Summary: Lukewarmness in the life of a believer makes Jesus sick. Jesus addresses this sin in the church of Laodicea.
Making Jesus Sick
Sermon 7 in the Series “You’ve Got Mail”
August 21, 2011
For the PowerPoint for the sermon, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Revelation 3.
INTRO VIDEO: Illus. – “Worship 1/2 CD” video (2 min., 16 sec.) from Sermonspice.com. There are two of these videos on Sermonspice.com with a fake TV advertisement with someone singing hymns in one of the videos and the other with modern worship songs. Each song has the singer changing the words to reflect the idea of half-hearted worship. (E.g., “I surrender some…”; “Lord I give you a part, a part of my heart…”; “Seek ye second the kingdom of God…”). Both are hilarious and set the mood well for the sermon.
That humorous video kind of shows the absurdity of half-hearted Christianity because biblically, “half-committed Christianity” is an oxymoron. But let me assure you that half-hearted Christianity is certainly no laughing matter.
Illus. – I don’t know about you but I love a good, piping-hot cup of coffee. How many coffee drinkers do we have out there? Okay, how many of you like hot tea? Okay, how many of you like an ice-cold soda, chilled just slightly above freezing temperature on a hot, sunny afternoon?
Now, drink any of those drinks at room temperature, and what do you want to do?—I don’t know about you, but lukewarm a cup of coffee or a cup of tea or a Coke almost makes me want to spit it out!
Guess what: That’s how Jesus feels about churches and Christians that are lukewarm.
This is the last of Jesus’s messages in Revelation 2-3 to the “Seven Churches of Asia.”
The last of these churches is the church of Laodicea, which we find in Revelation 3:14-22.
Now to understand Jesus’s message to this church, we need a little background about this city:
First of all, because there was no natural source of water in the Laodicea valley, all their water came to them via an aboveground system of aqueducts.
There were two sources for this water:
One was from the snow-covered Phrygian mountains, which at the source was ice cold.
The other source of water was from the hot springs of Hierapolis, which was so hot it produced steam in Hierapolis.
Unfortunately, by the time water from either source got to Laodicea, it was lukewarm and notoriously awful tasting.
Second, Laodicea was one of the wealthiest cities in the Roman Empire at the time.
It was at the fortuitous crossroads of a prosperous trade route and Laodicea also had numerous industries.
It was so rich, in fact, that when the city of Laodicea was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 60 AD, historical records show that it was totally rebuilt to its former glory strictly by the wealth of its people, without any outside help whatsoever!
The city prided itself on this self-sufficiency.
Third, Laodicea was known for its unique black wool, dyed by a special process known and highly prized throughout the ancient world for garments and carpets.
Finally, Laodicea was the leading eye-care center in the Roman Empire. – Physicians had concocted a unique eye-salve that was known to help or cure at least four eye-ailments in the first century.
Now keep all that in mind for later when we tie in with what Jesus says to this church.
I’d like you to notice several things from our text: Revelation 3:14-22:
I. FIRST, WE SEE JESUS’S RÉSUMÉ – Verse 14 – “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God”
Jesus refers to Himself with three titles:
* This is the only place in the Bible where the word “Amen” is used as a title. We use it at the end of our prayers to mean “so be it” or “let it be so” and comes from the Hebrew word meaning “truth” or “certainty.” Thus, Jesus is saying He is TRUTH INCARNATE, just as He said in John 14:6 when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
* Jesus also identifies Himself as “the faithful and true witness.” This is really a reaffirmation of the first title of “Amen” (truth), but emphasizes more the reliability of His truth statements. He’s saying that everything He says or claims or promises, you can COUNT on it: it is completely true, trustworthy, accurate and reliable.
* The final title is “the beginning of the creation of God.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses have seized on the ambiguity of the KJV to say this shows that Jesus was a created being, and thus not divine. But all Greek scholars point out that there’s no ambiguity in the Greek. In the Greek, this verse is not saying that Christ was the first person God created, but rather that Christ Himself is the SOURCE of all creation.