Date: December 7, 1997

Series: Jesus: Lord of His Church

Speaker: Ron R. Ritchie

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Laodicea - “Your Love has become lukewarm!”
Revelation 3:14-22

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God the husband speaking to his beloved bride Israel

Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and
with all your soul and
with all your strength.

(Deut. 6:4-5)

Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe His commandment, His laws and His decrees... Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, Then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God...

(Deut. 8:11-14)

It is I who have made you and I alone can teach you what you are. But, you are no longer in the state in which I made you, I created you holy, innocent, perfect, I filled you with light and understanding, I showed you my glory and my wondrous works. Your eye then beheld the majesty of God. You were not in the darkness that now blinds your sight, nor subject to death and the miseries that afflict you. But you could not bear such great glory without falling in presumption. You wanted to make yourself your own center and do without my help. You withdrew from my rule, setting yourself up as my equal in your desire to find happiness in yourself and I abandoned you to yourself... The senses, independent of reason and often its master, have carried you off in pursuit of pleasure.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) Pensees

Jesus the Husband speaking to His beloved bride the Church

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.

(Rev. 3:20)

The Church of Laodicea -- "Love Jesus with all your Heart!"
Revelation 3:14-21
14...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,
1. A Word of Correction: 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm -- neither hot nor cold -- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You 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. 18I 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.
2. A Word of Exhortation: 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
3. A Word of Encouragement: 20Here 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.
4. A Promise: 21To 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. (NIV)

Some Questions to Consider

1. If you were to review your current relationship with Jesus Christ, would you say you are a hot, cold, or lukewarm Christian? What do you think your family, friends, and neighbors would say?
2. Do you have my Christian friends that you believe, based on this passage, are currently lukewarm Christians? What kind of temptations have they given into that have kept them lukewarm? How far are you from becoming lukewarm? Explain.
3. Have you, or are you presently, experiencing God's discipline? Explain what you have learned, or are learning, about the love of God because He has brought you under His loving discipline (training)?
4. In looking over our Lord's evaluation of all the churches, what plans have you made, or are you presently making, so that Jesus will be able to call you "an overcomer?" Explain.

Use This Review, as a Mirror for Your Own Life

The book of Revelation begins, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place." When John, the last living apostle, came face-to-face with Jesus for the first time in sixty years, he saw him as the fully glorified Son of God, in full majesty and power. The risen Lord Jesus commissioned John to write on a scroll what he saw and, end it to the seven churches in Western Turkey: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. In that scroll were words of encouragement, correction, exhortation, and promise from Christ to his bride. These seven churches were a symbol of completeness, enabling Jesus to say everything he needed to say to every church and every individual believer in every generation until he comes again.

Each letter began with a description of Jesus that told the reader of the focus of his evaluation. Here they are again in review: (1) He holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. (2) He is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. (3) He has the sharp, double-edged sword. (4) He is the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. (5) He holds the seven spirits and the seven stars. (6) He is holy and true and holds the key of David. (7) He is the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.

Here are his words of encouragement, (1) I know your deeds, your hard work, and your perseverance. (2) I know your afflictions and your poverty. (3) I know where you live -- where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. (4) I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are doing more than you did at first. (5) I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.

Here are his words of correction: (1) You have forsaken your first love. (2) You allow false teachers to lead you into idolatry and sexual immorality. (3) You tolerate that woman Jezebel who leads you into idolatry and sexual immorality. (4) You are dead. Wake up! (5) You are lukewarm.

Here are his words of exhortation: (1) Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (2) Be faithful unto death. (3) Repent. (4) Hold on to what you have until I come. (5) Remember what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. (6) I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (7) Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

Finally, here are his words of promise to the overcomers, the ones who believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and by faith would choose to follow him by the power of the Holy Spirit in the midst of all their trials and temptations. Jesus promised the overcomers that he would give them eternal life, described in the following terms: (1) You will have the right to eat from the tree of life. (2) You will not be hurt by the second death. (3) I will give you some of the hidden manna as well as a white stone with a new name written on it. (4) You will be given authority over the nations, as well as the morning star. (5) You will be dressed in white, and your name will never be blotted out of the book of life. (6) I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God, and I will write the name of my God on you, as well as the name of the new Jerusalem, and my own new name. (7) You will be given the right to sit with me on my throne.

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." This is what the Holy Spirit is saying to you and me. This very day!

Copyright © 1997 Fellowship Bible Church of Colorado Springs. All Rights Reserved.