Summary: Jesus reveals the real problem with people and churches with this letter to the Laodiceans. The real problem is an inability to see yourself as God sees you.
Intro: This letter to the church of Laodicea reveals to us what really makes Jesus sick. What we might call the church is the First Church of the Churning stomach. If you were to see them from the worldly point of view everything would be all right. They had it all programs, people, personality.
However, we are about to get a heavenly view of a very worldly church. Jesus is about to get real with this church. He presents himself as the Amen. This is an Old Testament title for God. The Hebrew word in Isaiah 65.16 means truth. Jesus Christ is the truth and he always speaks the truth. He is about the reveal the real condition of the church of Laodicea. It is a lukewarm church. It is comfortable, complacent, and completely powerless to impact peoples lives for eternity.
This church was blind to its own spiritual needs. If we want God’s best for our lives and our churches then we need to get real, real honest. This letter will not only reveal the condition of the Laodiceans it can plainly reveal our spiritual condition.
I. The Condition of the Church
According to Bible there are only three readings on the hearts thermometer. A burning heart (luke 24.32), on fire with a desire for God; Matthew 24.12 tells of a cold heart; here in Rev 3.16 a lukewarm heart.
Their heart meter only made it halfway to the acceptable mark. It is no surprise to me that Jesus was sick of this church. Jesus said if you will follow me you will take up your cross and follow me. You will be hot, you will be whole-hearted.
Lukewarm half-heartedness is like the woman who prayed for years for the salvation of her husband. He was finally saved at a revival and joined the church. When he told her he had joined and evangelistic, Bible believing church she wasn’t quite so overjoyed: “I didn’t want you to get that saved!” For her becoming a Christian meant middle-of-the road, respectable religion, definitely not commitment.
The World calls it zeal and fanaticism, but this is what the Bible Calls hot-hearted real commitment. (surrender)
Stats on those leaving the church 70% of 18 to 30 leave and never come back!
3.17 “because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy and have need of nothing.”
The church was mirroring the city. How far removed from humble spirit Jesus had according to Matthew 11.29 “learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls.”
Pride had crept into the church. Pride not in what Christ was doing but it was all about what they were doing. They were measuring success by the standards of the world. They had a bloated unrealistic estimate of themselves.
When we’re self-centered we think the whole world revolves around us. Unfortunately, we’re sadly mistaken, and often we wind up terribly embarrassed. (you are naked)
One morning on the today show, Willard Scott was talking about this very thing. He said he had occasion to fly into a small community airport that only had one runway and one small hangar. As he was getting off the plan, he noticed a group of about seventy-five people all cheering and clapping, so he mad a sweeping bow and waved. And that was when he noticed that the people weren’t watching him; they were watching an air show.
Pride or self-importance makes yourself the focal point. Pretty soon you begin to think God and everybody else owe you something.
The true problem that Laodicea was an inability to see themselves as God saw them.
3.17 “because you say” their view of reality
“you do not know “ God’s view of reality
Your are wretched, and miserable and poor, and blind and naked.
John Newton and Amazing Grace:
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
The key to being real is the ability to truly see yourself as God sees you. A clear view only comes when you accept God’s counsel
II. The Counsel of Christ
A) For spiritual indifference
Rev 3.19 “be zealous and repent” turn around reignite the fire that burned in you when you first acknowledge you sin and accepted the Lord.
B) For spiritual poverty
Rev 3.18 “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich.”
It doesn’t matter if you have everything in this world if you have nothing in the world to come. Maybe you need to move from the gold standard to the God standard.
C) For spiritual nakedness
Rev 3.18 “and white garments so that you can clothe yourself”