Summary: The Church at Laodicea is a church termed "Lukewarm" by our Lord - and obviously shows the signs of "Complacency". Many a congregation have fallen into this trap.
The Complacent Church
* The story is told of a preacher going to his deacon chairman and asking, “Do you think the problems we face in the church is tied to ignorance & apathy?” After a moment the man replied, “I don’t know & I don’t care.”
* Today we look at the church in Laodicea, the complacent church, which it would seem, ‘didn’t know & didn’t care’ that they made God sick. For the dispensationalist, we are living in the age of the Laodicean church. To see clearly the church in Laodicea is to see a church which, by human reason, is doing well. That is, they had plenty of money. The thinking of man seems to be that “money in the bank = the blessing of God.” This past week heard a message from Acts 3 about the lame man who was laid at the gate beautiful. For years he was laid at the gate because he had a need and he thought his need could be met with money. We were reminded that the worshipper & worship leaders seemed to agree with him. For all those years he spent at the gate, the good church going people gave him money. However, they never invited him inside for something better. They simply threw ‘quarters’ at him and thought that was good enough. Let your imagination run away with you; these were not bad people, they were regular church going people who wanted to help a needy man. Dennis Simmons rightly said, “They were willing to meet the visible need, but the visible need is rarely the critical need.”
* The church at Laodicea was probably meeting the visible need because they were a wealthy church, but in their physical wealth something had happened to their spiritual riches. Herein we discover a deep spiritual truth that is explained by the ‘eye of the needle’ principle. When we become so wealthy that we can meet the visible needs which we ‘think’ we have, we are tempted to become complacent to the critical needs.
* Such was the case in Laodicea and perhaps in the case in the average church in America. Churches in America are rich because people are rich. Being rich tempts us to a ‘don’t worry, be happy’ philosophy of life. Think about your parents or grandparents who toiled & labored just to make sure the family had the necessities of life (I.E. food, clothing, & shelter – not a phone, computer, and sheltered income). They were never complacent, they were concerned. I am afraid that the ‘Concerned Church’ yesterday has become the “Complacent Church” of today & that Laodicea is the cast.
1. The Predicament of the Complacent Church – Of all the attributes which Jesus desires the church, His people, to have ‘complacency’, ‘apathy’, or ‘unconcern’ about the lostness of mankind never made the list. The very truth that 95% of evangelical (us) have never shared faith is a dilemma.
* Jesus said, “As my Father sent me, so send I you” and “after the Holy Spirit comes on you, You WILL (not maybe, not possible, but will) be my witnesses.” Jesus also said, “The gates of hell will not withstand the onslaught of my church.” Scripture is replete with the marching orders for the church, and when He returns, Jesus will judge the church based on HIS MARCHING ORDERS not on our MANAGEMENT OPTIONS! This is why Peter writes, “The time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God.” Jesus points His finger and with His eyes of fire looks at the church in Laodicea (& in the USA) and reveals their complacency.
a. Doesn’t Measure Up – If you don’t like this truth, take it up with the writer – not the messenger. (Read vs 15) The complacent church does not measure up to the standards and/or expectations to her founder and honestly, don’t care. Jesus said, “I know what you are doing.” I submit that every person needs to absorb this truth; Jesus knows what you are doing. He knows what you’re doing because He has a plan for you. If you don’t have an ongoing, life-changing, mind-altering relationship with Jesus, then you will not measure up to His standard of judgment after you die. His plan for you is to be saved! (hold this thought) If you do have a relationship with Him, HE HAS A DEFINITE plan for you because you are a part of the church HE DIED FOR. Jesus says, “I know what you’re doing & I know where you are in life.” To the complacent he says, “I want you to be hot or cold.” What an extraordinary statement! Why would He say “Hot or Cold!” Hot is something we can understand. Full commitment is what Jesus modeled and is what He requires. Why is lukewarm so bad? Isn’t something better than nothing? In man’s mind, the answer is ‘yes.’ Just ask any church leader, “Will you accept partial commitment?” And a large majority will say, “I’ll take whatever I can get!” God says, “all or nothing.” This week, Mark Bearden was talking about 80% surrender and made this observation, “There is no 80% surrender. In fact, 80% surrender to God is rebellion against God.” Here is the message we need to understand; “Partial obedience is disobedience, partial surrender is rebellion, and partial commitment is sickening to God.” Jesus didn’t die on the cross to accept anything less than total & complete commitment to Him. He didn’t die for our sin so that we could live in our sin. He died for our sin so that we could die TO our sin and commit our way to Him. Why is sin such a big deal about this complacent church? Because the #1 culprit in the life of a church which leads to complacency is sin. A church in sin is a church that doesn’t measure up is a church that is complacent. A Complacent church doesn’t measure up to the standards of God.