Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1Ti. 1Ti. 6:6-10)How different was the condition of the Laodicean church from those in Smyrna (Rev. Rev. 2:9+)!
Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest-when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock. (Deu. Deu. 8:11-15)Agur, the son of Jakeh, understood the danger of the lack of need leading to independence from God:
Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches-Feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, Who is the LORD? Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God. (Pr. Pr. 30:8-9)
But sin makes blind and man cannot perceive his corruption (Eph. Eph. 4:18; Rev. Rev. 3:17+). He believes in the good within himself and deifies his own nature (2Th. 2Th. 2:3-4): Mankind is deity seen from below. So long as he believes that, he will never lay hold of the redemption (Mtt. Mat. 9:12).8So it is with many churches in our day who are convinced that their social activities and programs are an indicator of their spiritual health. Having lost all capability of introspection by the measure of Gods Word, they are unable to assess their condition by anything other than pragmatic measures and ministry statistics. As they grow in influence and numbers, their willingness to admit of the need for correction continually wanes until they reach a condition much like that of the Laodicean church.
2 Richard Chenevix Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1861), 189.
3 Intensive Perfect (a.k.a. Resultative Perfect). . . . The perfect may be used to emphasize the results or present state produced by a past action. The English present often is the best translation for such a perfect. This is a common use of the perfect tense.Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999, 2002), 574.
4 In our own day and culture, we are experiencing stage 3 and nearing stage 4.
5 Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989), 193.
7 Frederick William Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 249.