Revelation  3_14-22      Lukewarm Christianity

Rev. David Holwick   Q

First Baptist Church

West Lafayette, Ohio

May 1, 1988

Revelation 3:14-22


  I. Written to church in Laodicea.

      A. Very wealthy city:

          1) Banking

          2) Black wool clothing

          3) Special medicine

      B. So rich, after earthquake in AD 60 it did not need help from Rome.

      C. Only problem was lousy water supply.

          1) Hotsprings at Hieropolis, 6 miles away.

          2) Tepid runoff carried to Laodicea.

II. Church reflected the city.

      A. Thought itself rich.

          1) Materially

          2) Spiritually

     B. Satisfied with itself.

          1) "Increased with goods..."        (Hosea 12:8)

          2) "Have need of nothing..."   Self-attained position.

      C. Their thinking was self-deceptive.

          1) To Jesus they were poor, blind and naked.

          2) They were lukewarm.

              Only this letter has no praise, and yet no specific sin

              condemned.  Their sin was one of attitude, enthusiasm.

III. Lukewarmness.

      A. Not hot.

          1) Hot springs of Hieropolis were valued.  (Colorado hot springs)

          2) So is spiritual fervor in God's people.

      B. Not cold.

          1) Antagonistic people are often closer to God.

              a) Pharisee and tax-collector.

              b) Friend of mine, Rick Foss.  (atheist)

      C. Lukewarm, self-satisfied Christianity is putrid.

         1) Nauseating taste of lukewarm hot-spring water.

         2) Jesus wants to spit = Vomit.     (Rev 3:16)

IV. Vomit.

      A. Distasteful, especially in church.

            Popular with kids - Green Slime.

      B. One of most powerful physical reactions.

            Whole body can be convulsed.

      C. Biblical sign of utter rejection by God.    (Stott, "Cross" 108)

          1) Leviticus 20:22-23

              a) vomited out of land

              b) abhorred by God

          2) Christ's rejection of apostate church.

      D. God hates lukewarmness more than cold rejection by men.

  V. Spiritual condition of West Lafayette Baptist.  What would Jesus say?

      A. No debt    (hold up mortgage)

      B. Attendance:

          1) Up since last year.

          2) Higher than many other churches.

      C. Busy, lots of young people.

      D. Soft, comfy pews are on the way.

      E. Self-satisfied.

VI. We are spiritually weak.

      A. Few are saved, fewer are witnessing.

      B. Revival prayer meetings - handful show up.

      C. Invitations - one family accounts for third of responses.

           When was the last time you came down front?

          1) No spiritual needs?

          2) No problems?

          3) Or concerned about what people might think?

                We are too proud, too self-satisfied.

      D. Sunday School:  one teacher says,

           "A new student quarterly would be of no advantage.  I feel that

            some never study their lesson as it is now any way.  You can

            tell if they have studied their lesson or not, because you can

            ask some questions that are answered in the quarterly, and they

            still don't know it."

      E. Moral condition of our people does not rise much above village.

           We are no worse - but are we any better?

      F. Weak leadership.

          1) Teachers in Sunday School don't follow up.

              a) Attendance down 13%.

                    How many teachers called their students?

              b) Being prepared for the lesson is not enough.

          2) Pastoral leadership.

              a) Must play a large part.

              b) Am I not challenging you enough?

              c) Not setting a good example?

      G. We do many of the right things, but for questionable reasons.

      H. Would Jesus reject us?

            Perpetuating the institution is not enough.

            Jesus wants us to produce disciples.

VII. Antidote to being vomited.

      A. Buy spiritual resources from Jesus:

          1) Fire-refined gold.     (Disciplined life)

          2) White clothes.         (Righteous living)

          3) Eye salve.             (Spiritual insight, healing)

      B. "Buy" in sense of personally appropriating them - Isaiah 55:1.

      C. Put Jesus back in charge.

      D. Accept his spiritual discipline instead of griping.  (Rev 3:19)

            Meaning of "Amen"  (Rev 3:14)

VIII. Never too late for salvation.  (Note John's emphasis on love of God.)

      A. Repentance still possible.  (Rev 3:19)

            Sign of genuine repentance is "zeal."

      B. Jesus takes the initiative - he stands and knocks.  (Rev 3:20)

          1) Primarily an invitation to church.   (Famous picture)

               Have we locked Jesus outside?

          2) More broadly to individual Christians.  (...if any man...)

          3) Even more broadly to all people, even unsaved.

      C. Our response:

          1) Hear his voice.

          2) Open the door.

          3) Accept his fellowship.

               It is available right now.

      D. God's promise -

           We will share his throne in glory.   (cf. James and John)

               We will rule with him.

Copyright 2018 by Rev. David Holwick

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