THE CHURCH THAT THOUGHT IT HAD IT ALL
Revelation 3:14-22 (NKJV)
The Lukewarm Church
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
17 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—
18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore 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 dine with him, and he with Me.
21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame 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 Christ saved the worse church at last. This letter is the saddest, the most disturbing and, sadly, the one we can identify the most clearly with. It is also the picture of the conditions of most modern churches today. It is certainly the picture of the church in the last days. We are living in perilous times!
We have moved in our study from the days of the Apostles to the days of the Apostasy.
We have lived long enough to witness the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. In that we have witnessed the full rise of the apostate church, 2 Thess. 2:3.
Illustration – A Redbook survey of American church leaders revealed that 59% rejected the Virgin Birth; 71% Life after death; 54% the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus; 98% the personal return of the Lord.
Brothers and Sisters, we are in a mess today. This church in Laodicea was also in a mess in the first few centuries of church history.
Laodicea was a very important city in Asia Minor. It was known for:
1. Wealth, Banks and Pride;
2. Clothing Industry – (Black Wool);
3. Medical School – (Eye Salve);
4. Water Situation – They received cold water from Colosse and hot water from Hierapolis. But all water was lukewarm by the time it reached Laodicea.
It is to this unique town and the church located there that Jesus comes with his hard-hitting message for them.
I. v.14 THE DYNAMIC CHRIST
A. He Is All-Conquering – He is the Father’s fullest Amen to man’s deepest need. He is the end of the revelation. He is the final authority. He is the Amen!
B. He Is All-Convicting – He will not Dilute the TRUTH; He will not Distort the truth. (Ill. All the ways of men, we have of skirting the truth of God!) God deals with the facts. He will tell this church the perfect truth. He will do the same for you and me.
C. He Is All-Controlling – He is the origin of God’s creation – John 1:3. He is responsible for all we see. He is the CREATOR GOD!
II. v.15-17 THE DELUDED CHURCH
A. v.15-16 It’s a Sickening Compromise – They were a mixture of fire and ice (hot and cold). They were aware of Calvary, but were not moved by it! They knew about Hell, but didn’t try to warn the lost! (Ill. We have a message! We need to be fired up about the things of God!) (Ill. Christians today – Many cold, a few frozen! Ineffective!)
1. Two reasons for concern for Lukewarm believers :
a. Most Difficult people (LUKEWARM ONES) to move toward God.
b. Misrepresents God and Jesus. (Ill. Jesus desires that we be one way or the other! Not lukewarm!)
2. Jesus says He will spit them out. They make Him physically ill and He will vomit them out! (Ill. Our tendency to compromise and get cold (lukewarm)!)
B. v.17 It’s Sickening Complacency – Their personal viewpoint contrasted with that of the Lord! They felt they had it all, He says they have nothing! They were fooled by the trappings of religion, (Illustration – In large offerings, attendance, buildings, budgets, education, organization, ritual, etc.)
Jesus Christ declares that they have nothing at all. They are:
1. Wretched – To be pressed under a burden.
2. Miserable – To be pitied. (Ill. The poorest saint had more honor then they!)
3. Poor – Spiritual beggars.
4. Blind – Spiritually unclothed
5. This is where the modern church is today. Seeking to serve God by traveling down blind alleys. Some of which are: Fundamentalism, Exclusive-ism, Ritualism, Rationalism, Socialism, Occultism, Ecumenism, Materialism.
III. v.18-19 THE DEFINITE CHOICE
Jesus Christ counsels them to do several things. They need:
A. Spiritual Values – Only those things gotten from Jesus are of great value!
B. Spiritual Virtues – The world can see through this type of church’s facade or external shows. We need to cloth ourselves in the virtues and works of the Lord!
C. Spiritual Vision – (Ill. Eyesalve) There is a great need for us to see ourselves as God sees us and the world as He see them. Where is our surrendered walk and our consuming love for a perishing world?
D. Spiritual Vitality – REPENT! Nothing else will suffice! His council is for ZEAL! Jesus desires that we reach the boiling point in our love for Him. Are you on fire for the Lord? (Ill. Our only resort is usually our last resort! Only repentance will pour the Spirit into our churches!)
IV. v.20-22 THE DUAL CHALLENGE
A. To The Sinners In The Church – Jesus waits, patiently, in love. He waits for that one person to open his heart and let Him in!
1. Implies Friendship
2. Implies Fellowship
Jesus Christ waits for one Christian to open the door for real revival!
(Ill. The Excluded Christ! Question – How many times have we locked Jesus out?)
B. To The Saints In The Church –
1. They shall reign with Jesus – 2 Tim. 2:12
2. They shall rejoice with Jesus.
Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22): Don’t become lukewarm about God’s way of life.
Further Studies :
Our focus should be on what message God is giving us through the seven churches in the Book of Revelation :
The MESSAGE of the Seven Churches were :
(1) Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) – the church that had forsaken its first love (2:4).
(2) Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) – the church that would suffer persecution (2:10).
(3) Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) – the church that needed to repent (2:16).
(4) Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) – the church that had a false prophetess (2:20).
(5) Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) – the church that had fallen asleep (3:2).
(6) Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) – the church that had endured patiently (3:10).
(7) Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) – the church with the lukewarm faith (3:16).
Summary of the LESSONS we can learn from the instruction God gave each church:
• 1. Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7): Don’t lose your love for God’s truth or His people.
• 2. Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11): Remain faithful in the face of tribulation and poverty.
• 3. Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17): Resist Satan’s influence, even to death, if necessary.
• 4. Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29): Resist false teaching.
• 5. Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6): Remain zealous and pure in conduct.
• 6. Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13): Persevere and walk through the doors God opens.
• 7. Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22): Don’t become lukewarm about God’s way of life.