Title: People Who Make God Puke.
Text: Revelation 3:14-22.
CIT: The Laodicea Church is lukewarm and makes God want to spit them out.
Theme: God gets sick of half committed, lukewarm people.
When I was in Vietnam, I made a discovery about myself: I can’t stand the site of blood or oozing things when I am inside a room. Outside, I can take anything. Inside, I see blood or ooze and I begin to choke, vomit, and often pass out.
In our Scriptures, Jesus is talking to the Church of Laodicea. He told them they had a lukewarm attitude toward Him and it made Him sick. So sick, He wants to puke. How would you like for Jesus to say that about you? If you are lukewarm, He might be!
To get the greatest meaning from what Jesus says to this church, we need to learn something about Laodicea. Laodicea was the ancient capital of the province of Phrygia in what we know today as Turkey. It was located in the Lycus Valley along with two other towns Hierapolis and Colossae and the they made up one large metropolitan area. It was on a major highway, surrounded by mountains and its location made it a great location for a fort to guard the highway and the metropolitan area.
It was the center of the banking industry of the area. It was also the center for carpet manufacturing and clothes made from soft black wool. There was also a medical school there which had developed a salve or ointment for the ears and a powder for the eyes. Hierapolis was known for its hot springs. Colossae was known for its ice cold spring water. Laodicea was a town located right in the middle and its water was lipid and unfit to drink. But, Laodicea was a great city.
The word “Laodicea” means “voice of the people.” This is in contrast to the “voice of God.” It was a church more interested in what people had to say than what God said. As we read about the Church of Laodicea this morning, I want to invite you search with me the mysteries of God and find out some more precious things about Christ. Then, I want us to learn what really makes Christ sick. Look with me first at,
I. The Characteristic of Christ (v 3:14).
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
Christ identifies Himself as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, and the ruler of God’s creation.” Lets look at these characteristics:
a. He Is The Sure Truth.
The word “Amen” is an untranslated Hebrew word which means “something is sure and positive.” As a title for Christ, it would mean “I am the truth.” Jesus is Certainty; He is Finality; He is the Ultimate Authority for all things. Jesus is the Sure Truth. Second,
b. He Is The Spoken Truth.
He says, I am the true Witness. Jesus withholds no truth. He gives us all we need for the present and what we need to prepare us for eternity. There are no tricks, no small print with Jesus. This truth is needed today for both the saved and the unsaved, for the obedient Christian and the backsliding Christian and Jesus is that truth. Third,
c. He Is The Supreme Truth.
The word “Beginning” or “Ruler” , depending on your translation, is the Greek word “arche.” It can either mean first in time (beginning) or first in rank (ruler). Here it is better understood as “ruler.” Jesus is saying that He is the Supreme Creator, Ruler of the universe. Whether you look at the flowers, the landscape, the grandeur or the majesty of the mountains, or the power of the restless sea, He created it all. And, because He is the Supreme Creator and Ruler of the Universe, He has every right to critique His churches and His people. Second, I want us to see:
II. The Complement to the Church (v. 3:15a).
“I know your works...”
Like her sister church at Sardis, Laodicea receives no compliments. The only thing Jesus says to them was that “I know your works!” Can you imagine - - - - this church had nothing in its ministry that honored the Lord or brought Him glory. Like so many churches today, their indifference made the Lord sick and that is what we will be looking at next.
III. The Criticism of the Church (vv 3:15-17).
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say,‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked —
This church was lukewarm. The common interpretation has been that “hot” means spiritual fervor and “cold” means spiritual cold indifference. If this is true, the Lord prefers outright rejection to someone who is lukewarm spiritually. Because they were lukewarm, Jesus said He would spew, better vomit, them out of His mouth. There are two things I want us to learn here. First, they were
a. Indifferent to the Lord’s Work.
The Laodiceans had a degree of spiritual seriousness. They had on the clothes of Christianity but Christ was not Lord to them. There was something greatly lacking from their spiritual life. If they were Christians, and there many who doubt that they were, they just didn’t get excited about the Lord’s work.
There is a lot of that going on today. People may be faithful in attending church and they may even take part, and yet they are not really be hot for the Lord.
Some say they believe but they never surrender their lives to Him. Does He have our lives? Does He have our time? Does He have our pocketbook? Is He the Lord of our bodies? Is Jesus just someone who is convenient when we are in trouble? Are you lukewarm? Are you indifferent to the Lord’s work? Second, they were:
b. Insensitive To Their Spiritual Need.
They were so busy with their lives, they were so self-sufficient in all that they did, they didn’t see their need for a Savior or Lord. Look at how Jesus described them: “... you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”
(1) They Thought They Were Rich.
They believed they had enough material resources that it didn’t the Lord’s help. Jesus told them they “were poor.” They boasted, “we have acquired wealth and don’t need a thing.” That is where many people in the church are today. Not that they think they are rich, but many people think they have enough that they don’t need the Lord’s help. Second,
(2) They Thought They Were Clothed.
They had plenty clothes, there was no need for righteous clothes. There was no need to clothes themselves in the righteousness of Christ. They had enough righteousness of their own to cloth themselves. I wonder what they are going to do when Jesus opens their eyes and allows them to see that they are “wretched, miserable, and naked.”
There are those today who believe their righteousness will get them into heaven and please God. Its not our righteousness, but God’s grace and forgiveness that gets us into heaven. God tells us that our best clothes are but filthy rags to Him. God help us see. Third,
(3) They Thought They Were Spiritual.
They thought they had great spiritual insight but Jesus told them they “were blind.” Laodicea was famous for it medical schools which exported eye powders. Jesus told them their eye powders wouldn’t help the blindness they had. They needed Jesus.
I guess the most tragic thing about Laodicea was they had all of these problems and they didn’t realize it. Can I say that the church today and many so called Christians today are wretched or better oppressed with a problem or burden and don’t have a clue how to get rid of it. Many of the churches and Christians today are miserable and don’t know how to get out of their funk. Many of the churches and Christians today are “poor” or paupers spiritually and didn’t know how to find strength in the Lord. I could keep on indefinitely but what I’ve said is enough for you to get the idea, most churches and many Christians in our world are lukewarm and they literally make God want to puke. Does that sound like you? Listen to what Jesus tells them and follow His advise.
IV. The Command to the Church (vv 3:18-19).
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
All is not lost for this church and its not lost for us today because Jesus tells us what we must do. I find three things here. First we must
a. Recognize Our Spiritual Need.
The Laodiceans were “poor, blind, and naked.” Christ urges them to acknowledge their need and do something about it.
To solve their spiritual poverty, they must buy from the Lord, “gold refined in fire.” He is urging these prosperous people to buy something which couldn’t be bought with their money, a pure faith which has been tested by fire. This is a purified faith not a mere profession which was not genuine.
He tells them to buy “white garments, that you may be clothed.” Jesus is talking about His own righteousness here. When we surrender ourselves to Christ and receive Him by faith, we are clothed in His righteousness.
These people were spiritually blind, they are told to anoint their eyes with a spiritual ointment. This refers to salvation and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that takes the scales off of our eyes that we may see. Second we must,
b. Realize Why We Are Being Chastened.
We are rebuked and chastened because God loves us. When a preacher today attacks “false religion” or people who claim to be Christians but live like the devil, its because God loves them and he loves them enough to tell them the truth.
When you invite people to turn from their sin and accept Christ, its because you love them. When you try to help them seek out God’s truth from the Bible, its because you love them. If it isn’t it will never work. We are chastened of God because He loves us. Third, we must:
c. Respond With Repentance.
They needed to repent of its self- sufficiency and be earnest with Jesus. Repentance requires change. We turn from our self-sufficiency, our sin, and turn to Christ.
Repentance is not an out of date word today. Repentance is essential to becoming a true believer. And, although Christ wants the whole congregation to turn to Him, it is the individual who must decide for themselves if they are going to turn to Christ.
V. The Commitment of Christ (vv 3:20-22).
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”
Jesus’ commitment to Laodicea is the same commitment He makes to you, if you will open the door of your life to Him, He will come in to you and eat with you and enjoy a great time of eternal fellowship.
Is Jesus knocking on the door of your heart this morning. You might be here this morning as a “lukewarm Christian.” God wants you to turn to Him and make Him Lord of Your life.
You might be here this morning and you have never turned from you sin and received Christ, He is knocking at the door of your life today, won’t you come?
Some might have accepted Christ but you have never followed Him believer’s baptism. You’ve never taken that first step of discipleship and God wants you to do that this morning, won’t you come.
FBC, Hughes 07/19/09