Revelation 3:14-18 – Jesus wrote a letter to church, it’s a letter to a church in Laodicea which was in the Roman province of Asia. Listen to what Jesus says,
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
A lot of scorching words in there – pitiful, poor, blind and naked – Jesus said those words to the entire church. And notice he says your temperature is so blasé and tepid, you make me want to puke.
Jesus says “your passion is lukewarm. You’re not on fire for the Kingdom, but you’re not exactly frigid either. You’re like soda that’s been left open and left outside for a few days. You’re flat – you’re flavorless.
And I think the scariest thing about this passage is how much some of us might identify with it. We hear that and the first thing we ask is, “Is that me? Am I lukewarm and doing absolutely nothing about it?”
None of these words are good. Right? I can’t spin these verses to sound positive or hopeful. Jesus tells this church, YOU ARE: wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked…
But are those words that you ever hear to describe the bride of Christ? Do those sound like descriptors of faithful Christians? Did you ever read in the bible the testimony of “I once was blind …and now I am blind?”
No, of course not. Jesus saw a church that was “missing the point” and he said something about it – and this wasn’t the first time.
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
I think sometimes people see indifference or inadequacy in the church and their first impulse is to do nothing. And what happens is – no action leads to complacently and comfort and finally acceptance. Edmund Burke said:
“The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.”
Do you think Jesus was ever worried about outward appearances or causing a ruckus? When he flipped the tables do you think he was worried about stepping on toes, or hurting people’s feelings? What was more important to him? Just waiting it all out and hoping it all blew over? Or did he care about his Father’s house?
Jesus looked at the church and he said, “This is NOT how it is supposed to be – You have all missed it.”
When I was young and I used to look at other pastors, I used to think about how Godly they must be, what holy men they must be, and I wondered what it would be like to be able to work for God for a living. And now, my biggest fear is that – you would look at me like that or think those things about me.
Because I ask myself all of the time, “Am I for real? Do I really want God’s will for my own life? Or am I lukewarm?
Perhaps maybe it’s because we live in such an ungodly world that even when we see just a little bit of faith and godliness from our leaders – in comparison it just looks so big and so holy. But I don’t want to be content with a little.
So I want to ask today; Is THIS the church that God is talking about in the Bible or is there something more?”
This is God’s Kingdom we’re talking about – God’s church. He charges us to go and make disciples, he charges us to go and love the world – to be his representatives. The bible says when the world looks at the church – they are supposed to see God – they are supposed to see the light on a hill. So we should never be content with complacency.
So what should we do?
That’s a good question… what should we do?