When I was in High School we thought it was “cool” to chew Copenhagen. I have to admit, I tried to be cool, but it was all an act. Chewing tobacco made me sick and it tasted gross. Never the less, I did my time of trying to be cool, spitting in cans, spitting in text books, spitting on the floor, and “snapping” my tin.
One day, of many, a bunch of us skipped school and went to party and play poker at a friend’s house. With beer cans and “spitters” crowding the table we were celebrating another “day of freedom” from school. After a few hours of hootin’ and hollerin’, a friend of mine reached for what he thought was his beer; but instead was a beer can half full of chew spit. Although he was too intoxicated to spit it out, I am certain that a right thinking person would have spit it out as quickly as possible and would have went to gargle with mouth wash to be certain that there was absolutely no trace of this vile “brew” in their mouth.
This foul taste is the imagery we get from Jesus in Revelation 3. It is interesting that the last of the seven churches that Jesus addresses in Revelation seems to receive the most hard-core rebuke. It is also interesting that the condition of the church seems to mirror the average American church today. We would do well to take a close look at these warnings from Jesus and examine both our church, and our own faith in light of these warnings.
Revelation 3:14-15 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
The “hot” Jesus is referring to here is those that are on fire to serve Him. He is talking about those that are born-again, Spirit led and love Jesus.
The “cold” He is referring to are those that have no interest in God. They are just going on about their business, and may even chose to be ignorant of the things of God with the mindset that, “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.”
We know from God’s Word that the “hot” will inherit the Kingdom of God, and the “cold” will die in their sin and be condemned. Isn’t it amazing that knowing this to be true of those that are “cold”, there is yet a group of people that Jesus says He would rather they be “cold”. WOW! There is a spiritual condition that is worse than being “cold”!! What is it?
Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
In disgust, Jesus will spit the lukewarm out of His mouth. The lukewarm are those that claim to belong to God, yet there is no fruit to indicate their surrender to Him or their repentance. It is when we are spiritually broken that we realize our need for the Savior. It is then that we realize that we are spiritually bankrupt, wretched in the sight of God. This “realization” is what leads us to complete surrender to Him.
Revelation 3:17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Do you see the parallel between the average American professing Christian and the one Jesus describes here. These are people that want for nothing financially and this prosperity has given them a false sense of security. It seems as though they think because they have prospered financially that God’s hand of blessing must be on them so they are “OK with God”. Does that sound strangely familiar? Jesus warns these people, “you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” and if you stay that way I will spit you out of My mouth.
Once again, Jesus uses imagery that His hearers would understand. These “prosperous” people would understand “purchasing”, because as we have seen, they want for nothing:
Revelation 3:18 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.
In their current condition these people think they have it going on, but Jesus makes it clear that although they may have the attire of the “successful”, they are naked before Him. Although they think they see clearly (as evidence of their success), they are blind to the things of God.
This message from Jesus is very hard-core and is meant to be convicting for those that are only pretending to belong to Him, for those that have an empty profession of faith with no fruit of repentance. However, in Jesus’ perfect love, He tells them why He is rebuking them so sharply:
Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
He gives them clear instruction….repent. Then He follows up with some glorious promises:
One- If you feel the weight of this conviction; in other words, you hear His voice; open the door and let Him in and He will come in. Jesus will not barge in, He is calling all men to repentance and desires to be made first in your life, but you must open the door.
Two- those who conquer, those who endure to the end, those who hold fast in the faith will sit on His throne!
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
The message to the lukewarm is clear: If you continue to pretend to belong to Christ, yet continue to put the lusts and riches of this world ahead of Him, He will spit you out of His mouth on the Day of Judgment. On the other hand, if you repent, He will open your eyes to see the Truth, although your sins be as red as crimson, they shall be as white as wool. He will open the door to His Kingdom to you and you will be granted to sit on His throne. In short, eternity will be infinitely bad, or infinitely good….it depends on your willingness to repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 1:16-20 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. 18 "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."