Summary: This church could not see itself as it really was.
A young woman went to her preacher and said, "Preacher, I have a besetting sin, and I want your help. I come to church on Sunday and can’t help thinking I’m the prettiest girl in the congregation. I know I ought not think that, but I can’t help it. I want you to help me with it." The preacher replied, "Mary, don’t worry about it. In your case it’s not a sin. It’s just a horrible mistake." -- Haddon Robinson, "Good Guys, Bad Guys, and Us Guys," Preaching Today, Tape No. 80.
Sometimes we are the last to know how we really are.
In this last letter to the churches, the letter to the church at Laodicea, we have a picture of a church that really does not see itself as it really is.
The setting for this church could be compared to having a church in Miami Florida.
The city of Laodicea was a popular place to retire. The city was famous during its time for many things which include:
Health resorts because of hot mineral springs
A medical center that was a well-known source of eye salve.
It’s fine black wool industry
The city was so wealthy that when an earthquake destroyed the city in A.D. 60, the city rebuilt itself without any outside help.
This was a nice city to live in.
This church probably looked very nice, it was a church that really did not have any problems with specific sins, heretics or persecution.
This church had struggled with a problem that is still running rampant in our churches and our lives today.
Let’s take a look at a picture of a foolish church.
I. PICTURE OF THE LORD v 14
The picture of the Lord is painted for us in verse 14. Let’s see what it tells us
Revelation 3:14 (NASB) 14“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:
Jesus calls Himself the AMEN.
A. The Amen.
Whenever we finish our prayers, we say AMEN. This means that we are affirming the truths that have been spoken.
Sometimes during a sermon someone (who is awake) will say amen to something in the message, this means that we are affirming the truths that have been preached.
Jesus is absolutely true and reliable.
Secondly Jesus calls Himself the faithful.
B. The Faithful.
This statement means that Jesus is worthy of our faith. This is faith in the passive sense.
How many things do people invest their lives in that are worthy of their faith?
Thirdly, Jesus says He is the true witness.
C. The True Witness.
How many people claim the have the path to God?
Jesus is the true witness to God.
Finally Jesus says He is the beginning of the creation of God.
D. The Beginning of the Creation of God.
Why would people want to put their faith in the creation instead of the creator?
In ROMANS 1:18-25, we are told that worshipping the creation is not what God had intended for man. The consequences of worshipping the creation over the creator are not good.
Jesus is not a created being, but instead this statement means that Jesus is the source of creation.
Colossians 1:15 - 18 (NASB) 15And He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
This picture of Jesus points out that He is where people need to put their faith. We do not need to put our faith in money, position or power! We do not need to put our faith in comfort or material things. We do not need to put our faith in health; we must place our faith in Jesus!
II. CONDEMNATION OF THE CHURCH v 15-17
God has some issues with this church that He will spell out in verses 15-17.
Revelation 3:15 - 17 (NASB) 15‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17‘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,