An Open Letter to Pastors, Leaders, and all who claim to be Followers of Jesus
“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations-- ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ -as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
This is undoubtedly a difficult time for our nation. The devastation in New Orleans and other Gulf coast areas is the result of perhaps the worst natural disaster to ever hit us. Katrina, meaning, “Blessed, Pure, Holy;” was not too much of a blessing for some, but, I wonder if the name could mean something for us? I mean those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus.
How are we to view the events that happened the last few days, and how are we to respond? The above passage is from Revelation, chapter 2, and it was the message to Thyatira, a city whose name, according to Strong’s Concordance, means, “odour of affliction...” Our Lord accuses Thyatira of allowing “that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality...” Hmmm, an afflicted city, condemned because God’s people allowed teachings and seduction leading to sexual immorality... I guess it’s our fault, isn’t it? Have we forgotten that we are salt in the earth (or at least we are supposed to be)?
“If my people, which are called by my name...” is a prophetic word for us because when it was written, God’s people were not called by His name. “Jews” comes from Judah, “Hebrews” probably comes from Eber, “Israel” was the name given to Jacob by God. But we are called “Christians” and Christ is a title that belongs to Jesus, the anointed One, who is God. So really, it is our fault. Where were the preachers of righteousness in New Orleans preaching against porneia (a Greek word meaning to prostitute one’s body to the lust of another)? And not just preaching but living a life worthy of the Name. Or are we really no different than the world? Do we not get divorced and lie and cheat and steal and get drunk and commit immorality just like everyone else?
And what is Jesus’ word to us, since we have allowed those things? I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. Who are her children? Sometimes, the result of porneia is a child. Could it be those who have been in bed with political and religious entities who teach and seduce others to commit immorality have produced a child which God will kill? Is the child a religious system that puts more stock in politics than in godly behavior and obedience to God’s Word? A system that prefers appearance over substance? A system that chooses charisma (not the Biblical charismata) over character? Purpose over purity? Steeples, pews and offering buckets over righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit? A corporate mindset over family relationships?
It is very clear that God needs no employees because if He wants something, He can create it. He does, however, want children, and they have to be conceived by the living Word of God sowed through the foolishness of preaching. Where are the ones who proclaim the Word of God? Where were they? Were there any in New Orleans and Gulfport? Is it really a coincidence that a city known for depravity was condemned (literally) by God? That the casinos of another city were moved by the force of a storm surge?
I appeal to all the followers of Jesus to join me in repenting for our great sin. We have not preached and lived God’s Word and we are guilty of this great judgment brought upon our nation by God.
I appeal to all mayors, congressmen and governors, all civic and political leaders, if they claim to be followers of Christ, to change their way doing business in our cities. Do not invite Southern Decadence, the biggest gay event in the South, which was to happen in New Orleans on Labor Day weekend (but God obviously shut it down), to come back to New Orleans (if there is a New Orleans to come back to). Do not rebuild the casinos in Gulfport. Let us all turn our hearts toward God. What else needs to happen to our nation before we will listen?
The message to the church of Sardis, which followed the message to the church of Thyatira, in the book of Revelation, is this:
“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Strengthen the things that remain. Remember the old Bob Dylan song, When you gonna wake up? Here are some of the lyrics:
...You got innocent men in jail, your insane asylums are filled,
You got unrighteous doctors dealing drugs that'll never cure your ills.
You got men who can't hold their peace and women who can't control their tongues.
The rich seduce the poor and the old are seduced by the young.
Adulterers in churches and pornography in the schools,
You got gangsters in power and lawbreakers making rules.
Spiritual advisors and gurus to guide your every move,
Instant inner peace and every step you take has got to be approved.
Do you ever wonder just what God requires?
You think He's just an errand boy to satisfy your wandering desires.
You can't take it with you and you know that it's too worthless to be sold,
They tell you, "Time is money" as if your life was worth its weight in gold.
There's a Man up on a cross and He's been crucified.
Do you have any idea why or for who He died?
When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
Jesus says to us, “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.” Remember and repent. Isn’t that the message to us right now?
What are the things we’ve forgotten? I believe we can remember them again and hold fast and make a difference. We must stop being tasteless salt. We must get out from under the bushel! Maybe that is how Katrina can be a pure and holy blessing to us. If we repent and turn to God and shepherd our nation back to God. And, by the way, if you do not think that the God of creation brings judgment upon the nations and chastisement to His people, then you have not read His Word and do not know Him. Kyrie Eleison. Pax vobiscum.