How are you doing in your spiritual life today? Would you say that you’re passionate and on fire for God? Or would you say you’re more lukewarm? You know, not too hot, nor too cold. A lot of us like it that way, don’t we? I mean, we don’t want to be considered fanatics, right? It’s comfortable being “lukewarm.” It may be comfortable being lukewarm, but it isn’t Christlike. And Jesus warns against it!
In Revelation 3:14-22, Jesus told John to write a letter to the church of Laodicea warning them about their lukewarm spiritual condition. We can heed Christ’s warning about being spiritually lukewarm.
Below is an automated transcript of this messageGood morning, church! Good morning to those of you that are watching online as well. We’re concluding our series today through the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, we’ve entitled the series, “Letters from Jesus.” Today, we’ll be considering the letter he told John to write to the church at Laodicea. We’ve titled this message, “A Letter to the Lukewarm.”
How are you doing spiritually today? We often think of how we’re doing physically. We feel a certain way physically or we might even consider how we feel emotionally or mentally. But we rarely, it seems, consider how we’re doing spiritually. How am I doing with God? This letter is a challenge to us as a church and as individuals to ask that question, How are you doing spiritually? Would you say that you’re passionate and on fire for Jesus today? Or would you say, I try to keep it “down the middle;” not too hot and not too cold. I don’t wanna be considered a fanatic. I have to live out there in that world, you know. I try to keep it comfortable. I don’t want to get out of my comfort zone. How are you doing?
We are not to be so greedy as to be called miserly, but we will give as little as we can to the cause. We will not be altogether absent from the house of God, but we will go as seldom as we can. We will not altogether forsake the poor people to whom we belong, but we will also go to the world’s church, so as to get admission into better society, and find fashionable friends for our children. How much of this there is abroad! Compromise is the order of the day.”
Pastor Charles Spurgeon talks about this state of “lukewarmness.” He says this, “Alas, this state of lukewarmness is so congenial with human nature that it is hard to fetch men from it. Cold makes us shiver, and great heat causes us pain, but a tepid bath is comfort itself. Such a temperature suits human nature. The world is always at peace with a lukewarm church, and such a church is always pleased with itself. Not too worldly,—no! We have our limits! There are certain amusements which of course a Christian must give up, but we will go quite up to the line, for why are we to be miserable? We’re not to be so greedy as to be called miserly. We will not be altogether absent from the house of God. But we will go as seldom as we can. We will not altogether forsake the poor people to whom we belong. But we will also go to the world’s church so as to get admission into a better society and find fashionable friends for our Children. How much of this there is a broad compromise is the order of the day.
Are we a lukewarm church? I pray not. Let’s hear the letter and see; let’s do a check today. Let’s do a spiritual check individually and as a church today, I would say being lukewarm, as he says, might be a compromised church. But it also might be a church that’s just comfortable. We’re good, we’re comfortable. But being comfortable isn’t the same as being Christ-like. Jesus is calling us to follow Him . well.
In the book of Revelation, chapter three, we’re closing out chapter three with verses 14 through 22. Jesus told John to write a letter to the church of Laodecia warning them against being lukewarm spiritually. I believe we can hear this warning today. We can have the Holy Spirit examine us. How can we hear it? How can we respond? Well, as we look at the text today, I think we’ll hear three words that will help us respond and heed Christ’s warning about being spiritually lukewarm.
Are you ready? Let’s dig in. Revelation 3:14-22 (ESV) 14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich,I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” This is God’s word. Amen.
How to heed Christ’s warning about being spiritually lukewarm:
Look down at verse 17, there was something that the church at Laodicea needed to see that they did not realize. They thought they were good. Whenever they gathered together in a small group and they went around the room taking prayer requests, the church of Laodicea said, I can’t think of anything. I’m good. Just go to the next person. I’m good. I don’t need any special prayer from Jesus right now. I got it together. That’s the church of Laodicea. They think they’re rich, but Jesus says to them that they don’t realize the way I see you when I look at you.
Circle the word, “realizing.” The first thing Jesus wants to say to us today is, Ask Me what I see instead of what you see. Let’s look in the mirror of God’s word and see what God sees when he looks at us. Let’s be reminded that these seven letters are from Jesus, written by the Apostle John. It’s to the angel or the pastor of that church of Laodicia. “Angel” means messenger in the Greek. And so, write this letter to the messenger of the church of Laodicia. Let’s be reminded that all of these letters, all seven of them, have a six-part template or form: (1) place, (2) person, (3) praise, (4) problem, (5) prescription and (6) promise. All of them are formulated like that. However, two of them have no praise.
We learned a few weeks ago that the church of Sardis had no praise, and now we’re going to find that Laodicia is the other one. It has, what begins to look like, a praise. It says, “I know your works” but then they don’t turn out to be good, so it has all aspects of the form of the other letters except there is no praise for Laodicia. I would hate that, wouldn’t you, for Jesus to look at us and say, I have nothing to praise in the way you’re following Me.
Let’s take this passage apart a second. Place, person and praise: so where is the place? The place is Laodicea.It’s about 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia. It was founded by Antiochus the second; he named it for his wife, Laodice. Let’s look at a map because we love maps. maps. You’ll be reminded that down in the bottom southwest corner here of our map, you’ll see the little bitty island of Patmos. There’s the Apostle John, probably in his nineties now, the last living apostle. He’s had a revelation from Jesus on the Lord’s Day. He’s been told to write, and so he has written. That’s what we read today; what he was revealed. What was revealed to him from Jesus on the Isle of Patmos. He was there breaking rocks for the Roman Empire. They exiled him there because of his faith. He’s written the letters in this order: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamom, Thyatira, Philadelphia and then, finally, Laodicea, the last of the seven.
Laodicea is nested here between Heiropolis and Colossae. More on that in just a minute. So that’s where we are; we are in Leodicia. This city was known for three things. One was the fine wool that came from the sheep that grazed in the beautiful valley; in the fertile valley. They were known for their raven-like color. Their wool was black, and so they were able to make beautiful clothing.
Secondly, they were known for their banking and their trade. Look at this next slide. They were known as a trade center, a crossroads. This is an ancient Roman road over 2000 years old. Don’t you wish they built roads like that today? You can still see it. Between these columns, tradesmen, marketplace people would come. They would reserve a spot between the columns. They would set up their pop up tents and they would bring in their wares and sell them. And so, as you were coming into Laodicia, it would be like going to Walmart or something or going to the mall. Each side would be different people, going and coming. They were known for their wealth in their trade. In fact, one of the largest banks in Asia Minor was in Laodicea. It is said that Cicero actually went there to cash his checks, if you will, because they were known for their banking.
Finally, Laodicea had a famous school of medicine; and a special ophthalmic ointment known as “Phrygian powder” that was sold throughout the empire as an eye cure. These were three things they were known for. You’ll find that significant as we continue because Jesus knows this church. He knows it better than they know themselves.
Remember, I told you that the city was nested between two big cities, Hierapolis and Colossae? Do you remember that from the map? Let’s look at a few more photos quickly. This is me sitting here. I had just been told by our Turkish tour guide, Saba, who said, Pastor Combs, I want you to see this because it’s a recent discovery. This is back in 2013, when we were visiting. Our Turkish tour guide said that they have found evidence of a first century Christian population. He said they hadn’t put it somewhere in a museum yet. It had just been discovered. I had my hand laying on it. An ancient Christian carved this; can you see it’s a cross with a Jewish menorah, which shows how Christianity emerged out of Judaism. And so, most of the early Christians tended to be Jews before, before it was spread across the world. My tour guide, Saba, said that perhaps they carved it into one of those columns in the marketplace so that as Christians came into town, they would see it and know that there’s Christian meeting somewhere here. It would be a place where they could meet up with Christians after dark; a place where they could go to a small group or something. This is significant evidence of Christianity in ancient Laodicea.
(Next pic) This is the remains of the temple to Jupiter in ancient Laodicea. you. What I want you to see is the temple, then I want you to peep through the columns with me. As we peep through the columns, do you see what looks like a bank of snow in the distance? Do you see that? That’s Hieropolis. The white substance is not snow; it’s the mineral deposits of the hot springs of Hierapolis. . In fact, this area of turkey is the largest deposit of travertine; where they get travertine to make tile. It comes from that process of the hot springs coming out with the mineral water. This is inside of Laodicea; the hot springs are amazing.
They were known there for having a spring of water that came out of the side of the mountain that was so ice cold that they were renowned for their drinking water. Here’s Hieropolis within sight with its medicinal hot springs. (Next pic) This is Hierapolis; this is what it looks like when you’re standing up there and you can see the hot water flowing down and gathering in the pond below. I didn’t show you, but here, to this side, that there’s a whole bunch of people in Speedos bathing there. I didn’t want to assault your eyes with that today.
If you go to the next pic, you can see Robin and I standing there. It was hot. It was hot outside anyway, and the heat coming off of that mineral deposit made it even hotter. You can see where the water evaporates and leaves behind this mineral. You can see the people there in their Speedos in the distance, but not too close.
So, here’s what it is like. Within sight was hot water. Within a short walk was cold water. As rich as Laodicea was, they were known for one bad thing. They had bad water by the time it got to them. Whether you carried it from the cold direction or the hot direction, it was lukewarm.
Jesus knows this place; He knows this place. Every detail about this place he’s writing in this letter to the church of Laodicea.
I hope this is not us. Could it be us? Who is this writing? I say it’s Jesus, but He goes by three names in this introduction. We’ve talked about the place, Haven’t we? Now, let’s talk about the person for a moment. First of all, the first name that He gives us is “the Amen.” Jesus calls Himself “the Amen.” Whatever theFather says, Jesus is the embodiment of it. He’s the exclamation at the end of the sentence of God’s word. Amen means this; I agree so much. I say, Let it be so in me. It doesn’t mean, I agree with that. No, it means I agree so much that I say I want it to be true in me. So Amen means “it’s true; let it be so in me.” Jesus goes by that name; He’s the Father’s “Amen.” Whatever promises God has made in the word of God, Jesus is the Amen. He’s the exclamation at the end of the sentence. Jesus is the Amen.
He’s also “the faithful and true witness.” Perhaps, in contrast, to Laodicea’s lukewarm witness. What’s a lukewarm witness? They don’t want to stir up any trouble. They don’t want anybody to think they are a weirdo. They “keep it on the down low.” They don’t want to disturb anything. They are 007 Christians; they are secret agent Christians. But Jesus is not like that. He’s faithful and true. He’s a true witness.
And then he says a third name, he says, “the beginning of God’s creation.” The word, “beginning,” in the Greek is “ruler” or “first” of creation. We get the word, “archaeology,” the study of first things. He’s the first, the ruler of creation. There would be no creation without Him. He is the means of creation.
It says in Colossians 1:15-17 (ESV) 15 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” He made you for Himself. The scripture says “for him.” He also sustains it. He holds it together. It would all fly apart if He weren’t continually active. He is the beginning of God’s creation. He’s the Amen, the faithful and true witness. That’s Who is sending the letter to us today.
Does he have praise? No. It sounds like He’s going to, but then He doesn’t. “I know your works.” But then He tells them they’re not good; they are neither hot nor cold. They are actually lukewarm.
In verse 15, “lukewarm” might suggest lack of usefulness. You’re not good for drinking and you’re not good for health. What good are you? You’re trying to “ride the fence;” you are just lukewarm. That suggests spiritually apathy. That suggests someone who is trying to have it both ways in life. Someone who’s trying to walk it down the middle. Jesus doesn’t play. He says that a lukewarm church makes him sick when he says, “I will spit you out.” The Greek word for “spit” is more accurately “to vomit.”
You’ve heard of that medicine, Ipecac. Ipecac comes from the Greek word “to spit out,” or, as the King James Version says, “I will spew you out.” I’m trying to give you the sense of it .
When I was young, I grew up in the Bristol, Virginia/ Bristol, Tennessee area. It’s the same city in two states. Nearby, you don’t have to drive far to get to the coal mines of West Virginia and Kentucky. I had an uncle who was a pastor and he took a church in Wise, Virginia. It’s not far from some of those coal mines. When you get to those areas, because of the mining, it affects the water table and so the minerals get into the water table. I remember visiting and spending the weekend there. It was time for a bath; it was Saturday night. It’s time to take a bath. There was a yellow ring around the white bathtub, around the porcelain, and as we turned the water on, there was a smell of rotten eggs. There was the smell of sulfur. When my mom made Kool Aid there and you know, the commercial that says, “Kool Aid, Kool Aid, tastes great , wish I had some, can’t wait?” The kool-aid wasn’t so great and you could smell the sulfur. It smelled like rotten eggs from that water. That was before you could buy bottled water. It was unheard of that you would pay for water back then.
And so, Laodicea made Jesus want to vomit. Laodicea literally had everything but good water. They had bad water and it was the same in the spiritual realm. They looked good on the outside, but they were trying to have it both ways. Jesus said, your spiritual apathy makes Me sick because I did so much for you and you’re apathetic about following Me.
Understand that this is not about salvation. Some misunderstand this passage to mean, if you don’t fix this, Jesus is going to send you to hell. He is not talking about heaven or hell here. He’s talking about this church being useful.
Remember in scriptures earlier, He walks among the lamp stands. This is in chapter one. Each church is a lamp stand, He says. He’s walking among the seven lamp stands. This is the seventh lamp stand. Here’s what I think he’s saying. He will remove your influence. He will put your lamp stand out. There won’t be a church in Wilson anymore, called Wilson Community Church, because you’re lukewarm. You’re not useful. If you were hot, you’d be good. You would be a good, healing church. People would come here and get healed. If you were cold, it would be a life giving, cold drink and people would get life. But you’re not either one. You just kind of make Him sick. You’re not good for anything because you’re trying to be all things and you think you’re wealthy and you’re not. You think you can see, but you’re blind. You think you have the best clothes. But you’re actually naked and you don’t realize it. Verse 17 is how you think. You say you are rich, you have prospered and you need nothing.
Remember, what I said, when it’s their turn in the prayer circle, they always say, I’m good; go to the next person. I have it all together. Yeah, I’m all good. Jesus wants you to realize what He sees. He looks at this church and He says, “the wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked;” the exact opposite of their self-appraisal. “I want you to see it,” He says.
2 Corinthians 13:4-5 (ESV) 4 “For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God. 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” How can you be spiritually apathetic when Jesus has promised to live within you? They thought they were rich, but they actually were impoverished spiritually.
How to heed Christ’s warning about being spiritually lukewarm:
Look at verse 18; we’re gonna unpack that verse. 18 “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” “I counsel you to buy from me.” That’s something. You’re known as a central trading center throughout Asia Minor, known for your banking and your trade. But you need to stop buying from those traders and come to me. Jesus says, I have the best stuff. Come and buy from the house of Jesus, from the kingdom of Jesus, Jesus is giving them counsel. Jesus says, let Me be your spiritual financial advisor today.
Here’s what He recommends you buy. Three spiritual items that you should buy from Jesus. He’s speaking the language of Laodicea; they were a wealthy city. They were like America; we are constantly checking out our 41K’s in our stock markets. We vote based on whether or not we will make it financially. Finances really matter to us. They matter to Laodicea.
Jesus says, let me tell you what stocks to buy. Here’s my top three picks. First of all, gold refined by fire. My first question to Jesus might be, How do you buy this stuff? Are these spiritual stocks? How do you buy these from Jesus?
Remember what I’ve told you. How do you understand the book of Revelation? You let the Bible explain itself. Let’s go to Isaiah 55:1-2 (ESV) 1 “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. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” The Laodiceans were spending all of their focus on the outward things, like Isaiah is talking about. He says there’s some things you can buy from me and it doesn’t cost you money. So what does it cost you? It says, come and buy from Me. How do you come if you’re thirsty? How do you come to Jesus? He says, “Come unto me you that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
How do you come to Him? You come asking. The currency of the kingdom is asking. The currency of the kingdom is requesting. Children know this. Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Give me a cookie. Please Give me a cookie. Mommy, give me a cookie. You don’t have to teach children the currency of the kingdom. We just forget it as we get older. That’s why Jesus says, “suffer the little children to come unto me for such is the kingdom of heaven.” The currency of the kingdom is asking.
What are we asking for? Gold refined by fire. What is this? This is a genuine and tested faith . Look at 1 Peter 1:7 (NLT) “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.” Come to Me and let me help you with your faith. Just ask. That’s how you get it. White garments. You thought you were wealthy, but you lack faith. You thought you were clothed, but you’re naked. Let me give you some white garments which represent that which is pure and holy.
Remember Sardis had garments. They had clothes but they were dirty clothes.They had dirty clothes spiritually speaking and He says that they’re not even aware of their shame. They’re going around naked spiritually, and they’re unaware of. It.
It reminds me of that fable, written by Hans Christian Andersen, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Do you remember having to read that in school? The emperor loved his clothes. Anyone who came to town selling new clothes, the emperor would buy them . And then two men came offering a brand new set of clothes with invisible thread. And so he put him in a room and paid their cost, and they began to spin the spinning wheel with their invisible thread. They explained that only the wisest could truly see and appreciate the beauty of the clothes they were knitting for this king. He couldn’t see it, so he asked some of his leaders to go in and look because they knew what the king had told them, that only the wisest could truly see it. They all couldn’t see it, but they told the king they could. And so on the day that the clothes were finished, the King took his clothes off and put the invisible threaded clothes on. And as he walked out, all of his leaders in the court said, Oh, it looks beautiful, because no one wanted to admit that the king was naked. Then, he’s riding in his carriage down Main Street in his new clothes, and a child looks up and says, The emperor is naked. Then everyone knew. It takes a child sometimes to see such things. I think the emperor’s new clothes is about the church of Laodicea in a way, don’t you?
And then, finally, there was salve for your eyes, that “Phrygian powder” that they were famous for, that ophthalmic ointment that they sold. But it was not helping with their spiritual eyes because they were blind. Come to me. I’ll give you spiritual vision. How do you get it? Ask. Jesus loves us, doesn’t He, even in our apathy but you don’t have to stay that way.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV) 6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Ask. You have not because you ask not.
How to heed Christ’s warning about being spiritually lukewarm:
Here’s the third word. We’ve talked about request. Let’s talk about repent; it’s in verse 19. Circle it. Do you see it in verse 19 in your notes? Okay. “Those whom I love;” He loves the church. They make Him sick, but He loves him.
Is there anybody in your life like that? I love you, but you make me sick. He loves the church. He loves them enough to reprove and discipline them. In other words, to verbally correct them and to give them “a spanking.” I’d rather go with the verbal correction. How about you? But He will do both to those whom He loves.
It says in Hebrews 12:6 (ESV) “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” If you’ve received Him as a child of God, He will reprove and discipline you. I just kind of feel like it’s best to go with the reproving part. Although I must admit to you, if my mother were here , she would say, That Gary, he was a hard head. Often I had to reach him through his behind rather than through his ears and his eyes. I often learned from that direction rather than the former.
He loves you. It’s the word, “phileo” here, not agape, which is relational love, affectional love. What is “zealous?” It needs to be on fire. It literally has the idea of “to the boiling point,” after Laodicea’s water, I wish you would just catch fire, repent and catch fire. Come on, church, repent. Change your mind and change your ways. Repent of what? Repent of your spiritual apathy, but even more than that, of something that’s coming in verse 20. Repent of this because the church of Laodicea needed nothing. It didn’t really need Jesus. This is the tragedy of the church of Laodicea, unlike Philadelphia , where Jesus was so satisfied with them that he was opening doors for them. The church of Laodicea had Jesus outside of the church knocking. What tragedy this church has who needs nothing and who thinks it’s wealthy.
Jesus says, I love you. I love you so much, I died for you. I made you for Myself. And then, you have locked Me outside your church. Remember, he said that nothing He opens can close and nothing that’s closed can stay that way if He wants to open it. But He’s not going to use this key here; He keeps it in his pocket. “I stand at the door knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door…” maybe I’ll come in? Maybe I will come in if a special person hears my voice? Maybe I will come in to that person who’s got it all together , he will hear my voice. No, it says “anyone.” “Anyone.” How many “anyone’s” do we have in the house? If you aren’t sure, we’ll talk later.
Laodicea is not the church of the open door. This is not the church that kept His word and kept His name. This is the church that locked Him outside. If you were to visit this place and you were there briefly, you would think these people have it together. If you stayed longer, you’d realize that they’re not going anywhere because they’re useless to Jesus. He’s outside. They are in “the comfort zone.” They’re not following Jesus anywhere. They’re following their own way.
Have you ever opened the door to Jesus? He’s a gentleman; He won’t kick in the door. He knocks. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door. I will come in.” Have you ever done that? Come on, Jesus, come into my life. Forgive me my sins. I want to be a Christ follower. Come on in here. Maybe you’re watching online. Have you ever done that? I think it’s speaking about that first time you open the door. It’s also speaking to that church of Laodicea that’s trying to run in its own power. It’s speaking to us today because, as Americans, we are tempted, because we have the wherewithal. We are so talented and we have so much money. All you have to do is to go to one of the places that we partner with, like Uganda, where they don’t have all the stuff we have. I have gone there to speak at a conference. Some people walk for 20 or 30 miles, sometimes in the rain. They get there before we pull up in our Toyota Land Cruiser. As we are getting out with our stuff to go and show them all the great things that American Christians know, they’re already singing hymns in there on their own. They’re so delighted and full of joy. They have no vehicle to get there. They’re walking on dirt roads, many of them barefooted. They’re just fired up. In America, we may be thinking, I think the weather is calling for rain today. I think I’ll sleep in. Last time I was at that church, the AC froze me. I think I’ll watch from home one. It was too hot; I was sweating. Let’s find a church where the A C works. The music was too loud. I felt like they could have turned the subs up. I need more bass. Oh, we’re picky. We like our comfort. We like it just so. And if the church doesn’t produce it , we find another one. Come on, church. Let’s not be the church of Laodicea. Let’s not lock Jesus out of this church. We’re not here for our comfort. We’re here for Christ and He makes us uncomfortable because He calls us outside of our own reach. He calls us to those places that we can’t go without Him. He’s gentle about it, though. He doesn’t demand. He knocks on the door. If you’ll open the door, He says, “I’ll come in.” He won’t just come in; He will come in and sit with you and eat with you. You are going to have a meal with Him; that speaks of fellowship. He is not just going to drop by.
I don’t think we have these kinds of rooms anymore. But when I was growing up, my grandma had a fancy sitting living room. She kept plastic on the furniture during the week . When the preacher would come over on Sunday afternoon, she would take the plastic off. I was not allowed in there. I was a grandchild. I couldn’t mess up the fancy sitting room. Some of you know what I’m talking about. Some of you have no clue. There is a living room but nobody lives in there.
Sometimes, we ask Jesus into that room. We’ve opened the door to Jesus; we have Him up front in the sitting room. We won’t let Him in any of the other rooms, especially not the closets or the back bedroom. He says, I want to come in the breakfast nook. I want to be backdoor company. I want to come on in; let’s take a tour so I can reveal to you which doors are still locked.
Have you locked the door to your marriage? Are you trying to run that without Jesus? What about your work, your workplace? What about your neighborhood? What about the way you parent? What about the way you manage your money? Have you opened every door? He’s either “Lord of all or He’s not Lord at all.” Open the door of your life wide open. Come to Jesus so that He’s in charge. He says, I’ll come in and I’ll have fellowship with you. We’ll break bread together. It’ll be good.
Let’s look at verse 21, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Who is the “one who conquers?” 1 John 5:4 (ESV) “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.” This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Do you want to know how to be a conqueror by faith? Where do you get faith? You buy it from Jesus. Do you need more faith? Ask for it. You get to sit with Him on his throne. I visualize a love seat; I don’t know what you’re thinking in your head right now. We get to sit with Him on His throne. It’s a big throne. It used to belong to the Father but when Jesus ascended, having defeated sin, death and the grave, He gave Him all authority in heaven and on earth. Now He sits on His Father’s throne. “I will grant him to sit with me on my throne as I also conquered and sit down with my father on his throne.”
What are we talking about? It’s the authority that we have in Christ. He says, “All authority has been given to me on Heaven and Earth.” Matthew 28:18 and following, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations in my authority.” How much authority does He have? He has all authority. How much authority do you have?
To understand position, I have several positions. I’m a father. I’m a pastor. I’m a husband. I’m a grandfather. I’m not experiencing all of them right now. At present, I’m experiencing the position of pastor. Sometimes I put on other hats. Do you know what I’m talking about? Experientially, it seems to me that you’re seated in front of me right now. Positionally, Jesus says to us that we are already seated with Him in glory. Are you sure, Gary?
Let’s see what Paul writes about in Ephesians 2:6 (NLT) “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” When you open the door and let Him in, He comes and lives with you. He’s in you and you’re in Him. Where is He? He’s on the throne. Oh, what a blessing! Why would we be apathetic? Why would we be lukewarm? We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms. Why do we behave as if we can do nothing; as if we need nothing. We can ask anything. He owns it all. He has it all. He would deny nothing to His children that you would ask of Him for the mission that He’s called you to do.
Oh, church. Don’t be like the church of Laodicea. Stop being passive, lukewarm and apathetic. Get zeal for Jesus. “He who has an ear to hear the knocking, let him hear.” Jesus says in Matthew 4:17, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Remember seeing this picture of Jesus knocking at the door? My mother had a copy of this hanging in her bedroom. It was a painting of Jesus knocking at the door. He was in a garden and there’s this old wooden door. Have ever seen that? Do you know what I’m talking about?
The person who originally painted that was a British artist named William Holman Hunt. He attempted to put this concept of Jesus knocking on canvas. One of his fellow artists, when he first saw it, said to him, You have done a great job but you’ve forgotten one important thing. There is no door knob. Hunt says, Oh, no, I didn’t forget. There is no door knob on the human heart on the outside, the only door knobs on the inside. Open the door to Jesus; He’s knocking. Oh, do you hear Him? Open it. Come on, open the door.
There are seven letters that we’ve heard over these past eight weeks. Ephesus had forsaken its first love, He says, I want you to love Me with all your heart. Smyrna was suffering and He encouraged them. Pergamos had compromised their faith and He said, Come on, clean it up. Thyatira was tolerating false teaching and He said, Tell it straight. Sardis had a reputation for being alive, but actually they were spiritually dead. He said, Let me resurrect you. Philadelphia had been given an open door and He said, Hang on, because I’m gonna hold that door open for you. For Laodicea, He said.
Let’s pray. First, I would pray for the person that’s never opened their life to Jesus. They’ve never said, Jesus, I hear You. come in, Open up every door of my life to you. Come into my life. I believe You died for me on the cross, that You died to save me from my sins, that You were raised and that You live today. Come and live in me. I invite You to be my Lord and Savior. You said in your word that if I ask, You will come. If I open, You will come in. Lord, I open up my life to You right now. Come into my life. Come into my life. Forgive me; make me the person You want me to be. If you’re praying that prayer right now, believing, Jesus is faithful. He’s speaking to you. Ask Him. Others are here and you’ve done that; you’ve asked Him into your life, but you have some closed door areas, some closets, some places. He’s knocking right now. He’s saying, Can you give me your marriage? Your parenting? The teenager? You’re having trouble with that toddler? Why are you trying to do this in your own wisdom? Come on, give it to your finances, your workplace, The problem you’re having with a co worker or with your boss. I’m knocking. Open up that area to me. Whatever it is, stop being spiritually apathetic. Repent! Turn to me. We lift this up to you now in Jesus’ name, Amen.