Summary: Adapted in part from Warren Wiersbe (and others)...a look at the letters Jesus dictated to specific churches...with the ensuing question, "what would He write to us?"
WHAT KIND OF CHURCH ARE WE?
THE COMPLACENT CHURCH
* Please take your Bible and turn with me to Revelation 3. We’ll read verses 14-19 which is the last church Jesus addresses in this way.
* (READ) For the Bible student, the name Laodicea conjures up images of a church in trouble. The sad part is this; they don’t know they are in trouble. They have money in the bank, self-confidence, tenacity, position in the community, and all the trappings of success and don’t even realize that they are about to be rejected.
* For the purposes of our study, I call them the “Complacent” church, but other descriptive terms can be just as true. We could call them “confused”, “confident”, “conformed”, “cultural”, or even the “counterfeit” church. Whatever term you choose for them, there must be an understanding that neither them, nor you, nor I, get a say in what a church of the living God is to be “about.” We can only measure it compared to what God says it should be or become.
* The sad truth about Laodicea is that they “think” (or “thought) they were doing just fine. Believing they have it all together, they have basically dismissed God and the Holy Spirit in lieu of their own personal control of the church and her “ministry.”
* History teaches us that a number of years earlier the city of Laodicea was destroyed by an earthquake. We also know that the city was so wealthy that they were able to rebuild rather quickly without dependence on anyone else. From this, we can quickly understand the attitude in the community which had obviously made its way into the church. Here it is; “If we need it, we can buy it.” Sadly and seemingly, this is the attitude we find in America today which has also infected the church to the point of no longer needing anything supernatural.
* Jesus’ introduction to this church is very pointed. To put it in my terminology, I am the “final word” (Amen), I am the finished word (the faithful and true), and I am the “first word” (the originator of creation).
* In keeping with our ongoing outline, we begin with;
1) Approval – For me, this is one of the most sobering truths of this entire study. The church that is the most confident is the church to which the Lord gives NO WORD of approval. None. Not one. It is a troubling thing to realize that the very things “WE” believe are important are not so.
* In fact, to read this text with any attempt to hear vocal inflexion is to understand that the Lord Is indeed frustrated with this church. Scripture teaches us that “to whom much is given, much is required” and the church at Laodicea was given more than its share of earthly blessings. Because of all those blessings, they no longer depended on the Lord, they no longer had a passion for the people outside of their church, they just “did” church when it was convenient and were oblivious to the work of the Kingdom.
2) Accusation – I know what you are doing and that you are not doing much. You’re just getting by. Then He uses temperature to describe.
* Because we know that our Lord looks on the heart, the heart is what He was talking about. The Bible speaks of 3 temperature settings of the heart. It speaks of the “Burning Heart” in the gospel of Luke (24). When in Matthew 24 it says in part, “in the last days of the love of many will grow cold” it is speaking of a “Cold heart”. Here in Revelation 3 it says that there is a temperature which is so displeasing to God that it makes Him sick. The temperature is lukewarm. Consider this term with me.
* We could get into the historical provision of this text, but the truth is this; we KNOW about water that is lukewarm and its impact on us. How many recipes begin with “go get a pot of lukewarm water?” When you are working in the yard do you want a glass of lukewarm water? Servers at restaurants are diligent about keeping your coffee hot and your tea cold because lukewarm is distasteful.
* In our spiritual life being lukewarm is characterize by indifference, complacency, being self-centered, acting only on our convenience & non-committal. It’s an “it don’t matter” or “I don’t care” attitude.
* Here’s the eye-opener for us; it makes God sick. King James translator tried to be nice by saying “spew you out”, but the truth is this Greek word means “to vomit.” It turns His stomach.
3) Admonition – Take my advice and get what you need from me and not from the world. I submit the Lord is calling them to quit focusing on the things this world this is valuable and focus on that which HE says if valuable. You need what I have refined and you need to be dressed in the clothes that I have for you. You need the eye-salve which I have. This has huge symbolism for the people of Laodicea because there was a big medical center which was known for treating eye problems with a healing salve. The call is to repent and commit. He’s ready to come in.