“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
 ‘I know your deeds, 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 will spit you out of My mouth.
 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore 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 will dine with him, and he with Me.
 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
And members of more than 6,000 branch churches in United States of America, Canada, Peru, Honduras, Bolivia, El Salvador, Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, China, Japan, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Mongolia, Israel, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, Gabon, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Botswana, Swaziland, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Dagestan, and other countries, and branch churches and local sanctuaries in Korea, and members who are attending this service through satellite and the Internet, and all the TV viewers.
As the saying goes, ‘It is old cow’s notion that she never was a calf.’
It means that some one came out a difficult situation by the help of others. But he doesn’t remember the time he used to live in difficulty. He even forgets about the help he received.
When someone forgets the grace that he received before, or when he doesn’t remember the difficult time but misuses his power of authority, people use the saying.
The same may apply to a Christian life.
Someone was in a difficult situation with many problems, but he fervently prayed to God and received God’s grace and blessing. But then, instead of living a more diligent believing life, he rather stays away from God, and befriends the world.
Then, you may ask, “Didn’t God foresee he would be like that when He gave the man blessing?”
Of course, God knows everything.
That’s why God wants to give the blessing of spirit and soul’s getting along well first, and the blessing of everything’s going well.
And this is the true blessing.
But there is the law of justice in the spiritual world.
And when someone does something according to this law, he will be given a blessing.
Let’s say there is someone whose spirit and soul are not getting along well yet. But if he shows his faith at his best, sows and prays by faith according to his level of faith, it is the justice that he will reap a proper fruit.
God will surely give him the blessing so that his spirit and soul can get along well, but at the same time God allows him to reap what he sows by faith.
If everyone can receive a blessing only after their spirit and soul are getting along well, then who can possibly receive an answer and blessing?
Therefore, God gives answers and blessings according to their level of faith in the law of justice.
But the important thing is “AFTER” receiving an answer and blessing.
Depending on how they manage their believing lives, their answer and blessing may yield complete fruit, or on the contrary they will vanish away.
In other words, depending on which way they choose, they may see the totally different result.
If they continue to go the way of blessing that their spirit and soul are getting along well, then they will receive bigger blessing under the protection of God. However, if they pursue the world with the blessing they received, their situation may become worse.
Therefore, the truly important thing is what kind of life you live after you receive blessing from God. And How to use the blessing is also important.
But there are churches that don’t use God-given blessing properly.
For example, there is a church that prays fervently, being faithful to the kingdom of God. Then, God gives the church the blessing of revival, and the blessing of finance, and He gives the blessing to its members as well.
Later, the church and its members may have fortune, honor, and authority.
People with wealth and authority may come to the church, and the church become well-known to the world.
But the problem is that when the church possesses such wealth, honor, and authority, chances are that the church may compromise with the world.
Of course a church should not seek for wealth, honor, or authority. Even if it happens to possess them, it has to use them only for God’s kingdom and souls with good intention.
It has to serve others all the more humbly to become the light and salt in the world, and it should work only for the glory of God.
But chances are that some churches compromise with the world in order to more of wealth, honor, and authority once they come to have such things.
Instead of thinking, “How can we save one more soul? How can we expand the kingdom of God?” they will be more interested in how to be recognized in the world, and how to acquire more worldly power and authority.
In the process of doing it, they come to compromise with the world as they think fit, and they come to ally with the worldly people who have wealth, honor, and authority.
I don’t mean that you should exclude such people with wealth, honor, and authority.
You must surely embrace them in the love of Christ Jesus. You must share the gospel with them, and plant faith in them. If God can be glorified through such people, how wonderful it will be!
But the problem is that other than this pure purpose, some churches compromise with the world to gain bigger wealth, honor, and authority.
The word of the Lord, “you are neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm,” also contains reproach toward such churches.
Dear brothers and sisters.
The most significant and fundamental characteristic of lukewarm faith is that it tries to sit on the fence between God and the world.
In other words, while trying to have both ways, it chooses the side that benefits it depending on the situation.
But God gives clear warning for such a faith.
1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
The Lord also says in Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Here, ‘wealth’ in this verse doesn’t only refer to materials of the world. It symbolizes the world and the things in the world. He says you cannot love either the world or the things of the world, and God at the same time.
Some people think it wise to sin on the fence in living their believing lives, but it’s never wise; it is rather foolish.
God says He will spit such people out of His mouth.
The serious problem with this people is that such people who have lukewarm faith cannot look back on their believing life, and they cannot even realize their faults.
The reason is explained in the verse 17.
The Lord says, “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”
If they realize and acknowledge their shortcomings, they will get a chance to turn back when they hang on to God. But those with lukewarm faith think to themselves that they are rich so that they cannot realize their shortcomings nor acknowledge them.
They say they have need of nothing, and they don’t want to be enthusiastic. They don’t even try to change themselves.
Then, are they truly rich men who have need of nothing just as the way they say?
Even though they have nothing short of in a fleshly sense, spiritually they are always wretched in their spirit, they don’t feel the fullness of the Spirit, and they cannot receive the spiritual strength.
The Holy Spirit groans and keeps knocking on their hearts, but they cannot communicate with the Spirit because they don’t pray. So, they cannot hear even the groaning of the Holy Spirit.
They are spiritually wretched. No matter how much fleshly wealth, honor, authority, or knowledge they may have, their spirit and soul eventually go to death. That’s why the Lord says they are wretched.
Also, the reason the Lord says they are poor is because they are spiritually poor.
The fleshly wealth in this earth will eventually perish and vanish; it is nothing but vanity.
No matter how much they enjoy and live a wealthy life in this earth, it is not true wealth.
The truly wealthy man is the one who piles up eternal reward in heaven that will not perish.
But those with lukewarm faith are not faithful in the sight of God, and they don’t sow before God because they grudge money. To sum up, they have nothing they have piled up in heaven.
Therefore, even if they repent, barely receive salvation, and go to heaven, they have no reward to receive.
That’s why such people are called poor.
And the reason the Lord says they are blind is because such people who have lukewarm faith cannot understand the spiritual world that only spiritual people can understand.
They are spiritually blind people.
Even though they listen to the word, they cannot have spiritual understanding. Since they cannot see or understand the spiritual world, they just look at the reality instead of having hope for eternal life.
On the other hand, those who can see the spiritual world through their spiritual eyes, and those who can have spiritual understanding from the word will have absolute hope for eternal life. It’s natural that they should have lukewarm faith.
They diligently find themselves through the word. They come out of darkness and go into the light.
And in order to pile up the reward in heaven, they will become faithful, and eagerly sow for the kingdom of God.
However, just as the Lord says in Matthew 6:22-23, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness,” those who are spiritually blind cannot find themselves in darkness, and they will keep staying in the darkness.
Therefore, they cannot wear the garment of righteousness that they have to wear as God’s children.
That’s why they are also called ‘naked.’
Garment represents the heart of man. ‘Wearing the garment of righteousness’ means ‘circumcising the heart and accomplish righteousness in heart.’
However, since those with lukewarm faith neither circumcise their heart nor live by the word, their heart is still full of evil, and they live in the darkness.
This is to reveal their shame of nakedness in a spiritual sense.
Even if people put on a beautiful and splendid clothes, they are not truly beautiful.
If they don’t circumcise their heart but keep their evil in their heart, no matter how beautiful clothes they are wearing outwardly, they are revealing their shame of nakedness from God’s perspective.
Therefore, I hope that you will wear the garment of righteousness that will reveal the beauty of your heart, not the beauty of your fleshly outlook.
Revelation 19:8 says, “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
Also, the Lord says in the parable of heaven, Matthew 22:10-14, “Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
We will wear white fine linen in heaven where there is no darkness at all, and the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Heaven is the place only those who live by the word of God, take off fleshly clothes that are stained in sin, and put on the beautiful garment of righteousness.
Therefore, in order to enter heaven as a beautiful bride who will welcome the Lord, you have to diligently adorn yourself as a bride and wear the fine linen.
And to do so, you have to live a believing life that has nothing to do with lukewarm faith; that is wretched, miserable, poor, blind, or naked.
The Lord says to the people who have lukewarm faith in the verse 18, “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”
You may misunderstand it if you read it as it is. It doesn’t mean that you really have to buy gold to become rich, buy white garments to wear, or buy eye salve to anoint your eyes.
The gold in this verse represents the faith that is like pure gold.
Just as the people of the world value gold most, the Lord compares faith what is the most precious in believing life to gold.
Therefore, ‘to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich’ means ‘to possess faith that is unchanging like gold.’
You can be saved and go to heaven only when you have faith. And, just as the Lord says in Matthew 9:29, “It shall be done to you according to your faith,” only when you have faith can you receive answer to whatever you ask for.
But the important fact is that even if you profess that you believe only with your lips, it doesn’t count as faith. Your faith should be accompanied with deeds of living by the word of God.
In addition, your faith should be constant and unchanging regardless of situation or condition.
Such faith is called spiritual faith. In the bible, such spiritual faith is compared to gold or pure gold.
Therefore, those who have spiritual faith will absolutely believe in the word of God in any situation and follow the word.
They don’t believe it only in the limitation of men. They show their faith till the end even in a situation that surpasses the men’s capability.
The prophet Elijah in 1 Kings Chapter 18 was the one who has such spiritual faith.
God told the prophet Elijah that He will send rain to the land of Israel which were drought for 3 and half years.
Elijah believed in His word. He went up to Mountain Carmel, crouched down on the ground, and prayed fervently until his face was put between his knees.
And he made his servant look toward the sea.
He told his servant to see whether there was a sign of rain.
But the servant said, “There is nothing.”
Then, Elijah prayed to God again, and sent the servant.
Up to 6th time, the servant came back with the same answer.
What would you do if you were in this situation?
God surely said it would rain, and you believed the word and prayed even 6 times. But there was no sign of rain at all.
Not even a cloud as small as a man’s hand.
But in this situation, Elijah prayed the 7th time.
He told the servant to go back seven times.
At the 7th time, the servant said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea.”
In a little while, the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower.
Dear brothers and sisters.
The Prophet Elijah believed in the word of God till the end.
The number 7 means ‘to be perfect and complete.’ The fact that he received answer at the 7th time means that he believed till the end, prayed, and received the answer.
Even if there had been no answer after the 7th prayer, Elijah must have kept on praying until he received the answer.
That’s because Elijah absolutely believed the word that God once told him.
This is the true faith.
To believe in God that you believe in once is the spiritual faith that is like pure gold.
But this kind of faith cannot easily be given.
Just as the people of the world have to refine gold with fire until they get the pure gold, there must also be process of refinement to have faith that is like pure gold.
You have to overcome many trials and afflictions, struggle against sin to the point of shedding blood, and endure with perseverance to live by the word. Through these processes of refinement, you can have faith that is like pure gold.
You have to pay the proper amount to buy expensive goods in the world. Likewise, the faith like pure gold can be obtained only through the process of sacrifice, endurance, and effort.
Please remember; just as the Prophet Elijah achieved victory without changing until he received the answer, when you pass through the times of perseverance with joy and thanksgiving while undergoing refinements, your faith will grow, and you will eventually possess perfect spiritual faith like pure gold.
Next, the Lord says, “Buy white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed.”
Here, the white garments represent the holy deeds of saints.
And the holy deeds come out of the holy heart.
That’s because, just as the Lord says in Matthew 12:34, “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart,” what is in your heart actually comes out through your lips and deeds.
Those hypocrites who don’t make their heart holy but pretend holy outwardly cannot hide themselves before God who searches their heart. Their evil in their heart will eventually be revealed.
Therefore, ‘clothing oneself in white garments’ means ‘getting rid of darkness of untruth from the heart and cultivating the heart into a white heart of truth.’
Only when you do so will you be able to put on the garments of righteousness so that the shame of nakedness will not be revealed.
However, how many people reveal their shame of nakedness without recognizing they are naked these days?
There are even people who are shameless while doing the worse things than an animal does.
But you must know that it is the spiritual shame of nakedness and it is truly shameful that not recognizing sin and darkness even though the heart is stained black in sin, and forgetting the position as a man who was created after the image of God.
You must not become foolish a man who doesn’t recognize his nakedness even though he professes that he believes in God.
Such a man is a spiritually blind man who doesn’t even find his true SELF even when he checks himself up on the word of God.
The Lord says to those people, “Buy eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”
It means that the spiritual eyes must be opened.
While you are living by the word of God with faith, you gradually come to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. And you come to know what the truth is, and what the sin is. You come to have spiritual sense, and it is to have spiritually opened eyes.
And when you have such spiritually opened eyes, you can understand the word of God, have hope for heaven, find your self according to the word, and change yourself into the truth.
“To have spiritually opened eyes” can have a meaning of being able to see the real spiritual word through the spiritual eyes. But the more important meaning is to understand the will of God by listening to His word, and to change your self into the truth through the understanding.
If a man has spiritually opened eyes, knows about God, and realizes what His will is, he will surely not befriend the world, but try hard to find his darkness according to the word, and change into the truth.
Such a man is the one who lives in the light. He will have deeper fellowship with God, and he will be loved by God as such.
In the next lecture, I will explain the rest of the word that was given to the church in Laodicea. And then I will conclude the messages about the seven churches by summarizing the word that the Lord gave to the seven churches.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Most of you must remember the time when you were filled with the first love, and when you were faithful experiencing the fiery works of the Holy Spirit.
Of course there are people who are still in the first love and run the race of faith in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
However, there are people who are not like that; they are the ones who try hard to recover the first love and the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
On the contrary, there are people who don’t even care about whether they lost the first love, or whether they are living a believing life without the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
They come to church. But they don’t try to be diligent in their believing lives. They don’t try to sacrifice any more. They don’t even long for the passionate and enthusiastic believing life.
Even though they want to do it in their heart, an action doesn’t follow.
This is lukewarm faith.
If you are stricken by diseases, or if you have various problems, then please check yourself up on the word whether your faith hasn’t been lukewarm faith!
And it was due to your lukewarm faith, I urge you to repent and turn back right now.
You should never lose the first love, the first deeds, or the fullness of the Holy Spirit. But the bigger problem comes when you have lukewarm faith, not even trying to recover them after you lose them.
I hope that you will keep in your heart the moments when you were full of thanks and joy because of the grace of God without changing.
If you forgot the moment by any chance, I do hope that you will recover as soon as possible.
You must never have lukewarm faith before God.
You must have hot faith, the faith that becomes hotter and hotter day by day, and the faith that you love God more and be faithful more.
May you keep such faith until the Lord comes back to take us so that you will receive God’s utmost love and guarantee, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!