Revelation Lectures(28)

Revelation Lectures

Revelation 3:14-22

[14] “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:
[15] ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
[16] ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
[17] ‘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,
[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.
[19] ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.
[20] ‘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.
[21] ‘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.
[22] ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

Beginning from today, we will take a look at the church in Laodicea, the last church among the seven churches.

The Laodicea church is the church that heard only the word of reproach from the Lord just like the church in Sardis.

Fortunately, the church in Sardis was told that they had at least a few people who didn’t soil their garments. But the church in Laodicea heard only the word of reproach.

While listening to the word of reproach that the church in Laodicea heard, I’d like to ask you to examine yourself so that you can please God and receive only praises from God.

The verse 14 says, the Lord is “The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.”

The Lord said only ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ before Father God.

There was no disobedience, saying ‘No.’

Philippians 2:8 says, “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Jesus is God in very nature, but He didn’t regard equality with God something to be grasped. He rather came to this earth being made in the likeness of men.

Until such a glorious son of God was despised and rejected by His own creatures, and crucified and died on the cross, there was only ‘Yes’ in Him.

That’s why 2 Corinthians 1:19 says, “For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you, was not yes and no, but is yes in Him.”

You and I as well, as children of God, must be able to say only “Yes,’ and “Amen” before God.

You must consider your idea or theory or whatever you think right, worth nothing, and obey the word of God.

When the word of God is not in accordance with their own idea, even though they profess they believe, they neither believe the word nor obey.

Sometimes, they appear to obey the word, but when they encounter difficulty, they change in their fleshly thought.

And this becomes the reason that they cannot experience the work of God nor give glory to Him.

2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.”

Just as the Lord did, when we obey only with ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen,’ God will guarantee the result of our obedience.

This way, we will be able to live a life that gives only glory to God.

Next, the Lord is “the faithful and true witness.”

The faithful man doesn’t assert his own ideas. He doesn’t even seek his own benefit, but there is only ‘Yes’ and Amen’ in him.

For example, when a king commands, a faithful servant goes, even if the servant knows he may die.

Since our Lord Jesus was faithful, He only obeyed with ‘Amen’ to the point of death, and in the end He completely fulfilled all prophecies about the messiah in the Old Testaments before Father God.

Therefore, He became the true witness to the fact that the promise of God was completely fulfilled when the Lord faithfully accomplished the word of God.

He is also “the Beginning of the creation of God”.

Colossians 1:15-17 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Originally the whole universe and everything in it was created at the word of God. And then John 1:1 says, “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The Lord is in very nature, God, the Word that came to this world in the flesh was Jesus.

Therefore, the Lord is the Beginning of the creation of God.

Then, why is it that the Lord explains He is “The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God,” before He speaks to the church in Laodicea?

It is to confirm that all the word of God will be surely accomplished and that the judgment of God is just and right.

The Lord – who is the Beginning of the creation of God, and who completely accomplished all the word of God only with ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ – also wants to remind you of the fact that the word that is given to the church in Laodicea will also be accomplished.

Beginning with the verse 15, there comes the rebuke that the church in Laodicea received.

The Lord says in the verses 15 & 16, “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.”

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Lord who knows all the heart, mind, and deeds of men says that the congregation of the church in Laodicea is neither cold nor hot; He says that their faith is lukewarm.

Now, what does it mean to be hot, cold, or lukewarm in a sense of faith?

When you heat up cold water with fire, it becomes hot, but when you stop heating it up, it becomes lukewarm, and eventually it becomes cold.

Here, water indicates the word of God, and the fire, the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, ‘being cold’ means there is no work of the Holy Spirit; it indicates the status that has nothing to do with salvation.

Sometimes, among church-goers, there are some who didn’t receive the Holy Spirit so that they don’t know what true faith is, and what salvation is.

They don’t even try to live by the word of God.

This is ‘cold’ faith.

Also, among the Christians who received the Holy Spirit once, there are some who don’t get rid of the heart that longs for the world, so later they quench the Holy Spirit by returning back to the world.

The Lord says that such people who become distanced from salvation are ‘cold’.

On the other hand, “being hot” indicates the status that the faith of those who received the Holy Spirit is growing by being provided with new spiritual strength every day.

When you open the door of your heart and receive the Holy Spirit, you can understand the word of God with the help of the Holy Spirit.

As you come to know more about God, and as you try to follow the truth little by little, you become full of the Holy Spirit and receive grace and strength from God; gradually you pursue the spirit in every situation.

Since you fight against sin by the word of God to the point of shedding blood, the flesh dies but the spirit grows and you fervently sacrifice yourself to accomplish the kingdom of God.

Also, just as the Lord says in Mark 12:30, you become able to love God with all your ‘heart, mind, and strength’.

This is ‘hot’ faith.

Dear brothers and sisters.

Hot or cold faith doesn’t indicate the measure of faith.

It’s not true that novice Christians have cold faith, neither is it true that those who have come to church for a long time or have a title in the church have faith that is hot.

Even though someone has just a little faith, and doesn’t follow the truth perfectly, as long as he does his best to follow the will of God according to his measure of faith, he can be considered to have ‘hot’ faith.

Of course, when he has only a small measure of faith, from time to time he follows not only the desires of the flesh but also the deeds of the body.

But, even in such a case, if he repents right away and turns back, and keeps changing, then, his faith is not considered cold.

In other words, when he continually checks himself, prays, fasts, and makes all the efforts to obey the word of God, God considers he has hot faith.

On the other hand, if someone doesn’t try to change himself at all even though someone has been a Christian for a long time, or if someone goes astray even though he surely knows what the will of God is, then he has cold faith.

The problem is that, he doesn’t have cold faith all of a sudden. He comes to have lukewarm faith without his knowledge, and eventually cold faith.

Then, what is faith that is neither hot nor cold; what is the lukewarm faith?

The lukewarm faith indicates the faith that stagnates without becoming hot even though someone knows that God is alive and heaven and hell exist.

With this kind of lukewarm faith, even though he goes to church thinking that he has faith, there is no communication with the Holy Spirit. Therefore he cannot hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. He cannot be guided or led by the Holy Spirit. He cannot find himself even if he listens to the word of God.

He comes to church because he knows he will go to hell when his faith becomes cold. But he doesn’t sacrifice himself for the Lord. He neither tries to give to the Lord, nor becomes hot.

In addition, since he doesn’t circumcise his heart, there is no change in his life.

He may appear to be faithful outwardly. But since he doesn’t circumcise his heart, even though he’s been a Christian for a long time, there is no change between now and 1, 5, or 10 years ago. He’s not even different from other worldly people.

If he stays with lukewarm faith and doesn’t turn back, then he will eventually have cold faith.

It’s like lukewarm water doesn’t stay lukewarm but becomes cold with time.

Therefore, when people have lukewarm faith for a long time, they will have nothing to do with salvation, and eventually go to the way of death. That’s why the Lord says, “I will spit you out of My mouth.”

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

Naturally, the cold faith has nothing to do with either God or salvation.

Therefore, you must never have cold faith, but you must not have lukewarm faith either.

By the way, why does the Lord say, “I wish you were cold or hot,” instead of saying “I wish you were hot, while warning about lukewarm faith?

That’s because the Lord is anxious to make you realize how much you must be able to guard yourself against lukewarm faith.

Let’s say your faith becomes cold. Then, you may have a chance to repent and come back to hot faith through discipline.

For example, when you commit sin and become neglected by God, you may become sick or diseased, and you may experience accidents or even disasters.

Likewise, through this sort of discipline, you may have a chance to render your heart in repentance and recover your faith.

But, when your faith is lukewarm, then it’s not easy to get such a chance.

But it doesn’t mean that you should have cold faith.

In fact, when you undergo discipline while your faith is cold, it’s not easy to repent and turn back.

It’s because you feel afraid or disheartened, rather than feeling the love of God.

Moreover, how foolish and painful it is to repent and turn back after you encounter a disaster!

Even though you can be forgiven by God, it’s not easy to recover the once-broken-relationship with God.

Therefore, I sincerely ask you to run the race only with hot faith, never being cold or lukewarm.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

If viewed from a different perspective, lukewarm faith can be considered extremely stagnating faith.

Especially those who are in the 3rd level of faith must be able to look back yourself all the more.

Once you receive the Holy Spirit, and keep living a diligent believing life, it’s quite easy to reach the entry of the 3rd level of faith.

Even better, if you live in a church that has the Holy Spirit filled meetings and prayers with the word of the truth, your faith can grow up quickly in a fairly short period of time.

Moreover, if there are clear evidences of the power of God, then your faith will grow up all the more quickly.

However, once you enter the 3rd level of faith, it’s time to start to cultivate the invisible heart rather than visible deeds. Therefore, you need to make more efforts with your heart, mind, and strength.

When you attend a worship service, you must worship in spirit and in truth with all the more heart and with all the more mind. And you must pray all the more fervently from the depth of your heart to make it more beautiful aroma.

When you do your duty, the level of faithfulness must be different between when you were a novice believer and when you are a man of faith.

In other words, even when you do the same duty, the greater your faith becomes, you must be faithful to your duty with al the more love and goodness.

To make it easier to understand, think of perfume. Even though it is the same perfume, depending on its concentration, the price changes greatly.

Even the small amount of the original perfume concentrate is very expensive. But when it’s diluted with water, even though the volume becomes bigger, the price comes down.

Likewise, as your level of faith grows higher, even though the amount of deeds that you do before Father God may appear to be the same, its quality must become better with more spiritual love and goodness.

You may understand it theoretically well, but it’s easy to overlook in your real life.

Since your outward deeds appear to be the same as before, chances are that you may be able to notice that you must do it with all the more invisible heart.

Then, even though you used to live a diligent believing life in the grace, you may lose the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and you may end up having a believing life by habit.

You may, once or twice, fail to attend those services or prayer meetings that you used to attend fervently. Or even if you attend it, you’re worship becomes habitual.

You don’t become full of joy of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Just your physical body is there.

You used to give to God with joy, but now you come to do it in a sense of duty. Sometimes you feel it difficult or burdensom.

When the fullness of the Holy Spirit is gone, your heart becomes empty and troubled. You eventually turn to the world, and try to comfort and fill your heart with the worldly things.

At the slightest slip, you may commit a deed of the body and build a great barrier before God.

If you come this far, even if you realize your status by yourself, it’s not easy to recover your fervor.

Since there is no grace of God in your heart, you don’t even conceive the idea of running with hot faith. You just want to stay comfortably in the flesh.

Then, you give up the hope to enter New Jerusalem. Instead, you may think, “I may enter at least the 1st heavenly kingdom,” or “I’m fine just being saved.”

But the reason that lukewarm faith is dangerous is that you cannot maintain lukewarm faith; your faith will eventually become cold.

When you don’t row a boat in the middle of river, your boat won’t stay there, but it will drift downstream.

It was the case with Asa, the king of Judah.

For the first 35 years after he was enthroned, he was a king who depended on God. But at the last years of his reign, his faith deteriorated.

Before, no matter how strong his enemy was, he depended only on God and could defeat them. But later, when the enemy invaded, he started to depend on men; he even asked a Gentile king for help.

Likewise, when someone is found to use the means of men even though he used to do it by faith, then his faith becomes cold, and he becomes far from God.

The king Asa was rebuked by God through the prophet Hanani, but he didn’t repent and turn back. Rather, he imprisoned and persecuted the prophet.

Because of this incident, King Asa was punished and became severely diseased in his feet.

How good would it have been of he had repented his sin at this time?

If he had believed God is the God of love and mercy, he could have realized that God punished him because God loved him, and because God wanted to give him a chance to turn back.

But, the king Asa couldn’t grasp the love of God, even after he was punished by God. Rather he tried to avoid the face of God.

He depended on the physicians of the world, and eventually he faced death.

It is a case that shows the end of lukewarm faith.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

Just as it’s written in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” if you’re not awake in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, since you don’t have strength to overcome the temptation of the enemy devil and Satan, you may end up being dragged to the way of death.

God knows this very well, and He wants His children to have hot faith.

Moreover, aren’t you pursuing the goal of entering New Jerusalem, the best dwelling place in heaven?

Therefore, you must keep your faith hot all the more fervently until the Lord comes back.

And at the same time, you must share your hot faith with people around you.

Even though the water is lukewarm, if you keep pouring and mixing it with hot water, it will become hot. Even the cold water will eventually become hot as well.

Likewise, someone who has fervor and hot faith can make other’s faith become hot.

That’s why just one man of the spirit can bring people around him into the spirit as well.

You, yourself must be able to become a man of hot faith first. If your faith is ever going to become cold, you must try to come near a man of hot faith.

This way, you will be challenged by the other’s faith, his fullness will have an influence upon you, and your faith will become hot again.

I urge that you should realize and be thankful; when you undergo refinement or discipline because of your lukewarm or cold faith, it is the love of God who wants to lead you to a better dwelling place in heaven.

May you have hotter and hotter faith day by day so that your house in heaven may be decorated with glittering sardius which is the symbol of fervent passion, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!

Amen

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