No claims of absolute originality are made for this material. As one man said, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter." Please use these sermons as the Lord leads, but nothing on this site may be used for profit without my expressed, written permission!
Back To The Future
Intro: It has taken us a
while, but we have finally arrived at the last of the seven churches of
Revelation. A couple of these churches
have been good, but a glance at most of these churches reveals some serious
problems. The downward slide that began
with a loss of first love in
Before we dig into these verses, I would like to remind you that these letters to the churches can be viewed from three perspectives. 1.) Practically These are real letters to real churches with real problems. 2.) Prophetically These letters portray the church at various stages of church history. The Laodicean church pictures the state of the church from about 1900 AD to the Rapture. It is largely the church as we see it in the world today. It is the apostate church. 3.) Personally These letters speak to every Christian and to every church that reads them. They have a word for you as an individual and they have a word for us as a congregation.
we are going to understand our Lord’s words to this church a little background
on the city of
· This city was founded by Antiochus II sometime before 253 BC. It was named after his wife Laodice.
· The city was located on a high plateau and was very secure from enemy attack.
one defensive problem in
· The city was famous in its day for three primary characteristics.
Finances - It was a center of banking and finance, known
Fashion - It was renowned for the soft, black wool produced
there. This wool was considered a luxury
item and was sought after for clothing and rugs.
Pharmaceuticals - There was a famous medical school in
this background in mind, let’s look into these verses and consider our Lord’s
words of condemnation and warning to this church. I think these words are particularly relevant
in our day, for churches like
Lord Jesus came to this rich, powerful church and He said to them “
I. v. 14-17 THE PROBLEMS IN LAODICEA
v. 14 The Problem Of Possession Notice the words the
church OF the Laodiceans. If
you will take a moment to look at each of the other letters in
(Note: We must never forget why the church exists. It is not a platform that allows us to become well known in our world. It is not a forum for us to advance our agendas or our ideas. It is not a place we can “run or dominate. This church is not “our church; it is His church!
died for the church. He purchased it
with His Own blood,
is not your church! This is not my
church! It is His church! He possesses it and He is to control it. We need no other Lord but Jesus. No man, no group of men and no congregation
is qualified to take His place.
v. 15a The Problem Of Passion Jesus tells them that like the
water in their city, they have become lukewarm.
Remember that water problem I spoke of earlier? Water from the
The church had also become lukewarm. This means that they had lost their passion for the things of the Lord. They had become indifferent and apathetic. They had reached a place where they were going through the motions, but they were unmoved by the things of the Lord. Apparently, they were indifferent toward the cross of Jesus; the Word of God; and the condition of the lost people around them. These folks were not burning hot with passion for Jesus, neither were they totally dead and cold. They were somewhere in between. Their condition makes Jesus sick!
(Note: Is this not the condition of the modern church? People are going through the motions, but there is no burning passion for the things of the Lord!
Church people in our day are no longer moved by the cross! They read about the crucifixion, they hear about it, and they sit unmoved! Church people in our day are unmoved by the plight of the lost! They know people are lost and they know that lost people are going to Hell; but they really don’t care. They say, “That’s terrible, I wish they would get saved. But, they don’t pray or witness; they don’t care!
The average church in our day is a study in apathy! They are not exactly dead because they are praying, preaching, singing, etc. But, they are not exactly on fire either. There is no excitement and no passion about Who they serve, what they hear, and what they are doing. They are somewhere in the middle of the road. That is where the modern church is! People enter the church, take their seat, fold their arms and say, “Bless me if you can! They never feel the need to go to an altar to pray. They never feel a need to testify. They never feel a need to do anything but come and go.
How can you hear about Jesus; His love for your soul; His death for you and all that He has done for you and remain unmoved? How can you know Him and never be moved by that relationship?
I certainly don’t expect everyone to respond like I would; but I think there ought to be some signs of life; some show of emotion; some hint that the spirit is moved by the word of God, the Spirit of God and the work of God. Where is our passion for the things of the Lord?
There are some major problems with a church that reaches this point.
1. It is the hardest kind of church to Pastor. The people believe right; they come in and out of the buildings; but they are indifferent. They’ve heard it all and are totally unmoved by it. This kind of indifference is hard to take! I’d rather have an ice cold church under which the Lord could build a spiritual fire; or one that had too much zeal, which the Lord could tone down a little that I had to try and pastor a bunch of people that are satisfied! You can’t move them!
2. It is the hardest kind of church to move for the Lord. They just don’t care! If folks are saved, fine. If they aren’t, that’s fine too. If the preaching is good, great! If not, well, that’s OK too. That’s a tough attitude to handle!
3. This kind of church misrepresents the Lord. Jesus was a Man of passion! He was on fire an it showed in His life and ministry. His disciples were passionate men and they lived lives burning with passion for the Lord Jesus. When we are indifferent and unmoved and unconcerned, it gives a false impression of Jesus and what He is all about!)
(Note: Let me just say
this and I will move on: there are some things about which you cannot
be indifferent! Indifference and
apathy are not options when it comes to Jesus Christ! No one, who is right with God, can pass
No one can hear the claims of Christ and be ambivalent! He claims to be God in the flesh! He claims to be the only Savior! He lays absolute claim to your life and mine! No one can walk in the middle of the road when it comes to Jesus! You are either for Him, or you are against Him! You must either accept Him or you must stone Him!
v. 17 The Problem Of Perception When the people in
The problem with this attitude is that it is based in blindness. Jesus tells them that they are totally wrong about what they have and where they are. We will look at His words to them in a moment. For now, we need to remember that how we see ourselves and how He sees us may be two different things altogether.
(Note: Sadly, many churches are right here today. There is a sense that they have arrived. If you walk into the average church today and told them that they needed a revival, they would be offended. If you encouraged them to get on fire for God, they would say, “Look at us and all we have! We are doing fine and we need nothing!
I pray that we never reach that place! The sad truth is that some people get more excited about money in the bank than they do souls on the altar. They get more stirred up about a big number on a board than they do about sincere worship of the Lord. They are more blessed by what they have than by the Lord showing up and moving in a service! How do we see ourselves? How does He see us?
I will tell you what we need more than money; more than crowds; more than buildings; more than recognition in the community; more than many of the things we place such great value in: we need Jesus and we need what He can do for us! I would rather have Him, His presence and His power than anything material you can name! We need Him! We must seek Him! We must welcome Him! We must worship Him!
I. The Problems In
14-19 THE PRESCRIPTION FOR
His cure comes in the form of…
A. v. 14 A Divine Appearance Notice how Jesus comes to this wayward church.
1. He Comes As The Confirming One He comes as the Amen. This is an Hebrew word that means “So be it; let it be so; or it is so. It was used to express the ideas of faithfulness and truth, Isa. 65:16; Deut. 7:9.
When we use it to end our prayers, we are saying, “Let it be so! When we use it to respond to a message, we are saying, “It is so, or it is true! It is a word of confirmation and finality.
Jesus comes to this church, He comes as God’s final word to humanity, Heb. 1:2. He comes as the confirmer of all God’s
of how this church saw itself, Jesus comes to tell them the truth, He comes to
have the final say to
2. He Comes As The Confronting One He also comes as the faithful and true witness. This church had a vision of itself what was flawed. Jesus wants them to know that He knows them as they really are and that He has comes to reveal their true state. Their testimony lied about Him and He has come to set the record straight.
3. He Comes As The Controlling One He is also called the beginning of the creation of God. This identifies Jesus as the Creator and the Controller of all things. Not a speck of dust can move in this universe without His permission! He is in control. He comes to a church that thought it was running its own show. Jesus comes to remind them that in spite of what they might think, His hand is still on the wheel and He is the One Who controls the church.
(Note: It would do us well to remember Who Jesus is! He is still God’s final word to the church. He is the One Who knows us better than we know ourselves. He is the One in control, in spite of what some people may think!)
B. v. 15b-16 A Divine Announcement He has a word for this church.
1. v. 15b The
Lord’s Desire For The Church The water situation in
Jesus tells His church that He wants them to be either “hot or cold. He wants His church to be a place people can relax and find healing, like a trip to a hot spring. He wants His church to be a place people where can be refreshed by His worship and His presence. The church should be a healing place and it should be a place of refreshment. I heard on of our men describe Calvary Baptist as an “oasis. I like that!
v. 16 The Lord’s Disgust With The Church Because of their condition,
the Lord tells them that He will spue them out of His mouth. The word “spue is a strong
word. It means “to vomit, to throw up. The Greek word is “emeo. We get our English word “emetic from it. An “emetic is something that makes you
want to throw up. For instance, ipecac
is a drug often used to induce vomiting in cases of poison, etc. (
Jesus tells this church that, like a drink of lukewarm water, they make Him want to vomit them out of His mouth. What He means is this: He cannot and will tolerate their indifference and apathy! I do not want to be a part of any church that brings disgust to our Lord!
3. v. 17 The Lord’s Description Of This Church - According to verse 17, they thought they had it all. He looks at them and tells them they have nothing!
They were proud of their achievements. Jesus calls them “wretched, which means troubled; and miserable, which means to be pitied.
They were proud of their wealth. Jesus tells them they are actually “poor. This word means, “destitute and reduced to begging.
They were proud of their vision of themselves. Jesus tells them that they are “blind. They cannot see themselves as they really are. Someone said, “There is no one so blind as he who will not see.
were proud of their fashions and fine clothing.
Jesus tells them that they are “naked. They are totally exposed and revealed for
what they really are. (
C. v. 17-18 A Divine Advertisement Jesus tells this church exactly where they can find all they need.
Come For Spiritual Value If they will come to Him, put Him first and
live out the Word of God, they will know true riches. He calls them to get on the “spiritual gold
standard” and live out a genuine faith before a lost world. They might see their wealth disappear down
here, but they will be laying us treasures over there, Matt. 6:19-21;
2. Come For Spiritual Vesture He invites them to adorn themselves in spiritual garments. This is an invitation to come to Him for salvation. They are naked and lost in their sins. If they will come to Him, He will cloth them in robes of righteousness and they will be no longer naked an exposed in the sight of God, Isa. 61:10; Rev. 19:8.
3. Come For Spiritual Vision He invited them to come to Him so that He can restore their spiritual vision. When that spiritual vision is restored, they will be able to see themselves as they are and they will be able to see Him as He is. This will lead the repentance, obedience and humble service. We need that spiritual vision!
are people dead, dry, and indifferent spiritually? Because they cannot see themselves or the
Lord as either truly is! Jesus can open
the blinded eyes,
D. v. 19 Some Spiritual Advice Jesus invites them to come to Him, then He gives them a much needed word of advice.
1. A Word Of Compassion as many as I love In spite of their indifference toward Him, He still loves them! What a blessing! Jesus doesn’t just write people off when they don’t do as He pleases, but He calls them and continue to love them even what they reject Him and His love.
2. A Word Of Caution I rebuke and chasten Jesus tells them, and us, that just because He loves us like we are, He loves us too much to leave us as we are. In an effort to get our attention, He will use two methods to turn us to Him.
He will “rebuke. This word means
convict, or to correct. He will
speak to us in our condition. He will
send His Word and He will convict us in our hearts through the ministry of the
we fail to heed His rebukes, He will use more direct methods. The word “chasten means to
correct with blows. He may
touch any area of life to get our attention; He might even use death,
Those who refuse to walk in God’s path will encounter trouble in their lives, Pro. 13:15; Jer. 2:19; Pro. 15:10.
A Word Of Counsel be
zealous…and repent The word zealous gives us the word zesty. It means to come to a boil. Jesus is calling this church to “get
on fire for Him. When they see
their need and turn to Him, it will manifest itself in genuine repentance. Remember, repentance can be defined as “a
change of mind that results in a change of direction. If
(Note: We need to hear and heed the voice of the Lord in
these days, and went need to repent. We
need to ask the Lord to let us see ourselves as we really are. We need to be able to see Him as He really
is. We need to “come to a boil”; to get
on fire for Him and repent of our indifference, our apathy our lack of
conviction and concern. God help us to
get to Him before His judgment falls on us,
I. The Problems In
II. The Prescription For
III. v. 20-21 THE PROMISES TO LAODICEA
v. 20a A Present Promise He says I stand at the door and knock
In His effort to get back into this church, Jesus stands there and
knocks. These verbs are in the Present
Tense. It could be stated this way, “Behold,
I am continually standing at the door, and I am continually knocking on the
door… He never gives up in His
efforts to enter the lives of those He loves.
B. v. 20b A Personal Promise if any man hear my voice, and open the door… Jesus does not need for the whole church to get on fire so that He can come in; He merely needs just one person to hear him and to open the door. Jesus is a gentleman! He will knock and He will call, but He will not break down the door. It must be opened by an act of the will.
C. v. 20c A Precious Promise Sup with him…and he with me The ancient Greeks enjoyed three meals. They usually ate a large breakfast, a much smaller lunch, and then a leisurely evening meal, which they called “supper. At this evening meal, the family would take their time, talk and fellowship. It was a time of intimacy for the family. Jesus says, “If you will just open the door, I will come in an have fellowship with you!
(Note: You can be a member of a dead, dry church, but you don’t have to be that way yourself. If you will open the door to Jesus, He will come in to you. You can have revival in your life while everyone else sits around in deadness and apathy. Don’t blame your dry condition on others; open the door and let Jesus in!)
D. v. 21 A Powerful Promise This verse is a promise that all the benefits of salvation will be given to the person who overcomes. The converted person will become identified with Jesus; His heavenly Father and His heavenly Home. Those who come to Jesus are promised that they will reign with Him and rejoice with Him in His heaven some day. That is a powerful promise!
Jesus speaks to the
(Note: I am glad that He made that offer to me one day, and I am glad He gave me grace to accept Him. Have you been saved? You can be if He is calling you to come to Him!)
Conc: Where does this message find you? Are you saved by His grace? Are you zealous and committed to the Lord and His work? Or, are you indifferent and apathetic toward the things of the Lord? Can you hear His voice calling: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Is the door open? Does it need to be? He wants our fellowship with Him; does He have it?