SE7EN Series: Lukewarm in Laodicea Revelation 3:14-22
INTRO> Review. Well we are at our last church this week. Are you familiar with the phrase, “Saving the best for last?” Well Jesus didn’t do that… Jesus saved the worst for last. *ILL- So the flu and stomach virus in going around crazy in Poplar Bluff right now right? KFVS 12 has reported multiple articles on how to prevent it. I was lucky enough to get it a little over a month ago. When you get sick, the last thing you ate… tends to make you sick even just thinking about it, right?
TRANS> Well, in Jesus own words there is something that makes him sick and nausea’s when he thinks about it as well, these are Jesus own words. “I will spit you out of my mouth” literal “vomit you.”
Big Idea> Vanity makes Jesus vomit.
TRANS> The word vanity has two meanings to it.
Vanity- 1) excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements (v17) 2) The quality of being fruitless or pointless.(v15) These are the very words that Jesus uses to describe the church in Laodicea
- There are 3 main categories that can describe this ancient city.
- It was a Fashion Center– they produce a very expensive black wool that was highly sought after.
- It was a Financial Center– This was THE wealthiest of all the cities by far. in 60 AD the city was almost leveled by a horrible earth quake in that area, Laodicea was the only city to not ask for financial aid to rebuild
- It was a Medical Center- they produced an eye salve that was highly sought after in the medical field.
TRANS> Why does this church offend Jesus so much? Why is there such strong language used here? Let’s looks at some principles as to why Vanity makes Jesus vomit.
- Vanity brings no value to Jesus. v15-16
- “you are neither hot nor cold.. but lukewarm..” I think, if there has ever been a misunderstood verse in the bible, this is it. Have you ever heard this taught, “Jesus would rather you hate him or love him!” Think about that… that sounds dumb to me.
- You have to understand the location of this city and it’s water supply problem. Laodicea was located between the city Hierapolis and Colosse. (PIC) Hierapolis was known for it’s hot springs, up to 95’ which had health benefits. Colosse had a elevated location and drew it’s water from the snow covered mountain tops, cold water. Laodicea was known for it’s fancy water system pipes (PIC) by the time the water got there from 5 miles away, it wasn’t cold, it wasn’t hot.. it was lukewarm. History also tells us that it would have calcium build up and suffer build (PIC) up in the pipes, making the water not safe to drink.
APP> “It was held true in the ancient world that cold and hot water or wine were beneficial for one’s health, but not water that was lukewarm. Likewise the Laodicean’s faith and witness did not have a healthy affect on the people who lived around them.” G.K. Beale, pg91 APP> There lives made no difference to the people around them. Jesus who gave his life, is shocked by this response. How do I know that this is happening to me in my life?
“Six Signs of Lukewarm Living”
- I am spiritually content.
- I value comfort over Christ.
- I have no passion for prayer.
- I never share my faith.
- I’m not broken over my sin.
- I am arguing with this list.
2) Vanity turns Jesus into the villain.
- “I need nothing…” I know your ears perk up a little bit when you hear that. But think about it… Jesus is telling them, you say that you don’t need anything… when in reality… you need everything. Also, notice where Jesus is in the passage, look at v20 “I stand at the door and Knock..” that means that he is outside!
- “ So be zealous” Here is what i think the key to the passage is… the word zealous, can also be translated “jealous”.
APP> Tim Keller has a great insight into this word and it’s context. He says that when it comes to jealousy you only have two options:
- You can be jealous of somone. (they are a threat to you)
- You can be jealous for somone. (Keller Quote)
“What does it mean to be jealous? To be jealous means to set your love on someone with such intensity there’s an explosion of energy on behalf of that person.. you do whatever it takes to make that person happy, whatever it takes to further the interest in that person.” -Tim Keller APP> Don’t you see, you only have two choices. Am I jealous of God or am I jealous for God? One shows that you are jealous for yourself the other shows that your are jealous for the right thing.
TRANS> If vanity makes Jesus vomit, what’s the cure here?
3) Vanity is destroyed by humility. v18
- “I counsel you, to buy from me…” do you see, that’s the key, your not self-sufficient, the truth is we are totally dependent! Its from Jesus, he shows us 3 quick reason why the gospel, is so humbling… He speaks as a merchant in the streets its a reference to the OT passage “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isiah 55:1
- The Gospel is humbling because it says you are bankrupt before God. “buy from me gold” Jesus is telling them, you are not self-sufficient, in reality you are totally dependent.
- The Gospel is humbling because it says that you can’t save yourself. “white garments to cover your nakedness” This is interesting because they had the black wool that was highly sought after, but Jesus says you need white. Remember Genesis 3, nakedness is a symbol of shame and guilt from sin. How can we gain these garments, Remember what they did to Jesus. “When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom” John 19:23 “He was crucified naked. It is difficult for us in this age of nudity and pornography to comprehend the great humiliation He suffered by hanging nude on the cross. They had taken His garments and gambled for ownership. My friend, He went through it all, crucified naked, that you might be clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and so be able to stand before God throughout the endless ages of eternity.” J Vernon Magee
- The Gospel is humbling because it says you can’t even see how bad off you really are. “salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see” Do you see why now this message is so offensive to people, and especially to people who think they are self sufficenint?
CLOSE> Do you see now why Jesus is so offended at them. Why Vanity makes Jesus vomitt?
APP> We are living in Laodicean… comfortable… self sufficient… thinking to highly of ourselves. We MUST see the gospel for what it is, and Jesus for who he is.
How can knowing this, and seeing this (Show Pic) cause a reaction of vanity.. .when the proper response is humility.
“As we close, it’s worth noticing one of the truly remarkable features of this letter to the Laodicean Christians. It covers the entire landscape from the lowest depths to which the Laodiceans sink and Jesus’ word of rebuke to them, all the way to the highest heights of blessing and beatitude. From the gag-reflex that our mediocrity induces in Jesus Christ to the promise with which our passage concludes. The one who conquers will be granted to sit with Jesus on His throne, just as He Himself has conquered and sits with His Father on His throne. It was affluence and position and prosperity the Laodiceans had been living for, but the pinnacle of true prosperity and position is offered to the one who embraces all that Christ has been telling them in this letter. A place on the throne of Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords. It’s won, you know, by giving up the quest for earthly glory that you may gain heavenly glory by surrendering earthly riches in order to gain heavenly treasure. By rejecting all claims to need nothing and opening the door to outside help, help from above, help from Christ Himself. The way up, is down. The way up, is down. We win by losing. We are exalted when we humble ourselves. When we are weak, then we are strong. When we cling most dependently, most urgently to Jesus, then we are richest of all.” – David Strain, First Presbyterian, Jackson Mississippi