Laodicea: the Lukewarm Church! part 2
Psalm 51:10-19; Revelation 3:14-22
This past Sunday we continued our look at the words of the Scripture in Revelation 3:14-21.
As we look at the words written to the church in Laodicea, we find at least two very important thoughts: on one hand, we will find how Laodicea became lukewarm in her faith. On the other hand, we will see how Christ counsels this church. In His mercy, Christ gives the Laodiceans the cure for lukewarmness.
First: Lukewarm Because Self-Reliant
How did Laodicea become lukewarm in her faith? She did not start off this way. The Greek language makes it clear that the Laodicean church had not always been lukewarm. There was a time when she had been full of zeal and love for the Gospel. At the beginning of her existence, she was excited about Jesus, she was zealous for God, she was on fire for the Kingdom and Lordship of Jesus Christ, and she was a firm defender of the faith. But now she is lukewarm.
What happened? The ‘Amen’, the ‘faithful’, the ‘true witness’, the Lord Jesus Christ, tells us what went wrong. The answer is found in Revelation 3:17 “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” As I mentioned last week, the city of Laodicea was affluent, rich, and prosperous – so wealthy that she needed no financial assistance from Rome in rebuilding after an earthquake in A.D. 60. We know from verse 17 that many of the church members also enjoyed prosperity. This was a wealthy church in a wealthy town.
The church members of Laodicea, like the citizens of the city, were far too secure in their possessions and wealth. They felt self-reliant. They did not depend on anyone else. The church did not even feel dependent upon God. She did not look to the Lord for food, clothing, and shelter; she forgot that God alone is the source of everything good and necessary for life. The church of Laodicea had become part of the world: she adopted the self-reliance of the world and the materialism of the world. She was an affluent church in an affluent society.
We also have great earthly and material wealth. Do we assume this means we also have heavenly and spiritual wealth? Do we think we can get along without God? Do we think we can look after our own bread and salvation? Are we lukewarm? “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” That is what the city said. That is what the church said. “I need nothing.” “I don’t need the Lord.”
Second: Cure For Lukewarmness
What does Laodicea need to do? How can their lukewarm faith be hot again? In Revelation 3:19 Jesus says, “So be earnest, and repent.” Be earnest – that’s the problem, isn’t it; they are not earnest in the faith; they are not zealous for God. They need to repent of the fact that their focus is themselves rather than Jesus.
“So be earnest and repent.” How do they go about doing that? How do we go about doing that? Listen to what Jesus says in Revelation 3:18 “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. “I counsel you.” Don’t forget, these are the words of “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” So, this is not just a word of advice that they can take or leave. This is a command.
Laodicea’s problem was its lukewarm faith because she bought from the wrong store. Laodicea’s solution: buy from Jesus Who alone provides what is really needed. Go to Jesus and you get real riches. Go to Jesus and you are clothed in garments of righteousness. Go to Jesus and your spiritual blindness disappears. Go to Jesus and find in Him everything you need. Don’t look at banking. Don’t look at the wool industry. Don’t look at the medical school. Admit you have nothing. Admit you need everything. Look to Jesus for what you need. Throw yourself on Him. Depend on Him.
Friends, what is true for Laodicea is true for every church and every believer. It is only by coming to Jesus that any lukewarmness on our part can be overcome. Actually, it is not really a case of us coming to the Lord, but of Him coming to us. All that we have to do is to see and hear that the Lord is there and that we need Him. In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “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 him, and he with me.” Usually, we think that Christ knocks at the door of unbelievers. But that is not what we see in our Bible reading. He is knocking at the door of the uncommitted, lukewarm, complacent believers. Do you find yourself lukewarm in the faith? Do you find you are not excited at all about the Gospel? Do you yearn for the days when your faith was so real and meaningful, when your walk and talk with the Lord meant so much more to you? The only cure, as with Laodicea, is to come to the Lord. To regain the blessedness you once knew, open the door and let Christ in. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,” prayed King David in Psalm 51:12. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Next Sunday, July 20th, Rev. Yousef’s sermon “Broken Cisterns or Living Water?” will be based on Scripture readings Jeremiah 2:1-13 and John 4:13-15. All are invited to attend our service at 10:00 am.