The Letter to the Church in Laodicea.
<<A healthy church does a few things well and seeks to find out what God wants.>>
Todays reading - 2 striking images.
- On your service sheet. Jesus standing at the door knocking.
- Jesus about to vomit.
v15-16; “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
What is this strange image about?
Who has ever been to the Roman Baths in Bath?
Tasted the water? Disgusting - GREEN
Felt the water?
Laodicea was a bit of a Bath
Water supply was tepid and tasted bad.
Hierapolis – few miles north hot springs. 35-40degrees proper bath.
Colossae – few miles south cold pure drinking water – Buxton of Asia Minor
What good preachers do – use an illustration from everyday life.
Lukewarm, tepid, foul water was the bane of everyday life in Laodicea.
Jesus in his address to the church says- you're like that – you're neither one thing nor the other.
Cold – Drinking
Hot - Bath
Works critcised. v15 “I know your works...”
ineffective at reaching out to the wider community. Good for nothing?
St Mary's Hopes and Dreams day “A healthy church does a few things well.”
Idea of where it is going. Not trying to do everything. What it does do is effective.
Is this a message for church - bit better organised. Focus your resources and hey presto, you will get the results.
NO. Counterbalanced by the second striking image
v20 “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.”
Recently a subgroup of the PCC met to think about the future direction of the church and how to share the load.
Concentric circles – various areas of church life. At the very centre Administration. Making sure everything is working well – right date for the spring sale, editing of 4m and website, planning the budget for building project. All things that supposedly ought to make our mission effective.
One of the members of the group: Shouldn't God be at the centre?
Absolutely the right question.
Problem in Laodicea – ineffective not primarily because admin was missing, but because Jesus was missing.
Jesus stands at the door of the church and knocks. What a shocking thing. Jesus comes to his own front door and finds that squatters have moved in and changed locks.
PCC subgroup: 2nd diagram was drawn. God at the centre, feeding into the Church's vision. Yes improved administration was there. But it came out from the centre. God was at the centre.
A Healthy Church seeks to find out what God wants.
It's worryingly easy to leave God out of the picture.
Laodicea was rich. Gold, fashionable clothing, eye medicene.
Jesus turns those round. Church there is poor, naked and blind.
Worryingly easy when we think we are doing well to leave Jesus out of the picture.
Hopes and Dreams day – scores very positive. Dangerous place.
“When you think you are standing firm, be careful lest you fall” Hebrews
Is Jesus welcome here?
Do we hear Jesus knocking...
- ON SUNDAY MORNING Person very different to us sitting in the pew behind us. Different generation. Talks differently. Children go to a different school. Do we make the effort to recognise Jesus in them?
- IN PCC In the awkward question what is the church doing to welcome ethnic minorities/ people with disabilities in our village?
- IN OUR DIFFICULTIES. When someone complains about a bad back or about a child struggling at school – do we offer to pray in the name of Jesus?
Holman Hunt – while painting that picture asked Jesus into his own life.
Inspire others to do the same. Copies.