Monday, March 6, 2017, 5:44 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Should I Not Preach Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 3:14-22 (NASB).
The True Witness (v. 14)
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
The speaker is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He is the Son of God and he is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is also our creator, for he existed with God from the beginning (See: John 1). He is truthful, absolutely trustworthy, and we can always count on him to do exactly what he says he will do.
Our God and Lord Jesus Christ is far above all rule and authority, power and dominion. God the Father has placed all things under Jesus’ feet. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. In everything he has the supremacy. Amen! He is the ruler of God’s creation; the head over every power and authority; and all angels, authorities and powers are in submission to him. Praise God! In that we can rest secure, knowing that God/Jesus rules supreme over all. [See: Eph. 1:15-23; Col. 1:15-20; Rev. 3:14; Col. 2:9-10; & 1 Pet. 3:21-22.]
Lukewarm Church (vv. 15-16)
‘I know your deeds, 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 will spit you out of My mouth.
There is nothing like a cool refreshing glass of water to quench the mouth when you are thirsty. But, have you ever left a bottle of water in a warm vehicle and then tried to drink it later on because you were thirsty, and because you didn’t have anything cold to drink? It was awful, wasn’t it? The natural instinct is usually to feel the urge to spit it out of our mouths. Well, this is how Jesus described the people of this church in connection with their relationship with him, and in relation to how he felt about them and their deeds. Lukewarm Christianity is just like that water that sat out in the heat in a closed up vehicle. It is yucky, tasteless, and definitely not refreshing.
So, what does it mean to be lukewarm and neither hot nor cold? Well, the picture I get of hot is someone who is really on fire for the Lord, who is passionate about Christ, his kingdom and his gospel of salvation, and who feels compelled of the Spirit to share the gospel so others can be saved. This person has repented of his sins and is walking in obedience to his Lord and is growing in maturity with Christ, and is no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world. He is not perfect, but he is not addicted (enslaved) to sin. His desire is for his Lord, to serve him in all ways, so he is faithful in service, fervent in love, gentle in spirit, and passionate about what God cares about.
As far as cold is concerned, I can hardly imagine anyone who has genuinely been born again from above ever being entirely cold towards God, for if we have the Spirit of God living within us, how can we be entirely chilled toward God to where we feel nothing? I do believe, however, that we can quench the Spirit and put out the Spirit’s fire, and that we can become lukewarm, i.e. complacent, lazy, casual, and unconcerned about our walks of faith and our obedience to Christ. I believe that Christians can get caught up in the world and can be deceived by those who teach a diluted gospel, and that they can end up having passion for everything but Christ and his Word.
So, what the Lord is saying here is that he doesn’t want lukewarm Christians. He didn’t die that painful death on a cross for our sins so we could just sit and be comfortable and entertain ourselves the rest of our lives, while barely giving him a nod. He would rather we make no profession of Christ at all rather than to profess his name and then to put it to shame and disgrace. What he desires is that we be on fire for him, fully committed as followers of Jesus Christ who are anxious to do his will, because we love him, and because we love his Word. So, the warning here to the complacent and casual Christian is that if you remain lukewarm (so-so), instead of continuing in the faith you had at first, he is about to expel you out of his mouth. Judgment is coming, though for now it has been delayed.
Advice to You (vv. 17-18)
Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
The lukewarm Christian is self-sufficient and doesn’t really see his need of God on a day-to-day basis. He used to have daily devotions, but other things eventually crowded that out, and now he says he “doesn’t have time.” He is probably an avid TV watcher, loves to surf the internet, is crazy about video games, is addicted to Facebook, and loves sporting events. And, they are what now have his heart and his passion instead of Christ. After all, he doesn’t want to become “too religious” or people will think he is a weirdo. And, he has been told that “good Christians” just love on people and they don’t make waves and they don’t say anything that might offend anyone.
But, they don’t realize that Jesus died that they might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died to radically transform their hearts and minds. He called them to be “weirdos,” i.e. to be different and unlike the world because we are becoming like Christ. His intention was that they leave their lives of sin behind them and that they no longer be addicted to sinful practices. But, they don’t see it. They don’t even realize how messed up they are, and how much they are missing of all that God has for them, because someone has fed them a “bill of goods” that God is pleased with them no matter what they do. But, he isn’t. His standard for our lives is holiness, not lukewarmness. We are not supposed to just “get by,” but we are to excel in our Christian lives, in our faith, in our perseverance, and in our witness for Jesus Christ.
He’s Knocking (vv. 19-22)
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
The picture here is that Jesus is standing outside the door of the church knocking. Some people think that is because this church is not really the church, but is comprised only of those who profess Christ. But, Jesus calls them his church, and he says that those he loves, who are his, he reproves and disciplines. They may have fallen by the wayside some, but they are not totally gone. There is still hope, or Jesus wouldn’t be knocking, and he wouldn’t be calling them to repent, and he wouldn’t be telling them that those who overcome will have fellowship with him again.
So, I believe Jesus is on the outside, not because his Spirit is not present in the individual lives of these believers, but that the church collectively pushed him out the door by their continually ignoring him in favor of following after men. And, so this is a gentle, yet serious reminder that he is there, for now, but if they don’t let him back in, they will face judgment.
Should I Not Preach Jesus
An Original Work / July 4, 2013
Based off 1 Corinthians 9:16-10:13
Woe to me should I not preach Jesus.
I’m compelled to preach the full gospel.
I make myself a slave to ev’ryone
To win their hearts to Christ.
All this I do for my Lord Jesus,
And for the sake of His Name;
Do it for the sake of His gospel,
So that I, its blessings gain.
Scripture notates the sins of others;
Written down for us as examples
To keep us from setting our hearts
On evil as did those of old.
Do not worship other gods of man;
Do not give your hearts to them;
Not partake in immorality.
Do not test your Lord and King.
So, be careful if you think you are
Standing firm in your faith in Jesus.
God has given his word to warn us,
So through faith we will not fall.
No temptation has o’ertaken you
Except what is commonplace.
God is faithful to not let you be
Tempted past what you can bear.
He gives the way of escape.