Jesus' Words To Laodicea
Our Text this morning is found in Revelation 3:14-22,
14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
Jesus comes to the church in Laodicea in verse 14 speaking “the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness and the beginning of God’s creation.
As the Amen, Jesus speaks what is true, trustworthy, certain and sure .
As the true and faithful witness, Jesus speaks of what He has seen and heard. Jesus is true, honest and righteous is words and in deeds. (1 John 3:18 – Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.)
As the witness He is able to testify to others in a way that men can hear and understand.
He is the beginning of creation through which all things find their origin, and source of being.
Jesus gives no commendation to this church. Rather, He reproves them for being lukewarm.
What makes the sin of indifference so nauseating to Christ?
What makes the lukewarmness of this church so intolerable to Jesus?
In many ways our culture is gravitating toward the extremes.
You are either on the left or on the right.
Your are either conservative or liberal.
You are either one of the good guys or you are one of the bad guys.
Yet, in our everyday life there is typically a greater pull towards lukewarmness.
At work, the guy who works harder usually frustrates everyone for raising the standard and the production that is expected of others.
The person in the church who leads in holiness and devotion is seen as too spiritual and legalistic.
In his book entitled, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs describes the individual who is drinking from the deep wells of grace. Such a person is not Lukewarm. “Where contentment of heart springs from grace, the heart is very quick and lively in their service to God...It is very active and lively, not dull, in the service of God. And just as a contented heart is very active and busy in the work of God, so he is very active and busy in sanctifying God’s name in the affliction that befalls him.”
Drinking from the deep well of grace produces life and liveliness that looks nothing like the ordinary lukewarm life that surrounds us.
Burroughs goes on to describe the person, or the church, who fails to drink of the well of grace in the following manner. “I will give you just one mark of the difference between a man or woman who is content in a natural way (lukewarm) and the one who is content in a spiritual way (lively and dynamic): Those who are content in a natural way overcome themselves when outward afflictions befall them and are content. They are just as content when they commit sin against God. When they have outward crosses or when God is dishonored, it is all one to them; whether they themselves are crossed or whether God is crossed (lukewarm). But a gracious heart that is contented with its own affliction, will rise up strongly when God is dishonored.”
Examples of zealous people
Acts 17:16 – Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.
Daniel 1:8-9 – But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the Eunuchs.
1 Samuel 17:25 – And David said, to the men who stood by him, ‘What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?’
Burroughs has begun to capture why Jesus becomes nauseated with this church in Laodicea. They are:
lukewarm – they reflect the culture, as we will see, more than they reflect God (Eph 5:1)
disinterested – they stand aloof, distant and uninvolved in the things of God
inattentive – they are apathetic, bored and easily distracted from the things of God
neutral – they have become inactive and uncommitted
nonchalant – they are unconcerned regarding the Kingdom of God
uninvolved – they appear to be undecided even when Jesus stands knocking at he door
passionless – their faith is cold-hear