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Summary: Number 7 in series: Laodicea "The Letters to the Seven Churches"

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SERMON.857

SEE # 532, Seven Churches # 7, Laodicea

“ARE WE A CHURCH AT EASE?”

“Is Bayview Baptist Church Similar to Laodicea Baptist Church?”

REVELATION 3:14-22 (READ NOW) PAGE # 1917

A FARMER LIVED ALONE ON HIS FARM, EXCEPT FOR HIS BELOVED DOG.

HE HAD THIS DOG FOR YEARS.

SADLY, HIS DOG DIED, AND IMMEDIATELY THE FARMER WENT TO SEE HIS PASTOR AT THE BAPTIST CHURCH.

THE FARMER SAID TO HIS PASTOR, “PASTOR, MY DOG DIED THIS MORNING. COULD YOU POSSIBLY CONDUCT A SMALL FUNERAL SERVICE FOR HIM?”

THE PASTOR TOLD THE FARMER, “YOU KNOW WE CAN’T HAVE A FUNERAL SERVICE FOR AN ANIMAL IN OUR CHURCH. WE BAPTIST DON’T DO THAT.”

THEN THE PASTOR CONCLUDED, “I’LL TELL YOU WHAT. THERE’S A NEW CHURCH OUT ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, IT’S NO TELLING WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN THAT CHURCH. MAYBE THEY’LL DO SOMETHING FOR YOUR DOG.”

THE FARMER THANKED HIS PASTOR FOR BEING HELPFUL.

AS HE TURNED TO LEAVE, THE FARMER SAID TO HIS PASTOR, “I’LL GO SEE THE PASTOR OF THAT NEW CHURCH RIGHT NOW. BY THE WAY, DO YOU THINK THAT $5,000 IS ENOUGH TO DONATE TO THEM FOR THE FUNERAL SERVICE?”

HIS PASTOR GRABBED HIM BY THE ARM AND SAID, “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOUR DOG WAS A BAPTIST?”

STANDING FIRM ON OUR CONVICTIONS ISN’T EASY IS IT?

TO BE HONEST WITH OURSELVES, MOST OF US STRUGGLE WITH THIS FROM TIME TO TIME.

IT’S EASIER TO GIVE IN TO THE PRESSURES THAT ARE PLACED UPON US RATHER THAN TO STAND FIRM AND DO WHAT OUR HEART CONVICTIONS TELL US TO DO.

LET’S TALK THIS MORNING FOR A MOMENT ABOUT THE CITY AND THE CHURCH AT A TOWN IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION CALLED LAODICEA.

LAODICEA WAS A FAMOUS CITY OF GREAT WEALTH.

IT WAS A WELL ESTABLISHED CITY BY THE TIME OF CHRIST; AS IT WAS FOUNDED APPROXIMATELY 261 BC.

THE CITY WAS APPROXIMATELY 40 MILES EAST FROM EPHESUS AND WAS THE COMMERCIAL, SCIENCE, LITERATURE AND FINANCIAL CENTER OF THE ENTIRE REGION.

THE CHIEF MANUFACTURING OF THE CITY WAS CLOTH FROM BLACK WOOL PRODUCED BY A PARTICULAR BREED OF SHEEP OF THE VICINITY.

LAODICEA WAS THE HOME OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS.

IT HAD THREE MARBLE THEATERS, A GRAND STADIUM, AND A HUGE GYMNASIUM.

THERE WAS A FAMOUS MEDICAL SCHOOL AT LAODICEA THAT CLAIMED TO HAVE PRODUCED A REMEDY FOR WEAK EYES.

THE CITY WAS ALSO WELL KNOWN FOR ITS HOT SPRINGS THAT PRODUCED WARM WATER YEAR ROUND.

THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO SAY IT; THE PEOPLE OF LAODICIA WERE WEALTHY PEOPLE COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.

THEY WERE THE ENVY OF THE WORLD AND THEY KNEW IT.

THEIR “WE ARE IT” ATTITUDE WAS PROMINENT AMONG THE CITIZENS OF LAODICIA AND UNFORTUNATELY THIS SAME ATTITUDE WAS SPILLED OVER INTO THE CHURCH AT LAODICEA.

IT’S ALMOST AS IF THEY THOUGHT THEIR WEALTH WAS A SIGN OF GOD’S SPECIAL FAVOR TO THEM.

THEY THOUGHT, “GOD CERTAINLY MUST BE BLESSING US.

JUST LOOK AT HOW WELL OFF WE ARE?”

THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE ALRIGHT WITH GOD.

UNFORTUNATELY, WHAT THE CHURCH AT LAODICEA HADN’T SEEN WAS THE FACT THAT THEY HAD GRADUALLY BECOME LUKEWARM.

NOW THE CHURCH WAS NEITHER COLD OR HOT FOR THE LORD JESUS.

AT ONE TIME, THE CHURCH AND BEEN A HEALTHY, STRONG, SPIRITUALLY VIBRANT CONGREGATION.

AT ONE TIME, THE CHURCH HAD BEEN THE PILLAR OF TRUTH AND A LIGHTHOUSE TO THE COMMUNITY.

BUT NOW, THIS CHURCH, WHO WAS ONCE ON FIRE FOR GOD, HAD DEGENERATED INTO A STATE OF LUKEWARMNESS.

THEY HAD BECOME LAX AND INDIFFERENT.

YOU MIGHT SAY, “WELL WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM?”

“WHAT CAN WE LEARN THAT HAPPENED TO THEM, SO THE SAME THING WON’T HAPPEN TO US TODAY?”

WELL, WE’RE NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO THEM.

PERHAPS IT COULD BE THAT THE OLDER, MORE FAITHFUL GENERATION HAD DIED OUT.

IT COULD HAVE BEEN THAT THE PEOPLE’S WEALTH HAD SEDUCED THEM INTO WORLDLINESS, AND THEY FELT THAT THEY JUST DIDN’T NEED GOD IN THEIR LIVES THE WAY THEY USED TO NEED HIM.

WHATEVER THE CAUSE, THE CHURCH WAS NOW IN A CONDITION THAT WAS NAUSEATING TO GOD.

IN VERSES 14-17, JESUS CHARGES THEM OF BEING LUKEWARM.

IT’S HERE THAT JESUS LAID THIS SOLEMN CHARGE AGAINST THEM.

IT WAS A CHARGE THAT MOST LIKELY FOLLOWED THEM BY JUDGMENT.

IF THEY DIDN’T SOON TURN BACK TO JESUS, HE WOULD PUNISH THEM.

IN FACT, IN AD 61, AN EARTHQUAKE LITERALLY DESTROYED THE CITY.

JESUS SAID OF THE CHURCH, “YOU ARE DEAD. YOU NEED LIFE. YOU NEED A NEW HEART. TURN TO ME, AND I CAN MAKE YOU ANEW.”

THEY DIDN’T REALIZE IT, BUT JESUS WAS THEIR ONLY HOPE.

WHY WAS THIS LUKEWARMNESS SO BAD?

WELL, SIMPLY PUT, LUKEWARMNESS IS BEING INDIFFERENT ABOUT JESUS.

IT’S THE WORST CONDITION IN THE WORLD THAT A PERSON OR A CHURCH CAN BE IN.

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