Union Baptist Church
Revelations 3: 15
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:
I would thou wert cold or hot.” (KJV)
Sermon Title and Text for July 16, 2006
Title: “When the Sanctuary is Hot”
Text: Revelations 3: 15
Focus: “… I would thou wert…hot”
When the sanctuary is hot it promotes evangelism, it proclaims the messiah, and it provides a place of peace.
Sermon: Analogue of my in house water machine with two nozzles to dispense water: a blue nozzle for cold water and a red nozzle for hot water. One day I went to prepare a cup of hot tea. I place a tea bag in the cup. I like milk with my tea, so I pour in the proper amount of milk. I sweeten it with the right amount of sweetener. And I placed the cup under the red nozzle to pour hot water into the cup, but the machine wasn’t working properly and the water that was dispensed wasn’t hot. The tea was no good without hot water. I had to pour the lukewarm tea out. To salvage my appetite for a drink of tea, I mixed instant tea in a glass with the idea that I would have instead a cup of cold tea. I placed the glass under the blue nozzle for the cold water to be dispensed and it was not cold. It was lukewarm. I had to pour the class of lukewarm tea out. There I was with a machine that wasn’t working properly dispensing water that was neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. The machine was no good the water it provided was not fit to drink.
In the text you will find that the Laodicean Church wasn’t working. Interestingly, their where a series of letters written to churches Paul had developed. As you read those earlier six letters you will notice that the letters were addressed to the church in a place. This is the only letter that is written to a church of the people. The initially danger we find is that the church is suppose to be in the world, but not of the world. The church is the bride groom of Jesus Christ. It is supposed to be without spot or wrinkle. It is supposed to shape the culture and not be shaped by the culture. It’s supposed to set the standard for living, not lower itself to culture’s standard of living. It’s supposed to be in the world, but not of the world. It should have read the church in Laodicea, not the church of the Laodiceans.
We find that when people define the church our imperfections cause the church to become known by our faults, our failures, and our flaws. When people define the church it becomes a place of confusion because the truth of the matter is that people are confused. When people define the church instead of it being a hospital of healing, it becomes a hospice for the sick. In other words instead of coming to church to get better, you leave worse than when you came it.
That’s because a church ceases to be alive because people who are dying are defining it.
Laodicea was a city that was located about one hundred miles from Ephesus. It was along the fertile valley between Colosse, which was less than ten miles away, was known for its cool water, and Hierapolis which was just seven miles away and it was famous for its hot springs.
The city was between a place that was known for its cold water and a place that was known for its hot water: much like being in between Aspen Colorado and Hot Springs Arizona.
But, the City of Laodicea had a problem. It didn’t have a water supply. It had to pipe the water through an aqueduct system from both Colosee and from Hierapolis. As a result itstead of the water being cold coming from Colosee, or hot coming from Hierapolis, by the time the water got to Laodicea it was lukewarm.
The Spirit uses the reality of their water problem to describe the problem with The Laodicean Church.
You are neither hot nor cold.
And because you are neither hot nor cold, I was spew thee out of my mouth!
Hot water is soothing.
Cold water is refreshing.
But, lukewarm water is no more than spit.
Laodicea was a wealthy place. The Laodiceans had money. They where involved in banking and finance. They were exporters of fine wool that was in demand all over the known world. They where famous for their school of medicine that had developed a cure for eye defects and people came from all over the world for their medical services.
Because of commerce, financial affairs, and medicine the Laodiceans were wealthy. They were rich. They had it made. In fact they where so wealthy that an earthquake hit the city in 17 A.D. and destroyed it, much like the Katrina disaster in New Orleans. The Laodiceans were so rich that they refused government assistance and rebuilt the town themselves. They were rich.
Jesus would say in the 19th Chapter of Matthew that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Let me explain what Jesus is saying. The eye of a needle is the name of an entrance to a sanctuary during Jesus day that requires those who attend to get down on their knees to enter. You are not able to enter the sanctuary standing up. And you definitely couldn’t enter the sanctuary riding a camel. To enter you would literally have to crawl on your hands and knees to get in through the entrance and then once you are in you would be able to stand up.
In other words, being rich was not the problem. The problem is does your wealth cause you not to humble yourself. Do you think that you are self-sufficient? Do you think that because you have resources you no longer need the source?
That’s what the Spirit was saying to the Church of the Laodiceans. Just because you think that you are rich and you don’t need anything.
When the Spirit looks at you, I see you wretched. I see you miserable. I see you poor, blind, and naked. I see you who think you have no need, most in need.
The Good News is that’s The Spirit says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock: if anyone hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to them, and will sup with them, and they with me.
For the people in the Sanctuary to be hot, Jesus knows you need three things:
The presence of God with your life is always described as fire. It is hot!
When the people in the Sanctuary have the presence of God - it is hot.
I don’t mean combustibility. I mean availability.
We have a lot of sanctuaries full of combustibility, but people with no availability.
Combustibility is like sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.
God wants availability - You are always saying let God use me.
The presence of God with your life is the light that shines in the midst of darkness.
The purpose of God for your life that when the word of God becomes a lamp unto your feet and a light unto you path. The Old Folks would say. Lead me. Guide me, along the way. Oh if you lead, I will not stray. Oh let me walk each day with thee. Lead me O Lord lead me and guide me.
The power of God in your life is what changes situations. It’s what changes circumstances. It’s what alters predicaments. The power of God in your life will enable you to mount up on wings of a eagle, to walk and not faint, and to run and not be weary.
I forgot to tell you what happened with my water machine. You remember the red hot water nozzle didn’t work. The blue cold water nozzle didn’t work. The machine was no good. It didn’t work. I was about to throw the machine out. But my microwave wasn’t working either. So I went downstairs to look at my circuit box. The circuit that provided power to my microwave and my water machine was tripped.
All I had to do was to throw the power switch back on and the microwave and the water machine worked well.
In other words for the Sanctuary to become hot, all you have to do is turn the power back on.
How do you turn the power back on? Jesus says if I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men, women and children unto me. Lift Jesus up by living as a Christian ought, let him in you the savior see.
Just let Jesus back into your life and the power in the sanctuary will come back on!!!
Let me close with this thought,
When the sanctuary is hot it will promote evangelism,
When the sanctuary is hot it will proclaim the Messiah,
And, When the sanctuary is hot it will be a place of peace - Shalom.