To the Church in Laodicea

We live in a “blessed and prosperous” country in many ways, but are we “blessed and prosperous” in the way that truly matters?  This message provides the insight and counsel of Christ.

At the Door

To the Church in Laodicea Rev 3:14-22

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – July 9th, 2017

 

Intro:

  • The book of Revelation is fascinating, illuminating, comforting and frightening all at the same time. The good news is God is working His sovereign plan through time and eternity and His Will will be accomplished.  We learn from this book that God is just and He is glorious, He is merciful and He is powerful, He is magnificent and not to be messed with, He is abundantly good and one to be worshiped.
  • The purpose of the book is stated in the opening line Rev 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His servants the things that must soon take place. We read the opening greeting and a stunning image of the Lord Jesus the Christ.  Then Christ addresses 7 different churches in Asia and has a specific message for each one of them.  These messages are also to all the churches of all time and can be applied to us as well.
  • One of the churches that was addressed is a church located in a city called Laodicea. Laodicea by in large was a wealthy and prosperous place compared to the other cities at the time, much like America in many ways – rich, healthy, fashionable – a place where people wanted to live.  So, we are going to look at this letter to this church and learn from it what Christ would have to say to us as well.

 

Rev 3:14-16 ESV

“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.

 

Good for nothing

 

  • Jesus, who reminds them who He is – the “Amen” the One who speaks truth and the One who is faithful, the originator of all creation – the One who has all authority to speak into their lives and the One that we are to give an account says – I know your lives, I know what you are about and what your lives are like and what you do. You are lukewarm, you have become room temperature, you have become just like everyone around you and the state of your Christianity makes me sick.  And this is so much like the American Christianity (and the Christianity of any prosperous place).
  • They became just like the people they were living around . . . and by our nature we do too . . .
  • So how does this happen? A degree at a time
    • Illustration with cups of water
  • And the problem with being lukewarm is . . . nothing. Nothing happens, nothing changes, nothing is done.  That is why he wants them to be either hot or cold . . . We as Christians are called to be change agents, and to make a difference.  We have to be different . . .
  • If we are the same as the world around us living the “good life”, living the “American dream”, but for Christ and His Kingdom we are good for nothing.
    • Jesus calls us the “salt of the world” and if salt loses its saltiness it is thrown out.
    • He was calling these people to account and he will also call us to account . . .
  • And then listen to their response to Christ’s evaluation

Rev 3:17a ESV

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing,

 

  • Oh, okay, money gives us everything we want and everything we need . . . money is the answer and the “blessing of God” . . .
    • So, if this is the case how come America, which has the highest number of self-proclaimed Christians in the world, and leads the world in wealth, also leads the world in
      • Crime – Number of people in prison – Car thefts – Illegal drug use – Legal prescription drug use – Antidepressant use – Anxiety disorders – Divorce – Highest number of psychologists and psychotherapists – Teenage pregnancy – Reported rapes – Highest STD infection rate in the world – Plastic surgery – Obesity – Credit card debt – Mortgage debt – Student loan debt – Electricity and natural resource consumption – Number one in the amount of trash we produce

 

  • So this whole “rich thing” is not working really well for us. . . . but we just keep trying . . . and we just keep buying and the prosperity preachers just keep lying . . .
  • We all know deep in our soul that it is a lie, but we keep pretending that everything is alright . . .
  • And we keep selling to each other more and more and we keep buying and consuming trying to find the next thing that will make it all right
  • Some of us know what this is all about . . . . it’s the American way, we have way too much stuff
  • And we buy into this happiness formula so we want to be a good person, go to a good school, so we will have a good education, so we will get a good job, so we can make good money, so we can live in a good neighborhood, have a good family, live a good life . . . and all along we know in our soul that something isn’t right . . .
  • Money is a drug to our soul; it makes us feel better, but it can never make us whole.
    • There is a difference between feeling better and being well. . . . break a leg – Morphine
      • Jesus by the pool – John chapter 5 . . . 38 years

 

Rich in the wrong ways

 

Rev 3:17b ESV

not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 

 

  • You appear to be happy, but you are really miserable
  • You appear to have it all together and you think you are to be envied – but you are really in pitiful condition
  • You say you are rich, but you are really poor
  • You say you can see, but you are really blind
  • You have the greatest fashions, but you are really naked
  • All this money, prosperity and culture has impoverished you, blinded you exposed you . . .
  • You are rich in all the wrong ways . . .

The counsel of Christ

 

Rev 3:18-19 ESV

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. 

 

  • Get the stuff that really matters, that has real value
  • Purchase from Christ: trials, hardship, suffering – the places where faith is shown and grown and proved genuine – that you can be truly rich (1 Peter 1:7-8 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.) Instead of working to make yourself comfortable, make yourself intentionally uncomfortable . . .
  • If you want to look good, then buy from me “white garments” – His character (1 Peter 3 – not with outward adornment – not what you wear but who you are)
  • If you want to see the world and people clearly, then you need to see things as I see them, through the eyes of the Holy Spirit . . .
  • He tells us the harsh truth because He loves us (love tells the truth – even the hard truth and disciplines us – he tells us to repent and be zealous (spiritual fervor)
  • Turn from your indifference . . . and all this “wealth” that has made you indifferent . . .
    • Get “Hot or Cold” – to do so takes energy and intentionality

 

A divine invitation

 

Rev 3:20 ESV

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

 

  • We built a house, but don’t have Him in it
  • Confess Christ – but they don’t possess Christ. You know about Him, but you don’t know Him.
  • He gives us an invitation for relationship – and He comes to us. – do you hear Him knocking – do you hear His voice – then let Him in – open the door – let Him into your life – know Him – not just knowing about Him.

 

A reward for the conquers

 

Rev 3:21-22 ESV

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.'”

 

  • Conditional promise that we can count on . . . to the one who conquers – what are we conquering . . . our flesh when it comes to wealth, and fashion and comfort and pleasures – like Jesus . . . who was tempted by Satan in the desert and his flesh in the garden
  • Sit as one who has overcome – on a throne – which denotes honor, position and power . . .
  • Do you have an ear to hear what the spirit is saying to you this morning?

 

Questions for the ride home:

  1. What is something that you learned from the message today?
  2. From the message today, what is God saying to you personally?
  3. What do you need to do to be victorious?