every virgin had a lamp, that's what they had in common. Now, that is the vessel with which divine grace can reside. It echoes of Matthew 5:16, where he says, "Let your light so shine before men that they can see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” A lamp is made for one reason, to shine.

Why buy a flashlight if you don't have batteries in it or a light bulb for it? Why have a lamp if there's no oil to burn it, what good is it? It's decorative, but it's no help. Here's what happens, they have just enough to kind of get started, but not enough to carry them through. The picture is this, there's some people that are invited that are within the church that are as tares, that have the lamp, they look like a lamp, they look like they could burn. They could burn, they could be useful, they could give God glory. They could be redeemed, but they just got the lamp and just enough to say, "I have a light, that's enough," and it burns out. Then they go to the people that's got it on that day when they're supposed to be ready, and says, "Let us have some of yours," and they say, "No, you should go purchase what you need, because what we have is what we have. We cannot give it to you, or we'll be found lacking."

The idea is that divine grace will see you through, and whether you're burning or not for Christ shows if divine grace is in you. I don't care if you're a lamp, I want to know, do you have the oil of zeal? So does Jesus. Five of the virgins had appearances that were inadequate. They had the lamp, the vessel that reveals divine grace, but they lacked the oil, the substance of divine grace. One is our bodies, the other is the spirit himself. Are you burning for the Lord Jesus or are you just a lamp?

Christian Apathy Disregards What It knows about Accountability

Four, the disregard for the knowledge of accountability. Apathy says, I don't want to be accountable, don't like the aggravation of it, don't like the stress of it, don't like the work of it. In Matthew 25:14-30 a large sum of money 10 talents, 5 talents, 1 talent, are given to the servants. What did the servant with 1 talent do? Look at verse 18 with me, "But he that had received one talent went and digged in the Earth, and hid his lord's money." Why did he do with it? He didn't care. Look at verse 24 and 25, this matters: "Then he which had received the one talent came when the judgment came, and he said, 'Lord, I knew, I knew that you're a hard man. You reap before you have it sown, and you gather where you have not strawed. I knew who you were, I knew it, you told me. I knew it, no doubt, and so that made me afraid. I was so afraid that I would fail. The stress came over me, so I just decided not to care about what I knew, and so I hid your talent."

Is this what the master wanted? The answer is no, he wanted the servant to care about him to the point he cared for his things. Disregard for the knowledge of accountability, we live in an age that I do what I want because I feel like I want, and we're returning to what it seems to be brute beast within the church, not speaking of what is without the church, because what is without is without, but those within are supposed to know the name of Christ. We are supposed to be those who are embracing those things for which God is going to hold us accountable. This servant made two choices. 1. The master's character could be swayed. God won't truly do what he said he would do, there must be another interpretation, must be an allegory, must be an illustration, it certainly cannot mean what it means.

It certainly cannot mean that these people knew the master, and these people were allowed within the master's community. Then we find out that some of the people even allowed within the community while here on Earth, while he was gone, was allowed in, but when he comes back, they're thrown out. That certainly can't be the case. Certainly everyone that professes Christ is saved, certainly that's got to be it. Right?, "For anyone that calls upon the name of the lord shall be saved." There's a lot more to it than that, isn't there? Because then we have, "Not all that will come to me on that day and cry, 'Lord, lord, lord'," there's got to be more than that.

Paul spoke truth when he said that you believe in your heart, you really believe really from within, really the reasoning factor of your brain has infected and affected your heart to love God and prize him above all things. If you believe with your heart and then confess with your mouth, you shall be saved. There's a little more to it than a tip of the hat, a dive in the Baptistry, a hand clap at church. Salvation is more that: I sing in the choir, I volunteer with the children's ministry. Certainly, certainly, I'm in. Jesus said, "I know your works." The steward with one talent received his sum with excitement, and then he dug, he worked based on his decision, literally dug his own grave. Do you despise the accountability the Word of God drives into your spirit, or do you embrace it in humility and prayer and care for the things of God?

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  • Sep 10, 2017The Great Sins of the Church: Apathy: Week 1
    Sep 10, 2017
    The Great Sins of the Church: Apathy: Week 1
    Scripture
    14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.16 So then
    because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
    (Revelation 3:14-22, KJV)
     
    "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest 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 hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
    "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest 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 hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
    "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest 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 hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
    "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest 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 hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
    Introduction

    It's my hope over the next several weeks to preach and teach along a very important topic that I really want to encourage you to listen to thoroughly. It is entitled The Great Sin of the Church: The Sin of Apathy.

    In Revelation, when Jesus is revealing himself to John, Jesus starts off around the second chapter speaking to 7 churches. The church in our text is the church of the Laodiceans. Now, a lot of folks like to group these churches into church ages, but I'm going to veer off from that ideology for a second and tell you that the Laodicean church is an actual church that existed in the time in which John was writing, real people, real so-called believers that professed the name of Jesus Christ, and they had a real problem.

    The problem was they were apathetic. Now, that is where we'll pick up, in verse 15, and I want you to read this again with me in your Bible, underline it, highlight it. Verse 15 says this: "I know.This is Jesus declaring his sovereignty; he knows; he's not in the dark; he's not having to search CNN or track your life like we've been tracking the hurricane and many hurricanes out in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico; he's not having to pull up a data report on you; he already knows.

    What he knows is your works; he knows what you're doing. He knows why you're doing it, the Word of God is quicker, is sharper than any two-edged sword, and it does dividing, it knows the intent of the heart, knows why you're doing what you do. Even our charitable works, our charitable giving can be found in sin, based on why we're doing it. If we're doing it for self-glory, then we're doing it out of a sinful heart. See, God knows these things, and we ought to honor him for his supreme knowledge and be in awe of him, and humbled before his majesty. Jesus being in the “know” should be humbling to us.

    He says to the church of the Laodiceans "Thou art neither cold," you're not good for drinking, "Nor are you hot," you're not good for cleansing or washing. He says this great statement, "I would that you were cold or hot, I would that you stood in an un- redeemed nature, not knowing the truth, having the ability for redemption, being cold, un-churched, lost, I'd rather you be that, or either hot, fervently zealous, the character of a Christian, in love with me. I would rather you be one or the other, but I would that you were not standing between and be apathetic."
     
    The Aim of the Series   
    If you'll bear with me the next several weeks and give me the chance to unload, to unleash and to preach truth, that hopefully is life-changing for you as a believer, and soul-converting for you if you're lost. Do not look for me to attempt dynamics to woo you and wow you and win you. Please be focused on the scripture that we're going to give to you. The aim of this series is to hit you right at the heart. I'm not attempting to graze you, I'm not aiming to nick you, I'm aiming to wound you in your heart. I'm aiming to prod you with a hot iron, to sear you, to inflict spiritual awakening to your dead and maybe apathetic soul.

    I'm taking aim wholeheartedly, with all my study and all my prayer life and all my preaching and all my demeanor and all the zeal God's given me, and I'm trying to be a marksman, I'm trying to hit you where it hurts. Hopefully, realizing the wound that you have can be healed by the Holy Spirit. Now I think before we go any further, we've got to answer the question..........

    What is Apathy?

    I want you to see the command of God and say, "He matters more. His command matters more. His request of me is supreme. It's more precious than even my own life." We want the church to leave apathy concerning missions, leave apathy concerning volunteering.

    We are thankful that people have been passionate about giving, because the folks talking about giving have given good sound warning and truth and encouragement concerning giving. We took up more last week than we did in our 50/50 giving in July, so people are figuring out to be passionate in those areas. That's good, that's a start, but we want that zeal for God's word to amp up here.

    We want folks to give, but we want to give around the Word and give because of the Word, and give because God is the Word, manifest flesh. We want you to get that. We want the music to be God-centered and Word-centered. We desire marriages to be God-centered and Word-driven. We are aiming to have Christ as the high prize of all that we do and this can only be accomplished by doing away with apathy toward our faith in God.

    The Scriptures for the Next Several Weeks

    Matthew 24:37-25:46

    We will jump around, I will do my best to explain it, but you must do reading on your own time. This morning, I hope I make you one of two things: glad or mad, but I hope that one of those two emotions come to the forefront, because I'd rather you be one of those than a "so what" Christian. Let’s discover the character of apathy from the scripture. Let’s see what it looks like.

    At the beginning of Matthew 24, the Lord is talking about his coming. He is talking about him returning. He's talking about some of the things that come along with it, some were in the present, in the future, but overall he's talking about his return. In Luke, he talks about, when the son of man comes, will he find faith in the Earth? Here He talks about his coming, and then he lays this out: “As the days of Noah were so shall the days be like at my coming.If you'll look and study Genesis, you will see a mirror image of what the characteristics look like in the society that we live in. As to when Jesus comes, look at verse 38. "For as in the days of Noah," here's what it looked like. Before the flood came, (judgment was the flood), before everything was wiped out they were eating, drinking, marrying, giving in marriage, until the very day that Noah entered the ark.” Verse 39: "They knew not," now, compare that to what Jesus says, "I know," and the characteristic of the days when Jesus is going to return. It says, "They knew not." Now link that up in the Old Testament, the prophets foretell that there is a famine coming that is greater than food, and it's the famine of the Word of God. That's where the "know not" comes from, because people don't want to know. Not that preachers aren't preaching it, not that singers aren't singing it, not that missionaries aren't going, but people just do not want to know. They're apathetic, “So what,he says; they don't want to know.

    Christian Apathy Produces a Life Aimed at Normal

     

    The first characteristic of what Christian apathy looks like is that Christian apathy has normal as its aim.The status quo is apathy’s aim. Apathy says, "If this is how society is going, this is how I'm going.” Apathy determines not to think rationally or spiritually. I am gaging what is going on, and throwing everything about me at it.In church we talk about modesty, which begins within and comes out, and that becomes a very, "You're a legalist and you're this and you're that," and I understand that there are boundaries, and I understand that there's the ditch on both sides of the straight and narrow, but what I can tell you is this: If you look at how the world carries themselves, and you have mimicked that completely, ask yourself, “Why?” If what you listen to is what the world listens to generally, ask yourself, “Why?” If the movies you want to go watch and fill your eyes with are the status quo of what's put out all the time, ask yourself, “Why? The answer is you want to be normal. You have set your bar with the world. You want the tattoos like everybody, the ear piercings all over. I'm not here preaching legalism, I'm trying to get you to think, why is that your norm? As a Christian that's been blood-washed, why are we looking there instead of in the Word itself to find out where we are to aim? Their (in the days of Noah) aim was normal, they had a normal life. In the days of Noah, they just wanted to make a living, eat, drink, marry their kids off to multiply. They just wanted to do what they were doing.

    What was normal in the days of Noah? Normal was evil, and you also know the normal of their day, well they heard warnings, 2nd Peter 2:5 says, "Noah was a preacher." Normal was labor, celebration, and apathy toward the things of God, that was the norm, and that was the aim, and that's what they were after. What is your spiritual aim this morning, and what do you promote within your homes and your heart?

    Christian Apathy Produces Anger at Others

    Number two: anger at others. We leave this parable and we go a little further down (Matthew 24:42-51) where Jesus is talking about what the coming days would be like when he returns. He introduces us to two servants that had responsibility, and he said, "I'll come back. I will return. Be responsible. Stay alert.” He used the word "watch", which means vigilant, awake, aware.

    He says, "Be aware that I will return. Keep good accounts, work, be diligent. I will return." One kept it, and the other said, "The lord is delaying his return, or he won't return," and he got this attitude, "Who cares? God will not really judge me," which, by the way, is the very first doctrine of scripture that was challenged by Satan, "You surely won't die, God's not really going to judge you. You're okay, you're okay just like you are." It said that he (the servant) got angry. His anger, you know what it led to? It led to abuse of others. Now pay attention to that, because it's very important. He had apathy toward others, "I don't care about your life, I don't care about your needs, I don't care about you, this is my stuff, my house, my belongings, my money, my job, I work for this, mine, mine."

    When you say, "My, my, my ", you're letting out little smoke signals that you're angry, that you're selfish, and that you're not hearing or heeding the Word of God. Now, there's two things that happen with this anger, he pointed it toward others. Then because he was angry, he turned to addiction. He was probably angry and didn't want to be, or either he wanted to stay angry, or he didn't want to worry about his anger. Whatever it was, he was angry and drunk. Addiction is an outlet to deal with a sin that's not necessarily the addiction itself. The addiction is the manifestation of the sin or the brokenness that's within.

    Now, it's not hard to figure out that we live in an angry society, anti-bullying is where we bully bullies. It irks my nerves to see divisions in society that make people angry promoted within churches, within pulpits. Social media makes me nauseous, makes me zealous for the things of God, and makes me want to tell you if that's the way you are and the way you act, the signs are you will not inherit the kingdom of God. I'd be very cautious. How do you feel about others? Do you see them as intrusive, or are they God's people, and you love them as God does?

    Christian Apathy Looks Qualified but is Lacking Substance

    Three, "Appearances of adequacies that are truly lacking." We begin at Matthew 25, and we start off with a parable about a wedding, and there's 10 young ladies, 10 virgins that are selected to go out and meet the bride and the groom when they're coming back to the home and it's evening and it's dark. You're invited to do this, it's a very important thing, a very precious thing. The bridegroom says, "Look, you need lamps, you need oil, make sure you have them, because you're going to escort us in, this is going to be a big celebration. You're all invited, you're all special to me, you're all precious to me, be involved with it," so they're invited.

    Every virgin had a lamp, that's what they had in common. Now, that is the vessel with which divine grace can reside. It echoes of Matthew 5:16, where he says, "Let your light so shine before men that they can see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” A lamp is made for one reason, to shine.

    Why buy a flashlight if you don't have batteries in it or a light bulb for it? Why have a lamp if there's no oil to burn it, what good is it? It's decorative, but it's no help. Here's what happens, they have just enough to kind of get started, but not enough to carry them through. The picture is this, there's some people that are invited that are within the church that are as tares, that have the lamp, they look like a lamp, they look like they could burn. They could burn, they could be useful, they could give God glory. They could be redeemed, but they just got the lamp and just enough to say, "I have a light, that's enough," and it burns out. Then they go to the people that's got it on that day when they're supposed to be ready, and says, "Let us have some of yours," and they say, "No, you should go purchase what you need, because what we have is what we have. We cannot give it to you, or we'll be found lacking."

    The idea is that divine grace will see you through, and whether you're burning or not for Christ shows if divine grace is in you. I don't care if you're a lamp, I want to know, do you have the oil of zeal? So does Jesus. Five of the virgins had appearances that were inadequate. They had the lamp, the vessel that reveals divine grace, but they lacked the oil, the substance of divine grace. One is our bodies, the other is the spirit himself. Are you burning for the Lord Jesus or are you just a lamp?

    Christian Apathy Disregards What It knows about Accountability

    Four, the disregard for the knowledge of accountability. Apathy says, I don't want to be accountable, don't like the aggravation of it, don't like the stress of it, don't like the work of it. In Matthew 25:14-30 a large sum of money 10 talents, 5 talents, 1 talent, are given to the servants. What did the servant with 1 talent do? Look at verse 18 with me, "But he that had received one talent went and digged in the Earth, and hid his lord's money." Why did he do with it? He didn't care. Look at verse 24 and 25, this matters: "Then he which had received the one talent came when the judgment came, and he said, 'Lord, I knew, I knew that you're a hard man. You reap before you have it sown, and you gather where you have not strawed. I knew who you were, I knew it, you told me. I knew it, no doubt, and so that made me afraid. I was so afraid that I would fail. The stress came over me, so I just decided not to care about what I knew, and so I hid your talent."

    Is this what the master wanted? The answer is no, he wanted the servant to care about him to the point he cared for his things. Disregard for the knowledge of accountability, we live in an age that I do what I want because I feel like I want, and we're returning to what it seems to be brute beast within the church, not speaking of what is without the church, because what is without is without, but those within are supposed to know the name of Christ. We are supposed to be those who are embracing those things for which God is going to hold us accountable. This servant made two choices. 1. The master's character could be swayed. God won't truly do what he said he would do, there must be another interpretation, must be an allegory, must be an illustration, it certainly cannot mean what it means.

    It certainly cannot mean that these people knew the master, and these people were allowed within the master's community. Then we find out that some of the people even allowed within the community while here on Earth, while he was gone, was allowed in, but when he comes back, they're thrown out. That certainly can't be the case. Certainly everyone that professes Christ is saved, certainly that's got to be it. Right?, "For anyone that calls upon the name of the lord shall be saved." There's a lot more to it than that, isn't there? Because then we have, "Not all that will come to me on that day and cry, 'Lord, lord, lord'," there's got to be more than that.

    Paul spoke truth when he said that you believe in your heart, you really believe really from within, really the reasoning factor of your brain has infected and affected your heart to love God and prize him above all things. If you believe with your heart and then confess with your mouth, you shall be saved. There's a little more to it than a tip of the hat, a dive in the Baptistry, a hand clap at church. Salvation is more that: I sing in the choir, I volunteer with the children's ministry. Certainly, certainly, I'm in. Jesus said, "I know your works." The steward with one talent received his sum with excitement, and then he dug, he worked based on his decision, literally dug his own grave. Do you despise the accountability the Word of God drives into your spirit, or do you embrace it in humility and prayer and care for the things of God?

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