Revelation 3:14-22 The Lukewarm Church

by | Apr 26, 2023 | New Testament, Revelation

I. Laodicea; Jesus V. 14

A. Laodicea

1. A center for banking, which made it a very wealthy city, one of the richest in the world.

2. Specialized in producing black wool clothing and carpets.

3. Hosted a famous medical school which specialized in a powder for treating eye ailments

4. The water supply came from a hot spring six miles away, and it arrived lukewarm.

5. The city enjoyed self-sufficiency and complacency. Sadly, this attitude was adopted by the Christians there. This church received no commendation from Jesus, only rebuke.

B. Jesus

1. The Amen-Hebrew word- “so be it”. Most assuredly, verily, verily-Amen, amen

a. 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us–by me, Silvanus, and Timothy–was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

b. The Amen-speaks of the truthfulness of the message that Jesus brings.

2. Faithful and True Witness- Jesus says it the way that it is. He calls it as He sees it.

3. Beginning of the creation-not the first thing crated, but the origin and cause of creation.

4. The Apostle Paul told the church at Colossae to pass on the letter he wrote to them to the church at Laodicea. The letter to the Colossians speaks of Jesus as the creator of all things.

a. Colossians 4:16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

b. Colossians 1:15, 16 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

II. Jesus’ Evaluation Of The Church Vs. 15-17

A. Lukewarm

1. V. 15- Surprisingly, lukewarmness is more offensive than being cold for Christ.

a. Being hot or cold towards Jesus indicates one thing: you take Him seriously.

b. Being lukewarm means that one doesn’t take Jesus seriously.

c. Steve Gregg– The one who neither opposes nor serves offers Christ the ultimate insult— affirming His existence, but not taking Him seriously.

d. Walvoord-‘There is no one farther from the truth in Christ than the one who makes an idle profession without real faith’.

e. 2 Peter 2:20-22 (NKJV) For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

2. V. 16- Vomit you out-For these Christians, we note some truths:

a. They were in danger of being separated from Jesus. (Vomited out)

b. They were Christians, not Unbelievers. It is possible for Christians to be lukewarm.

c. They were counseled to repent; they were not rejected by Jesus.

d. They were loved by Jesus (V. 19) and were being disciplined as His children.

e. Jesus asked to be in fellowship with them (V. 20).

f. He encouraged them to be overcomers (V. 21)

B. Self-Deceived

1. V. 17-Because you say- “…because you habitually and continually say…”.

a. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 60 AD; rebuilt w/o government help.

2. The Laodiceans lived in a rich city, but they were spiritually bankrupt.

3. Laodicea specialized in treating eye diseases, but they were spiritually blind.

4. Laodicea produced fine clothing, but they were spiritually naked.

5. They were deceived into thinking they were well off because of their material prosperity, but they were in dire need of spiritual recovery. Poor, blind, naked.

6. Think of it in terms of physically poor, blind, naked, and what a pitiful condition that is.

7. A poor, blind naked person is not self-sufficient, but desperately needs help from another

a. For that person to say they were wealthy and healthy would be ridiculous.

b. Imagine the response of people to such a person making these self-claims.

c. Imagine the degree of self-deception that such a person would have.

d. Such was the case for the Laodicean Christians and for some people today.

III. Jesus’ Response Vs. 18-22

A. Jesus’ Counsel Vs. 18, 19

1. V. 18- Notice that Jesus could have commanded them, but you cannot command someone to love Jesus, so he counsels them towards their own good.

a. Gold refined in fire- They had become blinded by their wealth, but Jesus counsels them to seek true riches, and to find all they truly need in Him.

b. Isaiah 55:1, 2 (NKJV) “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.

2. V. 19- Jesus rebukes them (us) because of His great love for them (us). We need to respond zealously, and with great intentionality.

B. Jesus’ Request V. 20

1. V. 20- Jesus asked to be allowed back into their corporate and individual lives.

2. He wasn’t forcing Himself back into their lives but asking to be allowed to return.

3. Dining was an act of great intimacy in that culture. Jesus was offering closeness.

C. Jesus’ Promise Vs. 21, 22

1. Overcoming would mean they would follow Jesus’ counsel.

2. They would accept His evaluation of their lives.

3. They would realize their embarrassingly spiritual poverty and receive true riches.

4. They would humble themselves, and be zealous, and repent.

5. They would realize that Jesus offers a place to overcomers to sit with Him on His throne, to dwell with Jesus in eternity, to forsake the earthly riches for heavenly riches.

6. He invites them to consider that He overcame the world.

a. Jesus resisted the temptations offered to Him by Satan. (Matthew 4:1-11)

b. Jesus was faithful to the Father even to the point of death.

7. V. 22- Jesus invites us to hear Him, the Faithful and true Witness.