Jesus had a message for a church in Laodicea. That message is relevant today and needs to be taken personally by all Christians.
In this lesson we will examine that message and try to understand what Jesus is saying to us.
I will use Scripture taken from the Amplified Bible (copyright - The Lockman Foundation) for our study.
Our Lesson Text will be primarily from the Book of Revelation, Chapter 3.
Let’s begin with verse 14:
Revelation 3:14 And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God's creation:
In this introduction, Jesus identifies Himself as the One who is writing this message. He refers to Himself as the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God’s creation.
From the Gospel of John we know that Jesus is the only One who can fit this description. John 1:1 In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.
John 1:2 He was present originally with God.
John 1:3 All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being.
Also in the following verse:
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ the faithful and trustworthy Witness, the Firstborn of the dead [first to be brought back to life] and the Prince (Ruler) of the kings of the earth. To Him Who ever loves us and has once [for all] loosed and freed us from our sins by His own blood.
So by these, we know that the One speaking is Jesus Christ. Let’s continue:
Rev 3:15 I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!
Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!
Have you ever drawn a drink of water thinking it would be refreshing and cold, only to find the water to be tepid? What did you do? Did you spit it back out and let the water from the tap run for awhile to let it get cold?
There is something ummmm.. well, nasty about a lukewarm drink of water. We don’t like it. It’s not refreshing. It’s not satisfying. Our reaction to it is to spit it out. We might even make a face.
Jesus makes a strong statement about this church. He calls it lukewarm. He even says He will “spew them out of His mouth”.
I don’t know about you, but to me “spew” is a descriptive word. It brings a vivid picture to my mind. The thought conveyed is not a calm one. To spew makes me think of a violent reaction. A reaction that describes disgust.
Now consider this. Jesus is addressing a CHURCH. If you are part of Christ’s church are you listening?
Let’s see how He describes this church:
Revelation 3:17 For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
The people in this church have deceived themselves. Do you see it? They are comfortable and do not see that their true need is very great. They are doing works, but there is no enthusiasm or real love in what they are doing. They are going through the motions.
These people believe that they are IN. They have received their salvation and have decided to lean back and relax. They are taking it easy. They have all they need and can’t see the needs of anyone else.
Hey, we aren’t saved by works, right? So what’s the big deal?
When Jesus looks at their lives, He sees the condition of their spiritual lives. Our mortal lives aren’t the end of it. Gaining wealth and comfort is not all there is to life.
In the Book of James we see this addressed:
James 2:14 What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]?
James 2:15 If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day,
James 2:16 And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?
James 2:17 So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).
James 2:18 But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith.
We can see that Christians will have good works accompanying their faith. Not to save them, but as a proof or evidence of their salvation.
James goes on to say:
James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe and shudder [in terror and horror such as make a man's hair stand on end and contract the surface of his skin]!
James 2:20 Are you willing to be shown [proof], you foolish (unproductive, spiritually deficient) fellow, that faith apart from [good] works is inactive and ineffective and worthless?
Does this sound like what Jesus is saying to the people in this church? I believe it does.
What does Jesus tell these people to do? Let’s look:
Revelation 3:18 Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. Revelation 3:19 Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].
We have talked a little about how a refiner makes gold pure haven’t we? He heats it over the fire until the dross rises to the top and then he scoops off the dross and burns it. He continues to heat the gold until he can see his own reflection in the molten metal.
The analogy Jesus uses to gold being refined and tested by fire is no accident. A Christian often faces trials that test us to the point that we feel we cannot endure any more. We must never loose sight of the fact that these trials will continue until the Master can see His own reflection in our lives.
We don’t enjoy these tests and trials, but we can have joy in knowing that God is in control and is allowing these things to happen so that we will be more like Jesus. Have we considered that it is a joy to suffer for Jesus’ sake? To endure these trials will bring about the changes within us to make us what we need to become.
Jesus also says to be clothed with white clothes. A Christian needs to be clothed with righteousness. Even when we suffer, we need to remain in right standing with our Father in heaven. We need to put on Christ every day. It is His righteousness that we must wear.
Jesus then tells us that those He loves, He tells their faults and disciplines them. Oh how wonderful that is to hear. He doesn’t just leave us. He tries to turn us around and instruct us. Jesus says to be enthusiastic and burning with zeal.
Were you ever zealous for the Lord? When was that? Are you now? Why?
For many Christians, the time of enthusiasm and zeal was right after they received Christ Jesus. The memory of the sins washed away was vivid and the love for Jesus was strong. We would tell anyone about Jesus. We would do anything to help someone else who needed help. Remember?
Jesus referred to it as “our first love”. Many Christians over time forget that intense, fervent love for Jesus.
Let’s go on:
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.
Revelation 3:21 He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down beside My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:22 He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the [Holy] Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).
Verse 20 is a very interesting verse. Yes, we use it to invite the lost to receive Jesus, and that is fine. But that is not the context of this verse. Jesus is standing at the door of this church, knocking. He is on the outside of this church. There is no door handle on the outside. One more thing. Jesus is calling out to those inside this church. He says if anyone hears and heeds my voice. Do you see it? Those people inside the church have somehow forgotten that Jesus is the Head of the church. He is in charge of the Body. These Christians have put self first, and have left Jesus outside of their lives and works.
Jesus still calls to them, but the door is closed to Him. Is it possible to get so busy with church activities and so involved with Christian work that we forget all about the One who made it all possible? Can we get to the point where we get weary of doing right? Can we reach the point where we are no longer interested in helping others?
The answer is yes. It’s not only possible, it is common. Is this as convicting for you as it is me?
There is a special verse in the bible that I’d like you to consider:
2Thessalonians 3:13 And as for you, brethren, do not become weary or lose heart in doing right [but continue in well-doing without weakening].
We need to be reminded of this verse. We need to stir ourselves up and do good works. Not because you must, but because you love Jesus. He did what He had to do to bring us into a right relationship with our Father in heaven. Take that to your heart. Remember how you felt when you first were redeemed.
Again in the letter to the Thessalonians, Paul writes:
1Thessalonians 5:16 Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always);
1Thessalonians 5:17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];
1Thessalonians 5:18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
1Thessalonians 5:19 Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit;
Even when we are troubled and in the midst of trials, we need to be thankful. It will take effort to do this. We will need to encourage one another to do this. But, do you see it? It is the will of God for you. Right there in verse 18.
Do not quench the Holy Spirit. When you feel His nudge, be quick to respond. Seek His direction and follow through with it. We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. Let the victory show in our lives. It can be a powerful witness to those still in darkness. There are many who watch us everyday. They want what we have. They watch, because they expect to see a difference in our lives.
Is there a difference? Praise to GOD YES. We of all people have something to rejoice about. We have been redeemed. \o/ Glory to GOD.
Let’s use the time that remains to make a difference in this world. A positive difference. The power of God is dwelling in us. The Holy Spirit is in us for a reason. To empower our lives to be overcomers. Do not quench the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to lead us every day.
Thank you for letting me share this with you. I know it is not a pleasant thing for us. It is something we all need to hear. Thank you for being patient with me.
May GOD bless you abundantly as you live for Jesus. Amen
Bible study by InAwe