August 1, 2010
Taking Sides – Part 2
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Revelation 3: 14-22

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Take your Bibles and turn to Revelations 3:14. Now, come to look for a second time at this last letter addressed to the churches in the Asia Minor, a letter addressed to the church at Laodicea. And then, when I get back from vacation, we’ll wrap this study and this series up. “Unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans, write, these things says the amen and the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.”

“So then, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy and have need of nothing,’ and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire that you may be rich and white garments that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed, and anoint your eyes with eyesalve that you may see. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten. 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 into him and dine with him, and he with me. Him who overcomes, I will grant to sit 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.”
Taking sides, that’s the theme of our message this morning. I once read about a Russian pastor who visited the United States for the first time. And his host took him to his first professional baseball game. At the seventh innings stretch, he was asked what he thought. He said, “I’ve never seen such first-class dedication to such a second-class cause.” I’m glad Garrett’s not here to hear that this morning. But whatever your view on baseball is, that illustration highlights the danger of misplaced passion, of misappropriated energy, of giving too much of ourselves to that which doesn’t in the end count and too little of ourselves to that which has lasting value.
We want to be given first-rate dedication to second-rate causes. But that’s the issue as we come back into this letter, a letter addressed to the church at Laodicea by the Lord Jesus Christ, because He comes to criticize and to censor this church regarding their second-class dedication to a first-class cause. He chastises them for being lukewarm. They were expressing passion in other places other than the church. And Christ found that unacceptable. Given the jealousy of God, given the polarity of heaven and hell, given the press of eternity, given the sinking sand of time, given the purchasing power of the cross, given the regal lordship of Jesus Christ, you and I must give ourselves to the cause of Christ in an abandoned passion. We must express a first-rate dedication, because this is a first-class cause.
But that’s not what was happening here. And so, the Lord Jesus Christ gives them the task. He calls them to repent. He calls them indeed to be zealous about the things of God rather than lukewarm. And so, we wanted to begin to look at this letter.
Last week, we noticed that each letter has a particular mark identified with it’s something that Christ wants in the life of that particular church. And we saw that if we looked at these letters consecutively because they would be read successively, that we may have before us seven marks of an ideal church. The ideal church should be marked by love, suffering, truth, holiness, sincerity, evangelism, and zeal. All of these things Christ asked of the church at Ephesus and the church at Thyatira and Pergamos and Sardis and the church in Philadelphia and the church at Laodicea.
Well, let’s begin to look at the letter itself. And there’s three things I want us to consider, just one this morning, and we won’t even complete that. I want us to look at the denunciation, then the annunciation, and then the renunciation. But before we even get there, let me just paint in the historical background and give to you some of the geographical data. The church itself was probably founded on Paul’s third missionary journey while he spends some time in Ephesus. We read about that in Acts 19:10. And if we read Colossians 4:12, we read that Epaphras, one of Paul’s associates, had a particular zeal for the church at Laodicea. And when we put those things together, it would seem that this church was born around the time of Paul stay in Ephesus during his third missionary journey. And Epaphras is probably the one who founded the church under Paul’s tutelage and direction.
The city itself is a strategic city. It is situated at the convergence of three main roads, making it a commercial hub. In fact, the city itself was known for three things, for its banking, for its fashion industry, and for its medical services. It was the banking center of Asia Minor. It was a city that knew financial prosperity. And that was demonstrated around A.D. 60, or sorry, some years before that when a severe earthquake damaged the city. And yet, Laodicea refused imperial help. And they refinanced their own rebuilding.
It was famous for manufacturing black wool and cloth used in the clothing industry and the carpet industry. Fine and expensive garments came from Laodicea and was exported all over the known world. The Laodiceans were the best-dressed people in Asia minor. And then, they had a flourishing medical school in Laodicea. And medical research went on there in a way it didn’t go on in other places. And it was centered on the area of health of the eyes. Laodicea was located on the border of Phrygia. And the pharmacists and chemists of Laodicea had discovered a use for Phrygian powder that they could make into an eyesalve that would bring healing to weak and failing eyesight.
And it’s interesting you’ll see Christ will pick up some of those ideas in verse 18 when He encourages them to “buy from me the gold and white garments that you may be clothed and to anoint your eyes with eyesalve.” Christ was well aware of this church and this city. But as we begin this letter, we’ll see the denunciation in verses 14 through 16. The Lord Jesus Christ censors this church for its lukewarmness. He is bothered by their second-rate dedication to a first-class cause. This is the only church among the seven that receives a blanket condemnation from Christ. There are no strengths, just sins. Jesus doesn’t have one nice thing to say about the church at Laodicea. That’s rather striking, isn’t it? There is no redeeming quality that might offset the denunciation that follows. Jesus is having an allergic reaction to the Christianity that’s in the city of Laodicea.
Their lukewarmness was even more egregious, given the fact that they had enjoyed multiplied privileges and opportunities. They had been prayed for by Paul. You can read about that in Colossians 2:1, where he says, “I have great conflict for those at Colossi and those at Laodicea. They were ministered to by Epaphras, according to Colossians 4:12-16. They were personally addressed in the canonical scriptures in the letter to the Colossians. They had all these great privileges and opportunities. But apathy had set in, an apathy was leading to apostasy, which was a clear and present danger.
Now, as we look at this denunciation, there are a number of things I want us to see, the witness of Christ, verse 14, the wish of Christ, verse 15, and the warning of Christ, verse 16. Let’s look at the witness of Christ. Again, in verse 14, we’re brought face-to-face with the other letters with a crash course in Christology. We’re going to learn something more of the grace and the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He describes himself here. He calls himself the amen. He calls himself the faithful and true witness. He calls himself the beginning of the creation of God. And you and I need to grasp that, so we can better understand Him, better worship Him, better serve Him. And it is particularly relevant to this church because this triplet of titles will help us to see that Christ is the source of all reality and Christ is the last word in what’s true.
Now, that’s important because this is a church that has misunderstood themselves. They seem to be unconscious of their own spiritual poverty and nakedness and blindness. And Jesus is about to burst their bubble. And I think they will be able to take this bitter medicine in the knowledge that the one speaking this truth to them is the amen of God, the faithful and true witness. He’s got it right when they got it wrong.
Now, let’s look at these titles. There’s some stuff here for us to grasp, and then flash out on the pavement of life. Number one, Jesus said He’s the amen. He’s the amen. This is a word of affirmation. This is a word of ascent. This word has another word standing behind it, a Hebrew word that signifies that, that which is being spoken of is true, fixed, unchangeable. This is a solid word. This describes something that is sold. This is a title that Jesus assigns to Himself. And it is reminiscent of a title that God takes to Himself back in the prophecy of Isaiah.
If you go to Isaiah 65:16, you’ll find that God has described twice as the God of truth. Verse 16, “So that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth, and he who swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth, because the former troubles are forgotten because they’re hidden from my eyes.” The God of truth, literally in the Hebrew, the God of the amen. The God of the Bible is the amen God, the true God, the God who is true and fixed and unchangeable. He’s immutable. He’s trustworthy. That’s the idea that we have here before us.
And when we apply it to the Lord Jesus Christ, we must be speaking of His deity and the fact that He is the personification of truth. He was the Word. And He was with God and He was God. And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us. And the law came by Moses, but truth and grace came by the Lord Jesus Christ. You read all about that in John chapter 1, the Lord Jesus Christ is the amen God in flesh incarnate. That’s a great truth. So, it speaks of His deity.
But Jesus Christ is not only the amen God, He is the amen of God. You say, “Pastor, where do you get that?” Well, 2 Corinthians 1:20, this is a beautiful verse, and you may want to circle it and think about it because here’s what Paul says of the Lord Jesus Christ.” For all the promises of God in Him are yes and in Him are amen to the glory of God through us. All the promises of God are true in Jesus Christ. They’ve been secured in what He has done upon the cross. We see all the promises of God fulfilled in Christ’s birth and Christ’s life and Christ’s teaching and Christ’s person and Christ’s death and Christ’s resurrection. All those things abide Him. All those things done by Him affirm that God’s promises are true.
He’s the fulfillment of what God has promised. He’s the amen. He proves to us that when God says He’s going to do something, He does it. Just look at Christ, 330 prophecies in the Old Testament centered on Christ, and many of them already fulfilled and the rest will be fulfilled, because He’s not only the amen God, He’s the amen of God.
What Sam Storms says the credibility of Christianity is Christ. Our confidence is in Christ. His identity and integrity ground our faith. His achievement that calvary and the tomb are our only hope. When doubts are sealed and assault are feared, anxieties threatened to suffocate our spirit, recall to your mind that none other than Jesus Christ Himself has said, “amen to all that God has promised on your behalf.”
Audience (15:55):
Philip De Courcy (15:57):
When you begin to doubt God’s promises, look to the Lord Jesus Christ. And He will say to you, “Amen, it’s true. It is so.” That’s beautiful. And if that’s true, and it is, that all the Old Testament promises find their fulfillment in Christ, that that which Christ start, that which God started in Genesis, that which was spoiled by Adam will be redeemed, will be rescued, will be finished in Christ, as shown in the book of Revelation. He’s God’s amen. And God’s amen to us and Jesus Christ should elicit from us an amen back to God.
Audience (16:42):
Philip De Courcy (16:44):
We need to say amen more than we do. In fact, we should clap less and say amen more because it’s biblical. When we hear something that resonates a song, a sermon, a statement, there’s nothing wrong with clapping. Don’t misunderstand me. But biblically speaking, we should respond with “Amen, so be it. It’s going to be true. That’s true. Jesus Christ will ensure that it’s true. Jesus Christ is the guarantor that it’s true.”
I grew up in a church where you had to be a Brit soul to shout amen. In fact, I’m sure whenever someone shouted amen, there was a deacon’s meeting convened immediately after the service to find out who the culprit was. Although, I’ve also been in churches where the word is thrown around like confetti, and I’m not sure that’s any better. I remember being at church in Belfast. And as the pastor was announcing the sudden death of a member, some bonehead unwittingly shouted, “Amen.”
Extremes, I agree, but God’s amen in Jesus Christ should elicit an “amen” from us. We should be people who are confident, people who have something to stand on when the winds are blowing. David Livingstone evangelized Africa, explored Africa. His heart was buried in Africa at his death. He kept coming back to Matthew 28:20, and he said of that promise, “Lo, I am with you always.” This is the promise of the gentleman of the strictest honor, isn’t that true? Because Jesus Christ is the amen. It is so. And all that He accomplished on the cross has made it so. And there’s more still to come. There’s the faithful untrue witness that’s added to this. Jesus is not only amen, but He’s the faithful and true witness.
Building on the last point, Christ interprets the last title. This is an extension of a thought here, “I’m the amen. I’m the faithful and true witness.” Christ is an impeccable and unimpeachable witness to the truth. You want to know what the scoop is on life? You want to know what the scoop is on death, this life, the life to come? Jesus Christ has the scoop, because He’s truth incarnate. All of reality conforms to Him. And all of Revelation centers on Him.

“Alethinos” is the Greek word here. There’s two Greek words for truth, one meaning true versus false, and alethinos meaning genuine as opposed to counterfeit or illusionary. And that’s the word that’s used here. Well, Jesus is true, He’s not false. But the word here carries the idea that He’s genuine. What He talks about is not an illusion. Christ perfectly witnesses to God. Man seeth in this life and the unseen world. He doesn’t traffic in lies or trade in deceit.
Seems today from the steps of the congress to Wall Street, one wonders whose word one can trust. People promise things and don’t keep their promises. But there’s one here who describes Himself as the amen and the faithful and true witness, who says that indeed He is a fixed and unchangeable point of reference when it comes to reality and what is true about life, present, and future.
I didn’t watch the TV series or show that much The X-Files, but I watched it enough, and I heard the scuttle bug enough to know that one of the great statements in The X-Files was the thing the idea that the truth is out there. Can every program finish with the truth is out there? The Bible wants to say, “No, the truth is here. The truth is here. Jesus Christ is here. The amen in flesh, the amen incarnated. All of reality conforms to Him. All of Revelation centers on Him.” And therefore, if you want to find out what the compass points of life are, then turn to Jesus Christ. He’ll give you a proper view of yourself in relation to God, the present in relation to the future, this life in relation to the next, the material in relation to the spiritual. He’s the amen. He’s the faithful and true witness.
Finally, He’s the beginning of the creation. Now, we mustn’t fall foul of the idea that the Lord Jesus Christ is the beginning of the creation in the sense that He was the first thing or the first person created. That’s a heresy, a heresy taught by Mormons, a heresy taught by Jehovah Witnesses, a heresy first propagated by an elder many, many years ago called Arias, who denied the full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s not the meaning of the word here. In fact, the word, “beginning,” “arche” in the Greek, can mean source or origin. That means that Jesus Christ is the active and original cause of all of creation. He’s not a creature, He’s the creator.
Let me just take you to two passages that will reinforce that thought, John chapter 1, the prologue of John’s gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him. And without Him nothing was made that was made.” He wasn’t made. Everything was made through Him, by Him, for Him. You’ve got that same thought over in Colossians chapter 1. Colossians 1:16 and 17, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” When there was nothing, He was. He’s not the first of the created order. He is the source of the creation of God. He is the beginning, the fountainhead of all living things. In Him was life. Life was not given to Him. It was His to give.
Now, you say, “What’s the significance of that?” There are number. There’s an immediate significance to those in Laodicea, because remember Colossi is not that far away, several miles. That’s all. And we know from the letter to the Colossians, which David is taking some of our people through in the first R of RABF classes, that this was a church in Colossi who was being infected by an early version of the Gnostic heresy. You say, “What’s the Gnostic heresy?” Well, it was the idea that Jesus Christ emanated from God, Jesus Christ wasn’t God, Jesus Christ emanated from God, God give birth to Jesus Christ, and that Jesus Christ was only one of several intermediary spiritual beings between God and men.
And Paul writes to say that’s not true. In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Treasured up in Him is all the wisdom of God. All things were created by Him and for Him. Christ will not take second place to anything or anyone above all powers. That’s Jesus Christ. It seems that that heresy had migrated over to Laodicea, some element of it. And they were being reminded here that Jesus Christ is the genesis and the purpose of history. Christ is not only the agent and sustainer of creation, He is actually its goal. All things were created by Him. And they were created by Him for Him. Everything exists by Him and for Him.
Now, let’s take a breath. Let’s make sure that just doesn’t float over our heads. Let’s take this for a road test. Let’s drive it to its practical conclusion. Jesus is the beginning, the arche of the creation of God, the source, the origin. Everything made by Him, for him. That’s a staggering reality, and it has staggering implications. That everything far and near, everything small and great, everything human and animal has the stamp of Jesus Christ upon it. That’s what it’s saying. Jesus Christ is both life’s architect and life’s artisan. And that says something to the creation and to the creature. That says something to you and I this morning.
Listen to Dennis Johnson in his commentary on Revelation, Discipleship on the Edge. It’s that not why, the New Testament says we are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Every cell of life works best when it operates in harmony with Jesus Christ. All things are intrinsically made to work in Christ’s way. And if they do, they work well. Do you get his point? Why are we predestined to be conformed to his image? Because that was the original plan. Adam mess it up. The fall set it back. But that’s being redeemed and rescued in the work of Jesus Christ. And now, history’s back on track, especially in the kingdom of God among the people of God. We are predestined to be conformed to Him, because that’s the end of all living things.
We were made for Him and by Him. Everything has the stamp of Jesus Christ on it. That means what? That means Jesus has us hooked. There’s no escape in Him. You and I can take short excursions into supposed freedom, but we’ll come back with our teal between our legs because there’s no freedom outside of Jesus Christ. Everything in this world has the stamp of Jesus Christ upon it. The facts are against us. You can’t jump out of your skin. If you revolt against Christ, you revolt against yourself. You’ve got to submit to Christ. You’ve got to put your faith in Christ. You’ve got to live a life of obedience to Christ. That’s where life is found. And that’s where life is fully known.
I want to say something. I want you to listen to this. To reject Christ is to work against your own best interest. Made by Him, made for Him. We cannot find life without Him. And you and I need to grasp that. I like the story. It’s in one of my files of the famous African-American scientist, George Washington Carver. He was born in slavery in Missouri. He was kidnapped and sold to an owner in Arkansas. Can you imagine that? By the age of 10, he had given his life to Jesus Christ. He grew up to become one of the world’s most famous botanical researchers. And he specialized in the peanut. This man find more uses for the peanut than you can imagine. Read his life’s story, it’s an amazing story.
One day, he’s in front of a senate committee. And they asked him, “Dr. Carver, how did you learn all these things?” Carver looked at these politicians straight in the eye and said, “From an old book.” “What book,” said one. “The Bible,” said Carver. With a sarcasm in his voice, the chairman of the Senate committee said, “Does the Bible talk about the peanut?” Carver replied, “No, Mr. Senator, but it tells about the God who made the peanut. And I asked Him to show me what to do with the peanut. And He did.”
Now, the point of that story is, in a sense, even Jesus Christ stamped Himself on the peanut. If you want to understand about peanuts, about marriage, about child-rearing, about why you’re here, you’ve got to go to the one who is the amen, and the faithful witness, and the fountainhead of life. He who has the Son has life, but he who has not the Son has not life. You and I won’t understand the world of agriculture and medicine and science and biology and so on and so forth if we ignore the one who is truth personified, the one who has revealed His heart and His mind to us in the scriptures, the one who has come to redeem us back from our sin and from our rebellion, to that place where we’re back on track, where we’re predestined to look like Him and live like Him for all of eternity, because that’s what’s in God’s mind from the very beginning.
I want you to see this. Secondly, the wish. We’ll just make a start in this just for a couple of moments. Having told them what He thinks as having told them about Himself, Jesus now tells them about what He thinks of them. And it’s not good. This is verse 15, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. And I would wish you were cold or hot.” We’ve looked at the witness of Christ. This is the wish of Christ, that they would indeed stop giving a second-rate dedication to a first-class cause.
Jesus is offended by the fact that they’re comfortable and they’re complacent. Verse 17, they are basically giving the impression they have need of nothing. They have no hunger and thirst after righteousness. They’re not eager to pray. They’re not bold or passionate in their witness. They have settled down the room temperature. And Jesus wishes it was otherwise. They were not diligent to make their calling and election sure. They were not fervent in spirit. They were not abiding in the work of the Lord. They were not striving to enter in through the narrow gate. They were at ease in Zion.
And Jesus wishes it was otherwise. He says, “Hey, you lukewarm, I wish you were hot or cold. But lukewarm won’t do.” Now, there’s background to this we need to pin in it in that will make what Jesus is saying come alive in our imagination and thinking, because Laodicea suffered from an inadequate water supply. And so, they had to get their water from outside of the city. And the two sources were hot spring water from Hierapolis and cold refreshing spring water from Colossi. Both those cities were several miles away. The hot spring water in Hierapolis had had healing properties and was medicinal to the aching body. The clear spring water was refreshing to the weary traveler and tourist in Colossi.
And so, the hot water came from Hierapolis and the cold water came from Colossi. From what we can tell, it was brought along some stoned aqueduct, some of it underground, some of it above ground. And what we believe happened was the hot water cooled down and the cold water heated up. And neither was useful. Neither was good. And Jesus is saying that, “Hey, hot, cold, that’s good. But this stuff in Laodicea, the lukewarm stuff, no good. And that’s a picture of what you guys are like. You’re lukewarm. You’ve settled on to room-temperature Christianity. You’re giving me a least respectable level of investment. You’ve given me a low-grade commitment. But what satisfies you sickens me.”
Let me run with this just in a couple of directions, that there’s three temperatures mentioned here, right? Cold, hot, lukewarm. I think cold speaks of a time in a person’s life when they’re without the Lord Jesus Christ, when they have a zero interest in the things of God, when their heart is frozen over with indifference. That’s the kind of person who’s unresponsive to the gospel, unmoved by the spirit, unconcerned about eternity. That’s what will mark the last days, is the love of many will grow cold, Matthew 24:12.
Hot speaks of the person whose ice-packed heart has gone through a spiritual thaw by means of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, as he warms the heart to the good news of the burning love of Christ in the gospel. We read of that kind of person, Luke 24:32. Remember those disciples in road to Emmaus fellowshipping with Christ. His word is opened to them, and it says their hearts burn within them. Lukewarm speaks of the person who’s sixth of one, half a dozen of the other. Little too cold to be hot, a little too hot to be cold. It’s tepid. It’s distasteful. It’s a horrible mixture of the world and the church in one person. That’s the lukewarm person. They want salvation without discipleship. They pray, but not in the spirit. They love, but not in sincerity. They give, but not generously. They tip their heart in God’s direction. One foot in, one foot out. It’s a kind of manageable Christianity. Nothing that’s really going to disturb their week, cost them too much, either in friends or finances or time or commitment.
Jesus is addressing here the lukewarm. And this church is made up of the lukewarm. Now, how does the water get lukewarm? Well, the cold water cools… or the warm water cools or the cold water heats. And it seems to me that the lukewarm person could be one of two people. I’m just going to touch on one and stop. I think, on the one hand, it could speak of the truly saved person who’s gone off the boil for Christ for a season. Or, I think it could speak of the person who has been warmed by Christianity without ever being truly saved. But let me talk just briefly about the fact that, on the one hand, the look warm person could be the truly saved person who’s gone off the boil for a season. This must never be a state of being. It certainly could be a period of time when we spiritually plateau, we’ve kind of reached a cruising altitude of 33,000 feet and we kind of level out. And we still study our Bible, but we’re ferreting into the text. We’re praying but not with the same fervor. We’re thinking about our neighbors, but not with the same passion.
Our hearts that once burned have settled down to room-temperature. Like the Ephesians, we have unperceptively lost our first love, Revelation 2:4. Or, like the Corinthians, there can come a moment or a time in a Christian’s life where they look more like the world than the church, 1 Corinthians 3:3. Or, like the Galatians, we can pull to the side of the road on our spiritual journey an idol. Remember what Paul said to the Galatians 5:7? “You did run well, but who hindered you?” Seems to be inferring that, you know what? They weren’t running as well as they were. Maybe, they’re at the side of the track. They weren’t in the race. I think that’s possible in your life and my life. It must never be the mark of our whole life, or that might just spell out the fact that we were never saved in the first place.
But we can cool down. We can sit down. And at certain times in our life, we can indeed plateau. And Jesus wants to confront that. It’s not a good place to be. And as the team comes up, I’ll give you one reason why that’s not a good place to be. Because it makes us ineffective in our witness to the world. It makes us ineffective in our witness to the world. I want you to think about this. You cannot call someone to take sides, to take up their cross and follow Christ while you’re sitting on top of a fence, where you’re not radical in your commitment or authentic in your walk before Jesus Christ.
Do you not agree? Tepid, anemic, lukewarm Christianity has no chance of making inroads in a world that’s in love with sin. How are we to make an inroad into a grossly sinful world? The cold heart towards Christ will never catch the affection or the attention of a heart that’s in love with sin. We have got to fight their passing pleasure with an expression and manifestation of our endless joy. And if that’s not there, if we are not serious about Christ, why would they be serious about Christ?
Adrian Rogers says the lukewarm Christian is the sinner’s alibi. That’s stinging, isn’t it? The lukewarm Christian is the sinner’s alibi. They double-cross Christ. Jesus had rather have you on the wrong side of the fence than sitting on the fence cold or hot, I’m convinced that if only one-tenth of those who named the name of Christ were on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ, we would see a mighty revival sweep across our land. But we cannot reach the goal for stumbling over our own players.
I’m reading the life of George Whitfield at the moment, a man who Spurgeon said he lived. Whitfield said, “I would rather burn out than rust out for Jesus Christ.” He was a man that gave himself fully to the gospel. He was getting people out of their beds at 5:00 in the morning in Edinburgh, Scotland. In one particular morning, in the way to a meeting, a bleary-eyed attender noticed that David Hume, the famous Scottish philosopher and skeptic, was on his way to the meeting himself. And the man said to Mr. Hume, “Mr. Hume, you don’t believe in this,” to which him replied, “I don’t believe in this, but he does.” Something attractive about a person who’s passionate for the things of God.
They’re in love with their sin. They got to find us in love with the savior. They got to see in us endless joy that will tell them to give up their passing pleasures. John Wesley said, set yourself on fire for God and the world will come and watch you burn. But the lukewarm Christian is the sinner’s alibi. And Jesus says, “No more. I can’t stomach it. I want you hot. I want you cold. But I don’t want you lukewarm. No more of this second-class dedication to a first-class cause.”
Let’s pray. Oh, God, we thank You for our study this morning. As we burrow our way into this letter, there’s so much gold to be carried away. We thank You for reminding us of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You for this crash course in Christology. We thank You for the amen. We thank You for the faithful witness. We thank You for the beginning of God’s creation. Oh, Lord, help us indeed to build our lives upon the sure promises of Your word, which are yes and amen in the Lord Jesus Christ. We can go to the bank with the book. Help us to build our marriages, our businesses, our love-lives, our leisure, the use of our time, the spending of our money. Help us to bring it all under the submission and authority of Jesus Christ and the truth we find in His word.
God, if Mr. Carver can understand a peanut better through prayer in submission to the one who has stamped Himself all over creation, may we seek you in all matters of life and love. And though, God, we must confess our lukewarmness, Lord, our love for you is but a candle compared to the blazing sun of Your love for us. Stir us. Awaken us. Convict us. Chastise us. Lord, help us indeed not to offer You a second-rate dedication, because You spared not Your own son but delivered Him up. Heaven gave its best for us. May we give our best to heaven. For these things, we ask in Jesus’ name, amen.