December 12: “Jesus Values Sin Over Apathy”

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Chronicles 13
Revelation 3
Haggai 1
John 2

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Revelation 3:15-16 (CSB): “I know your works, 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 am going to vomit you out of my mouth.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

The church of the living God has always been intended to affect change in the community in which it resides. The opposite has often been true. The culture in which a church resides quite frequently brings about negative change in its churches.

The church at Laodicea is a case in point. The city of Laodicea was an important trade center. Much commerce took place in this city and its citizens reaped the benefits. Wealth was plentiful and many people were just plain rich.

While there is nothing wrong with being rich, there are often particular temptations that come to those who are wealthy. There is the temptation to feel self-sufficient. There is the temptation to place trust in wealth rather than the Lord. There is the temptation to focus on the continued obtaining and protecting of assets rather than focusing on what is eternal.

This problem was compounded when it made its way into the Laodicean church. Almost certainly, as we read the words of Jesus in Revelation 3:14-22, we can assume that the Laodicean church was filled with people who were self-sufficient and spiritually arrogant who sensed no real dependence upon the Lord. They had all they needed and felt no real craving to cry out to the Lord for anything.

Unlike the church in Ephesus, that was commended by the Lord for a multitude of commendable, specific things that the were doing, the church at Laodicea got no such word. Instead, Jesus simply acknowledged…

Revelation 3:17 (CSB): “For you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ …”

They said it. Jesus didn’t. He couldn’t.

Why?

Because when we feel self-sufficient, we are denying the truth. In reality, we are dependent upon Jesus for every last thing. When we fail to cry out to Him, depending upon Him for everything, we are demonstrating spiritual arrogance.

What is the result? What does spiritual arrogance produce?

Apathy!

Since we don’t sense a deep need for Jesus, we end up with a Christless religion that becomes a burden. We go through the motions of religion but it just doesn’t satisfy. So, we are half-hearted at best. We are barely warm.

Songs are sung but there is no joy.

Prayers are prayed but they are made up of the same old dusty phrases that keep getting used.

Sermons are preached but they fail to move people to acknowledge their sin and cry out for the Savior as they are met with apathy in the pew.

But then we hear something from Jesus’ mouth that we never expected. He told the church at Laodicea that because they were apathetic, He found them so appalling that He was going to vomit them out of His mouth. In fact, He said that He wished that they were either hot or cold.

Revelation 3:15-16 (CSB): “I know your works, 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 am going to vomit you out of my mouth.”

We understand this principle, don’t we?

Some people like hot tea. They also like iced tea. But they really can’t stand room-temperature tea.

Some people like warm milk. They also like cold milk. But room-temperature milk is horrible.

It’s this same way with how we live our lives. Jesus would rather have us excited about Him and passionately obeying Him (“hot”) or living a life of sin, passionately disobeying Him (“cold”). If we are hot, He can fan the flames. If we are cold, He can discipline us to bring us back to Him. But, if we are barely warm, if we are apathetic, He can’t do anything with us. There is no passion about anything. So, no matter what He does, it will be met with apathy on our part.

Friend, are you currently experiencing an apathetic religion that doesn’t satisfy your heart’s longings? So many people are.

Well, you need to move from apathy to passion. But, how do you do that?

Get rid of your self-sufficiency and recognize that You desperately need to renew your relationship with and dependency upon Jesus.

You may say, “Matt, I’ve already got a relationship with Jesus!” Well, the Laodiceans thought so, too. They thought they were worshipping Jesus. Yet, listen to this next verse that appears in His words to the Laodicean church.

Revelation 3:20 (CSB): “See! 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.”

This would be funny if it weren’t so sad. They were inside worshipping Jesus and little did they know that Jesus was actually outside their church asking to come inside. They thought they were worshipping their Lord when He wasn’t in their midst.

They were just like Samson when it is said of him: “he did not know that the LORD had left him” (Judges 16:20).

A spiritual giant named Major Ian Thomas once said: “To be entirely honest, I know of nothing quite so boring as Christianity without Christ.”

That’s so true! Don’t be like the church at Laodicea and settle for a Christless religion. Repudiate any spiritual arrogance in your heart. Despise any self-sufficiency. Live each moment of today in conscious dependence upon Jesus, spending much time in prayer as you cultivate a more meaningful relationship with Him.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, I stand in amazement at how the church at Laodicea could have thought they were worshipping and serving You when they were deaf to Your cries outside their church, pleading to come inside. Yet, a little self-reflection causes me to realize that this is a problem for me, too. In this moment, I repudiate my spiritual pride and self-sufficiency. I ask that You would work into me a desire to know You more and to realize my desperate need of You. As You do this work in me, I will do my part. I look forward to the joy and fruitfulness ahead. In Your Name I pray this prayer. Amen.

Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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