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The 7 Love Letters of Jesus to His Church: What Is Your Spiritual Temperature?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 9, 2021 3:00 am

The 7 Love Letters of Jesus to His Church: What Is Your Spiritual Temperature?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 9, 2021 3:00 am

What is your spiritual temperature right now? According to the Bible, you’re either boiling hot, you’re freezing cold, or you’re miserably lukewarm.

The problem is, as we’ll see today, a lukewarm faith makes the Lord sick. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie shows us how to heat up our faith as we consider messages to the seven churches of Revelation.

 

 

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. The Bible tells us the Lord just can't stomach that kind of room temperature spiritual passion. Remember when Goldilocks tasted the three bowls of porridge?

One was too hot, the other too cold, and the third was just right. Well, some apply Goldilocks' values to their Christian faith. They don't want to be too religious or too worldly.

They want to be just right. The problem is, as we'll see today, a lukewarm faith makes the Lord sick. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie shows us how to heat up our faith as we consider messages to the seven churches of Revelation. Now we come to the church of the last days. This is the church now of Philadelphia that's alive. Look at Revelation 3 verse 7. To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, These things says he that is holy and is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.

I know your works. I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it, for you have a little strength, and you have kept my word, and you have not denied my name. Here's some takeaway truths from the church of the last days.

The church we should all be a part of. Number one, Jesus has given to us an unprecedented open door. The door here is a symbol of opportunity, and the key is a symbol of his authority. There might be an open door in your life right now with a neighbor. They were closed, closed to the gospel, closed to anything spiritual, and suddenly they're open. Or you just met somebody, or an opportunity came up. Look for open doors.

They're out there. Pay attention. Number two, God has given us enough strength to do what he has called us to do. God has given us enough strength to do what he has called us to do. We read that this church was making a comeback. In verse 8 Jesus says, you have a little strength.

By the way, that's not a negative criticism. It's a commendation that he is giving to this church. The picture here is of a sick person coming back to life. They're not at full health yet, but they're getting there. They're out of the bed now. They're standing up again.

They're starting to move around again. This would appear to say that the church of the end times is going to experience revival. What is revival? It's returning to original condition.

What is original condition? It's the church of the first century. The church that changed the world. The church that turned the world upside down. So this last day's church of Philadelphia is coming back. They're making a comeback.

Their strength is returning. A church that is going through open doors of opportunity. He gives them a promise. This shows this is a church of the last days. In verse 10 he promises to keep them. He promises to keep us from the great tribulation period.

Verse 10 says, Jesus speaking, I'll keep you from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole world to test those that dwell on the earth. Now we're all going to go through trials and tribulation in life as followers of Jesus. Jesus even said, in this world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer.

I have overcome the world. But there's a difference between personal tribulation and what we call the great tribulation period. The great tribulation period is a global event. Look at verse 10. He says, I'll keep you from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole world to test those that dwell on the earth.

This is a global event that will affect everybody. Secondly, it's a specific period of time. Jesus calls it an hour of trial.

It's not 60 minutes. It's seven years in total. So he says, I'll keep you from that. It is my firm belief that the Lord will call us home to heaven before the tribulation period begins. I believe the church will not go through the tribulation period.

I don't even think the tribulation period can begin until the church is removed. Now we come to our final church in the book of Revelation. The seven of seven churches. We start with an apostolic church and we end up with an apostate church. Some churches make the Lord weep. Other churches make the Lord angry. This church makes the Lord sick. But he loved them anyway. Look at Revelation 3 verse 14.

And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. I know your works. You're neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth. Now if you have a King James Version, we have Jesus saying, I will spew you.

That's a very nice way of putting it. I will spew you. You know you're feeling nauseated.

Oh excuse me. I think I have to go spew. I don't know why you'd have a British accent but I'm going to go spew. Well this translation says, I'll vomit you.

And that's exactly the word. I will regurgitate you. It makes me sick to my stomach.

This is a pretty harsh criticism that Jesus is giving of this church. And he says, I'd rather you be hot. I'd rather you be cold. But if you're lukewarm, it turns my stomach.

Now stop and think about it. Most things that you eat are generally good hot or cold. For instance, coffee is great hot. Coffee is great cold. Tea is great hot. Tea is great cold as well. Milk the same. I like hot milk. Put a little cocoa in it. That really helps.

Milk is cold. That's very good as well. Same with fish. Fish is great grilled or boiled or poached. And I love it sushi style. I don't know if you like sushi. I love sushi myself. But who wants fish that has gone mushy.

That was once warm and now has cooled down. Jesus is saying lukewarmness makes me want to throw up. I hate to throw up.

I mean I don't know who likes to. But I'm like, oh I have to throw up. I don't want to throw up. I hate it. Oh no. It's like a big thing to me that I dread every moment.

But then you finally do it and you get that poison out of your system. But I don't know about you but I don't want to make Jesus throw up. So it's lukewarmness.

Now let me ask you a question. What is your spiritual temperature right now? According to the Bible you're either boiling hot, you're freezing cold, or you're miserably lukewarm.

One of those three. And it's actually better according to Jesus to be cold than it is to be lukewarm. Let me explain. The word cold here means frozen or icy cold. Jesus would rather we either boil or freeze rather than simmering down to a tepid tastelessness. One of the signs of the last days is people would have cold hearts. Matthew 24 says sin will be rampant everywhere and the love of many will grow cold.

What does this mean? To be cold means you're not a believer. You don't have a heart for God. You don't want to talk about spiritual things.

You're just a non-believer. You say, oh that's the worst state of all. According to Jesus lukewarmness is worse. Because see if you're cold, if you're not a believer, there's still hope that you will come to Christ. But the problem with the lukewarm person is they know enough to get them into trouble.

So there's cold. Then there's hot. And the word hot means to be boiling hot.

It comes from the Greek word zestos where we get our English word zest from. The Bible says in Romans 12 10 we should be fervent or hot in spirit. Another translation says we should maintain that spiritual glow. And so it's good to be on fire for the Lord and sometimes our hearts begin to cool down. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.

Hey everybody Greg Laurie here. You know my uncle Fred Jordan had one of the first Christian TV programs out there. It was called Church in the Home.

I remember watching it as a little boy when I was living with my grandparents. Well we have Church in the Home for you every weekend. It's called Harvest at Home and you can find it at Harvest.org. We have worship and a message from God's Word.

So join us this weekend for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well we're studying the Lord's message to the seventh of the seven churches of Revelation today. Pastor Greg is helping us see the value of having a faith that's burning hot for the Lord. Remember those two disciples on the Emmaus road in the gospel of Luke who left Jerusalem discouraged after Jesus had been crucified. And Jesus of course joined them on their journey. But they didn't know it was Jesus and he opened to them the scripture. All the things concerning himself and as they're walking along they're thinking, Man this guy really knows the Bible. I mean the way he describes these stories in the Bible you would think he was there.

You'd think he wrote it. Getting warm guys. But they didn't know it was Jesus. As they came to the end of their journey they sat down to have a meal and Jesus acted as though he would leave. And they said, No stay with us. And then he revealed himself and they realized it was Jesus and then he disappeared.

And I love what they said after that. They said, Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us. You want to have a burning heart. You want to be on fire for the Lord.

Open up God's Word. But see lukewarm people. They're not hot. Hot following the Lord. They're not cold. Complete non-believers.

In fact they're usually the last to know they're even lukewarm. Look at verse 17. Jesus says, You say I'm rich. I become wealthy. I have need of nothing. Don't you know you're miserable, wretched, poor, blind, and naked.

You see here's the thing. You may be lukewarm and not even know it. You may be lukewarm if you're completely bored right now. And I'm not implying that everyone who is bored with my sermons is lukewarm. But as I'm talking about these things you're disinterested.

Yet if you're on fire you're like, Tell me more. You're leaning in. If you're lukewarm you're like, Come on just wrap this up. Aren't you done yet? Who cares about this? I've done my little token thing and watched this sermon.

I have other things to do. Now don't be a lukewarm person but listen to what Jesus says. He says, As many as I love, verse 19, I rebuke and chasten.

That can be translated as many as I dearly, tenderly love. And the way that God shows us He loves us among other things is to tell us the truth. Hebrews 12 says, The Lord disciplines those He loves and He chastens those He accepts as His children. If the Lord has chastened you, and by chastened I mean He's convicted you of your sin.

And by convicting you I mean there's a sense of guilt that I alluded to earlier. I shouldn't be doing this. That's a reminder that God loves you. He chastens the one He loves.

I love how David wrote in Psalm 23 of the Lord, Your rod and your staff they comfort me. So what do you do if you become lukewarm? What is the answer to come out of lukewarmness? And I'll close with this. You have to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ. See you can be a religious person and have no relationship with God. You can go to church and not have Christ living inside of you. Going to a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going into a donut shop makes you a cop. That's a joke.

But you get what I'm saying. Some people go to church. They do the things outwardly but Christ is not living inside of them. Now look at the words of the Lord. A very familiar verse.

Many of us have committed it to memory. Revelation 3.20. Jesus says to the church of Laodicea, Behold I stand at the door and knock.

If any men hear my voice and open the door I will come in and dine with him and he with me. Now you've heard me quote this verse before if you've ever seen me speak. I address it to nonbelievers and you say well it was given to the church Greg. Yeah it was given to people in the church and needed to get Jesus in their heart.

Isn't that ironic? We start with the church Ephesus that's leaving their first love and we end with the church of Laodicea where Christ is on the outside trying to get in. Is he on the outside of your life trying to get in? Everybody needs to ask Jesus to come into their life.

John 1.12 says, For as many as received him he gave them the power to become sons of God. But notice what he wants to do. He says, And I will dine with them. Dine with them.

This is a very important Greek word. That is speaking of the evening meal or the last meal of the day. Now this is lost on us who live in a fast food culture. You know they didn't have drive through restaurants back in those days.

There wasn't a McDavid's or In-N-Out falafel or whatever it is. No the meal was a big deal. The meal was like a form of entertainment. Especially the final meal of the day.

You would relax in cushions. A low table and you would have a meal and communicate. And you want to have this meal with people you are comfortable with. Nobody wants to go out and have a meal with someone who is trying to sell them something. Or someone that wants to debate about something. No you want to spend time eating with people that you are close to. People that you can be yourself around.

People that you can steal food from. That is a mark of true friendship. When you are sitting down with family or friends and they have fries and you don't even ask. You just take a fry and eat it. My wife does this all the time. She takes my food and starts eating it.

What are you doing? This is my food. Men are very territorial about food by the way. Think of a dog with a food dish. You ever watch a dog eat? They are like eating.

They look around periodically. But it is like don't mess with their food. Even if it is a friendly dog he might growl at you.

That is how men are. Kathy will say, can I have a bite of what you are eating? And the thing I am eating I am at the end and I have saved the one bite.

The one I am looking forward to. Can I have a bite? And there is that final bite.

I am like huh. Hair and then she eats it. But I get my revenge at dessert. Because when we are having dessert she will sometimes put it on her fork and be talking.

You know not paying attention. And I am going for the kill. Finish the dessert.

It is gone. But anyway. When you are with family. When you are with friends. You know you share food together.

Here is what Jesus is saying. Let's take time together. Let's hang out. You and me. You open your heart to me. And I will open mine to you. Let's have long conversations. Let's spend time together. Do you want to do that?

I mean what an offer. We should be banging on his door. And instead he is knocking at ours. And he is asking permission. He could say look I stand at the door and knock.

If you don't open it I will kick it in. No he doesn't say that. Jesus is a gentleman. He won't force his way into any person's life. He says I stand at the door and I knock. And if you will hear my voice then open the door. So you have a choice. You either open that door or you leave it closed.

And by not opening it you are leaving it closed. Let me put it another way. By not saying yes you are saying no. Is that what you want to say to Jesus Christ right now? Jesus said you are either for me or against me.

You are either with me or you are opposed to me. Some of you if you think back you will realize that Christ has been knocking at the door of your life going back to your childhood. Maybe you heard that knock recently through the death of a loved one. Or you heard that knock again when you got a bad report from a doctor. Or again you heard that knock when you were having marital problems.

Something to sort of awaken you to your need for Christ. He is knocking. Open the door because if you open the door to him now he will open the door to you then.

The door to heaven. You see you are going to go to heaven because you put your faith in Christ. If you stand up for Christ now he will stand up for you in heaven then. If you say yes to him now he will say yes to you then. If you say no to him now he will say no to you then.

You decide where you will spend eternity by what you do with Jesus Christ who is knocking at the door of your life. Would you like him to come in? Would you like to be forgiven of your sins? Would you like a fresh start? Am I talking to somebody right now who has never asked Jesus to come into their life? Or I may be talking to someone who did it as a younger person or at some stage of their life.

But you have a lot of other things to crowd him out. You have made these compromises and you are in a miserable web of compromise. Would you like to recommit your life to Christ? You can do it right here right now. I would like to close with a prayer. And in this prayer I want to give you an opportunity to ask Jesus Christ to come into your life.

So listen. If you want your sin forgiven. If you want to know that you will go to heaven when you die.

If you want to fill that big hole in your heart. If you want to get rid of your guilt and start a relationship with God. Stop what you are doing and pray this prayer with me right now. Again as I pray you pray. In fact you could pray these words and I am about to pray out loud after me. This is a simple prayer. But if you mean it from your heart God will hear you and God will answer it.

So if you want Jesus in your life right now or you want to recommit your life to him. Just pray these words after me. Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner. But I know that you are the Savior. I turn from that sin now.

I repent of it. And I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer with those making a decision for the Lord today. And if you have just prayed that prayer with Pastor Greg and have meant those words sincerely. We want to welcome you into the family of God. And we would like to help you get started living for the Lord. We would like to send you what we call our New Believers Growth Packet.

It will answer many of the questions you have and help you build a strong foundation for your faith. So ask for it today when you write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24-7. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. You know the book of Revelation is a rewarding study of Bible prophecy. And in our current series and in a new book from Pastor Greg, we are seeing the full picture of its authorship, the time in which it was written, and the circumstances in which our redemption takes place. The Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation. John was one of the apostles that walked with Jesus Christ.

In fact, in his gospel he described himself as the disciple that Jesus loved. He outlived all the other disciples and they tried to put him to death according to church tradition in a pot of boiling oil. John would not die. So instead they banished him to the distant island of Patmos, an isolated little island out in the middle of nowhere. He was put on a ship, probably in chains. And when he was placed on that island, no one ever thought that they would hear from John again. Maybe even John felt abandoned by God, I don't know.

But I know this much. Jesus Christ came to the Apostle John on the island of Patmos. And the Lord took John into the future, sort of catapulted him into the next dimension.

And he saw things that no man had ever seen before. John had a front row seat to the beginning of the tribulation period. He tells us about the antichrist, the mark of the beast, the battle of Armageddon, and the second coming of Jesus Christ. He also tells us about the millennial reign of Jesus, where the lamb and the lion will lie together. And John tells us about that momentous event when heaven and earth all come together again. And he wrote these words down in a book that is simply called Revelation. It's the revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation means unveiling, so this book is given to unveil, to reveal Jesus Christ to us. And Revelation is our home for the next several weeks here on A New Beginning.

We hope you can be with us just as often as possible. But you can dig even deeper into this final book of the Bible by way of a new book Pastor Greg has just released. Tell us about this new resource, Pastor Greg. Yeah, I think far too often when we think of Revelation, we think it's ominous and horrible. And yes, there are some very heavy duty events described in this book, but it is a book that reveals Jesus Christ to us. It's a book that is filled with promises. That's why we called it Revelation, a book of promises. This is a book you would leave out on a coffee table or by your nightstand.

A book that is over 400 pages long. But understand, it's a very accessible book. The way that I wrote it, I did so in a way that you can understand what the Bible teaches on the end times.

Because I know you have an interest in these things. But I want to help you know how it applies to you. There's not a lot of theological verbiage that will confuse you.

Everything is in down to earth terminology that you will understand. And it will show you how all of these great events that are in our future apply to you in day-to-day living. I think you're going to love this new resource from Harvest Ministries that we're simply calling Revelation, a book of promises.

Yeah, I think you're right. And we're making this new book available to thank you for your investment in the work we do here each day. It's an investment in changed lives for eternity.

It's an investment in bringing people to Jesus Christ, as we'll be doing at SoCal Harvest on October 3rd. So send that investment today to A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to Harvest.org. Well, next time Pastor Greg pulls back the veil on eternity, we get a glimpse of the afterlife as our study in the book of Revelation continues. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at Harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-01 23:22:55 / 2023-09-01 23:33:16 / 10

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