*What is The Lukewarm Church*
By Pastor David W. Poissant \\ \\ REVELATION 3:14-21 \\ \\ Here is a passage that you have all heard before – many times.
I don’t mean to stand before you this morning and try to pretend that this is brand new material for you.
Many have preached on this passage before.
I have little doubt that Daryl preached this passage before I came.
As a matter of fact, if we could talk to some of your mothers and fathers and Grandmothers and Grandfathers, I believe we would find out that every preacher that has ever preached here for any period of time has preach Revelation 3:14-21 – each one more than once.
\\ \\ So pastor, why are you doing this to us this morning?
A few here have never heard with their ears, many have never heard with their hearts.
And for the few that have heard it and it changed your life and deep down inside, maybe somewhere unseen, you are on fire for the Lord, you’re almost jumping out of your skin excited about Jesus – you’re almost compelled to shout halleluiah over what Jesus has done for you – almost compelled to give a testimony about how good God has been to you ––– \\ for the sake of those other sinners sitting around you today, just bare with me, but don’t tune me out – I think that God is actually speaking to everyone one of us in this room this morning.
\\ In the second and third chapters of Revelation, Jesus, through the words of the Apostle John, addresses the strengths and weaknesses of what we have come to call the “seven churches of Asia Minor”.
Some of these churches were doing better than others.
\\ \\ Smyrna and Philadelphia, for example, were for the most part doing quite well.
Jesus has nothing negative to say about either of these congregations, and in fact He encourages and affirms them for their faithfulness to him.
\\ \\ Ephesus, Thyatira and Pergamum, on the other hand, elicit what we might call “mixed reviews” from Jesus.
Though he has some positive things to say about these churches, he also has a strong critique of the things they are doing wrong.
\\ \\ A sixth church, the church at Sardis, is in much sadder shape.
Despite the presence of a few righteous people in the congregation, the church there is said by Christ to be “dead”.
They have a reputation of being alive, but that reputation (Jesus says) is more fantasy than reality.
Those words that Jesus uses to describe Sardis are the same words used by some in this denomination to describe our own dearly beloved congregation.
I submit to you that those folks may not know us very well.
We have a reputation for being alive, but I believe that deep down in our heart of hearts we are alive.
That may be our problem, we keep it hidden too deep down.
\\ \\ -> We might be able to take characteristics from the descriptions of each of these churches and say we are more like this combination of characteristics – \\ maybe some times more like Philadelphia, the church of brother love; and, yet at other times more like another church who doesn’t measure up so well – \\ maybe even sometimes like the church at Laodicea.
\\ That’s the seventh and the final church that Jesus addresses – it is certainly a church that is different from the rest.
\\ We might begin by noting that Laodicea was an important city in the ancient world.
But the only reason to mention it is to say that the people were comfortable – like us for the most part – they had stuff – they were satisfied; and yet Jesus is pointing out there is something important missing in this church.
\\ \\ Let’s look at verse 14 together: \\ Just that first praise: */“To the Angel of the church…” /*This is important.
In all seven cases it was the */“Angle of the church” /*to whom the letter was written.
The word angel comes from the Greek word angelos.
Angelos simply translated means /“messenger.”
/It could mean a heavenly messenger such as those who announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds on the hillside, (you remember how the glory of the Lord shown round about them and they were sure afraid), or it could mean an earthly messenger, the one whom God has called to take His message to His people.
\\ \\ Most theologians believe that in this case the Bible refers to the earthly messenger – *the pastor of the church*.
God did not order St. John to write a letter to a celestial being.
The God’s Word translation reads, */“To the messenger of the church in Laodicea.”
/*That’s the pastor.
The living Bible paraphrases this nicely… */“Write this letter to the leader of the church in Laodicea…” /* \\ \\ The point is this: There is a special relationship between Jesus Christ and the pastor of the church.
Jesus speaks through the pastor in order to reach the body of believers known as the local church.
\\ There is this message that God wants you to have – many messages.
They are words designed to bring you closer to Him – to prepare you for the day when you leave this world behind and enter into your eternal destination.
\\ God has prepared certain people and chosen certain people to be over the church and deliver to you His message.
It’s for you and it’s from God. Listen now, this is the important part.
\\ \\ If you are living in sin, –– then you may lie about it all you want – you may not even realize your own lie – but if you are living in sin you have made a choice that Jesus Christ is not your Lord.
You’re living for the world or for yourself but you are not living for Him.
And if He is not your Lord, – you have turned a deaf ear to God and He will not do business with you directly – you have to hear it through someone else.
\\ Are you with me on this so far?
\\ \\ That someone else, who God speaks through, is God’s messenger to you.
God loves you and He wants you to know the truth and He wants you to overcome this world and spend eternity in heaven—that’s why He sent His Son and that’s why He sends messengers.
Here is a self-examination time:
->If you are a lukewarm Christian you are in sin -- wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and God -- a holy God will not deal with sinful man directly, except in judgment.
Because of His great love He sends you a messenger.
\\ \\ Weather you want to agree with me openly or not, if you know anything at all about the Word of God, I think you know that what I am saying is the truth.
*I will amen myself all day if I have to*.
\\ \\ Now let me tell you something: \\ ->You believe in God don’t you?
And all God’s people shook their head up and down.
->You believe that He is high and exalted and, in His shadow, we are all weak and lowly creatures.
\\ \\ Let me tell you something: You don’t get to choose the messenger.
That’s God’s job.
And if you reject the messenger – you have rejected the one who sent him.
\\ \\ *I’m stepping on some toes this morning, but that’s the message and it’s from God*.
->Just a few of you need to quit listening to the voices of Satan that would turn you away from the messenger before you miss the message completely.
\\ \\ I am telling you this for your good, not mine.
We all need a messenger.
\\ \\ If you don’t believe what I am telling you this morning, just ask me and I will give you a copy of this portion of this transcript and you can send it off to Joyce Meyers or John Haggy or Rod Parsons or Dr. Kennedy or whomever it is you’re listening to and you ask them.
\\ *What I am telling you is the truth*.
\\ \\ ->This scripture that we are looking at sounds a warning and the warning comes through the Pastor.
\\ \\ As we move along this morning, let’s see what else might apply to some of us… \\ \\ Jesus has this complaint: It is sad I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I wish you were either one or the other!
So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
\\ \\ */The King James says, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
\\ Young’s literal translation gets a little more graphic: I am about to vomit thee out of my mouth./*
\\ \\ This hard stuff.
The issue at Laodicea is that there is no passion for Christ, and a church without passion is a church that Christ, quite simply, will not tolerate!
\\ \\ Now I think that Christ would prefer the church to be "hot" in their relationship with him.
What do you think?
\\ \\ But the interesting thing about this passage is its suggestion that even to be "cold" might be better than to be somewhere in the middle.
In others words, those who don’t know Jesus at all may be in a better place spiritually than those who claim to know him but in whose lives Jesus is marginalized—who shove him to the periphery and who fail to take him seriously.
\\ At least with those who are cold there is always the possibility that they will come to understand their coldness.
They at least are not kidding themselves.
They don’t even pretend to be believers.
Where we run into problems is with the kind of person who is in frequent contact with the churchy things —the person who goes to church every Sunday—and yet who has no deep spiritual life.
\\ \\ Let me share an illustration that Steve Deneff gives in is book “Beyond Forgiveness.”
If you haven’t read it, you need to.
I’ll have to let Him know how well it fits this text.
\\ \\ (I have set up 4 folding chairs just before the message in front of the platform – I explained that this barrier is to keep those who don’t like the message from taking back their offering) \\ \\ Look here – these four chairs represent four kinds of people.
\\ · In the first chair here is someone who does not want to know God and does not know God.
\\ · In the second chair is someone who does not want to know God but knows God in spite of himself.
He really doesn’t want any real part of it but religiosity has always been a family thing that he just does out of habit – he goes to church because it is the thing to do.
There could be a bunch of reasons – but he ain’t here for Christ.
\\ · In this third chair here is a man who wants Christianity but he really does not have it.
He believes the stuff he hears in church and he likes it -- in his mind -- but he has never let it into his heart.
He is always a hearer of the word but never a doing.
The best way to describe him would be in direct contrast to be a living sacrifice – if you read Romans 12:1-2 he is the direct opposite.
\\ · Then in this fourth chair you have the man who wants it and indeed has it.
He will testify and tell others about the love of God.
He has been crucified with Christ and it shows – there is lasting fruit.
\\ These two chairs in the middle here “doesn’t want it and has it” and “has it but doesn’t want it” is what Jesus is referring to as lukewarm.
\\ · This guy over here is the first chair is cold – but he’s honest about it.
\\ · This guy over here in the fourth chair is hot and he’s honest about it.