Putting God's Word into Practice…

Revelation 3:14-22 ~ Lukewarm…blah!

There are several things that when experienced as lukewarm are worthless. A lukewarm “I love you” or hug leaves me feeling uncertain about the giver’s love. A lukewarm shower leaves me feeling unclean. Lukewarm coffee is not nearly as comforting as a steaming hot one.  And lukewarm eggs or oatmeal will usually find themselves in the trash and myself feeling undernourished.  People can be “lukewarm” in their faith, too.  And Jesus said, lukewarm people leave him with a sick stomach!  “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (vomit) you out of my mouth.”

Lukewarm things and people don’t generally know that they are lukewarm.  Usually when we judge our lives we feel just right.  Unfortunately, we aren’t the judge of our lives!  Jesus is!  In verse 14 He describes His writing as, “The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning (source/originator) of God’s creation.”  Amen literally means “so it is.”  Amen is a word that signifies absolute truth, it is constant and unchanging–the final word!  Jesus has the final word when describing our lives, and only His opinion matters.  When I think of a faithful and true witness, I picture a courtroom and the one on the witness stand swearing on the Bible to give “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”  What Jesus says about our lives is sworn truth–even if it is different from our perspective!  And because He is the source and originator of all creation, Jesus has supreme authority over our lives and permission to judge them.

When the Laodicean Believers measured their own lives, they were blind to their self-sufficiency, their spiritual poverty and blindness.  They were keeping Christ outside of their lives and trying to go it alone.  This isn’t just a judgment against the Laodiceans–I find this to be true in my own life on a regular basis. What we provide for ourselves doesn’t make us prosperous, only what God provides can do that because He knows the true definition of prosperity.  When we think we are covering our sins, we are really exposed.  Only Jesus’ righteousness covers our sin and shame.  When we feel like we are insightful and humanly wise; we are really blind.  Only Jesus can open our eyes and cause us to see clearly.  We have nothing apart from Jesus– we are just lukewarm oatmeal!

In the following verses we see that Jesus is loving, faithful and patient with us.  “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so BE ZEALOUS and REPENT.”  GET HOT!!!  As I’ve been typing, my coffee has become lukewarm =(  I could let it sit on the table all day and get film on the top until I decide to empty it and wash it out, or I could add hot coffee to it and stir it up so it’s drinkable or zap it in the microwave.  (I chose option 2.)  It is the same with our spiritual lives.  In February I experienced a real soul revival, but by April I’m back to feeling stagnant.  Guess what–Jesus doesn’t want me to stay stagnant!!  He wants me to get hot and repent!  He loves me too much to let me sit around and get film on my life.

Repentance is the first step!  But we also have to let Jesus back into our lives–in every area.  Verse 20 says, “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.”  Jesus, the one who holds the keys, is standing outside knocking???  Jesus doesn’t force Himself into our lives or willingly leave us to ourselves.  When we push Jesus out of our lives, He patiently knocks and knocks and calls to us until we open the door and ask Him back into our lives.  He wants to be close to us, He wants to experience life with us.  He offers to eat with us–to be part of a daily necessity.  He doesn’t offer us renovation and domination–He offers us fellowship.

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Revelation 3:7-13 ~ Eternal Label Maker

Jesus wrote an encouraging message to the church in Philadelphia!  He reminded them first off that He is holy and true; that He has full power and authority; that He is sovereign over every open and shut door of opportunity and over their entrance into their eternal home!

Jesus then went on to acknowledge three things about them:

  1. “I know that you have but little power.”  In our culture that might be considered a low-blow–an insult.  But according to Scripture we know that weakness is a good thing!  God uses the weak to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). He has pity on the weak (Psalm 72:13).  He rescues, delivers, and gives justice to the weak (Psalm 82). He died for the weak (Romans 5:6). And God uses our weakness to display His power! (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
  2. “You have kept my word.”  Keeping God’s Word is not always easy.  We live in a world that opposes God’s Word at every turn and always has.  Holding fast to absolute truth requires unwavering commitment and patient endurance even in the face of persecution.
  3. “You have not denied my name.”  God’s Word promises that belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is all we need to be right with God, but “religious” people say that following rules and keeping up with a list of do’s and don’ts is what’s required. Jesus is the name above all names–nothing else matters except acknowledging Him as Lord!

Jesus made several key promises to those who keep His Word and hold fast to His name.  God will open opportunities for us that cannot be shut (v. 8).  He will teach others about Himself and His love through our lives (v. 9).  God will make us a pillar in His temple.  Pillars are small, yet mighty.  They stand on the foundation and uphold the entire structure.  As pillars in His temple, we will stand firm and confident in His presence forever (12).  And finally my favorite promise:

I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

My parents’ old label maker has fascinated multiple generations, and I’m sure our family is not unique in this.  It is fun to type out a label and put our name on something that has value to us.  Woody in Toy Story had Andy’s name on his boot.  Some tattoo their spouse’s name on their bodies.  God will write His name on you!!!  When God promises to write His name on us, He is saying we are His valued possession, His treasure forever!  That is hard for me to wrap my mind around.  I know myself–I wouldn’t consider myself a treasure to anyone, let alone Almighty God.  But that is how He sees me, and everyone who is faithful to His Word and the name of Jesus.

“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him?” (Job 7:17)

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Revelation 3:1-6 ~ Wake up!!

Jesus is complete!  He holds the complete plan for the church in His hands, protecting it until the end.  The works of the church in Sardis were incomplete.  Somewhere along the way, they fell asleep and lost their strength.

“Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God!” My son has been on losing teams for the majority of his Little League “career.”  What I noticed is that if they were “sleepy,” they had a really bad inning.  But instead of changing things, they would get discouraged and give up the game early on.  They didn’t remember that one inning could change everything!  If they would just wake up and play ball, the outcome of the game would be different.  God is in control and He judges everything.  Only He knows when our works are complete and when the game is over.  So we need to never stop working; never give up!

“Remember then what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent.  If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.”  If falling asleep spiritually requires repentance, then in God’s eyes, it must be considered a sin.  Why would spiritual stagnancy and powerlessness be an offense to God?  It demonstrates that we stopped seeking Him, depending on Him, and trusting Him.  It dismisses His promises, disregards His plans, and disrespects His power!  (Psalms 139:16, Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:24)

How do we fall asleep spiritually?  I can think of two ways: 1) We work so hard in our own strength doing things He didn’t plan for us that we just pass out, or 2) We are lulled to sleep when we get too comfortable–like a pacified baby being rocked and sung to quietly!


http://youtu.be/PoPWqi0W2DA Wake up by All Sons and Daughters

http://youtu.be/tV77elsdUAI Fall Afresh by Beth Music feat. Jeremy Riddle


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