Summary: The church at Laodicean
Turn with me this morning to the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation, chapter 3. As you’re turning, think about getting ready for church this morning. If you are female, you probably thought through your wardrobe and what you for the last three weeks. You color-coordinated your accessories, and made sure everything was picture-perfect. If you’re male, you probably grabbed whatever was closest in the closet, and sniffed it to make sure it was clean. But male or female, you probably took some time in front of the mirror, because you wanted to make sure you knew how you looked to others.
In the book of James, we find the word of God to be like a mirror. We come to it to see what we look like to God. And as we see ourselves, we want to make whatever changes are necessary to look presentable. If you got dressed this morning and walked in front of the mirror and saw that it was a bad hair day, you wouldn’t walk away from the mirror until you had brushed or combed your hair and gotten it just right. In the same way, as we look at the mirror of God’s word, we want to make sure that as we see ourselves, we make whatever changes are necessary to be pleasing to God.
James writes in chapter 1, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
So today, we want to continue on today, looking at the question, “What does God think of His church?” How does God view us? And we want to change our lives to be pleasing to Him. Here in Revelation 1 (quickview) , we find the disciple John, living on an island off the coast of Turkey, writing about 95 AD, some 65 years after Jesus has died and resurrected. He is given a vision of Christ, and Jesus gives John a message in chapters 2 & 3 for 7 churches in Asia Minor, the area we know today as Turkey. Jesus has words of encouragement and words of rebuke for these churches. And we want to look at these churches to see what message God might have for us as well.
First we looked at the church of Ephesus. It was a CARELESS church. This was a large church, an active, working church, a well-taught church, a weathered church, they hard faced trials -- yet it was a church that faced a rebuke. We often look at large, active churches as healthy churches, but often they are not. Jesus told the church at Ephesus they had lost their passionate love for God. And we want to make sure that we are always more concerned about who we ARE, in our hearts, than just being concerned about what we DO.
Then, we looked at the church at Smyrna. It was a CRUSHED church and a CROWNED church. They faced pressure and poverty and putdowns, but they faithfully endured, and so they received commendation from the Lord. The Lord tells them that persecution will come, but to continue to live faithfully and He would reward them greatly. We want to be faithful, even when life gets difficult.