Revelation 3:14-22 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Lukewarm Church
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans[a] 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.”’”
Come with me, to worship in St. Paul's Church, London.
--It is the second largest church in the world.
--Designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Very historic.
--One reason is Holman Hunt's painting, "Christ at the Door," with Jesus in white robe, lantern in hand.
--He's knocking. Outside a door. Wanting to get in.
--Is it a church? Home? Or heart? Jesus seeks entry.
--Holman Hunt said, "This pictures a human heart where the handle is inside. We each must open the door."
--The painting was inspired by Revelation 3:20.
--Jesus said, "I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in."
We think of many welcome guests who have visited us.
--But none more welcome than our Savior, Jesus Christ.
--Let us not keep God waiting. Let's open the door.
There are seven kinds of churches in Revelation 2 and 3.
--A loveless church in Ephesus - "you left your love."
--A persecuted church in Smyrna - "tribulation, poor."
--A compromising church in Pergamos - allowing evils.
--A corrupt church in Thyratira - "sexual immorality."
--A dying church in Sardis - "not alive, you are dead."
There is a faithful church in Philadelphia - "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door and no one can shut it .. for you have kept My word..."
--"You have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world" (Revelation 3:10). Be prepared.
--"I know your works," Jesus said. What are ours?
The seventh church is Laodicea - a "lukewarm church." Neither hot or cold." Jesus, left standing, knocking.
--"Behold, I stand at the door and knock" to get in.
--God's Son has a vital message to give to help them.
--"Because you say, 'I am rich .. have need of nothing' - and do not know you are wretched, poor, blind.
--"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent" (v 19).
--Jesus came with good news of the Gospel; shows love.
--Came to them to bless, encourage and guide them.
We were ready to sit for lunch, when we heard a knock.
--At our door, stood dear church friends from Michigan.
--We had watched their family grow up; kept in touch.
--My friend, that is the happy way Jesus makes any day!
We can become "lukewarm" in our spiritual lives.
--We begin to drift away from the Lord, so easily.
--The Lord needs to visit us! To knock at our door.
--To cheer us up. To revive us. Draw us to Christ.
--Jesus loves us all. Says, "I stand at the door."
God has many different ways to "knock," or come to us.
--Many ways to speak to us, day by day, as He is now.
--To make life better. Things go smoother, happier.
Founded by Antiochus II, Laodicea got its water nearby.
--From nearby cold mountain springs and hot springs.
--By the time piped in, "neither hot nor cold."
--Jesus used this reality to teach a spirituality, Jesus called them "lukewarm." Easy to be "lukewarm."
Jesus says, "Behold I stand .." (v 20), "and knock."
--Let's note who it is. It is God! Jesus is God.
--Our Messiah-Savior. He who died on a cross for us.
--He who is "full of grace and truth .. is the Way..."
--Sinless, so He could atone and pay for our sins.
--Let's not forget, Jesus only can "walk on water."
--Fed the 5000 and 4000, wth a lad's little lunch.
--Healed maimed, blind and ill with no medicines!
--He alone in history, took our cross; arose, alive!
--Whose death and burial lasted a brief 3 days!
--Defied gravity, ascended back to heaven after proof.
That's Who it is! What is He doing? He's knocking.
--Knocking at your heart's door and mine, day by day.
--He's interceding in prayer for our personal needs.
--Gently, patiently, lovingly, Jesus comes.
Why is He there? Because in love He wants no one lost!
--He wants to save. Forgive. Make us godly. Bless.
--Help us face life victoriously. Whatever comes!
--Wants to come in; be a part of our every day life.
Our son was an exchange student in Lubeck, Germany.
--In one of its churches is a plaque, which reads:
"Ye call Me Master, and obey Me not.
Ye call Me Light, and see Me not.
Ye call Me the Way, and walk Me not.
Ye call Me Life, and choose Me not.
Ye call Me Wise, and follow Me not.
Ye call Me Fair, and love Me not.
Ye call Me Rich, and ask Me not.
Ye call Me Eternal, and seek Me not.
Ye call Me Noble, and serve Me not.
If I condemn you, blame Me not." (Unknown)
Of the Laodicean church Jesus said, "..you are wretched, miserable, poor and naked - I counsel you to .. appoint your eyes .. that you may see" (v 17, 18)
--They thought they were sophisticated, well off.
--It was a self-righteous church. Needed changing.
--They had failed to tell people they were sinners and lost without the Savior, for sin's consequences.
--We are living, Jesus shows, in the Laodicean age.
Jesus is telling them (and us) we need righteousness.
--His righteousness from Jesus' precious shed blood.
--"The eye-salve" of the Holy Spirit "that we may see."
--He said, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.
--My friends, let's let the Lord lead. We need it!
God leads us in unlikely ways. For unlikely people.
--"Able to m ake all things work .. for good" (Romans 8).
--Everything about Jesus - most of us - is unlikely.
--Jesus came into the world in an unlikely way, by His "virgin birth" as the prophet Isaiah foretold.
--In an unlikely place - tiny Bethlehem, "in a manger."
Jesus lived an unlikely life - "without sin."
--He did unlikely deeds - "healing, feeding, saving."
--Showed unlikely love - "Father, forgive them ..."
--Had an unlikely message - "No one spoke like Him."
--Died an unlikely death; arose, unlikely resurrection.
Jesus chose unlikely people to follow Him as disciples.
--Unlikely backgrounds and places - folks like us.
--Sinners, to become saints. All with lives changed.
--He even chose me. Chooses you. Chooses us all.
--So all may choose Him. To live for Him!
--To do uncommon things for God we never dreamed of!
God says, "I know your work" (v 15). Knows us all.
--God says this to all seven churches. To all of us.
--They heard "His voice, His knock." Open to Him.
--The question is, Have we? Let's make sure, friend.
I rejoice to say the Laodiceans trusted the Lord Jesus.
--When Jesus "knocked," "they opened to Him."
--How do we know? Historians tell us so!
--It became a thriving church, growing in grace.
--In 361 A.D. a great ecumenical Church Council, from over the world, was held there. God's Spirit there!
--In that Council, among other things, the order, and approval, of the Bible Books - the inspired Canon - was approved, giving us the Bible we have today!
That church had great leaders! Great influence!
--Long after the Church Council, and before.
--Epaphras was one of its pastors that Paul greeted.
--He sent the church people greetings, "to those in Laodicea," we read in Colossians 2:1.
--Paul may have visited Laodicea, when in Colosse.
Loadicea was on the River Lycos, in Phrygia, Turkey.
--Back then they had a medical school there, known for an ointment for ailing eyes.
--Knowing this, Jesus said, "anoint your eyes that you may see. Be zealous and repent" (3:18,19).
--It was the anointing of the Holy Spirit that came!
So why did many churches in Turkey die out over years?
--Many were founded bythe Apostle Paul, and others.
--Various reasons, of course. Unorthodox teaching.
--Also, instead of the church being in the world .. the world got in the church! The Spirit dies out!
--Churches don't have to die! Nor we grow "cold."
--May that never happen to anyone, or any church!
As any guest, Jesus must be invited, welcomed, in.
--You and I must open the door. Answer His "knock."
--God has many ways to gently, patiently, "knock."
--Dear friend, don't leave Jesus outside, "knocking."
--Open your heart's door! Welcome Him, Savior, Lord!
--Rich blessings await!
Wilbert D. Gough ThD, DD. 3