Summary: Are you a thermometer or a thermostat - what does it mean to be at the ambient temperature of our culture? and how can we change? How to connect to God in a way that presevres our life of faith.
Churches of Revelation#7 - Laodicea
March 2006 • Chris Rowney
These messages are also available as audio podcasts at www.tcfnet.org.au/podcasts
CANS OF DRINK who wants one? (or I’ve Got a coffee)
Oh – before I do that you might like to know.. the cans havn’t been in the fridge – in fact they’ve been sitting in this bucket of warm water all morning.
And the Coffee – well I bought it an hour ago or so..
Not so appetising when it is lukewarm is it.. well neither is our Christian Faith.
In one of the more graphic descriptions in Scripture, the passage we look at today has God describe the Ladicean church as so unpalatable, as neither hot nor cold but lukewarm, and so he will spew it out of his mouth!.
Lets look at what it says…
“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.
ASIDE about RULER (arche can mean beginning, can also mean first as in most important as in RULER)
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so that you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
20 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.
21 To 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.
22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.””
Revelation 3:14-22, NIV.
Very quick recap on idea of the seven letters.
Background to Laodicea..
Australia has a few places famous for bad quality drinking water - I’ve no idea if it is true but people have often said Adelaide is one of the few places ships won’t take on water..
Well Laodicea was a bit like that.. the nearest water was miles away and it had to be piped to the city.
You may or may not know that Romans got pretty good at plumbing, aquaducts etc – well they piped the water (actual picture of the pipes used) and by the time they got it it was luke-warm bot refreshing and worse had lots of minerals in it so probably tasted pretty foul…
Jesus picked analogies that hit close to home – when he talks of their church as being lukewarm, unpleasant to drink – they understand just what he means…
Laodicea, despite this was a rich city..
WEALTHY – famous for banking, for fine wool and for a medical school that specialised in two things, one of which was an ‘eye salve’
Again, as with the water - God knows how to bring his points home.
To a rich city, he says YOU ARE POOR
To people famous for fine clothes he says YOU ARE NAKED
To a place renowned for its eye medicine that relieves blindness he says
You are BLIND!
What would he say to us to get our attention?.. – (what’s the greatest insult to a surfer – ??)
Like a few weeks ago we have another church where the reality as God sees it is not in line with the reputation they think they have.
It’s a heavy handed rebuke – and often preachers will dwell on that and talk about how lukewarm we are, or the church is..
BUT look at this
Those I LOVE I rebuke and discipline
– Jesus LOVES this wretched, poor naked blind pitiful bunch of people
He loved them SO much that he won’t leave them as they were.
He gives them advice – counsel
BUY FROM ME the things you need
While Philadelphia had an open door standing ready before them, Laodicea has a door – and Jesus is at it – but this time he want US to open the door…
Lets unpack those ideas a bit more….
Firslty to clear up misconceptions (there are many in Revelation!) it MIGHT be that the Hot refers to people on-fire for God, and the cold to those who give God the cold shoulder and don’t care about him – and that being Lukewarm is to be mediocre – halfhearted in your Christian faith