Summary: A strong message to encourage Christians to find their resources in Christ alone. Structure: 1) rebuke 2) Resources 3) Request 4) Remedy
The message to the church at Laodicea. Rev 3:14-22 WBC 27/3/03am
Quick science lesson, this morning! Can anyone tell me what the second law of thermodynamics is?
(1st = conservation of energy. 2nd = entropy, equilibrium 3rd- has to do with 0 deg K)
- things tend towards randomness, sameness, equilibrium
Let me illustrate. Volunteers?
- 4 cups of drink. 1 hot coffee, 1 cool coffee, 1 cold drink, 1 lukewarm drink (and a bucket for them to spit it out in!)
If left on their own, or without any input- things tend to a nauseating lukewarmness
Read Rev 3:14-22
Gosh! This is a stinger! I almost don’t want to preach it, hot on last week’s sermon
- but here’s the text!
Some are of the opinion that God… or His people…. would/should never chide, rebuke or ‘hurt’ – because it’s ‘not loving’
- but it’s just not true! Certainly of God
You see- love and truth sometimes mean being TOUGH.
- God says ‘I love you as you are, but I love you TOO much to let you stay that way’.
- V19 ‘those I LOVE I rebuke’
o (heb 12- God discipline’s those He loves. Those who don’t get disciplined are ‘past it’
o I wouldn’t love you if I weren’t truthful and tough with you
And he’s truthful, alright. He’s the Amen. The faithful and true witness
• = title of ‘truth’
• = title of Divinity (as Is describes God as the ‘God of Amen’)
He loves this lot. He loves us. And He is not a soft touch.
- it hurts, sometimes! (“peter was hurt when Jesus asked him a 3rd time)
Jesus says to them
- you’re lukewarm
- you’re neither HOT, nor refreshing
o that’s what ‘cold’ means, here. Doesn’t mean God would prefer we are either on fire for Him or cold against Him!
o It means- you’re not REFRESHING! You’re nauseatingly NOTHING. Blended into your environment.
o > ‘in fact….. you make me sick!’
o (oh my word! But note: “I am ABOUT to spit you out”. A bit like us with the kids ‘I’m going to switch the TV off!’ You still have a chance!)
It’s an apt illustration!
- here we are in Laodicea
o to its North, Hierapolis, with its hot mineral springs
good for bathing and ‘health spas’
o to its south, Colossae- known for its pure, cold mineral waters
o and right in the middle: Laodicea- which had to pipe its water 6 miles
can imagine its temperature when it arrived
calcification problem (like us)
- tasted vile! Tepid chalky water!
Quite some project, to ship all that water, eh?
- it was!
They were a phenomenally wealthy town.
- remember the earthquake of AD 17? (not personally!)
o they didn’t need a grant. Rebuilt overnight
- the city was a prosperous centre for banking and commerce
- famous for - clothing make from the wool of a black sheep
an eye salve, with reputed ‘medicinal properties’, to help the blind see
And here’s the challenge: they had ALL these things… SO much
- they thought they were so well off they didn’t really need Jesus
- AND they didn’t really see it!
o “I am rich, I have acquired wealth, and I don’t need a thing!”
o “Jesus says to them, tongue in cheek: ‘I counsel you to buy from ME some of this eye-salve stuff so you can SEE…”
… that without me you are naked, poor, wretched, blind
sure: you’ve got money. Gold. Sure you’ve got black wool clothes. Sure you’ve got eye ointment
• but SEE- the clothes you have are ‘emperor’s clothes!’. Actually, you’re naked!
So- here’s the thing for them: they were getting their resources from the wrong place.
- they were looking to the world for their resources. Not the Lord
o it’s Not saying having money was wrong… or you don’t need to be practical about your resources ‘since you’ve found Jesus’. Or trust God and the money will be there (whatever you do!)
it’s a question of what ‘laurels’ they were resting on
• the human ones. Or the ones on the victor’s brow: Jesus.
- They felt that since they had trendy clothes- they didn’t need purity or forgiveness
o Oh, but God’s refining, challenge and discipline is better than gold. It’s refined gold
and if you have been refined by God- you KNOW you need
• His resources
• His white robes
There are two kinds of ‘succeeders’ in life. Both succeed through perseverance, grit, determination (and a bit of being in the right place at the right time! God’s sovereignty).
- but one ‘succeeder’ says ‘I did it… my way…. And I have nobody to thank but myself. (My schooling taught us to do that)