Summary: Part one of this series focuses on lukewarm Christians and how the farther we get from our source (God) the less likely we are to fulfill our real purpose on the earth.
The title of my message this morning is “Our Source.” I want you to imagine, if you will, that you are a vessel that needs to be close to your power source in order for you to remain strong. If you have ever seen any of the recent Superman movies you know that Superman receives his strength from the earth’s sun. So whenever he is in a weakened state, his strength returns when he is exposed to the sun. If you recall Samson from the Old Testament you will remember that through the anointing of God he received his strength from his hair. He did mighty works through the Spirit of God as long as his hair was uncut. His final victory against the Philistines, after they cut his hair, came after his hair grew back. Now imagine that you are Samson, or even Superman, and you have a power source that enable you to do what you do. How far would you stray from that power source if you understood that the farther you were from your power source the weaker you became?
On the table before you I have placed a cup of cold water and a cup of hot water. The cold water came from the water machine downstairs and the hot water was heated to the boiling point in the microwave, also located downstairs. Both were placed on the table a few minutes ago so I could illustrate the point of this message which is – we need to stay close to our power source if we are to fulfill the intentions for which we exist. Turn with me to Revelations chapter three.
I. The Church of Laodicea
Let’s begin reading at verse fourteen what Jesus told John to write to the Church at Laodicea. “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelations 3:14-22)
The church of Laodicea was the only church that was not commended for something, the only one! Imagine this Church of financial influence and not having need of anything not being commended for anything? They were a prosperous Church and in their mind they were in need of nothing. However, Jesus was not happy with them. In fact, He was so displeased with them that He said that He would spit them out of His mouth because they were neither hot or cold (fully committed to their purpose in Him). What was their problem? They were lukewarm! This specific message that Jesus spoke to this Church would have easily been understood by this Church because of where this Church was located. Please understand that the traditional view of this text has held that hot was good and cold was bad, however, this was not the correct interpretation. Let me explain.
Laodicea was located about 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia and about 90 miles east of Ephesus. It was a wealthy city of thriving banks, a textile industry and a medical school. The city was also known for its sparse water supply. Although it was the biggest and richest city in the area, it had neither hot nor cold water. When the city was destroyed in AD61, the Laodicians took the posture of being self-sufficient and refused aid from Rome for rebuilding, so they were left to solve their own water problem. In the nearby city of Hierapolis there were hot springs. People would travel great distances to bath in those waters, believing they had medicinal powers. In the city of Colosse, which also was not too far away from Laodicea, it was known for its cold waters. People would travel great distances to vacation in Colosse where they would invigorate themselves by taking frequent dips into the famous, refreshing, cool-to-freezing waters. These two cities, while possibly not as prosperous as Laodicea, had something that the Laodicians needed badly – water. It appears that the Laodicians had an agreement with Hierapolis to obtain water from them. Archaeology shows that Laodicea had an aqueduct that probably carried water from hot mineral springs some five miles south to them. So picture, if you will, the temperature of the water from the time it left the hot springs (the source) and traveled five miles to Laodicea – its final destination. Do you think the water would still be hot? Absolutely not! By the time the water got to Laodicea it would have been lukewarm to cool at best. Because the Laodicians were living this as a part of their daily routine, the message Jesus sent to them was very applicable.