The Church in Laodicea (Part 3)

When it comes to their deeds, children tend to have “tunnel” vision. By this I mean that many children are unaware that their parents have a greater “peripheral” vision and are able to see far more than the children think the parents are able to see. Parents tend to be aware of just about everything the children do! Once before I mentioned that our children would ask their mommy: “Mom, how do you know?” Jenny would respond: “ I have eyes behind my head.” That is, she was taller and could see more. She was able to be more silent in her approach and could observe things unnoticed. As soon as we read (as we have now for the sixth time)

Rev 3:15 I know your deeds …

we are reminded once again that the Lord Jesus as Almighty God is Omniscient! He sees everything and therefore knows everything and this is extremely pointed when we read:

Rev 3:15 … 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.

Our Lord’s observation cannot be questioned. It is one hundred percent accurate. The pastor and the congregation at Laodicea cannot object to the findings. At very best, they are in such a grey area (spiritually lukewarm) and so self-deceived that they cannot interpret their actual spiritual condition in the light of the all-seeing and all-knowing God!

3) Jesus knows they are neither hot nor cold. There is no actual presentation of evil or wickedness given about them as in the case of the other six letters. Rather Jesus exposes something far worse … He exposes the nature of their faith. A closer scrutiny of the letter reveals these people did not reject the Gospel … but at the same time they did not confirm the Gospel. They thought they were Christian … claiming Gospel Truth, yet in no way did the Gospel reflect in their lifestyle, morality and ethics. In other words, their lives did not display the Glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! They suffered with a spiritual disease where their hearts were not affected by the Gospel. Although Paul was addressing the Jews, the Truth he raises is true for all people

Ro 2:29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.

Unless the Spirit of God has performed that unseen, internal, spiritual surgical procedure, a person or a group (Church) cannot know nor experience spiritual Truth … they are not Born Again and have no relationship with God through the shed Blood of the Lamb (Jesus). The gospel is there but there is no Gospel in their lives. This reveals them neither spiritually hot not spiritually cold.

(1) The heart of the Lord Jesus is … I wish you were either one or the other! The person who has sufficient Gospel Knowledge yet remains spiritually blind and deaf is harder to work with spiritually than the person who is an outright pagan. This is why our Lord says He wished they were one or the other … total pagan or total Christian. As a Christian Worker I have observed over many years that the person who has grown up in a Christianized home or gone through Sunday School and Catechism Class or Confirmation Class (literally “Discipleship Class”) can be a huge problem because they normally know all the answers to Gospel questions. They have head knowledge yet no heart knowledge. They are able to articulate adequate answers at the snap of the finger but these are only words … not heart action … no spiritual understanding … no grasping the Gospel of Jesus’ Substitutionary Penal Sacrificial Death for lost sinners … no understanding of repentance and that is the crux of the matter. They could not see that the Gospel in the heart must be realized in the Gospel in behavior, mindset and morality. Any seasoned believer’s heart breaks when they see people and pastors who know something about the Gospel yet the dimension of repentance is not obscure … it is non-existent! The awful reality is not so much whether we see their counterfeit Christianity … it is that the Lord Jesus sees and knows! This is why He says He wishes they were either inside or outside His Kingdom!

(2) The judgment of the Lord Jesus is terrifying.

Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

You need to understand the heart of the Lord here. He has not presented His charges against them yet … thought His judgment is laid before them. Because of their self-deception and because they are spiritually lukewarm, Jesus as Judge is about to “spit them out of His mouth.” Although a gruesome illustration … when chewing gum and the flavor ends a person spits out that gum [hopefully into a garbage bin]. That’s the picture here … only the garbage bin will be eternal damnation … the fires of eternal hell. Around 11 to 12 kilometers from Laodicea was Hierapolis hosting hot springs of water. Excess water flowed over the plateau losing its heat, eventually flowing over a hill within the sight of this city. You might have seen something similar yourself … the result was a white lime crust left on the rocks … always visible to Laodicea. Drinking that water resulted in a stomach that was disturbed to the point of vomiting. That is the exact metaphor Jesus uses here … “spit” … meaning “spew” because of the stomach could not handle the “horrible lukewarm water” it consumed. Spiritually, the pastor and congregation were spiritually unpalatable causing the heart of Jesus to want to repel it because it made Him sick. Note the judgment had not and was not being carried out at this moment. It was not present but futuristic should this pastor and congregation not repent … not receive and live the Gospel. If they refused to repent and reform they would hear the words

Mt 7:23 ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

We have a long way before the end of this letter, but tonight we receive a message so loud, so penetrating and so provocative … “repent or else” face the wrath of God!

Lord, mercifully enable the hordes of spiritually lukewarm people and pastors in Churches across the planet to exercise true faith and repent. Amen.

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