Summary: If we are luke warm, how do we heat things up?
Revelation 3:14-22 October 5, 2003
Heating Us Up
Last week I compared the Church of Smyrna with the Church of Laodicea. After the service I was reminded that this passage has been read over our church prophetically in the past. I also think that this message over all the seven comes closest to speaking to the church in North America – we are relatively rich as compared with the rest of the world, and yet we are spiritually poor as compared with the church in the Third World. This message also speaks to me personally – I feel that I am often lukewarm in my own faith when I should be on fire – particularly in the last while I have been tired and have had trouble re-igniting my passion for faith. You might be in the same place. Regardless of where you are personally, just by being part of this lukewarm culture of ours, we are all less passionate about God and the Kingdom than we should be. So today we are going to return to the Church of Laodicea
To the Church in Laodicea
14"To 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. 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. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 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. 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. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
How to “Turn Up The Heat”
Buy True Gold
As I said last week, the city of Laodicea was so wealthy that they were completely self-sufficient. Even when the city was destroyed by an earthquake in AD 60, the citizens themselves rebuilt it completely, rejecting any help from Rome.
When we feel like we can get by just fine on our own, whether spiritually, physically, or emotionally, we become lukewarm to God. WE believe that all that we have comes from God – he is our provider for physical needs, the giver of our spiritual gifts and the one who gives us strength. When we start to rely on the gift rather than the giver, we can easily ignore the giver and care little for his presence. We are like people who tell a visitor to leave their gift at the door and get lost.
On the other hand, when we think that we must get by on our own, that God will not provide, we can become tepid.
The Parable of the Sower
1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9He who has ears, let him hear."
18"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."