Summary: Figuratively, our Savior is sickened by the carelessness, carnality, and complacency of His people. Any church acting independently of her Lord is an unhealthy church.

Saints Who Sicken The Savior

Text: Rev. 3:14-17

Intro: In the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, the Lord Jesus Christ speaks to the seven churches of Asia Minor, which is equivalent to modern-day Turkey. As one reads the messages of Christ to these seven churches, a basic format is noticed: Commendation, Rebuke, Exhortation, and a Promise. There were two exceptions to this format: (1) When Christ addressed the church of Smyrna, He offered no rebuke; (2) When Christ addressed the church of Laodicea, He offered no commendation. It is with the church of Laodicea that I concern myself today.

What a shame it would be for Christ to look down upon this church, and find nothing commendable. But as awful as that thought is, this is exactly the condition that was present in the Laodicean church.

The saddest commentary on the Laodicean church was not only the fact that Christ found nothing commendable, but also that their spiritual condition figuratively made the Lord sick to His stomach. This is born out by Christ’s statement in verse 16 of our text: “…I am about to vomit (translates the word “spue” in the KJV) you out of my mouth.”(1) This statement reveals our Lord’s utter abhorrence of the Laodicean church’s spiritual condition.

However, I want to look beyond the Church in general this morning. I want rather, to look at the individuals who make up the Church. You see it is the individuals that make up the overall spiritual temperature of any given church. Perhaps you’ve never thought of the fact that you, as an individual Christian, can actually affect the overall spiritual atmosphere of this body. But it’s true just the same. That’s a rather arresting thought don’t you think?

Let’s consider our own personal spiritual condition this morning. Does the Lord find our relationship with Him sickening? What does the Lord Jesus see as He looks down at our hearts today? I believe these are questions all of us need to consider.

Theme: The Savior is sickened by…


A. Careless Saints Are Indifferent About Their Relationship With Christ.

Rev. 3:15 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.”

1. Concerning one’s relationship with God, Jesus gave His verdict.

Matt.6: 33a “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…”

Matt. 22:37 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

2. King David and the prophet Isaiah considered one’s relationship with God to be vital.

Ps. 27:8 “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.”

Ps. 37:3 “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4 Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

5 Commit they way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Isa. 55:6 “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

NOTE: [1] Folks, there are some things that a person cannot afford to be careless and indifferent about; the most important of which is your daily relationship with the Lord Jesus.

[2] Have you ever heard the old saying that goes like this?

For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy; and for want of care about a horseshoe nail.(2)

B. Careless Saints Are Inconsistent In Their Daily Conduct.

1. Christians are to live lives that are blameless.

Phil. 2:15 “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”

2 Pet. 3:14 “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”

2. Our behavior must back up our beliefs.

Matt. 23:1 “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”

James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

NOTE: The reason these Christians are inconsistent is due to the fact that they don’t believe their conduct is very important. They are indifferent about their life’s testimony before the world. They say they believe what the Bible says, but make no real attempt to obey what it says. We need to have Whitefield’s prayer on our lips at the beginning of every day: “I pray to God this day to make me an extraordinary Christian.”(3)


Rev. 3:17a “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing…”

A. Complacent Saints Are Satisfied With Their Spiritual Growth.

1. Their praying is at best weak.

Eph. 6:18 “Praying always with all prayer and supplications in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

1 Thess. 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

1 Tim. 2:1 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;”

2. They are lax in their attendance at worship.

Heb. 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

NOTE: Not only is it sad that the Lord Jesus stands at the door of many churches requesting entrance (Rev. 3:20), but it is also sad that many of God’s people are outside the church themselves, and they don’t seem to care about entering.

The Love For God’s House

No wonder the Psalmist longed for God’s House. It is sad that many people, even some who claim to know Christ, take so little interest in His church—the Church He purchased with His own blood.

Some people only show up on important occasions in life. The only time the pastor ever sees some people is when they’re hatched, matched, or dispatched! We see the family when the children are born and dedicated to God, when marriage takes place, or when they die. We should transmit to our children a proper appreciation for the love in God’s House, the loveliness of God’s House, and the Life in God’s House.(4)

3. They are negligent about God’s Word.

Ps. 119:9 “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.


11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.


16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”

2 Tim. 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

NOTE: Complacency in the Christian’s life can seriously impair one’s relationship with God and their effectiveness in His service. The following are a couple of the identifying marks of this spiritual malady:

· Complacency is a blight that saps energy, dulls attitudes, and causes a drain on the brain. The first symptom is satisfaction with things as they are. The second is rejection of things as they might be. “Good enough” becomes today’s watchword and tomorrow’s standard. Complacency makes people fear the unknown, mistrust the untried, and abhor the new.

· Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course—downhill. They draw false strength from looking back.(5)

B. Complacent Saints Are Satisfied With Their Shameful Giving.

1. They are noncommittal when it comes to giving themselves for others and for Christ.

1 Cor. 16:15 “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)”

2 Cor. 8:1 “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;


4 Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”

2. They are noncommittal when it comes to giving to God’s work through the Church.

Mal. 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

NOTE: Tithing is another way we worship God. Though it is commanded, it should be a joy for us to do so, after God has done so much for us. Unfortunately some Christians don’t count it a privilege to give to the Lord, so the do something called “The Tithing Shuffle.”

The Tithing Shuffle

A man received a nasty letter from a creditor demanding that he pay something on an outstanding bill. The debtor wrote back saying, “Dear Sir, Every month I take out my bills and shuffle them carefully, and pick out six, which I pay. If I have another sharp letter from you on this matter, you are going to get left out of the shuffle!”

It is a sad thing, but many people give to the Lord in the same way. Many have shuffled the Lord right out of their giving!(6)

3. They are noncommittal when it comes to witnessing, so that the lost might be converted.

Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

NOTE: Our churches talk a lot about witnessing, and about winning others to Christ. We have soul-winning conferences, soul-winning workshops, and soul-winning “how-to” books. But what does it mean to be a witness? An elementary definition would simply be, “One who tells what he knows.” If you’ve been saved, you ought to be able to tell how you got saved. You should be able to tell another person how God made you aware that you were a lost sinner, and showed you your need to turn from what you knew to be sin, and put your faith in Christ and His work on Calvary. You ought to be able to tell someone about the change that has taken place in your life since you gave your heart and life to Christ. Simply tell what you know. If they have questions that you don’t feel that you can answer, you can always give them the preacher’s phone number, or give them a Gospel tract.

A Plea for Fishing

Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.

Week after week, month after month, and year after year, these who called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.

Continually, they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. Further, they said, “The fishing industry exists by fishing as fire exists by burning.” They loved slogans such as “Fishing is the task of every fisherman.” They sponsored special meetings called “Fishermen’s Campaigns” and ”The Month for Fishermen to Fish.” They sponsored costly nationwide and worldwide congresses to discuss fishing and to promote fishing and hear about all the ways of fishing, such as the new fishing equipment, fish calls, and whether any new bait had been discovered.

These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings called “Fishing Headquarters.” The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish. One thing they didn’t do, however: They didn’t fish.

In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. The board hired staffs and appointed committees and held many meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, and to decide what new streams should be thought about. But the staff and committee members did not fish.

Large, elaborate, and expensive training centers were built whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years courses were offered on the needs of fish, the nature of fish, where to find fish, the psychological reactions of fish, and how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in Fishology, but the teachers did not fish. They only taught fishing. Year after year, after tedious training, many were graduated and were given fishing licenses. They were sent to do full-time fishing, some to distant waters which were filled with fish.

Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded. They were commissioned and sent to fish. But like the fishermen back home, they never fished. Like the fishermen back home, they engaged in all kinds of other occupations. They built power plants to pump water for fish and tractors to plow new waterways. They made all kinds of equipment to travel here and there to look at fish hatcheries. Some also said that they wanted to be part of the fishing party, but they felt called to furnish fishing equipment. Others felt their job was to relate to the fish in a good way so the fish would know the difference between good and bad fishermen. Others felt that simply letting the fish know they were nice, land-loving neighbors and how loving and kind they were was enough.

After one stirring meeting on “The Necessity for Fishing,” one young fellow left the meeting and went fishing. The next day he reported that he had caught two outstanding fish. He was honored for his excellent catch and scheduled to visit all the big meetings possible to tell how he did it. So he quit his fishing in order to have time to tell about the experience to the other fishermen. He was also placed on the Fishermen’s General Board as a person having considerable experience.

Now it’s true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. They received the ridicule of some who made fun of their fishermen’s clubs and the fact that they claimed to be fishermen yet never fished. They wondered about those who felt it was of little use to attend the weekly meetings to talk about fishing. After all, were they not following the Master who said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men?”

Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t catch fish were really not fishermen, no matter how much they claimed to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman if, year after year, he never catches a fish? Is one following if he isn’t fishing?(7)


A. They Are Contradictory About Their Spiritual Condition.

1. The Laodiceans boasted of their spiritual bounty.

Rev. 3:17a “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing…”

NOTE: This is often true of Christians today. To hear them talk, they’re all right, and everything is in order. The sad thing about this situation is that these people won’t seek the Lord until they find themselves helpless and hopeless, as the following writer illustrates:

Dr. Andrew Bonar told me how, in the Highlands of Scotland, a sheep would often wander off into the rocks and get into places that they couldn’t get out of. The grass on these mountains is very sweet and the sheep like it, and they will jump down ten or twelve feet, and then they can’t jump back again, and the shepherd hears them bleating in distress. They may be there for days, until they have eaten all the grass.

The shepherd will wait until they are so faint they cannot stand, and then they will put a rope around him, and he will go over and pull that sheep up out of the jaws of death. “Why don’t they go down there when the sheep first gets there?” I asked.

“Ah!” He said, “they are so very foolish they would dash right over the precipice and be killed if they did!” And that is the way with men; they won’t go back to God till they have no friends and have lost everything. If you are a wanderer I tell you that the Good Shepherd will bring you back the moment you have given up trying to save yourself and are willing to let Him save you His own way.(8)

2. God said the Laodiceans were spiritually bankrupt.

Rev. 3:17b “…and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.”

B. They Are Contradictory About Their Spiritual Communion.

1. They said everything was all right, but God was about to chasten them.

Rev. 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

2. The Lord standing outside the Church implies that He had no communion with them.

Rev. 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

NOTE: Though Rev. 3:20 is often used in soul winning, it actually does not speak of the lost sinner turning from sin, and turning to Christ for salvation. No, this passage makes reference to the Laodicean Church’s need to repent and get right with her Lord. And in our day, thousands of church bodies are in this same sad spiritual state of affairs. They are in need of immediate, wholehearted repentance before the Lord, for as some once accurately noted, “If we put off repentance another day, we have a day more to repent of, and a day less to repent in.”(9)

Theme: The Savior is sickened by…




Check out the author’s book, "Meditations of the Heart: Thoughts on the Christian Life" at:

End Notes:

(1) Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament, An Expanded Translation, © Copyright by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1961. All rights reserved, pg. 593

(2) Benjamin Franklin.

(3) George Whitefield.

(4) Source unknown. Acquired from

(5) Bits & Pieces, May 28, 1992, p. 15.

(6) Contributed by J. Mike Minnix, Editor, PastorLife.

(7) Darrell W. Robinson, People Sharing Jesus, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), pp. 21-23.

(8) Moody’s Anecdotes, pp. 70-71.

(9) Source unknown. Taken from