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The Rich Wretches

"The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts." Proverbs 17:3 What a person really is made of will be manifest when he comes into hard times, and it is in this kind of setting that the Lord tests the heart of man. Gold and silver are purified in a furnace. The ore is heated up to a very high degree so that the impurities will rise to the top to be skimmed off. Then it is heated up again even hotter, so that any impurities left will rise to the top to be skimmed off. When all the impurities have been removed, what is left is pure gold. But you don't get pure gold unless it goes through the furnace. The Lord actually counsels us to REQUEST this process that will lead to pure gold: "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, I COUNSEL YOU to buy from me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich;" Revelation 3:17-18 It's easy to pat oneself on the back when one has become wealthy and in need of nothing. But generally speaking, such a person is really wretched. If the Lord leaves him in that state the person is actually poor, not rich. The only way out of this blindness and wretchedness is the process of being refined. It will be shocking when some terrible thing comes upon such a man, something he has no control over, but it is the only way to get rid of those things that defile him. The Lord loves us enough not to leave us as we are. And so the Lord himself counsels us to REQUEST this gold refined in the fire, and the wise person will do so, because those who have understanding realize that this is the process that will bring them to maturity, and ultimately happiness. The passage above is from the letter to the church of Laodicea in the Bible's Book of Revelation. The people in that church were wealthy. They are those who believed the "prosperity" message, thinking and preaching and focusing on the ways one can become even wealthier. They were so focused on their riches that they thought themselves in need of nothing. But the Lord's assessment of them was that they were actually wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Furthermore, he said concerning them: vs 16: "I will vomit you out of my mouth." Yes, the message to the church of Laodicea shows what God thinks of the "prosperity gospel." It makes him sick to his stomach. Friends, this is not what we are called to. The men and women who are preaching the "prosperity" gospel are preaching a false gospel, twisting the Scriptures to deceive people and lead them astray: "...which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures." 2 Peter 3:16 How terrible is this false gospel, so putrid that it makes the Lord nauseous. The true Gospel is the very opposite. The truth is that we are take up our CROSS, not our riches, and follow him. “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his CROSS daily, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." Luke 9:23-24 In the Laodicean church you won't hear anything about the cross. You won't hear anything about sin. You won't hear anything about hell. You will only hear what is "uplifting," what the false teachers know you WANT to hear: how to become wealthy, how to create self-esteem, all that is OPPOSED to the true Gospel of the living God. If you are in a church like this, FLEE - lest the Lord vomit you out of his mouth. If you are listening to these teachers on tv, get RID of your tv, it's poisoning you, and that poison is what God stands by to vomit out of his mouth. Instead ask the Lord for the gold tried by fire, and grow up in the faith. Become a mature believer approved by him, usable to him, a delight to him. Friends, THIS is what we must aspire to, not wealth. "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH." 2 Timothy 2:15


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