11/23/T – Lukewarm

Amos 8:4-9:15; Revelation 3:14-22; Psalms 130:6-8; Proverbs 28:11

NT: ““Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea: Thus says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the originator of God’s creation: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I advise you to buy from me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be zealous and repent. See! 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. To the one who conquers I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”” (‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:14-22‬ ‭CSB)

Laodicea was a wealthy city. It was located on major trade routes that connected several important cities. It was also a center of textile production and banking. Located in Laodicea was a medical school that was known worldwide for its production of an eye salve called Phyrigian powder. Phyrigian powder was made from a local stone. Laodicea was in the Lycus River Valley, and an aqueduct was built to pipe water from the river – some 6 miles away – into the city. The water from the river was rich with calcium, which over time would cause the pipes to clog and the water to flow very slowly. By the time the water reached the city, it was no longer cool, but lukewarm.

When the book of Revelation was written, Domitian was likely the reigning emperor of Rome. Domitian is viewed as one of the most tyrannical emperors in Roman history and was the first emperor to declare himself a god while he was still alive. During his rule, Christians were heavily persecuted. It is interesting that the Lord Christ did not commend any of the Laodicean church for their endurance or perseverance as He did the other churches. When you have much wealth, you also have much to lose. Instead of commending them, the Lord rebuked them. Just like the unsatisfying water that flowed into their city, Jesus called them lukewarm. Compromising your stand for the truth and your commitment to Christ is very distasteful to the Lord. It appears that the Laodicean church was more concerned with maintaining their material wealth than they were their unwavering commitment to the gospel and to Christ. They came from a town that was renowned for it’s textiles, yet Jesus said they were shamefully naked. They came from a town that was known the world over for it’s medicinal eye salve, yet Jesus said they were blind. They came from a town that was the center of banking in the region, yet Jesus said they were poor. Instead of putting their confidence in the success of the banking industry, Jesus called them to repent and put their trust in Him and He would give them pure gold refined through fire. Instead of putting their trust in the textile industry, Jesus called them to repent and trust in Him – and He would give them garments made of pure white. Instead of trusting in the medicinal eye salves that had made them famous, Jesus called them to put their trust in Him and He would heal their eyes and cause them to truly see.

When people refer to Jesus saying, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” they usually refer to it as having been addressed to non-believers. But in actuality, it was addressed to believers who had essentially closed the door to fellowship with Christ through their lukewarm “commitment” to the word, will and ways of the Lord. It really is somewhat sad that the Lord Christ our Savior would have to stand outside our lives and knock on the door because we have shut Him out due to compromise with the culture… because maintaining our things was more important than fellowshipping with Him. That is what the Laodiceans were guilty of, and the Lord Jesus Christ called them to repent from their lukewarm hearts and become zealous for the things of God. To those who resist the temptation to compromise and the lure to become complacent, Christ will give them the right to share His throne in glory.

Psalms: “I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning — more than watchmen for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord. For there is faithful love with the Lord, and with him is redemption in abundance. And he will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭130:6-8‬ ‭CSB)

The psalmist’s desire for the Lord was anything but lukewarm. He likened his desire for God to a watchman waiting for the morning. Watchmen would keep watch all night long… keeping watch over those under their care, preventing a surprise attack under the cover of darkness. The watchman would long for the light of day, for then, there would be safety in the light and he would be able to rest and be at peace. When we wait on the Lord, walking in His ways, honoring His words and obeying His will, there is safety… there is never-failing faithfulness… there is redemption from sin. Our hope should not be placed on the things of this world. Our hope, and thus our passions, should be centered squarely on the ever-faithful, never failing God.

Proverbs: “A rich person is wise in his own eyes, but a poor one who has discernment sees through him.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭28:11‬ ‭CSB)

People who are wealthy – who are essentially self-sufficient financially – will tend to think themselves to be self-sufficient in other things. People who are poor depend on others for the things they need and, to some degree, for their own lives. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will see God.” Those who realize that they have lack and place their faith and hope in the Lord will have true wisdom and see with clarity.

Prayer: Lord I thank You that everything that I need is found in You. I thank You that you fill me with true riches that do not lose value or eventually fail. I thank You that You clothe me in Your righteousness. I thank You that You heal my eyes that I may see things clearly from Your eternal perspective. I thank You that as I remain zealously committed to You, You will give me the right to rule and reign with you for eternity. In light of all that, how could I possibly be anything but passionate for Your word, Your will, Your ways, and the things of Your kingdom. Help me to remain white hot for You by grace through faith. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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