This sermon was written for my ordination classes and we each were given a book of the Bible to preach a sermon from. I was the lucky one who was given Revelations. And while it is addresses specifically to ministers and I will re-preach this sermon again, I think it's worth reading. As I had never preached from Revelations before, I had a lot of trouble developing this sermon. When I re- write and re-preach it, I will post it, so you will be able to see the changes I made.

Rev 3:14-16 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-- neither hot nor cold-- I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Taking A Stand For God

One of the problems that a lot of Christians have when it comes to discussing theology and scripture is that there is so much room for interpretation. Five different people can read the same exact scripture and come up with five different meanings behind the scripture. Which in turns creates some interesting situations when people are coming together and trying to study the Word of God.

But in addition to studying scripture, a lot of people are rather wishy-washy when it comes to dealing with God and with Jesus and with their stance on being a Christian. They are what we call, "middle- of-the-road" Christians. These are the people who have no definitive stance on what their lives should be as Christians, or the Bible. They are okay with whatever the other person has to say. They don't argue a point, even if they know the point is wrong, because somewhere in the back of their mind, they are afraid that maybe, the thought is right.

This is dangerous ground for a lot of Christians, because it leaves them open to some really weird interpretations of scripture. Because let's face it, no matter how nice we try to be, no matter how politically correct we may wish to be, some people are just wrong. Dead wrong. They are wrong about their views on scripture, they quote things in a manner which are totally opposite the flow of scripture. And if you challenge them, they may end it with, "well, that's my opinion."

The scripture that was read speaks directly to the issue of wishy-washy Christians. Jesus is telling John to tell the people of Laodicea that Jesus is aware of their works, as he has been keeping his eye on them, as well as the other churches. And that they were neither hot nor cold. Or, to put it another way, they were neither excited or blase about the church. And because of this, Jesus, wishing they would be one way or another, is about to, as He said "spit them out of my mouth."

What Jesus is saying is that it is important to take a stand, to be on one side of the fence, to be consistent in your faith. Jesus seems to be telling us that taking a laissez-faire attitude towards the church and towards Him is not sufficient. This will cause Jesus to spit you out of his mouth.

Dr. King once quote a philosopher who said "A man who will stand for nothing will fall for anything." And in today's climate of political correctness, the society that wants everyone to feel good and doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, it is easier to be a middle of the road Christian than to be someone who takes a position and sticks to it.

But a lot of us want to be popular and want to be liked, especially in the ministry. We figure it is easier to get programs done and accomplished if our congregation has good feelings towards us. We figure that in order to be the most effective, we must ensure that we don't offend people, lest our ministry be negatively affected.

The flaw in this notion is that how hard is it for us to respect someone who never takes a strong stance on an issue. We see people who are always trying to be someone's friend, or always trying to ingratiate themselves into someone's good graces, and we view them with a suspicious eye. We don't know where they are coming from or what they are actually thinking, therefore our trust level with them dips down a bit.

And while on some levels it would be easier if all people concerned did have positive views towards us as ministers, it is not practical. We cannot please all the people all of the time, and more often than not, we can't please some people at all. There are people who will just never have a good view of us, maybe because of the way we dress, the way we talk, even the way we eat. There will always be someone who will have something against us.

So the issue comes that we must be about the Fathers work. We must be able to do what the Lord has called us to do, despite what other people may say or think. We must be willing to take a stance on issues regardless of whether it is popular or politically correct.

After all, if we look at the ministry of Jesus, we will find that he never shied away from a stance he was taking. He never ran from an confrontation or an argument. Instead, he stood firm and proclaimed the Good News of the kingdom of God, and as a result, he lost his life for us.

Because if we are to be effective preachers of the gospel, if we are to go around proclaiming the Good News, then we must be able and willing to take a stand. We must be willing to stand up for what we know is right and just in the eyes of God. We must be willing to sacrifices ourselves in a manner similar to that of Jesus for the cause of advancing the kingdom of God.

Sometimes, we just have to tell people they are wrong. Sometimes we have to tell people they are right. The majority opinion is not always the correct opinion. But if we take the middle of the road, I wanna make everyone happy, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings position, then we are being not only a wishy-washy Christian, but we are being wishy-washy preachers as well. And how can we preach the gospel if we are afraid to take stances on the critical issues of the time.

No matter what you stance is on abortion, marriage and divorce, adultery, baptism, apostolic succession, racism, domestic abuse, or any myriad of other issues, it is important that you take a stance. Now it is more important that your stance be biblically based, but you must take a stance. Sure you will turn some people off, lose a couple of friends, make a few people mad, but it is our job to take the harder road, and take the rough subjects.

Remember the words of 2nd Timothy, 4:2-5: "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."

Note: As I said, I had a lot of trouble writing this sermon, so I left the ending off, and ad libbed it. To be honest, I don't remember what I said, but I ended it shortly after the end that is printed here.

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