After Balaam gave advice to Balak in how to trip up the Israelites, Balak had the Moabite women doll themselves up and dress very provocatively. Before long, the men were getting to know the Moabite women a little too well. The women introduced the men to Baal worship, and soon they had brought Baal into the camp.
God was not about to tolerate this, so he told Moses to round up all these Baal worshippers and to have the judges (that Moses had appointed) kill the men under their own authority. It was to be done in broad daylight so that everyone could see.
Just then, one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into his tent, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as everyone was weeping at the entrance of the Tabernacle.
When this happened, God's wrath came upon His people, and a plague started dropping people left and right. Meanwhile everyone else has their hands over their mouths, dumfounded, while this man and this Moabite woman are cavorting in their tent.
People are dying, this couple is cavorting, and everyone else is dumbfounded. All of a sudden, a young man "get's it". The light turns on and he leaves to get his spear. He goes into the tent and thrusts his spear through the back of the man and into the woman's stomach. He kills them.
The plague from God stops (24,000 died) and God tells Moses that He is making a covenant with Phineas, because he "GOT IT".
In this covenant, I give him and his descendants a permanent right to the priesthood, for in his zeal for me, his God, he purified the people of Israel, making them right with me.” Numbers 25:1-13
We've been looking at the Real Jesus of Revelation One. Not the handsome kind man holding a beautiful smiling child. This Jesus is frightening, so much so that John fainted when he saw him. I fear that some of us are still standing around, dumbfounded, not knowing what to do. Others are going about your business as usual, going you own way, doing what you want to do, you are still the boss of your life.
I want so much for you to "get it", and if this last letter doesn't result in a change in your life, I'm afraid you'll never get it.
The people of Laodicea just did not "get Jesus Christ". They did not get what Christianity is really about.
They thought that being a Christian is all about who you fellowship with, if you go to church, if you live a good life, if you tithe, if you read your Bible a bit, if you pray a bit. They lived a good life, and God had blessed them with family, money, and things. SO much so that they would wake up every morning saying, Thank you God that I live in Laodicea. Thank you God that I go to Pleasant Laodicea Baptist Church. They had so many blessings; they could keep going and going. They were thinking with pride "I'm wealthy, I've got my retirement covered, my savings keep increasing, what could I possibly need". The thought in the Greek is this is the way they approached their spiritual life as well. They only did for God based on their monetary strength. If there was a need, they said, no problem, we got it covered. Their church was paid for; they had a lot of money in the bank. O sure, they prayed for people now and then, but it was only for sicknesses and when someone had a problem. They prayed only as a last resort though.
SO one Sunday they were all together, singing, having great fellowship, and praising God when a messenger walks in, holding a scroll. The Pastor has everyone sit down, and hand the pulpit over to the messenger.
The messenger starts reading, "These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation". There was a murmur going through the crowd. You could overhear Deacon Jones saying, finally, Jesus is going to recognize how great our church is" and everyone around him is saying Amen!
The messenger reads on:
I know the works of Pleasant Laodicean Baptist Church, and to tell you bluntly, you are neither cold nor hot. You just don't get it. If you would get it, you would be hot or cold. Instead, you are lukewarm, you are tepid, and I am going to vomit you out of my mouth like sour milk.
You should have heard the outcry! The people were shocked. Deacon Jones stood up and said, "What do you mean we don't get it"? Why there is not a better church for miles around?
The Pastor tells the people to hush, and after a few minutes, the messenger reads on.
You say that you are rich, you have prospered and you have everything you need, but I see you as you really are. You are wretched, miserable, bankrupt, blind and even naked.
Whoa, that was all the people could take. There was no way this message was from Jesus Christ! This must be a prank by those heathen Jews at the synagogue.
However, this letter was no joke. It was no prank. It was the sad letter of Jesus Christ to a church that just didn't "get it"!
JESUS HAD A SWORD
John noticed a sword, sharp, two-edged coming out of Jesus mouth.
The word for sword is Rhomphaia, a large broad sword used by the Thracians and Greeks. However, it was normally single bladed. The single edged Rhomphaia was used as both an offensive and a defensive weapon in close quarter fighting. The dull edge was used to defend against a blade as well as hacking.
Jesus has a Rhomphaia, but it is two-edged. There is no need for Jesus to be defensive. Jesus wants us to see that He is always on the offensive. His sword cuts both ways. It is used to judge, and it is used to cut away that which is offensive to Him. He is the Judge. He is the standard. Jesus does no explaining, no defending. Jesus wields His sword without the need to explain why.
THE ZEALOUS LOVE THAT JESUS HAS FOR HIS WORD
In verse 19, Jesus says to "be zealous". It means to boil over. It is akin to fervent, which extremely hot, "to stretch to the limit"!
Just as Phineas zealously took his spear to execute God's judgment, so too does the two-edged sword represent the zealous, fervent love of Christ.
The Sharp two-edged sword proceeding from the mouth of our Lord reveals the most important aspect of His Love-it is fervent, it is passionate, and it is zealous.
PAUL says a true Christian will be zealous.
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, and serve the Lord. Romans 12:11
DAVID was zealous because people did not honor the Word of God.
My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. Psalms 119:139
The KINGDOM OF JESUS will be ushered in by the zeal of the Lord:
Of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:7
We will all encounter the two-edged sword. It is the Word that cuts away the dross of our life, or it is the Word that cuts in judgment of the callousness and apathy of our life.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34
WILL YOU PASS THE LOVE TEST?
Christ knows your works. He knows whether you are hot, cold or lukewarm. What would you rate your love for Christ on a scale of 1 to 10?
Do you rank it a four, 5, 6, even a 7?
I am afraid that most of us would put ourselves in that middle area.
But what I am more afraid of is that after saying, yea, I am lukewarm, you will walk out those doors and you will do nothing about it.
But even scarier, is you saying yea, I am lukewarm, but I think that is OK. In fact, I like being lukewarm. After all, I do not want to be a fanatic.
YOU JUST DON'T GET IT!
You are sitting there, all smug, thinking that Jesus loves you anyway. He loves your apathy, he loves your mediocrity, and he loves your laziness.
YOU JUST DON'T GET IT!
You think that there is another meaning of the spit out. Maybe it's a good spit like the one Jesus used to open the eyes of the blind man.
Maybe you think the Greek word comes from the Hebrew work "Hock" which means to clear your throat. Or maybe it's the Greek word "ptuie" which means to spit out watermelon seeds.
YOU JUST DON'T GET IT!
Jesus says that if you are lukewarm He will 'emeo' you out of His mouth. It literally means He will vomit you with contempt!
You are like a gross bug that accidentally gets in your mouth and you gag it out saying gross!
It's like taking a bite out of a juicy steak and when you go to eat another bite, you see a half-eaten inchworm wiggling on top!
Lukewarm Christians are disgusting to Jesus! He can't stand you!
You are thinking: Well, I'm still saved aren't I. He just spits me out a little and then He cleans me up and then I get to play a harp for all eternity, RIGHT?
BE CAREFUL, YOU MIGHT NOT BE GETTING IT!
Why, if you were a child of God, would he spit you out of His mouth?
He spit you out because your life is disgusting to him. You say you need him to be your Savior but you refuse to make Him Lord of your life! Could it be that you were only saved for your benefit? Because you wanted to go to heaven? Is that really salvation?
Does Jesus really live in you? If he does, why are you lukewarm? Jesus was never lukewarm!
ARE YOU STARTING TO GET IT?
Jesus wants us to understand something about His Kingdom:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46 Or the merchant who finds the pearl of priceless value, and sells everything he has to buy her.
My kingdom, my presence is so important that you should be willing to sell everything you have in order to gain it. That does not mean it is for sell, but that is how we think-in terms of money.
We are all the time thinking about money, because that is the god of this world.
Jesus says that He is so important that we must be willing to give up all our money to gain Him. Jesus wants us to look very hard at our heart love, and then open our eyes and see what we are zealous for. And you can usually see that by the way you spend your money.
You all know the story of Zaccheus:
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today”. So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham (by faith-willing to give His son, his everything). For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:5-10
Zaccheus was fervent in his love for Christ. He gave up all his money, because he had found Jesus! And Jesus said that because he had, he shared in the faith of Abraham, who gave his son. By faith, salvation came to the house of Zaccheus!
Zaccheus Got It! He said, this is no contest-Jesus or money. He gave it away!
Abraham had to chose-my son or God. He chose God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Jesus asks us to look at our lives and see what we are choosing-our comfort, our wealth, or Him!
PAUL HEARD THE UPWARD CALL
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14
"Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus. I count not myself yet to have apprehended: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the on-high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded..." Philippians 3:12-15.
• Paul's quest is to apprehend that for which Jesus had apprehended him. He does not reveal what it is, but he does add this hint: "the prize of the on-high calling of God in Christ Jesus".
• Jesus had apprehended him for the purpose of achieving the 'prize of this on-high calling'. He was not just saved, but called to something else.
• Here in the last letter of Jesus to the church at Laodicea, Christ reveals what this 'on-high calling' is for.
• "To him that overcometh I will give to him to sit with me in my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father in His throne".
That is the great object and goal for which people are saved and apprehended by Christ Jesus; to a place of sharing with Him, their Lord, the throne of government of this universe.
Chapter 4-the throne of Jesus.
What is the Cure for a Lukewarm Heart?
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:18-19
This is not buying salvation. Salvation is without money and without price. But Christ wants us to realize that we need what only He can provide, and it ought to be so important that we are willing to give everything for Him! He is to be our source of life. It is Christ upon whom we are to depend, not our wealth, friends, family, position or power.
The intention of the book of Revelation is to get the Church ready for the end, for the great time of crisis that is to come. Nothing less than zealous love will be acceptable for true followers of Christ.
As Jesus says: "Those whom I love I rebuke. I don't want to vomit you out. I'll discipline you, and you should take my discipline and reprooofs seriously. They are designed ot get you to repent and have zealous love for me!
Jesus is knocking at your door. You must let Him in. He is worth everything! Your littles life is nothing compared to His riches. He will come in and He will sup with you. This is the full meal, the satisfying meal, the meal that carries you through to the next day! Only Jesus can give us a full, satisfying life. But with zealous hearts we must open the door and say, "Come on in!"
We will gain the privilege of sitting on the throne with Him!
The inscription on the cathedral in Lübeck, Germany, is still true:
Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:
Ye call Me Master and obey Me not.
Ye call Me Light and see Me not.
Ye call Me Way and walk Me not.
Ye call Me Life and choose Me not.
Ye call Me Wise and follow Me not.
Ye call Me Fair and love Me not.
Ye call Me Rich and ask Me not.
Ye call Me Eternal and seek Me not.
Ye call Me Noble and serve Me not.
Ye call Me Gracious and trust Me not.
Ye call Me Might and honor Me not.
Ye call Me Just and fear Me not.
If I condemn you, blame Me not.
Ways to be a Lukewarm Christian
I'm the Boss
“I’m the Boss…” This breed of Christian is all too common today! God, who by nature is an authoritative Teacher and a sovereign Master, is instead relegated to the role of “pal”“, grandpa,” or “mystical one”. We fail to yield to God’s sovereign authority; we fail to recognize His claim as our planner, teacher, father, and master … and so we become lukewarm.
As Keith Eitel, missions professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, notes, “We keep submitting our job requests to God — yet, when He returns them altered, we somehow think that we have veto power.”
I'm Afraid of My Own Shadow
Too many believers live their lives as if they’re afraid of every shadow. They never make a real impact for the Lord because they never really latch onto the boldness which Jesus exhorts us all (no exceptions!) to have.
Why Can't We Just Get Along?
“Don’t rock the boat … don’t make waves … don’t pry … respect their private business … keep church and state separate …” There are so many logical-sounding, reasonable-sounding admonitions floating around which suggest that it’s wrong for us Christians to try to change, convert, convict, or convince anyone. Yet, a truly committed Christian understands that there is a time when it is appropriate and necessary to call another person to a point of decision. A true believer is not afraid of confrontation when it is appropriate.
Mum is the Word
A.T. Pierson said, “A light that does not shine, a spring that does not flow, a germ that does not grow, is no more anomaly than a life in Christ which does not witness for Christ”. A Christian with sealed lips cannot be a red-hot, vibrant Christian! When we refuse to “tell the story”, we essentially deny Christ with our silence.
Adrian Rogers, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, TN, said at the 1982 Southern Baptist Convention, “There are two types of Christians: soul-winners and backsliders.”
• If you think that you can keep your mouth shut and win people to Christ with your actions alone, think again.
• If you think that the lost will interpret your silence as “silent support” of the Savior rather than “silent denial” of the Savior, think again.
• If you think that the Great Commission (”Go … and make disciples of all nations“) was given only to those Christians with the “gift” of evangelism, not to all Christians, think again.