PART 8: AUDIO-VIDEO REV 3:14-22 LAODICEA A CHURCH WITH UNCONSCIOUS NEED We’ve Looked at 6 of Christ Messages to the 7 Churches in Revelation. Ephesus had Lost their First Love…Christ was No Longer First Place! Pergamum Lived with Sin and Compromise (One Foot in the both Worlds). Thyatira was given an indictment of Spiritual Wickedness. Christ said Sardis was Dead…Only 2 Churches Smyrna and Philadelphia were Not Condemned!
- As we look at Christ’s Message to the Church at Laodicea We See that No Commendation was Given. Instead, Christ Gives this Church One of the Most Scathing Rebukes to be found in All of the 7 Letters to the 7 Churches!
- Under Roman rule Laodicea became Wealthy…Its main production was wool cloth…The cities Prosperity tended to Lull the church to Sleep Spiritually (Self-Sufficient).
- A Chapter in Chan’s book, “Crazy Love.” Gives Us 10 signs of a “Lukewarm” Christian …
- You think more about life on this earth (how to be comfortable here) than you do about eternal life.
- You Give out of your Leftovers rather than Making it a Priority. 3. You Only Seek God when You are in a Bind.
- You say You Believe in God…But Live as though He Doesn’t Exist.
- You Crave Acceptance from People More than Acceptance from God. 6. You Rarely Share Your Faith.
- You say You Believe in God…But You Don’t Strive to Know Him.
- You base Your Morality on Comparison with Others…Rather than on What God Says.
- Your Life is Really No Different than Others in the World.
- You Want to Know Christ Just Enough to Save You from Hell…But Not Enough to Change Your Lifestyle.
I Believe Much of the Church in America and throughout the World, is Now “Laodicean.” Here’s Why I Say That: Many Churches Have Not Focused on Being Sprit-Filled and in turn have Become…A ‘Market Driven’ (Self-Sufficient) Church…A ‘Do it Yourself’ (Own Power) Church…A Church that Seeks Unity at the Expense of Truth’ (Heresy!)…A Church That has Become a ‘Compromising’ (Sinful) Church I Praise God that there are True Believers who Will Not Compromise and they Seek to Warn those who will Hear… However, much of the Church in America today has been Compromised by Easy Living and Personal Desire.
Phil 3: 18-19: “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”
Much of the church in America Patterns itself After the World…Culture is their Authority…Not God! Even though scripture says this will happen…it leaves me Disappointed iwhere much of the church is in America.
- Luke-warmness is a Battle We Fight Continually. Keeping Christ the Priority is Not Easy. It Requires that You Intentionally Get Rid of Things in Your Life that Keep Christ from Being in 1st Place?
- As we Study Christ’s Message to the Church of Laodicea…We Will See that Christ is Speaking to Each of Us Today as Much as He Did to The Church of Laodicea!
REV 3:14-22 “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. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
In Verse 14 Jesus Describes Himself with 3 Aspects of Who He Is:
- These are the Words of the AMEN: (Barclay says) Jesus is the Amen, the “So Be It,” the “It Is Done.” 2 Cor 1:20 says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the Amen is spoken by Us to the Glory of God.”
- Jesus is “the Personification and the Affirmation of the Truth of God.”
- It Indicates that Jesus is saying something Extremely Important. It Marks Significant Truth.
- The Faithful & True Witness: Jesus in Contrast to the Laodiceans, who are Neither Faithful Or True.
- The Ruler of God’s Creation: This phrase is Not, as the NIV puts it, “the ruler of God’s creation.” It is really the word “The Beginning of God’s Creation.”
- The idea is that Jesus is that of a “ruler, source, or origin,” NOT of first in a Sequential Order. This verse teaches that Jesus is the ruler, source, and origin of all creation. It is first in Prominence More than First in Sequence.
- Same word used in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Two verses later John says, “All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made,”
- Jesus is also the source of the new creation that God is building in Us.
- Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ he [she] is a new creation,”.
- We are part of a new world that the Lord is bringing into being. It has already begun…”Old things have Passed Away; Behold All things Have Become New,” (2 Cor. 5:17b.
Revelation 3:15-16: 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.
- Vs 15-16 are a Strong “Indictment Against the Spiritual Condition of Laodicea”
- The Lord is describing their “lukewarm” Heart Attitude Manifested by their Deeds.
- Hot water can cleanse and purify; cold water can refresh and enliven. Lukewarm Water Does Neither!
- The Laodiceans understood the Lord’s analogy, their city drinking water came over an aqueduct from a spring six miles away, and it arrived disgustingly lukewarm. This was the Lord’s response to the Laodiceans—they sickened Him, and He said, “I am about to spit you out of my mouth”.
Jesus Makes Clear this Church is Dead. They see themselves as “rich” and self-sufficient, but the Lord sees them as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” Their lukewarm faith was full of Compromising Christians.
The expression “I am rich; I have acquired wealth” Makes it Clear that the Laodiceans enjoyed material prosperity attained through their own efforts that, coupled with being religious it led them to a False Sense of Security and Independence. Spiritually, they had great Needs. Self-sufficiency and lukewarm faith are constant dangers to Spirit Filled Lives!
- They’re Professing Christians who attend Church…However…They Fall Far Short of a True Testimony for Christ! They had Done some Vile,This was Not a Moral Issue…Simply…Christ was NOT at the CENTER OF THEIR LIVES AND HEARTS!
- You See…There is a Big Difference Between what “You Say,” and what “You Are.”
These 2 Different Views Were Caused Because they Measured by 2 Different Standards:
EX: I might say to you, “What is the temperature today?” and you would look at a thermometer and say, “It is 32 above zero.” But I might check another thermometer and say, “No, you are wrong. It is zero.” The truth is, we would both be right because one thermometer was Fahrenheit and the other was Centigrade. If you use two different standards of measurement, you will never be able to agree on what the true temperature is.
- Laodicea was using the Standards of the World. It was pleasant, comfortable, approved by the community around, and they thought they were doing well. But Jesus is using the standard of what he intended his church to be like. The Church is a Body of Believers that Have Responsibilities!
- Jesus gave the Church Responsibilities and How We Perform Our Duty is What He Measures Us by!
VS 18: I counsel you to Buy From Me Gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and White Clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and Salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
The key to Verse 18 is the three little words “Buy From Me.” Jesus has all the church really needs to function. We Need to Open the Door and Receive it Daily! Nice Buildings and Beautiful Music are Nice…But they are Not the Most Important Need for a Church! Jesus says we Need, “Gold, and White clothing, and eye Salve.” …Obtained Only from Jesus, and He tells Us what these items Symbolize.
First, “gold refined in the fire.” 1 Peter 1:7 tells us that our faith is like gold refined in the fire: “More precious even than gold that perishes, though it be tried by fire,”. Faith in God. Faith in His Word. Faith comes from Jesus. As we look to Jesus our Faith is awakened and stirred. We then see how true the Scriptures are, how they explain life and fit with all that we experience daily.
- That awakens a Sense of Confidence and Faith, and that is what this Church Needed Most. It lacked faith in God but was Resting on its Own Abilities or the World’s Resources.
Second, they Needed, “White Clothes to Wear, to Cover Their Shameful Nakedness.” Everyone is Morally Naked before God. Everyone knows something about ourselves that we would not want anyone else to know. But God knows! He sees us in Our SIN…And Offers Us HIS Righteousness…WHITE CLOTHING!
- We are no longer to be clothed with our own self-righteousness, but we are to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ Himself, a Perfect Righteousness which God Accepts. White Clothes Stand for a Changed Character; They mark someone who has his robes washed in the blood of the Lamb.
The third thing that is needed is Eye Salve. Laodicea was noted for their eye ointment. But Jesus says they need spiritual eye salve that will enable them to see. Everywhere in Scripture we have mention of an anointing of the Spirit which opens eyes to understand the truth of God.
- 1 John 2:27 says, “The anointing that you received from him remains in you and you do not need anyone to teach you, but his anointing is real, not counterfeit, and teaches you all truth,”
- Unless the Spirit in You is Opening Your Eyes to the Meaning of Truth taught it will Fall Upon Deaf Ears. But if we have the Spirit of Christ within, our eyes are opened to understand the Word of God and we see the Bible in a new, fresh and wonderful way.
VS 19-20: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with me.”
- I Love These 2 Verses… “Our Lord is Telling this Church, Despite its Terrible Weakness and Failure, “I Love You, and it is Because I Love You that I Rebuke You and Discipline You.”
When You did Something Wrong Dad would take you aside and paddle you for something and say as he did it, “I am only doing this because I love you”? You go away rubbing your behind and saying, “I wish you didn’t love me so much!” Jesus speaks Bluntly because he loves this church, and wants them to Repent.
The Next Aspect of Our Lord’s Appeal is His Word to the Overcomer. Vs 21-22: “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
- Jesus Invites the Overcoming Christian to Reign with Him. In Scripture that throne is called the “Throne of David.” When Gabriel appeared to Mary in Luke 1:32-33, he said she would have a son and would be called the Son of God and that the Lord God would give unto him “the throne of his father David, and he would reign over the house of Jacob forever”.
- The house of Jacob is the Nation of Israel; All 12 tribes are descended from the sons of Jacob.
- This Promise Relates to the time when Jesus Assumes the Throne of David and Israel is made the head of the nations during the Millennial Kingdom. And the Church Resurrected and Glorified will share with Him in that Reign.
Jesus then Concludes His Message to the Church of Laodicea with the same words he did with the other churches, Verse 22 “ Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
As We Come to the end of Christ Sobering Messages to the 7 Churches… My Prayer Has Been and Will Continue to Be…That We Will Realize the Relevance of these Message for Us at LifePoint Church! We Need to Answer the Question…Has My Passion for Christ and His Kingdom Been Replaced with a Passion for Comfort in the Here and Now! We Need to Come Face to Face with God’s Plan for Each of Us In This World! And Then as Disciples of Jesus Christ… Respond to the Truth of God’s Word!
- If We Honestly Believe that What Jesus Says in His Word is to be Taken Literally…Then it Demands that We Listen to and Act Upon what God Expects of Us as His Child!
In Col. 4:17 The Apostle Paul Gives Us the Clearly States What Christ Wants From Each of Us…He Strictly Charged the Church saying, “See to it that You COMPLETE THE WORK You have Received from the Lord!”
The Most Important thing for Us is to “Complete His Work”! Laodicea’s focus turned from Completing Christ’s Work to Focusing on themselves…And they Received Christ’s Most Scathing Rebuke! Unless We Commit to Finishing, Completing the Work, We’ll Receive the Very Same Condemnation as Laodicea!
In Acts 11…At the end of the 26th verse we read, “The Disciples were Called Christians First at Antioch.” …How did this Come to Be???? This was NOT Self-Proclaimed…They did Not Name Themselves, Instead…Others Watched their Behavior, their Passion, and called them Christians…Because Their Hearts and Lives had the same Passion for the Kingdom as Christ!
- The Reason the People of Antioch Called them Christians is Because…Like Christ…They were About their Fathers Business!! Completing the Work that Christ Gave them in Matthew 28!
- They had a Correct Understanding of what God asked them to do and THEY DID IT!
The Core Problem in the Church of America is Not that We Tend to be Lukewarm or Not Committed to Christ…The CRUX is WHY We are this Way…It Is Because We AHave An Inacurate View of God!
- A W TOZER said, “By Sin a man may waste himself which is to waste that which on Earth is Most like God”…I believe This is Mans Greatest Tragedy and Gods Heaviest Grief!
- Q: Do You Believe it’s a Sin to Ignore God’s Plan and Purpose for Your Life and Just Focus on what Feels good and what is Comfortable AS You cruise through each day of Your Life?
Transparency: For many years, as a Christian, I thought that Duplicity in my life was OK! I had Ministry in My church, a Testimony in the Community and held Family Alters each Night with my wife and children. But then there was the Other Side: Focusing on Myself and My Agenda, Often held Captive My Talents, Time, Treasure and All of My Heart…This Kept Me from Giving My ALL for God’s Purpose! Here is What I want YOU to Understand: Your Existence is Not Random. It is Not an Accident. God Created and Designed You for a Specific Work! And He Wants to Complete His Plan In and Through You…If YOU WILL LET HIM!
Matthew 5:14-16 God Says to You and Me: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Jesus continues in Matthew 10:38-39: “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
- Titus 1:16: They profess to know God, but in Works they Deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
- James 2:26: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
- 1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that You may Proclaim the Praises of Him who Called You Out of Darkness into His Marvelous light.
- In John 17:4 Christ says to His Father, “I have brought you glory on earth by Finishing the Work You Gave Me to Do.” Christ was Obedient to what God asked Him to do and God Exalted Him (Phil 2)
Will YOU Choose to Make Christ Your Ambition, Your Passion, Your Focus and Your Reason for Living?
Here is the Bottom Line: It is Not Scientific doubt…It is Not Atheism…It is Not Pantheism, and it is Not Agnosticism, Which is Quenching the Light of the Gospel in America. It is when God’s People…Do Nothing!
It is My goal and prayer for LifePoint Church that we will be a group of believers who think Biblically rather than Conventionally and Where Radical Living For Christ is the Norm.
Today’s POINT: The Point of Your Life is to Point Others to Jesus!