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ATN8 - "Of Lukewarm Works"

Review: “All Things New”

  • John is in exile on the island of Patmos, a Roman mining colony (He will be later released under Emperor Nerva), and was “in the Spirit” on the “Lord’s Day” and had a vision

  • The Book of Revelation is the conclusion of the epic story of God’s redemption of humanity, where we are fully reunited with our Creator and are present with Him as we were in the Garden

  • The Kingdom of God is fully realized: all sickness, pain, sorrow and death – and all those who cause it – are removed from the universe

  • There is universal restoration – all things are made new

  • This book is an apokalypsis (a figurative narrative which reveals) and prophecy (the speaking of God’s will) and a letter (to real people for life-application). It’s a manifesto for the Kingdom of God – a public declaration of God’s intentions; things which “are” and “are to come”

    • A blessing on those who “hear” and “keep” what is revealed here – think, the “Shema.” There is no word for “obedience” in Hebrew. Shema levot: Hb.“hearing hearts.” To hear is to obey, belief takes form ONLY in action

  • The tribulation and the Kingdom and the patient endurance. Yet, it is all “in Jesus” – making it possible and hope-filled

  • Ephesus: Commended for works, charged with a loss of heart, called to do the things they did at first

  • Smyrna: no rebuke, only encouragement!

  • Pergamum: commended for testifying to the faithfulness of Christ, rebuked for food offered to idols, sexual immorality, and tolerating the Nicolatians

  • Thyatira: commended for love, faith, service and patient endurance, rebuked for allowing “jezebel” a false prophetess in the church

  • Sardis: had the reputation of being alive, but was really dead, with their mission not completed. Yet there were a few who have walked the Jesus way of life, whose example they should follow

  • Philadelphia: a weak church given the gift of an “open door which no man can shut” for entry into His Kingdom as well as for doing Kingdom works

The Message to the Seventh Church: Laodicea

  • Laodicea was in the southwest of Phrygia, between Philadelphia and Colossae. It was very wealthy due the excellence of the wools it produced, and ear ointment and “Phrygian power”, used in eye slave

    • It was destroyed by an earthquake in 62 A.D., and rebuilt by the citizens with their own wealth, without aid from the government

    • There were both hot and cold spring in the area

    • The church apparently responded to John call for repentance as in 361 A.D. it hosted a region Church Council in ca. 363 A.D.

  • V.14 – The words of Jesus Christ, who is:

    • “The Amen” – He who is the unchangeable Truth: John 14:6, 3:3

    • "The faithful and true witness” – the trustworthy and actual witness: John 3:11

    • “The beginning of God’s creation” – the origin and ruler of all creation: John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:3-4

  • V.15 – Their works lack zeal, they are spiritually apathetic

    • You/your is plural addressing the church

    • Cold/hot are masculine singular, addressing the angel/leader

    • Lukewarm leaders led to a lukewarm congregation!

  • V.16 – He is getting ready to reject them, as they lack zeal for Him, His Kingdom and His Kingdom-extending works

  • V.17 – They can’t see their true spiritual state - wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked – so the Truth/Amen/Faithful Witness reveals it to them 

  • V.18 – “I counsel you to buy” – Take my advice, friend, and buy from me

    • These wealthy merchants/sellers need to become spiritual “buyers”!

    • The gold metal they have is not the “gold” they need – holiness

    • The clothes they make are not the “clothes” they need – purity – as they are spiritually naked, and should be ashamed

    • They manufacture eye salve, but they are spiritual blind and need to “buy” a cake of eye salve to cure their blindness

    • The gold they have is worthless, the fine clothes they make can’t cover up the shame of their nakedness and the blindness they have can’t be cured by the ointment they make

    • Their wealth, their business acumen, their products – nothing they can do can help them in their pitiful spiritual state

  • V.19 – In love, and because of His love, He brings conviction and correction to shape his church. Repentance for apathy takes the shape of a loving zeal

  • V.20 – In their apathy they have closed the door to Him – rejected Him – but if they shema, they will open the door, and be in communion with Him

  • V.21 – In zeal they will conquer, and be seated with Him in authority

  • V.22 – shema the Spirit

Why This Matters

  • The Lord is speaking a loving yet hard word to our Community, as He desires great things for us and great works through us

  • He wishes to continually shape us and mold us into the people He wants us to be, for the purposes He has for us

  • But, like Laodicea, with live in a wealthy place, which is “all set” and is full of spiritual apathy

  • And, like Laodicea, some at TLC are still very apathetic – wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked – and you are comfortable in your spiritual poverty

  • For some in our Community there needs to be a “laying down of the soul,” truly trusting God with our lives: 1 Peter 4:19

  • For those who do, He promises true spiritual riches, the purity of His holiness, spiritual sight and authority!

  • As a church, TLC still lacks in works proportionate to our graces

    • The Lord has accomplished much through us, yet we have an apostolic grace – the grace to be “sent ones”

    • We have a grace to grow and to multiply, to catalyze new Kingdom initiatives

    • We have a depth of both biblical teaching & powerful worship, and for those who will embrace it a, deep, loving relationship in community

    • We have the powerful working of the Holy Spirit and lack no spiritual gift! Nothing holds us back but ourselves!

Your Next Steps

  • What did the Holy Spirit point out to you today?

  • Are you Lukewarm? Do you lack zeal as expressed in works?

  • What holds you back from the work of God!

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