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The 7 Love Letters of Jesus to His Church | What's Your Spiritual Temperature?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2023 3:00 am

The 7 Love Letters of Jesus to His Church | What's Your Spiritual Temperature?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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January 31, 2023 3:00 am

Remember when Goldilocks tasted the three bowls of porridge? One was too hot, the other too cold, and the third was just right. 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.

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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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Sign up at Or freeze rather than simmering down to a tepid tastelessness. 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 eight, 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. 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 three, 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.

Well 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 gonna 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.

You 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. And 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, 12 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. It's a joy to hear when these studies have truly impacted lives. Listen to these comments from one of our listeners. Pastor Greg, your messages mean so much to me. They inspire, convict, and uplift all at the same time. In 1996, I did a 180 in my life and followed who I knew to be God all along.

I just had never listened to his voice before. My life and my choices before that were a mess. When I asked Christ into my heart, God picked me up, dusted me off, and turned me around.

My life, my coping skills, and my new choice of friends have changed dramatically. As my conviction grew, I decided to rededicate myself to God in 2019. Your messages have really lifted me to a higher level on my road and growth in Christ.

And I thank you from your sister in Christ. How have these studies and God's word touched your life? If you have a story to share, why not call us and tell us about it? Call 866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. 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 it 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 see, I'm rich. I've 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. No, 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.

Oh, I shouldn't be doing this. That's a reminder that God loves you, you see. 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 non-believers 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 him, dine with him. 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. 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're comfortable with. Nobody wants to go out and have a meal with someone who's trying to sell them something or someone that wants to debate about something. No, you want to spend time eating with people that you're close to, people that you can be yourself around.

Well, people that you can steal food from. That's a mark of true friendship when you're sitting down with family or friends and they have fries and you don't even ask. You just take a fry and eat it, right? 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're like eating.

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

That's how men are. But Kathy will say, can I have a bite of what you're eating? And the thing I'm eating, I'm at the end and I've saved the one bite, the one I'm looking forward to. Can I have a bite? And there's that final bite.

I'm like, huh. Hair and then she eats it. But I kept my revenge at dessert because when we're having dessert, she'll sometimes put it on her fork and be talking, you know, not paying attention and I'm going for the kill. Finish the dessert. It's gone.

It's gone, but anyway. When you're with family, when you're with friends, you know, you share food together. Here's what Jesus is saying. Let's take time together. Let's hang out, you and me. You open your heart to me and I'll open mine to you. Let's have long conversations. Let's spend time together. Do you wanna do that?

I mean, what an offer. We should be banging on his door and instead he's knocking at ours. And he's asking permission. He could say, look, I stand at the door, knock. If you don't open it, I'll 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'll 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're leaving it closed. Let me put it another way. By not saying yes, you're saying no. Is that what you wanna say to Jesus Christ right now? Jesus said, you're either for me or against me.

You're either with me or you're opposed to me. Some of you, if you think back, you'll realize that Christ has been knocking at the door of your life, going back to your childhood. Maybe you heard that knock recently to 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's knocking. Open the door because if you open the door to him now, he'll open the door to you then.

The door to heaven. You see, you're gonna go to heaven because you put your faith in Christ. If you stand up for Christ now, he'll stand up for you in heaven then. If you say yes to him now, he'll say yes to you then. If you say no to him now, he'll 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've made these compromises and you're in a miserable web of compromise. Would you like to recommit your life to Christ? You can do it right here, right now. I'd like to close with a prayer. And in this prayer, I wanna give you an opportunity to ask Jesus Christ to come into your life.

So listen, if you want your sin forgiven, if you wanna know that you'll go to heaven when you die, if you wanna fill that big hole in your heart, if you wanna get rid of your guilt and start a relationship with God, stop what you're doing and pray this prayer with me right now. Again, as I pray, you pray. In fact, you could pray these words and I'm 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 wanna 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.

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

It'll answer many of the questions you have and help you build a strong foundation for your faith. So ask for it today when you call 1-800-821-3300. You can reach us any time. Again, that's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to Well, Pastor Greg, we're so excited that your new film, Jesus Revolution, is coming out very soon. Of course, it's the story of Greg and Kathy Laurie, how the two of you met and began dating, set against the backdrop of the Jesus movement of the late 60s and early 70s.

It's how you both came to the Lord. It's a great opportunity to bring a friend who needs to meet Christ. But as we invite a friend to come see Jesus Revolution, what should we say to them? Do we need to prepare them? Tell them a little bit about the movie. Do we need to share the gospel with them beforehand? Or do we just sort of take them in cold turkey, as it were?

I just take them in cold turkey. The movie does all the heavy lifting. The movie unfolds in a powerful way. And it doesn't feel like a typical Christian movie.

I'll put that in quotes. Because there are things that happen that you're thinking, wow. Because it's a very honest movie. It's based on a true story. It's a search of a young Greg Laurie and Kathy Laurie, young kids, looking for truth in all the wrong places, looking to drugs, other things, not finding it, the emptiness of all that.

And it shows it in real time. And it unfolds the story. It also tells the story of two unlikely people coming together, a pastor of a church named Chuck Smith, a hippie evangelist named Lonnie Frisbee. And the result of them coming together resulted in a spiritual awakening called the Jesus movement. But there's some real human emotions and powerful scenes that you will see were conflict and resolution of conflict.

Greg taking care of his mother, who was an alcoholic and would go from bar to bar and pass out every night. It shows the struggles of the young boy later searching for himself and not looking in the right places, but ultimately finding his way to Jesus Christ. And so I think that just let the movie do its thing, to use sixties vernacular and just take him to the film. And then afterwards you'll have some amazing conversations. That's when you'd share the gospel. All right, well, you know, most of us have friends, co-workers, family members who would never go to church with us.

That's just a closed door. But they would go to see a movie with us. And what a great film to help them see the hope of the gospel in a whole new light.

You know what? It's taken us over 30 years to reach 6 million people through our large-scale harvest crusades. But this film is projected to be seen by some 10 million people this year alone. It's such an important opportunity to share our faith. And you know, that's a responsibility God has given each one of us as believers. So plan to take a friend with you to see Jesus Revolution. And if you can help us continue to reach out with the gospel, we want to say thanks by sending you Pastor Greg's book, also called Jesus Revolution. The subtitle is How God Transformed an Unlikely Generation and How He Can Do It Again Today.

That's our goal, to see another spiritual awakening. So get in touch with your donation and ask for the book Jesus Revolution. Our number is 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime, again, 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to Well, next time, the final message in our series of most requested studies of the past year. Pastor Greg brings a fascinating presentation called What I Would Tell My Younger Self. Personal, practical wisdom coming our way. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-31 05:38:23 / 2023-01-31 05:49:25 / 11

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