Description / Transcription
Well, let me begin by saying it is so good to be back with you here at Christ Covenant Church. It’s always a joy to spend time with this church family and be able to share God’s Word with you. In many ways, I consider this sort of a home away from home as it pertains to churches, and over the years it’s just been such a joy to see that relationship between Christ Covenant and Reformed Theological Seminary grow and prosper and continue to grow and prosper with Kevin now here as your pastor, and of course teaching for us at the seminary. What a, what a great joy just to watch that unfold. So it’s such a pleasure to be back with you over the summer months and just a chance to share God’s Word with you this morning.
You’ll have to forgive me as my voice may not make it through today. I hope I continue on through the rest of the sermon without completely collapsing. I taught all week this intensive course at RTS and about halfway through the week I could feel my voice going out and I thought, you know, on Sunday morning they’re going to have to play an old audio of a sermon and I’ll lip sync up there. [laughter] That’s not what’s happening right now, by the way, in case you’re wondering. [laughter]
Well, let’s turn our attention to God’s Word this morning, where we want to hear what He has to say to us. If you have your Bibles, Revelation chapter 3 is where we are. The book of Revelation, all the way to the end of your Bibles. We’ll be looking at this very well-known passage from the last of the seven letters to the churches. Of course, as you turn there, I’m well aware that you’re in a summer series in Chronicles and my profound thanks to those who invited me to allow me to deviate from the series, and so today we will not be in Chronicles, we’ll be in Revelation, and I hope that will maybe be a good break. I don’t know, but either way we are in Revelation chapter 3, and we want to read verses 14 through 22.
This is a letter to Laodicea and as we read it, remember this is Jesus Himself writing, in a sense speaking, through these words to Laodicea and therefore it’s Jesus Himself speaking to us today. Let us hear what He has to say to us.
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 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 you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rick, 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. 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. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with me on my Father’s throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”
May God bless the reading and now the preaching of His Word. Let’s pray together.
Lord, we confess that as we hear this passage that’s it’s not just about the Laodiceans. Lord, we realize that this passage is about us. Lord, give us ears to hear. May we be zealous, not apathetic, Lord. Draw us to our renewed vision of the glory of your Son. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
So a number of years ago I began to do something that I had never done before. In fact, I’d thought about doing it for years. In fact, I saw many, many other people doing it all around me, every day. In fact, I’d seen people do it hundreds, if not even thousands of times. And I wondered to myself what would it possibly be like to do that, and so many years ago I started to do it. I began to drink coffee. [laughter] Never drank coffee before. Never really like the taste and everyone seemed to love it everywhere I was. And as I began to drink coffee, I realized, you know, this is really actually quite nice, and I began to learn all the things that you already know as coffee drinkers, that there’s nothing better than that hot cup of coffee on a cold winter’s day to wrap your hands around the mug. And even in the summer time. Here we are in August. There’s people who drink coffee now, they put it on ice and they have cold coffee. You’ve got all kinds of options for coffee, and as the rookie coffee drinker, I began to learn them.
But even not having drank coffee very long, I began to realize there’s one thing no one really ever does with coffee: No one stumbles into a Starbucks and says you know, I don’t really want the hot coffee and I’m not really interested in the iced coffee, do you have any coffee that’s just been sort of sitting on the counter for about an hour? [laughter] Tepid, room temperature, lukewarm.
Of course, no one asks that question because you all know what it’s like to drink coffee like that. You’ve drank coffee like that unwittingly, of course. You know what it is. You sit down on a Saturday morning and you put your mug down, you find yourself doing something, you come back and you sip it and ah, there it is. It’s that cold, not quite cold, but room temperature thing that used to be coffee. And what does it do? It triggers that little gag reflex in the back of your mouth and you want to spit it out.
You and I know inherently that some things in life are better hot or cold. And of course the same thing is true in our spiritual lives. In fact, that’s the same message that Jesus has for the Laodiceans, is that He comes to the Laodiceans and He gives them a little taste, and that little gag reflex triggers in the back of Jesus’ mouth. And it actually might shock us to know that it’s pretty surprising that it does. I mean, after all when we read about the Laodiceans, there’s none of the other sins that we’ve read about in the other of the letters of the, to the seven churches. There’s not sort of like rank licentiousness here or bold idolatry or heresy. None of those things are here. What you have, a congregation that’s sort of middle of the road. They’re sort of, sort of halfway. They’re not really that excited about God and they’re, they’re not really that much against God. They’re just sort of bored with things, and there they sit. Jesus wants to spit them out.
You may be curious to note that in every single one of the other six letters in Revelation Jesus finds something positive to say about every church, even with all their problems, even with all their issues, He has something He finds good in them until He comes to the Laodiceans and He says nothing positive. It’s not that Jesus in one sense has saved the best for last; when it comes to the Laodiceans, in a sense He has saved the worst for last. Is it possible that apathy, boredom with God may be one of the most dangerous spiritual conditions out there. The letter to Laodiceans seems to suggest that that’s what we ought to take seriously this morning.
Here’s a curious thing. If you have grown up in a mainline denominational church in the United States, which I imagine many of you have, you know what it’s like to hear a message not that different than what the Laodiceans are. If you, if you grew up in a mainline denomination, what you heard is well you just need enough religion to be respectable, but not so much that you become a radical crazy person. You need a little bit to dip your toe in the religious world so that you’re not one of those non-Christian sort of pagans out there, but you don’t need to take religion so seriously that you become a zealot. In other words, what you learned growing up in the mainline church is the best kind of religion is the middle of the road.
Jesus seems to think it’s the opposite. That maybe the worst kind of religion is the middle of the road, where you have just enough to play the part, but not enough to go crazy. Apathy is a real problem in the church.
Now truth be told, that’s not just a problem out there, it’s a, it’s a problem in here. All of us, I include myself in it, in one sense wake up in the morning and think of ourselves, well, what, what happened to all the zeal I used to have? Where did it go? I used to be passionate about the Lord, and now I just drift along on auto pilot and I find myself lukewarm. How did that happen? And is it really a problem?
This passage has so much to teach us here about this really important issue this morning, so here’s what I want to do today with us. I just want to look at this sort of in three movements, if you will. I want to say a word about the problem itself and why it’s a problem even though we don’t realize it is, why it’s such a big problem. Secondly, a little bit about how you got there. What’s the cause of it in one’s life? And then thirdly, we’ll look at the solution, where do we go from here. So that is the trifold structure of this morning. So make sure you have your Bibles open to that passage we just looked at moments ago, Revelation 3:14 and following.
Let’s jump into the very first question for us this morning in this passage, and that’s to say more about the problem of apathy. Or to put it another way, to ask the question why is it a problem? Why does it bother Jesus so much? And why ought it to bother us?
Now, truth be told we don’t ask that question very much about our apathy because we’re even apathetic about our apathy. There’s a sense in which we don’t even want to probe into it, but actually our passage tells us why it’s such a problem. In fact, we see it in the very opening verses of our text. Notice verse 14: “To the angle of the church in Laodicea write,” and notice what Christ does, He describes Himself. He describes His own greatness, His own glory, His own beauty, His own majesty. The problem with apathy we see in the very beginning is it’s a failure to recognize, it’s a failure to respond to how wonderful Christ is.
Look at how He describes Himself. Verse 14: The words of the Amen… the faithful and true witness.. The beginning of God’s creation.. I am the first and the last, I am the beginning and the end, I am the Alpha Omega, I’m the one that’s true… I cast the stars into space… I am the glorious one.. I am the Lord.
What you realize at the very outset is that the problem with our apathy is the object of our apathy. What makes apathy such a challenge, what makes apathy so dangerous, is what we’re apathetic about. The most glorious one in all the universe. There’s no one more glorious, more beautiful, more wonderful, more satisfying, than Christ, and yet that is the thing that we’re apathetic about? The problem is the object of it.
Now, truth be told, in life there are some things that we can sort of give ourselves a break about being apathetic about. Some things we can be apathetic about and it’s to some extent understandable. Take for example that view out the back window of your house into your yard. I look out the back window of my house when I stand at the kitchen sink and I think you know what? That is not so impressive. I’ve got a few straggly bushes out there, got some lawn that needed more water than I’ve been giving it. I’ve got this sort of little creek that winds through there that’s not that impressive. I can be rather apathetic with the view out the backdoor of my house.
But what if someone took me and put me on the edge of the Grand Canyon? And I looked out at the edge of the Grand Canyon and I behold the vistas and the wonder and the scope and the vastness and the glory and the colors of the Grand Canyon, and then as I stand there I am still bored? If I stand there and I shrug my shoulders, then you know what? Something is profoundly wrong with me.
There’s other things in life, I suppose, that we could be okay with being apathetic about. Maybe you found yourself at a middle school art fair. [laughter] I’ve been to my share of these over the years. And maybe as you wander the halls of the middle school art fair you notice that you’re meh, not that impressed, right? And there’s some good works in there, but the coloring is off and there’s not the balance and the hues you’ve been looking for and you’re, you shrug your shoulders and you go home with the, the profound meh. And maybe that can be understandable.
But what if you found yourself standing in the Sistine Chapel, and you looked up at that amazing vision of what Michelangelo had one, the beauty and wonder of maybe the greatest piece of art in the entire world, and then you shrugged your shoulders? There would be something profoundly, deeply wrong.
You see, the issue here in this passage is not just that you’re apathetic or that I’m apathetic. It has to do with that great gap that exists between who Christ is, all His glory, all His wonder, all His satisfaction, and our tepid response. The point here is that He is so much more worthy of a response than the response we give Him. That is the problem with our apathy.
Jesus captures this in our passage, by the hot and cold lukewarm language. You saw it in verses 15 and 16 when we read it moments ago. I would rather you were either hot or cold, but instead you’re lukewarm, He said. I’m going to spit you out of my mouth. And see, in the ancient world, this was a way of describing water. In the ancient world, the only kind of water that was good for anything was either water from hot springs, which was nearby actually in Laodicea, just north in Hierapolis, and there’s also a city not far from them called Colosse that had, that had really cold, clear water, and these are the kinds of waters you want. You can do things with those. Cold water can be obviously for refreshment, hot water can be for healing and, and rest. But lukewarm water does nothing.
And historically the Laodiceans were known for being a city that had lukewarm water and it was everything that tried to avoid, and Jesus is saying you know what? Your, your spiritual life is like the water in your own town.
Here’s the reality of this first point, and it’s very simple. Apathy is a bigger problem than we realize, because at its core is a missing of the greatness and the grandeur and the glory of the thing that’s the most glorious in all the world, and that tells you something about your spiritual condition.
Scholars have noticed this over years. A very famous quote by George MacDonald said this: “Complaint against God might just be nearer to God than indifference.”
Make no mistake about it. The very first point we’ve got to sort of let in our hearts today, the first thing we need to admit today, the first thing we need to not be apathetic about today, is the problem of our apathy.
Now, praise God this passage doesn’t stop there, because if all it did was lay out the problem and then send us home, that would be an issue, but we have more to go here. Let’s move on to our second point in this passage, and not, not just an examining of the problem, but the cause. If you’re going to come up with a solution, you need to know how you got here, how I got here. And that’s the question we ask. I mentioned it moments ago. You look back at the time in your life when you were not apathetic and you long for those days and you thought, well, those were days where I was zealous and I was passionate. What happened to that person? How did I get here?
Now, the fact of the matter is that there’s many things that can lead to apathy. It’s a multi-dimensional trip there. You can get there through numerous channels. But our passage will highlight one particular channel that will get you to apathy very, very fast, and that is self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency. This, in fact, is the problem of the Laodiceans. It is the thing that has led to their apathy, and the reason that’s important for us to grasp this morning is to recognize that, that apathy in one sense is just the symptom. In one sense you could say that apathy is not even really the problem, apathy is the symptom of the problem, it’s the evidence of the disease. It’s not even the disease itself. What is the thing that leads you to apathy? Well, something prior to it, and in this passage, there is no doubt about it. It is a Laodicean church that is absolutely convinced that they are just fine as they are and they’ve got it all together.
I want you to see in this passage where this happens. Look down at verse 17 with me. Jesus describes here the own declarations, if you will, of the Laodicean church. Look what He says. “For you say,” there it is, He’s quoting them, in effect, “for you say I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.” I want you to let that sink in just for a moment. “I need nothing.”
I can’t imagine, it’s hard to imagine, a more non-Christian statement than that statement. It’s hard to imagine anything more antithetical to the Gospel than that statement. It might just be worse than any heresy in the other churches, and apparently is. It might just be more damaging to someone’s spiritual health than, than the idolatry of the other churches and apparently is, because to say I need nothing is absolutely to fly in the face of what God has done for us in Christ on the cross, because the message of the Gospel is that it’s not that you need nothing, you need everything. You are a lost sinner. You are in rebellion against God. You are standing under His wrath. You need someone to save you, redeem you, forgive you, pluck you out of the fire. You are not okay as you are. You are a desperate, needy, begging person, spiritually speaking.
In one sense the Laodiceans are the kind of church that uses the modern day slang “I got this,” right? All good here, God. We’ve got it all together. We’re doing just fine. Things are just good as they are.
It’s actually here when you realize the cause of the apathy that you realize why apathy is so very serious that because possibly lurking behind it might just be the most non-Christian idea you could possibly concoct, the idea that we do not need grace, do not need God, do not need help, all is good. And this is the point of the passage, that self-sufficiency, self-reliance, I’ve got it all together, that makes people utterly bored with God. In particular, utterly bored with Christ, because the person who is self-sufficient looks on the cross and says “meh, I don’t need that. I don’t need a dying, bleeding saviour. I have myself.”
You know, we know this true in other parts of life, too. Self-sufficiency leads to apathy not just spiritually, self-sufficiency leads to apathy in other parts of life. Take sports, for a moment. There’s no greater danger for the star athlete, there’s no greater danger for the very talented team, than to become utterly convinced of their own greatness to the point where they need no effort, no labors, no perseverance. They just simply say “I got this, no problem.” You ask a coach who’s got a star athlete what’s his biggest worry about that star athlete. No, it’s not blowing out their ACL. No, it’s not an injury. The greatest fear for any coach over their star athlete is they become convinced of their own greatness. They no longer need to work, to practice, to strive. They’ve got it all together. All is fine. I need nothing.
A few years ago I saw a documentary on television that highlighted this quite well. It’s actually one of those ESPN 30 for 30 sports documentaries, and this one happened to be about the 1980 US hockey team. And of course you know the story well. Arguably the 1980 US hockey team and the defeat of the Soviet Union might just be, and arguably is, the greatest sports upset in the history of all athletics of all time. It was a monumental moment. I can still even remember as a child running around my living room, screaming as the TV shout out “do you believe in miracles?” A group of nobody college students beating the greatest hockey team that had ever played the game.
What was interesting about this documentary is it actually did not interview the US players. Perhaps for the first time it interviewed the Soviet players. It tracked them down, one by one, all over the world. Some were living here, some were living there, most in obscurity, doing whatever they’re doing, and they tracked them down and they interviewed them, and they finally asked the question that everybody’s been asking since 1980, and that is how did you lose that game?
People remember and the history of it is that just a couple weeks before the Olympics started, just a couple weeks before the Olympics started, there was an exhibition match between the US and the Soviets at Madison Square Garden where the US lost 10 to 3. They got slaughtered. It was embarrassing. It was humiliating. The Soviets had no business losing this. How do you lose?
The universal answer, across the board in this documentary, is we thought we were invincible. We were convinced of our own greatness. We were utterly self-sufficient.
You realize that self-sufficiency can suck the life out of your spiritual walk.
Now, I suppose we could ask another diagnostic question here. If apathy is caused by self-sufficiency, could we not ask the next question, is what leads us to be self-sufficient? What’s fascinating about this passage is there’s actually an answer to that, too. When you read in the passage and you saw this the first time we walked through it, is that the Laodiceans many times in this passage it is acknowledged how wealthy they were, how rich they were, how prosperous they were. In the ancient world, Laodicea was basically the banking center of Asia Minor. I thought, when I read this passage, what you’re thinking right now: That reminds me of Charlotte. Banking center, very wealthy, very affluent, lots of opportunity to be self-sufficient.
Now make no mistake about it, this passage is not arguing, nor is the Bible arguing, that wealth in and of itself is somehow bad or somehow a problem or as if, if someone has been blessed by God to have money, somehow they should feel inherently guilty about that. No, the problem isn’t just simply having money. There’s nothing simple [sic] about simply having money. The problem is you have to recognize when you have it that certain pitfalls, certain dangers, certain challenges can stem from that. Opportunities arise from that that may not arise for other folks. Your pitfall, my pitfall, might just be more than anyone else because of our affluence, our self-sufficiency.
To put it bluntly, apathy is the luxury of the wealthy. It’s easy for us to look into our life and say “thank you, God, I don’t need anything here.”
Ah, but this passage is saying that is maybe the diagnosis, but that tells you a lot about how you get there. What we realize then is apathy is the tip of the, of the, of the iceberg here. When you go down under the water, you realize, huh, this is a bigger problem than I realize. It’s not even really anymore about apathy. It’s about how I have relied on everything else in my life, whether it’s the money or whatever it happens to be, to send God a message that I don’t need You.
It’s a great opportunity this morning for self-reflection, is it not? Even as you sit here this morning, in your pew at Christ Covenant Church and listen to me speak, sort of asking the question. Not only the question “do I find myself lukewarm spiritually,” but maybe even the more profound question is “how did I get here?” Would I really answer Christ this way? Now, I know you know in the, in your mind it’s not the right answer, but if you’re honest with yourself, could you really say “you know, I don’t really need anything, I’m, I’m kind of fine.”
Of course, all of this leads to the question “well, what now?” How do we solve this problem of apathy?
We’ve looked at why it matters, we looked at how you might have got here, now we come thirdly and finally to our last point, and that is the solution to it.
What I love about this passage is what you would expect from God’s Word is it’s full-orbed, right? It, it gives you the problem and tells you why it’s a problem, and then it even diagnoses it, and more importantly it kind of diagnoses you and me and you feel like you’re kind of laid bare in front of this passage and you’re like okay God, you’ve got my number here. So now what? And the passage answers that question. What is the solution to apathy? To fundamentally to shop in a new place.
The solution to apathy is to come buy from Jesus in effect. The solution to apathy in our passage is what the solution always is when we stray from God and that is to repent and turn back to Christ. Let’s look down in our passage and see where we see that take place.
First the repentance. We already see Jesus asking for repentance in verse 19. “Look, those whom I love I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” But the first step in, in fixing the problem is getting a new fresh look at who you really are. In other words, the first step of repentance is coming to grip with who you really are and what you’ve done and what you’re really like. And Jesus helps this cause here because back to verse 17, He says let Me tell you what you’re really like, and that’s the first step in repentance is to recognize this and admit it.
Back to verse 17: “You say I’m rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.” But look what Jesus said: On the contrary, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. There’s your real condition. With all your wealth, and your pretty clothes, you’re naked. With all your money, and all your prosperity, you’re really wretched. In fact, with all of the bank accounts, you’re really poor, spiritually speaking. And it’s almost like Jesus goes to the Laodiceans saying you want to fix the problem? The first step in fixing the problem is I want you to look into this mirror for a moment, and I want you to see yourself as you really are.
You know, mirrors are scary things, aren’t they? Let’s be honest, many days we don’t want to look in one. You ever had that moment in life where you, you saw yourself on video or saw a photo of you and you kind of cringed and said to yourself, or maybe to your friend, “do I really look like that?” That ever happen to you? You ever see yourself on a, maybe, a film clip or a video clip and you think “do I really sound that way?” I look at myself and I’m like “I’m cringing right now. I never really noticed I was like that. I’m embarrassed.”
Here’s the thing is that we spend most of our life with a very limited look of ourselves, and sometimes you need God to set that big spiritual mirror in front of your face and say “have a deeper, closer look. You’re not the hot stuff you think you are, Laodiceans. You’re not really that great.” In fact, the tragedy of Laodicea was the grand contrast by how great they thought they were but now sort of pitiful they actually were. It’s that gap, and that is what is fascinating and amazing is the profound lack of self-awareness.
It’s these sorts of things are why these singing competitions on TV have lasted so long, I’m convinced. It’s people’s profound lack of self-awareness, right? [laughter] How did American Idol stay on TV for 14 years, or whatever it was? Not because people could sing well, because people sung terrible and thought they could sing well, right? People tuned in to that show for generations because they, they couldn’t help but marvel at the most awful singers convinced they were the greatest singers, right? And the judges would say “you’re terrible,” and they were like “I’m awesome” and we would say “I can’t turn away, I have to watch.”
God is coming to the Laodiceans and saying “you know what, that’s kind of you. You think you’re the greatest; you’re a mess.”
The first step in fixing the problem is a profound, fresh realization of who you really are. Of course, the irony of that is that it only comes actually when you draw near to the very person that we’ve put aside, and that is Christ.
And that leads me to the, the other half of the solution. The first half of the solution, and what you could say the first half of repentance is, a profound, fresh look at who you really are and coming to grips and admitting I blew it, I’m needy, I’m a mess. Now what? Well, now you turn to the solution of that. You turn to where real wealth is found, and that is you turn to Christ.
I want you to notice what Jesus does in verse 18. Look at the very first clause there: I counsel you to buy. What, what? Hold on a second. What, Jesus is sending them shopping? It’s almost like Jesus is saying to the Laodiceans, “look, I know you’re used to spending your money, I know you’re used to shopping, I know, I know you know a lot about going to the marketplace and buying things, so let me give you some new advice. I counsel you to buy from me.” Ah, a new marketplace. “And if you buy from Me, then you’ll really be rich.”
Look at the text: So that you might be rich. If you buy from me, you’ll have white garments you might clothe yourself. You’re gonna really look good. Not the clothes you think make you look good. Real clothes. You’re really going this, you’re really going to be all the things that you want to be, spiritually speaking, but you need a new marketplace. You need to come and buy from me. I am the thing that can satisfy. I am the rich reward. I am the feast of your dreams.
What Jesus is doing here is He is in one sense reminding the Laodiceans that they’ve been searching in all the wrong places for their satisfaction. In fact, in one sense, Jesus is saying to the Laodiceans, you have been searching in all the wrong places for your satisfaction and you think you’re satisfied, and the only reason you think you’re satisfied because you haven’t eaten of the real feast. You haven’t been part of the real meal. You need to come and buy from Me. Come to My marketplace, and you will see how much you’ve been missing.
You know, the cure of our pursuit of other things to satisfy us, the cure for that is to realize that, that’s not what satisfied. The cure is to taste of Jesus and see how much better He is than any of these other things.
What you may not realize here is Jesus sets up this marketplace analogy is that he is actually citing from, or better put as actually alluding to, a very famous Old Testament passage in Isaiah 55. In Isaiah 55 God goes to Israel and He makes a plea to Israel that sounds remarkably like the plea Jesus is making to us. Listen to the words of Isaiah 55. God comes to Israel and says this: Come everyone who thirsts, come to the waters. He who has no money, come buy and eat. Come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen to me and eat what is good and delight yourself in the richest affair.
You know what the cure for apathy is? Get a renewed, fresh, deep, profound vision of the greatness of Christ. Taste of Him again. Be with Him. Spend time with Him. Learn about Him. Pursue Him like any relationship. Capture afresh, anew His greatness, His grandeur, His glory, and you realize that all the things I’ve been pursuing are rubbish, are crumbs, compared to the feast of Christ.
I am reminded of the very famous quote from C.S. Lewis that no doubt you’ve heard before, but it’s so apropos here I can’t help but quoting it again, where he makes this exact point, that the problem with us is that we’re, we’re far too easily pleased with the things of the world. We ought to be a little more picky, because what Lewis is going to say is that if you were more picky, you would settle on Christ because He’s so much better. He says this: “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
There’s your application today. In a strange paradoxical sense, my application for you today is stop being so easily pleased with the things of the world that we’re chasing. Christ is so much better.
As we draw this to a close, we’ve seen really the whole analysis of this, a refreshed sense of the deepness of the problem, a bit of a diagnostic of, of what leads to apathy and how you get here, and then a solution is a fresh realization that you’re shopping in the wrong spot, that Christ is better and more satisfying, more rich, more wonderful.
We close here simply by observing what I think is probably the most wonderful part of this passage, and that is that Jesus doesn’t just call us to repent, He woos us to repent. He invites us back, with such gentleness, such shepherding, such grace. For anyone who’s wandering, chasing money, chasing whatever, Christ says “I love you, I want you to come back.” Verse 20, you’ve seen it: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him and he with Me.
You know, that, that passage, so famous, actually comes from the Song of Solomon, when a husband stands on the other side of the door from his wife and says “I love you,” and knocks on the door and beckons that she would let him in to be her again. It’s about a love between a husband and a wife that Jesus picks up and says “this is my love, as the groom to my bride, the church.” You.
This is the thing to take home with us as we close today, it that your Lord beckons. He beckons not out of duty, not out of command, not out of a wagging of the finger and ordering. He beckons in a woo. Come and enjoy what is better. In fact, come and enjoy what is best, and your heart will delight in the richest affair. Amen and amen.
Let’s pray together.
Our Lord, we, we confess that we are like the Laodiceans. We chase things, Lord. Always searching, always looking, always longing for something better and more fulfilling. Lord we ask today that you would remind us that Christ is best. He is better, He is more wonderful. May we settle on Him and open the door to refresh that fellowship and taste His sweetness again. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.