Summary: “We can’t make an outward difference until we are inwardly different.”
Intro: (Start with Blank)
One day three men were walking along and came upon a raging, violent river. They needed to get to the other side, but had no idea of how to do it.
The first man prayed to God saying, "Please God, give me the strength to cross this river."
Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river in about two hours.
Seeing this, the second man prayed to God saying, "Please God, give me the strength and ability to cross this river." Poof! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river in about three hours.
The third man had seen how this worked out for the other two, so he also prayed to God saying, "Please God, give me the strength, ability, and intelligence to cross this river." And Poof! God turned him into a woman.
She looked at the map, then walked across the bridge.
We live in a small world – and are given so many ways to communicate. For instance, I can get on the computer and talk to my dad for hours at a time, and it doesn’t cost me anything. I can be at the grocery store and Amanda can call me and tell me to pick something up. I have sent emails as a way of communicating important information. If it’s really important I will sit down and write out a letter, and wait for a response. In the Bible times that’s what they did. Our New Testament is mostly letters written from Paul to different churches that he ministered to. In the Book of Revelation the first 3 chapters are dedicated to letters written from God to the different churches. They are short in length but long in content. To the church in Philadelphia he basically told them they were doing everything right. He tells them that they have an open door – and encourages them because they are doing what they need to do.
Our text this morning is the next letter to the church in Laodicea – if you have your Bibles turn with me to Revelation 3:14-22 (read) (advance)
Something very important for all of us – myself included is in this letter. I see us making a difference in the lives of people in our community. I see this church becoming more than what it is, and we can only do that through Jesus Christ. (advance)
“We can’t make an outward difference until we are inwardly different.” We won’t make and outward difference until we are inwardly different. Until you allow Jesus Christ to come inside you – and change who you are, you won’t impact the lives of people around you. Jesus is actually the sender of the letter – if you have a read letter edition Bible – this should be in read. He’s telling them three things this morning – and church, the message is for us as well. (advance)
I. I know your conduct (14-17)
a. You are lukewarm
i. Neither hot – against me, Hostile towards me
ii. Nor Cold – for me, Friendly towards me
In the Old Testament, HOT is a metaphor for a lack of control while “Cold” is a positive metaphor for restraint. Some authors suggest that he’s drawing from their surroundings. Colossae wasn’t far from Laodicea and they had the purest cold water you could get. The town just up the road was known for its hot springs. Laodicea was in the middle – the water in their town was lukewarm.
b. Their hearts were lukewarm
i. They gathered together for worship – unprepared.
ii. They were blessed – but didn’t understand where the blessing came from.
iii. They weren’t really against God
1. But their actions said that they weren’t for him either
It made no difference to them what they did or didn’t do with church, or their Christian life, or their faith. They might have had an understanding of Jesus and God and all that other good stuff but it wasn’t making a difference in their life, it was in name only. The church can’t make an outward difference in the lives of people, until we make an inward change ourselves. Some of us this morning have come to church, unprepared for worship. The time has come when we stop just throwing up our offering to God in hopes that he doesn’t notice that it isn’t our best. He tells them – “I know your deeds” – He knows ours as well. He tells them --
c. “I wish you were one way or the other”
i. All the way for me – or nothing
ii. All the way against me – or nothing
We can pretend that we are all the way for God – we can say all the right stuff, go to all the right places, and try and be the right person – It doesn’t make a difference if it’s not real. When the battle lines are drawn – He wants to know what side you are on. When the army goes into war – which uniform are you going to wear? We don’t like to think of it that way – honestly the words I just said are a little unfriendly.