Summary: This is the last church addressed by Christ, and it is the worst church. Christ does not commend Laodicea at all. He doesn’t have anything good to say about them. This is a church that may as well have not existed.
This is the last church addressed by Christ, and it is the worst church. Christ does not commend Laodicea at all. He doesn’t have anything good to say about them. This is a church that may as well have not existed. What made them so bad?
They were lukewarm. What does that mean? Indifferent, complacent, lethargic, self-satisfied, half-hearted, and neutral. They were only half way committed to Christ. So we need to heed Christ’s words and make sure we never become as such.
Once again, Christ holds the minister responsibility for the indifference and complacency. Jesus says in verse 14 “these are the words of the Amen.” What does that mean? Amen is used to close prayer. It basically means, “so let it be” to declare the truthfulness of a statement. It’s a term used to guarantee the truth. So Jesus is the AMEN, the guarantee of the truth.
So the lukewarm church can trust the promises of Christ because they are the truth. What He says will be. Verse 14 says that Jesus is the faithful and true witness. That means He is perfectly honest. He’s not going to hold anything back. In other words, Jesus is everything this church was not.
It goes on to say that Jesus is the ruler of God’s creation. Here is a wake up call for all churches. He is the one who sustains the church. No matter how prosperous the church, Christ is the one who creates and sustains. The church’s wealth and prosperity are meaningless and useless apart from being absolutely centered in Jesus Christ.
The complaint is in verse 15. It’s kind of shocking because it describes most church members. Lukewarm, complacent, indifferent. Let’s look first at how lukewarmness affects the church.
1. A lukewarm church is only half-committed to Christ. In addition to stressing Christ, it also stresses ritual, ceremony, and programs as a way to become acceptable and pleasing to God.
2. A lukewarm church is only half-committed to proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Ashamed?
3. A lukewarm church is only half-committed to teaching the Word of God. Activities, fellowship, pot luck dinners become more important than hearing the Word of God.
4. A lukewarm church is only half-committed to evangelism and missions. “Well I gave a dollar to that mission. Don’t ask me to get out of the comfort of these four walls.”
5. A lukewarm church is only half-committed to stressing holy and pure living for Christ. They are afraid to say anything to someone who is living in sin. If you are shacking up with someone and think coming to church once in a while is going to please God, you are wrong.
6. A lukewarm church is only half-committed to self-denial and sacrificial living, to stressing that its people must deny themselves and sacrificially die to self. They seldom stress that a person must give all he is and has to reach the lost and meet the needs of the world.
7. A lukewarm church is only half-committed to the church. You can take it or leave it. You go to church as long as there’s nothing of the world that will interfere. Sporting events.
8. A lukewarm is only half-committed to attending and staying awake and learning in the services of the church. Once again, Bible study seems to be a bad word.
9. A lukewarm church is only half-committed to supporting church. The biggest problem for churches in the one dollar bill. If the smallest increment of money was a ten dollar bill, would you give it?
A lukewarm church is only half-committed to witnessing. Let the preacher do that.
A lukewarm church is only half-committed to Bible study and prayer.
A lukewarm church is only half-committed to daily devotions. I’ll read my Bible just as soon as I finish my magazine. But that day usually never comes.
The list could go on and on. Do we have any lukewarm church members?
Then Jesus says it is better for one to be cold than lukewarm. Why? Because a lukewarm person doesn’t know that he needs clothing or heat. A cold person knows he needs something. A person has to be sensitive to his need before his need can be met.
Many people who profess Christ attend church only enough to settle their consciences, only enough to make them feel acceptable to God. Christ says that these would be far better off if they made no profession at all. There is our warning.
In verse 16 Jesus says, “I am going to spit you out of my mouth.” Pretty graphic. What this means is that a person who claims to be a follower of Christ is claiming to be a part of His body, claiming to be nourishment for His body, a part of the growth of His body. But when you are lukewarm, you are none of that.