No Refreshment or Healing

Bible Book: Revelation  3 : 14-22
Subject: Seven Churches; Laodicea; Luke Warm Church; Church, Luke Warm
Series: Deeper - Seven Churches of Revelation
Introduction

When we began our study of “Deeper” we found Jesus walking in the midst of His church (Revelation 2:1), however, as we visit the church of the Laodiceans, He is seen outside the church knocking to come in. The church is definitely degressing to say the least.

In the text we move from the “Faithful Church” in Philadelphia to the “Lukewarm Church” in Laodicea. The Faithful Church is commended for its “little strength” while the Lukewarm Church has “need of nothing.” While one receives all commendation, the other receives not one good word. One is faithful while the other is wretched. One is confessional while the other is without conviction.

Laodicea means the rule of the people or the rights of the people. It speaks of a time when the churches will become enamored with its own strength, its own power, and the rights of the people. It is a time when the authenticity of God and the authority of the Word of God are ignored and the rights of the individual are magnified.

Under Roman rule, this city had become widely known for its banking establishments, medical school (with its famous eyesalve) and textile industry. The membership was rich in material goods, but spiritually poor. Again, the Lord had nothing positive to say about this church.

It is believed that Philadelphia and Laodicea are both in the end times. One is the church with the open door seizing the opportunities God gives, while the other is lukewarm missing life’s Christ-honoring opportunities because of compromising.

I. THE CHALLENGING CHRIST 14

A. He is Confirming 14a

“Amen” - speaks of certainty and veracity. All the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”

All God’s promises are guaranteed and affirmed by the person and works of Jesus Christ. As Amen, He is the last word. When everything has been said, the only thing left to say is Amen.

B. HE IS CONVICTING 14b

“faithful and true witness” - trustworthy and perfectly accurate witness to the truth of God. He will not dilute or distort the truth. He sees through all the sham, shallowness, and outward show of our lives. The eyes of Jesus penetrate these disguises, strips it away, and sees us as we really are.

C. HE IS CREATOR 14

“the beginning of the creation of God” He is the originator, the initiator, He is the beginning. He it was who flung the stars into space, plowed out the basins of the sea, reared against the skyline of the world the mighty Himalayan range. It is in Him that creation had its beginning. John 1:3 “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

Colossians 1:15-18, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”

II. THE COMPROMISING CHURCH 15-17

A. Their Condition 15-16

Let’s see it against 3 spiritual temperatures

1. A Burning Heart.

On fire for God; spiritual zeal - Luke 24:32 “And they said to one another, "’Did not our heart urn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?’" It comes from being with the Resurrected Christ, walking and talking with Him in the Word.

Romans 12:10-13 “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

2. A Cold Heart

Matthew 24:12, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” - A sign of the end times.

3. A Lukewarm Heart

John Stott wrote, “The Laodicean Church was a half-hearted church. Their Christianity as flabby and anemic.” The lukewarm Christian is comfortable, complacent, and does not realize his need. If he were cold, at least he would feel it. Speaks of a condition of apathy or indifference; without enthusiasm. It means criticism without compassion; worst condition because it’s without conviction.

They are self-centered, self-confident, self-occupied, self-satisfied, and self-sufficient.

A lukewarm Christian is a contradiction of terms. It’s like saying dry water, cold heart, and clean dirt. They did not deny the gospel, they were just indifferent to it.

TEPID! Lukewarm is an expression that is drawn from the geography of the area that surrounded Laodicea. The contrast of hot, cold, and lukewarm is a contrast between the hot medicinal waters of Hierapolis and the cold pure waters of Colosse. The Church of Laodicea was providing neither refreshment for the spiritually weary or healing for the spiritually sick. It was totally ineffective and thus distasteful to its Lord.

The water had to travel through stone pipes known as an aqua duct system which by the time the water travels several miles to Laodicea it was lukewarm.

Note our Lord’s Perception

“I will vomit (spue) you out of my mouth”- to reject with extreme disgust; nausea provoking.

B. Their Consciousness 17

Unaware of their true spiritual condition.

“Because you say” 17

“You may be” 18

They were ignorant of their true condition.

Thomas Aquinas once called upon Pope Innocent II. The Pope was counting a large sum of money. “You see, Thomas,” said the Pope, “the church can no longer say, silver and gold have I none.” “True, Holy Father”, said Thomas, “and neither can it say to the lame any more, arise and walk.”

The church at Laodicea was popular, prosperous, pragmatic, polished, and proud.

But it was powerless. I believe there is more hope for the man outside the church than for the man within the church who is near enough to its warmth not to appreciate it and yet far enough away from its loving best to be useless to God and to man.

The church was rich, had become wealthy, and had need of nothing. They had everything they needed. They did not need anything or anybody including God.

Revelation 3:17, “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.”

“wretched” pressed with a burden; not the burden of poverty but the burden of wealth. Their problem was not persecution but prosperity. Few people learn how to hold their wealth. More are held by their wealth and dominated by it.

“miserable” - pitiable

“poor” - spiritual poverty, pauper

“blind” - nearsighted; they could not see beyond themselves.

“naked” - not clothed with righteous acts

III. THE CHURCH WITH A CHOICE 18-19

Christ is offering spiritual counterparts to their three major industries: money, clothing and medicine.

A. His Counsel 18

1. Riches

“gold refined in the fire” – call for restoration of spiritual values; church was destitute of anything of spiritual worth. This suggests that the church needed some persecution. Nothing makes God’s people experience their position and priorities faster than suffering.

1 Peter 1:7, “That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

If a person has a faith tried and refined in the crucible of experience, there is nothing which they cannot face, and they are rich indeed.

2. Righteousness

“white garments” – speaks of God’s righteousness; calls for a restoration of spiritual virtue.

Revelation 19:8, “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

a. Salvation

Means that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us; put on our account.

b. Sanctification

Means that His righteousness is imparted to us, made a part of our character and conduct.

3. Restoration

“anoint your eyes with eye salve” – they had lost their vision and perception…calls for restoration of spiritual vision.

Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.”

These people could not see themselves as they really were. The Apostle Paul teaches that when a believer is not growing in the Lord, his spiritual vision is affected. It has bearing on the condition of one’s eyes.

2 Peter 1:5-9, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”

B. His Chastisement 19

1. Promise of love

Tender compassion

2. Proof of love

Proverbs 3:11-12, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.