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Revelation blog post 14: Sick

July 31, 2014

“Someone’s knocking on the door. Somebody’s ringing the bell. Do me a favour, open the door, let ’em in” – Paul McCartney & Wings – Let ’em in (from the album ‘Wings at the speed of sound’)

Revelation 3:14-22

And so we come to the seventh and final church letter. Probably the most famous. Containing one of the Bible’s most famous verses and some of the most dramatic language ever to come from Jesus’ lips.

Firstly again Jesus’ credentials. He is the Amen. What he says goes. He is the faithful and true witness. What he says can be relied upon. He is the ruler of God’s creation. He is in ultimate control.

Again you’d better listen.

As the church fellowship at Laodicea listened to the mixed messages the other churches received what did they expect?

“I know your deeds”. Of course we’ve grasped that by now. Jesus knows everything. Nothing is hidden.

“You’re neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other. You’re lukewarm. YOU MAKE ME SICK!”

Um. Pardon?

What a message to receive from the ruler of God’s creation!

I used to puzzle over this. I think I understood it how most other people seemed to. But it just didn’t make sense.

I imagined the verse as showing Christians on some sort of spiritual thermometer.

Cold ————lukewarm—————–Hot.

On the left Christians whose hearts had grown cold. On the right the really on fire believers. In the middle, well, the people in the middle!

But something about that confused me. Why would Jesus prefer me to be a cold Christian rather than a lukewarm one?

And if we are honest which of us could claim to be a hot Christian? We all fail. We all compromise. None of us has made it. We’re all sinners.

So aren’t most of us lukewarm on the Spiritual thermometer. Would Jesus really prefer we gave up all together?

Not encouraged.

But then I read something which brought light on the subject.

Jesus knew who he was writing to. He knows. He knew the people. And he knew the place.

He knew that Laodicea had a problem. It’s water system was a disaster. State of the art, but one big failing. The water that was transported was, by the time it reached its destination, LUKEWARM.

So Jesus takes the analogy.

Now I am sure people will come up with exceptions, but as a general rule water is of most use when it’s either hot or cold. Generally people drink cold for refreshment or hot to bring comfort. Warm is not really one thing or the other. Thus we boil the kettle, not warm it. So we let the tap run until it’s cold, or even put ice in it.

One brings refreshment. The other comfort and warmth.

Laodicea did nothing. They brought nothing that was relevant to the people around them. Their message was totally irrelevant. Missing the mark.

Their message was sickening to Jesus.

Laodicea was in shock. They thought they were doing great. Rich. Got it all.

But oh they were so poor!

Were their riches material ones? I don’t know. But they needed to find the riches that can only be found in Jesus. Better than gold. Cleaner than the whitest whites.

Eyes that can see.

These are severe words. And yet still there is hope. ” I only discipline you because I love you!”

Time to repent.

And time for that famous verse. So often quoted out of context. As an encouragement to non believers to let Jesus into their lives.

“Listen I’m knocking on the door”.

Remember Jesus is talking to a church. Believers. So here’s the shocker. What makes the church at Laodicea so ineffective?

JESUS IS OUTSIDE!!

Their Lord is not in their meetings at all. They need to let him in!

Can we in our churches today ever have that said of us? Great church. Fantastic organisation. But where’s Jesus? That is scary!

But the promise is there. “If you open the door, I’ll come in. There are individuals who will listen, will open the door, and enjoy fellowship with Jesus.

Again the promise for the winner. Yes there can be winners in Laodicea. “You’ll sit by my throne, as I sit by my Father’s throne.”

Are you listening? Listen for that knock!

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