The Church of Spiritually Lukewarm People
A sermon delivered at the
Compassionate Internet Church
27 April 2008
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
The Church of today is very much like the church in Laodicea, of whom the Lord said (Revelation 3:15-17):
15 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot.
16 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
17 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
When we talk about the vast majority of spiritually lukewarm people of today, we unfortunately have to include the poor and those who have physical needs.
On the one hand the Church celebrates the Lord Jesus Christ in word and song and praise, and on the other hand they remain hard of heart toward the whole of God's creation.
Their love and compassion is selective and limited.
This is particularly true when it comes to animal issues and those who care about them.
This is a travesty, and the Church is so blind that it doesn't even see what it's doing, or perhaps they don't want to see.
Most of the prophets we read about in the Bible were rejected by the people to whom the prophets were sent.
Because they didn't want to turn away from their worldly ways.
And the same thing is happening today to the modern-day prophets who have been sent to almost every church in the world.
The interesting thing is that very few of the prophets of today recognize themselves as being prophets; they simply see themselves as being Christian vegans (ethical vegetarians who care deeply about all living beings (humans and non-humans) and the environment in which we all live).
These vegans enter the churches, sometimes silently; but they are always visible as loving, compassionate, peacemaking children of God, who do everything in their lives to free creation from the corruption to which it has been subjected.
These Christian vegan prophets are visible, even when the church turns a blind or sarcastic eye upon them.
The people of the Church may lie to themselves, but they cannot lie to God, who sees the true intent of their hearts.
These prophets try to live by God's creation intent, as we are told in the last paragraph of the first chapter of Genesis, 1:24-31:
24 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so.
25 And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
29 Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food ";and it was so.
31 And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
This Bible passage must be taken in its entirety in order to understand God's creation intent for our lives, but unfortunately the Church is doing just the opposite.
This also makes the Lord so sick to His stomach that He vomits them out of His mouth, just as He did with the church in Laodicea.
God lovingly created all of the animals in the world, including us humans to whom He gave dominion.
Then He blessed all of us, and gave us all plant foods to eat so that we would not harm one another.
After this, God looked back upon all that He had made and saw that it was very good.
We humans were given the stewardship (dominion) of this world to care for it and protect it, and to subdue any evil that should arise to harm it or its inhabitants.
This is so obvious when reading this Genesis passage that it is hard to understand why the Church doesn't follow it, particularly since they claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
The problem is that they are listening to an unholy spirit, the same father of lies who corrupted the whole earth.
When a church sponsors a meal based upon the body parts and secretions of tortured animals, and one of these vegans tries to explain about the horrible pain and suffering they are contributing to, they are put down.
One of these put-down comments that we hear all the time is: "If God didn't want us to eat animals, then why did He make them out of meat?"
Well, human beings are also made out of "meat"; does that mean that we should be cannibals?
If the Church doesn't resort to this kind of illogical comment, they will begin to quote any number of Bible verses except Genesis 1:29.
They aren't interested in being loving, compassionate, peacemaking children of God who feel the pain and suffering of the whole of creation.
They seem to be only interested in finding ways of excusing and justifying their worldly lifestyles and lack of empathy.
Does this mean that we should curse the Church and condemn it to hell?
No, it doesn't!
It means that we just have to be even more diligent in our efforts to be loving, polite, and peaceful witnesses of the truth.
God did not make the people of the Church to be hard of heart and have no empathy for the animals whose tortured remains are on their plates.
From childhood, the people were taught to lose their empathy.
When anyone turns off their empathy for even one individual, whether human or non-human, they turn off some of their empathy for all others.
Since God didn't make people to be like this any more than He made animal flesh to be eaten, we believe that most people retain a spark of empathy that needs to be rekindled.
And if we give up on being a witness of the truth, then the hardness of heart and suffering will only increase.
We have to continue to stand in the gap and speak for those who can't speak for themselves.
We need to lovingly but firmly show people, in the most vivid way possible, the atrocities being committed upon billions of animals.
We need to shock their senses back to the reality of the way things really are.
We need to help them face the truth.
We need to help blow the Holy Breath of truth on the spark of empathy that remains until it bursts back into flame and warms the heart and soul to once again feel the pain and suffering of every other living being.
We need to help the Lord usher in His peaceable kingdom.
We need to be the loving, compassionate, peacemaking, vegan, Christian prophets of God we have been called to be.
The animals need us.
We can do it!
We need to be hot!
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