June 30, 2024 | Brandon Cooper

This sermon focuses on the letter to the church in Laodicea from Revelation 3:14-22, highlighting the danger of spiritual complacency and self-reliance. The pastor emphasizes Jesus’ rebuke of the church’s lukewarm faith and a false sense of self-sufficiency, urging them to recognize their true spiritual poverty. He stresses the importance of relying on Jesus for true spiritual riches, holiness, and understanding rather than worldly wealth and comfort. The sermon concludes by encouraging listeners to fix their eyes on Jesus, who is described as holy, creator, savior, and worthy of all praise.


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Good morning church. Go ahead, grab your Bibles open up to Revelation chapter three, we will finish up the chapter this morning, starting in verse 14, Revelation 314, as you’re turning there, it’s possible you’ve done something like this before in your life, I know that I have at least where, say you’re driving in your car, and you hear a new noise that your car didn’t used to make. And you know, the inconvenience that this is going to be. So you think yourself, I’m sure it’s fine. It’s probably nothing. And you just kind of go on your merry way. And then you know, a few weeks later, whatever the belt snaps, and now it’s this huge repair and all that maybe it’s not your car, maybe it’s how slow it is. That long it takes you to get to the doctor or relational conflict, whatever it is, we have this tendency to miss evaluate how things are going. And that’s sometimes how serious conditions actually are, you know, there’s always this sense that it can’t be as bad as it looks. Because if it were that bad, I’d have to do something about it. And I don’t want to have to do that. So that bad evaluation leads to complacency and complacency can often lead to catastrophe. And here’s the thing that can happen spiritually, as well. And that’s exactly what we see in the church and loud Asiya, which is where we’re headed. Now, this is the last letter in our series, seven letters. This is the seventh. And in many ways, this is the worst of the letters. I mean, we saw Sardis. And that was a church that looked alive, but was actually dead, which sounds pretty bad. But even Sardis at least had a minority of people who hadn’t soiled their clothes. There’s no minority here in Laos to see. This is a church that has grown complacent. They are spiritually speaking fat, and lazy than unconcerned about their condition. So that’s what we’re going to look at. As we do that we’ll follow the same structure we’ve been following throughout this series. With Christ Church, charge and cheer, the only difference being I’m going to wrap up the sermon with our big idea kind of as a punctuation mark to the sermon, but also as a punctuation mark to the series as a whole. So that is where we’re headed. Let’s start by looking at what Jesus has to say about himself the first section Christ, we will see that he describes himself as a faithfully true, may read it for us, Revelation, chapter three, verse 14, to the angel of the church and allow to see, right, these are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness the ruler of God’s creation. So like last week, were given three descriptions of Jesus, all important in their own way. First of all, he calls himself the Amen. This is a Hebrew word along with hallelujah, the two Hebrew words that everyone on Earth knows and everyone says in Hebrew, even untranslated, and it means something like truly, truly. So it functions that way for the most part, but it is used as a title of God in a few different spots. One of them is Isaiah, chapter 65, verse 16, which is interesting because it’s a similar context of what we have here and Isaiah 65, the Lord begins by rebuking his people who have grown spiritually complacent and who have fallen into obstinate rebellion as a result. But the Lord also speaks of the the remnant that is faithfully pursuing him and he says this about that remnant, he says, Whoever invokes a blessing in the land will do so by the god of amen. If you’re looking in the NIV, at that verse would say the one true God which is a great way to translate it, but you know, literally reads the God of Amen or the Amen God, whoever takes an oath in the land will swear by the Amen, God so there he is called a min, this this remnant from within the spiritually complacent people will call on God he says this, this faithful God, interestingly, it’s right after he says that he’s going to give that remnant a new name, which of course we’ve seen in our series as well. Amen is also a word that Jesus uses quite a bit. He frequently introduces his conversations with people by saying, Amen, amen. I tell you, again, usually translated as something like truly, truly are very, Truly I tell you, in other words, he’s saying, I’m the one who is speaking the truth to you, which of course he did. So it makes sense then that the next description we would get of Jesus here is that he’s the faithful and true witness. We’ve seen those words Faithful and True already. In fact, we saw them last week in Revelation 19. Jesus is pictured as the rider on the white horse whose name aim is faithful and true. And I liked this because it brings the two ideas that that word true has together here, you know, we talked about true on the one hand can mean accurate, real genuine and on the other hand, it can mean faithful. And here he is both faithful and true. And so you put all this together and I mean, we get the Jesus is the most accurate witness, like everything he says is amen, amen. Faithful and True. But what about the last title, where he’s described as the ruler of God’s creation? There is a little ambiguity here because that word ruler, it can mean two different things. If you wanted to get the ambiguity in English, it probably could translate it with the word first. So he’s the first of God’s creation, does that mean first in terms of time or first in time or in terms of preeminence place? And the answer is certainly both. He is a creator, we know that. And so as Creator, He rules creation, He is preeminent, he has the right to speak authoritative ly about what he sees. We are beholden to him. But he could also be the the first in time of God’s new creation. That is Jesus is the one who kicks off the coming Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth, which fits the context of Isaiah 65. By the way, we just read 65 Verse 16, verse 17, the very next verse says, See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. Certainly he does that. So Jesus is the creator, the Redeemer, and the one who reigns. So as creator and recreate her, he has every right to judge us truly, to make distinctions among us to describe us as we really are, especially because of the new kingdom that is coming. And because Jesus is trying to bring about a new heavens and a new earth is this perfect forever kingdom, he cannot allow corruption into it, or it will destroy that new kingdom. I remember reading it probably back in middle school. I think it was an Isaac Asimov short story, but don’t quote me on that. Well, in it this guy like cryogenically freezes himself. And then he wakes up, you know, 100 years in the future, whatever, Science Technology have advanced, and so he had some dreaded disease that they weren’t able to cure at the time and boom, they’re able to cure it, no problem right there. And he’s so grateful for this. And then he coughs a little bit. And so they give him a lethal injection. Because they hadn’t cured the common cold yet, so they just had to eradicate it. And they didn’t want to bring that corruption into their perfect society. That’s, that’s kind of what we’re talking about here. Like there is this corruption, this sickness within us. And if Jesus allows us to bring it into heaven, bring sin into heaven, we will quickly make of Heaven or Hell. And we know that because we did it once already. This is what it would look like except unrestrained in that case. So Jesus can’t allow us to bring that corruption into His coming Kingdom. And so he has to judge us rightly, when he speaks, we need to listen. When he speaks, we need to listen because we cannot judge ourselves, right? I can trust ourselves, to judge ourselves accurately, that we are not faithful and true witnesses, especially not when it comes to ourselves. We just make excuses for our evil over and over and over again, we hear the car noise and we just keep thinking It’s probably nothing. I mean, how many times have you gone back? Let’s say you had a fight with a friend or spouse or somebody like that. And you know, you walk away angry and you replay the fight in your head? How many times do you win that fight in your head? Is it every time or every time? Every time right? Because you can’t judge accurately? You’re in the middle of it. Like clearly the other person’s got some right at least in that conversation. But no, we don’t see it. We always think we’re fine. Always think we’re right. We need outside eyes. Because if somebody else had watched that interaction, they probably will be able to say yeah, but have you considered and that’s what Jesus is offering us here. Someone to tell us what we’re really like, and we need a faithfully true friend and judge to tell us what we’re really like. And allow to see who really needs faithfully true outside eyes because they’ve got no idea what they’re like they’re judging themselves completely inaccurately, as we’ll see. So that’s the next section then So Christ is faithfully true but look at the church will see that the church allowed to see it is pitifully complacent, pitifully complacent, verses 15 to 18. Let me read it for us now. Jesus says I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. I’m about to spit you out of my mouth. You say I am rich,
I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined to the fire so you can become rich and white clothes to wear so you can cover your shameful nakedness and salve to put on your eyes so you can see. So Jesus begins this section with a famous but often misunderstood image when he says that the loudest scenes are neither hot nor cold. Jesus is not talking about like spiritual heat here, he is not saying I wish you were either on fire for Jesus or just like the angriest wickedest atheists you’ve ever met? Because that makes no sense of any other passage in all of Scripture. Why would God want that? No, he’s talking about, he’s using an analogy. And so he’s using an analogy, how we use it, like how do you like your beverages? Hot or cold? Those are the two options, like a cold beverage is refreshing. And a hot beverage can be warming or medicinal. You know, cold day, you’ve got that cold that you’ll be legally injected for later on in the world. And you get a hot cup of chamomile tea, something like that. Like that’s tea. I’m not a coffee drinker. So we’re talking tea here, okay. You can have iced tea, and you can have hot tea. And the one thing you don’t drink is lukewarm tea. Because it’s gross. That’s the whole point. That’s all that Jesus is saying here. Now these are images that the loudest scenes would know well, they’re kind of part of a tri City area. So loud to see here. Propolis and Colossi all quite close together. And here opolis was famous for its hot springs that we’re medicinal, in fact, and Colossi got its water from cool mountain streams. So cold and refreshing. There’s some debate about all this, but it seems like allowed to see was fed by water from Aqua ducks didn’t have a real good water source there within the town itself, the river was kind of putrid and stuff. So they would get their water from the aqueduct. So you can imagine cold water coming across an aqueduct or hot water coming across an aqueduct to a town is all going to end up being lukewarm room temperature, also gonna pick up a lot of calcium carbonate on the way so that it is actually emetic. If you were to drink this water, you would vomit. And that is the word that’s used there the word that we get our word and Medic from, and it does not mean to spit out. Like I didn’t like it. And so I spit it out, it means to throw up to vomit. And that is kind of important to actually, um, explain why there’s a subtle Old Testament allusion here that helps us understand this. So it shows up in a few different places. I’ll just read one, this is Leviticus 20, verse 22. The Lord says, keep all my decrees and laws and follow them so that the land where I’m bringing you to live may not vomit you out. what’s being said there is this is supposed to be a holy place like God’s people in God’s place were supposed to live under his reign. And if they didn’t do that, if they profaned the land, and the land would vomit them out. Why? Because the Holy can’t abide the profane any more than our stomachs can handle rancid meat. So it’s not just that I don’t like the taste. It’s an absolute rejection. And so what’s being said here is that the consequences of spiritual complacency, spiritual uselessness, that’s what being lukewarm is right? Spiritual uselessness is getting vomited out of God’s holy place. excluded from the kingdom exiled from his presence. It’s a strong image. And so it’s worth asking ourselves Am I living water? Am I hot? Like hot springs or cold from cool mountain streams? Or am I just a lukewarm puddle? And as yourself that for right now, not what it used to be. It’s got some parallels to the Ephesian church. The first one we looked at right, they had forgotten the love they had at first, maybe at one point you were steaming hot cup of coffee. But you’re the steaming hot cup of coffee that got left on the counter as its owner went off to work. And now you were well, your coffee. So you’re disgusting to begin with. But you get the point right? You’re lukewarm no longer good. But here’s my second question. So we’re asking ourselves, you know, am I living warm or hot or cold? Am I just lukewarm? My second question though, is how do you know? How would you how are you judging yourself? How would the loudest scions know if they’re hot or cold or lukewarm? Because that raises that question of self evaluation and whether or not we’re able to do it the loudness Ian’s have gotten completely wrong. They think they’re rich. It’s what they say. And they were by the way, they were famous They’re being quite wealthy their banking system was was famous. Remember, we had a couple of towns that got knocked over by earthquakes already in this series. Well, loud to see also got knocked over by an earthquake a few decades later. The difference though is remember, Philadelphia, they like that seizure had to come in and rebuild the city and it got renamed NEOs. ESRI at that point, because they’re so grateful for what Caesar did. Well, Caesar came to LAO to see and said, let me help you rebuild the city. And they’re like, No, we good. Like, we can do this. We got we’re actually richer than you are like, Do you need help? Can we get you something like that was the level of wealth that they had. But being rich in the world’s eyes, does not mean that you are rich in God’s eyes. Because the standard is very, very different. What does the faithfully true ruler, think? This is such a good reminder for us. Because there are some words that may be good and Biblical words, but that we can invest with a totally different meaning than the Bible does. And why we got to be careful. So let me take just as an example, word that really is the chief American virtue, you may not know that it’s the chief American virtue, but I promise you it is. And if you move overseas, you will recognize that almost immediately, and that’s efficiency is what Americans value above all else, efficiency. Here’s the thing. You can be efficient in the world’s eyes, like a breathtakingly efficient, you’ve read all of your cubby and everybody else, like every 15 minute chunk of your day is chock full of whatever goals you are trying to accomplish, to be so efficient in the world’s eyes, and yet totally inefficient in God’s eyes, because you are efficiently, efficiently tackling the wrong priorities. You have devoted your life to doing things that God doesn’t care that much about. And so you’re actually inefficient in accomplishing the purpose for your life. And on the flip side, just think about how terribly inefficient Christianity is. I mean, some of the things that the most important things we’re asked to do are things like, abide in Christ. How do you abide efficiently? Or take discipleship, which is our commission, as the people of God make disciples of all nations? You cannot microwave discipleship. And an American church, of course, has tried to do just that. Like, can we do a six week class? You get your gold sticker? At the end of it, boom, your disciple? No, it’s not how it works. It just takes time. Or sometimes we think in terms of numbers, like why would I do with three people what I couldn’t do with 30 people, that would make me 10 times more efficient and my disciple making wouldn’t it, the more likely I’m actually 10 times less efficient, because I’m going to do absolutely nothing with 30 people, whereas I might be able to do something with three people. Discipleship is slow. Why? Because sanctification is slow. It’s an inefficient process in God’s providence. So we gotta be really careful how we evaluate even good terms. But to my mind, the most concerning part of verse 17, when they’re giving their their self evaluation here is not the I Am Rich part is what comes after I’ve acquired wealth and do not need a thing. If you can stand before God and say, I’m good, I don’t need a thing. I think you are in a really, really dangerous place. And that’s where they are, they are self satisfied, and self reliant. And that is the danger that money brings, or is one of the dangers of being wealthy and I’m speaking to a wealthy church lives in a wealthy community. This is a danger, we face. The problem though, because you got all this money, you think I can handle it, I can rebuild my city if an earthquake comes. The problem is that money is no bulwark against the most important storms you will face in this life. Like what good will your bank account do you on your deathbed? Not a bit of good. And we will all be called to that account at some point. Can’t Buy immortality can’t buy love as even the world recognizes. What about salvation, yet really can’t buy that one. And so there’s this reminder here, and it’s probably a needed reminder because of where we live in the world. And that’s that wealth. And the absence of troubles. Do you notice love to see it has any problems? They’re not being persecuted. Like most of the other churches we’ve seen? Why would they be persecuted? They’ve just slotted into the world’s culture so so well, there’s no need to persecute them. So wealth, and the absence of troubles are no proof of God’s blessing.
Wealth and the absence of troubles or no proof of God’s blessing, which is the end of the prosperity gospel right there. Because this is a prosperity Gospel Church, and loud Asiya they have all the world’s blessings. And they made the mistake of thinking that God was happy with them, as a result, was actually quite the opposite. And we should probably stop and think about that for a moment. Because again, we live in the richest country in the history of the world. We’re also the country, not surprisingly, that produced the prosperity gospel as a result. And so we know this kind of thinking is going to creep into our minds unless we’re vigilant against. We don’t realize how needy we are. Because we don’t feel like a daily hunger the way some people in the world do the loudest scenes didn’t realize how needy they were. So Jesus hits them right in their pride. Because better is open rebuke than hidden love. That’s Proverbs tells us and wounds from a friend can be trusted. These are wounds my friend Jesus offers them right here, and it is quite a list. You are wretched, and pitiful. It’s a good start to conversation. But again, that just shows us that the world has a very different evaluation than God, like the CEO of a Fortune 500 Country company could be a pitiful wretch, in need of what the proper working third shift and one of his factories has to offer the gospel of Jesus Christ. So that’s kind of a general one pitiful and wretched. But then he gets really specific to allow to see on these next three, they are poor, and blind, and naked. Because loud, a CEO was known for its money in banks for a Phrygian powder that they made that was used in an eye salve, and for their black wool. So the three things they were best at exactly where they think they’re strongest. That’s where Jesus says their weakest. This is like the spiritual equivalent of the emperor’s new clothes. Like everybody has their fawning about the Bible, look at you look how well dressed you are and stuff and instead of a child, it’s the omniscient God of the universe, who says you realize you’ve got nothing on spiritually, like you have no idea how pitiful you are. These are harsh words. Absolutely. But as always, there’s grace available, and grace offered in this moment. This is not the final word not yet. Jesus has counseled for them. And what is His counsel deal with your lack? Jesus is just that he’s the passenger going? Do you hear the noise in the car? Like you should go to the shop right now I will pay for the Uber man. Okay, like, like deal with your problem, issue, self reliance. Run to Jesus to get what you need. Because Jesus is the one who provides true riches, and sight and clothing. There’s a part of this verse that I kind of stumbled over maybe you did too, though, I counsel you to buy from Me gold and clothes, and the ISF. How do we buy this from Jesus? And doesn’t that kind of sound a little bit like merit based at that point? Like, do I have to earn this, or I gotta, like, earn the money so that I can do this. that would that would be a problem that would seem to go against the message of grace that the Bible proclaims over and over again, Julie helped us out on this part already. Because she read the passage for us earlier. This is an allusion to Isaiah chapter 55. Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters and you who have no money come by and eat. Again, if you stop there. What a depressing message, you have no money come buy the stuff you need. Thankfully, as a does not stop, God does not stop come buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. Why spend money on what does not bread and your labor and what does not satisfy? We know this is what passage Jesus is thinking of here what passage John’s thinking of here because almost the last words of the book of Revelation, the last word of the book of the Bible is an allusion to this passage right here. So goodbye, true riches. So you can see it’s not a real buying. It reminds me of some years ago, one of my daughters had I think it was a Little House on the Prairie birthday party. Don’t quote me on that. And so she ran a candy store as part of the party. And so we had like old school candy like they would have had back like peppermint sticks, things like that, or whatever. So we gave all the kids you know their little bags of money so that they could go and buy the candy. So you look at what happened. I bought the candy and then I gave them the money to buy the candy that I’d already provided for them. That’s great. Right? That’s what Jesus has done for us. Okay, and that’s good news but but you do have to like show up at the store with the money he gave you to purchase the thing that he already purchased for you by true riches. refined gold, not black like wool garments, but white garments, which we’ve seen throughout revelation means holy living, like our filthy clothes had been removed, and were clothed in garment stained white by Christ’s perfect righteousness, and then the salve to restore our spiritual sight, which has been lost by slow degrees. Like, cataracts forming, this isn’t you wake up one day on your blind, it’s just a little less vision every day until eventually your sight is like Monet’s paintings at the end of his life, which is a good reminder, because no one plans to drift, right? No one plans to drift spiritually. And yet, so many of us do. And so here’s Jesus saying Open your eyes. see clearly? What are you really like? Do you spend more time on your phone on social media than you do in the word or more time listening to what talking heads on cable news have to say about the world and talking to God in prayer? One of the commentators that I was reading this past week, he gave an interesting one, this will this will expose us I think a little bit. He said, You know, if you had a choice between somebody giving you like the winning Powerball ticket, billion dollars, or the promise of God’s provision, which would you choose? I would need God’s provision that right? All lottery winners eventually go bankrupt. So yeah, probably you want to choose God’s provision instead, like you get the point? These are the sorts of questions we have to be asking ourselves, especially because we live in such a similar context to allow to see, we’ve got money, we don’t need a thing. We think we’re smart, and fashionable. We are self reliant, self satisfied, and most likely self deceived. Have you become spiritually complacent? Are you spiritually fat, and lazy? It may be that the most dangerous word spiritually speaking, is content. I’m content in my faith. CS Lewis says it like this. And this is this is the section here, right? He’s just gonna slice this open with this one. He says, We think what would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happen to like doing? What does it matter, so long as they are contented. We want not so much a father in heaven as a grandfather, a senile benevolence, who likes to see young people enjoying themselves, and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, a good time was had by all. I think that is how most of us feel as long as I’m not doing something terribly wrong, like, I’m good. I’m good, I’m fine. And if that’s you, if that’s your feeling, and the rebuke that’s coming is for you. And that’s where we’re going next this charge verses 19 and 20. What rebuke does Jesus offer when it see that this rebuke is lovingly stern may read verses 19 and 20. For us, those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am, I stand at the door and knock if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me. So it is a rebuke. There’s the stern part. But it is a loving rebuke contract. Jesus specifically says that love is what motivating him. Lord disciplines those whom he loves, cares enough about to actually talk to engage with a loving rebuke is the only kind of rebuke that really works. Because it’s not dealing with behavior, which is the fruit of our lives. It is dealing with the heart itself. And we’re talking here about sins that are so subtle, they’re almost impossible to discern that that slow drift idea. We’re talking about sins like self sufficiency, and complacency that come from affluence, and spiritual contentment, which Jeremy Writebol in his book on the seventh letter says these sorts of sin sit deeper in the heart than adultery and murder, which is so true. And so like a slap on the wrist isn’t going to draw these sins out. The only force that can draw these sins out will be love. So Jesus is here calling us back to a relationship with him. I mean, this is like a, like a wife, marching into her husband’s office, you know, late on a Friday night after his work too much this week. Again, kids in tow saying, We love you. Come home.
We don’t want your money. We don’t care about your titles. We want you. We love you too much to let you keep doing this. Come be with your kids. Be husband to your wife. Again, that’s love that’s motivating that rebuke. Because if there wasn’t loving, just leave, right. It’s love motivating the rebuke. That’s what’s happening here to what Jesus is doing. He’s not wrecking our fun, you’re not allowed to be rich guys. It’s not at all. Jesus wants better for us than we want for ourselves. Much like the wife in that situation. He doesn’t just want a good time to be had by all he wants us to have a life and have it to the fullest. He says in John 10 men that fullness of life is found only in Him. So what command is he gives them? What’s interesting, if complacency is the problem, then what’s needed is zeal. Zeal is actually the word that’s used there is translated as a be earnest. Like, where’s your zeal? Where’s your passion? Can you get that back? Again, spiritually fat and lazy. And so Jesus needs to, like shock us out of our complacency. This is like an ex athlete who used to be fit and who still thinks oh, I used to be able to run the mile and this or whatever. And you know, somebody’s got like a hold the mirror up to them, along with a picture of what they used to look like and be like, Oh, okay, I should move. It would be a good first. Like, that’s what Jesus is saying here. Like, be earnest, get passionate again. Repent. Now we expect to cause repentance. We’ve gotten an almost every letter. But here’s how it normally feels right? Like you’ve grown spiritually fat and lazy. So repent and we kind of go right, your head slumps. You look down your feet in shame. But notice that Jesus is not offering us condemnation, but an invitation here. Jesus is knocking on the door of the self satisfied, complacent, rich church saying, let me in and we’ll stop together. Like we’ll, we’ll hang out. We cannot overstate the importance of table fellowship and an ancient Near Eastern context. Like this is not Facebook friends. This is real friendship. This is welcome, and acceptance. And that is the promise that is written across the pages of the Bible. You can come and fellowship and eat with God Himself. And all this, of course culminates in the wedding supper of the Lamb and His bride, the Church. And so Jesus is just offering this foretaste of the heavenly banquet. But it is interesting, who exactly is knocking and why, like, we know Jesus knocking, but what Jesus are we talking about here? Because there’s some knocking that goes on in the Bible. Is this the master returning like a thief in the night, wondering if his servants are ready for his return? Like we see in Luke chapter 12. Sure. Absolutely. That’s who’s knocking at the door. And so the message Eric will be ready, wake up. And, for that matter, he’s kind of coming in, even if you don’t open up, which is how the story ends. So yeah, he is the master but But is he also the bridegroom knocking on his beloved’s door like we see in the Song of Songs? Sure, absolutely. This is the invitation to intimacy. There’s that balance that this tension that the Christian life is all about. I think it’s captured so wonderfully in a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer is one of my famous favorite prayers and all of church history. It says this, begins with confession, we have followed too much the devices and desires of our hearts, we’ve offended against the Holy loss. We’ve left undone those things we ought to have done, we have done those things which we ought not to have done. There is no health in us. That’s what the servant says, when the master comes in. But then it goes on. These are the words of assurance, the Almighty and Merciful Lord grant you absolution and remission of all your sins, true repentance, amendment of life and the grace and consolation of His Holy Spirit. That’s what the beloved says when he comes in. We’ve got fear before our master and yet forgiveness in the arms of our bridegroom, one at the same time. He’s lovingly Stern, in other words, but he’s there, even now. He is knocking. Will you open willingly to him? This is a verse that’s often used in evangelism. And you’ll notice the context is not evangelism. This is Jesus knocking on the church’s door, saying, hey, we need to talk. But here’s a picture of what Jesus is doing for all of us. Also, if you are here today and don’t know Jesus, He is knocking. Now, you know how I know he’s knocking on the door of your heart, because you’re here. You just heard these words. That’s him knocking, saying, I will come in. I will come in you can have fellowship with God you offended by your sinful living, but who’s willing to forgive you because of what Jesus has done for you? You, you can receive that grace even. Now. That takes us to our final section though the cheer, the promise that motivates our continuing obedience in the Gospel. And the cheer that we’re going to get in verses 21 and 22 is that we will be eternally reigning, eternally reigning, let me read it for us. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father and His throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Jesus is speaking to power brokers, right to influencers to the wealthy to the sorts of people who could lend money to Caesar. These are people who are enjoying Rome’s favor. Now the kinds of people who in our world today would get cushy ambassadorships late in their lives, because of the favors they’ve done for the President, the donations they’ve made. So it’s to this group, those kinds of people that Jesus asked what’s better? What’s better enjoying Rome’s favor now, or Jesus’s favor forever? And that is an easy answer, especially when you consider the scale of the promise that is given, which is really the the climax and the culmination of all the promises we’ve seen in these seven letters. mean Jesus has said to the one who perseveres to the one who is victorious in this life again victorious in Jesus’s victory, which even says a heared one who was victorious I will and then we get this list of promises: we get to eat from the Tree of Life, we’re not gonna be harmed by the second death, will eat the heavenly manna that God provides for us, we get a white stone admitting us to the heavenly banquet where we get to rule over the nations, we’re clothed and garments of white. Our names are in the book of life. We’re part of the New Jerusalem, citizens of this new kingdom and pillars in God’s heavenly temple. And all of that together is saying, “Look, we get to participate in Jesus’s rule and reign forever over the new creation.” That’s better than Rome’s favor if you missed it. So again, the rebuke is loving, like it’s a real rebuke, but it’s so loving, because look at what what is the the natural and maybe supernatural reward for those who follow to the end. It is so good. It is so good. The problems these seven churches have faced are common to all times in places persecution, social and cultural pressures, tempting the church to faithlessness, heterodox teaching, or orthodox teaching with lovelessness, attached sexual immorality, complacency, and affluence and influence. These are the struggles we face today as well. So what’s needed. It’s not a can do spirit. elbow grease, try harder. What’s needed is Jesus, Jesus, the one who is speaking to the churches, even now, in a word grace. Grace is what’s needed. And so to allow to see especially but to but to all of us that the simple message this letter, but the big idea they want to have in your heads as you walk out here today is rely on Jesus, to very simple rely on Jesus, just trust and live like you trust in Jesus rely on Jesus for provision. He’s one who provides the gold rely on him for a holiness he’s the one who provides the clothing, these white garments rely on Jesus for site for understanding, because he’s the one who provides the salve. And this is such good news, because it is exhausting trying to be enough.
If the problem was self reliance, you have to rely on yourself. And it’s exhausting. Because you know, it’s a facade. And it’s a crumbling facade at that. And if the right storm comes, it’s all collapsing. It is exhausting, trying to be enough. So here’s the good news. You are not enough. But Jesus is enough. That’s it. That’s the message we’re getting here. The church under attack, and these churches are under attack. In that unholy triumvirate we see all over the place, the world the flesh and the devil. Alright, so we got the social and cultural pressures tempting us to faithlessness we’ve got persecution, that’s the world we got the flesh that’s our sinful desires, our self satisfaction on that we’ve got the devil who stands behind all of these temptations. Of course, the church under attack needs to fix its eyes on Jesus. Who is enough and in whom only in whom we can be victorious? This is the end of the seven letters, but this is not the end of the message, not the end of the book, right? It keeps going When even what happens next, chapter four, After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open and heaven. And voices come in verse two at once I was in the spirit and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. But that’s not accidental. That that’s what comes next. This is exactly what we need to see now that our eyes have been opened to see Jesus, raining it totally on his throne and knowing that we will reign with Him forever. And then we get these songs in chapters four and five. These are the songs being sung in heaven, even now. The songs help us fix our eyes on Jesus by reminding us of who Jesus is why we must fix our eyes on Him. First of all, he’s holy, and Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come, holy, that is he’s he’s transcendent. He’s a holy other absolutely above us. And that that humbles us. That’s the fear of the Lord that comes from this. It’s what we read about in Isaiah 66 Verse two, or God says, These are the ones I look on with favor grace. In other words, same word use the ones I look on with favor those who are humble, and contrite and spirit and have tremble at my word, you tremble at God’s word and you realize how holy he is. But second, we see that Jesus is creator you are worthy our Lord and God receive glory and honor and power for you created all things. And by your will they were created and have their being. Jesus alone has the power to sustain us and to recreate us. Third he is Savior and chapter five, you are worthy to take the scroll on to open it seals because you were slain, and with your blood you purchase for God persons, who every tribe and language and people and nation, you’ve made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth, there’s the same promise. Jesus did this for us. He was the Lamb slain for us. The songs go on to sing of his absolute worthiness. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise. To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, glory, praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever. He is worthy, Jesus is enough, rely on him just trust. I said a very first sermon in this series that these are pastoral letters. These are messages given to the messengers of the churches, whether it’s an angel or a pastor, some debate there. But you know, this is what Jesus has to say to the to the churches through the messengers. So I want to leave you with an image and hopefully sums up what these letters are trying to do. What I tried to do every Sunday and the purpose of the church as a whole, there’s a painting in Luther’s pulpit, in His Church in Wittenberg where he was pastor was painted by his friend, Lucas Cranach and Luther is in the painting, he’s on the right side, and he’s preaching. And so with his right hand, he’s got his hand on the Bible, you know, pointing to the text, where he’s preaching from, with his left hand, he’s he’s pointing up. And on the left side of the painting is the congregation. And there’s some in the congregation who are sneering at Luther, he was not universally beloved, to say the least. And there are always people who reject the Word of God. And so they’re looking at each other and making these sneering faces but most of the congregation is paying close attention. But they’re not looking at Luther. They’re looking where Luther is pointing, pointing. They’re looking up because they’re in the center of the painting is Jesus Christ and Him crucified? That’s the message of these letters. It’s the message of the whole Bible. Look at Jesus. Rely on Jesus. Trust in Jesus, the Lamb who was slain for your sake, and mine. Let’s pray to him now.

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