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Cold? Hot? or Lukewarm? Part 1

Sound of Faith / Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy
The Truth Network Radio
November 9, 2021 7:00 am

Cold? Hot? or Lukewarm? Part 1

Sound of Faith / Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy

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November 9, 2021 7:00 am

In His last letter to the seven churches of Revelation, Jesus indicted the Church of Laodecia:"I would that you were cold or hot. But because you are lukewam, I will spew you out of my mouth!"Did He mean, as some have said, that it's better to becold...a sinner or backslider in the world, on-fire believer in the church, than to belukewarm...mediocre, or worse, a hypocrite?

Scripture proves there are no circumstances where God wants anyone to be cold in sin. And while Jesus sharply rebuked hypocrites, calling them serpents and sepulchres, He was not referring to them in thelukewarmcategory.

So what did He mean bylukewarm?Laodecia's ill-famous aquaduct and her two sister cities' water supply hold the key.

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Greetings, friends and new listeners, and welcome to The Sound of Faith. I'm Sharon Otz thanking you for joining us today because we know faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. In Revelation, John's seventh letter from Jesus was to the church of Laodicea. Jesus indicted them, I will spew you out of my mouth. Did he mean it's better to be cold, backslidden or hot on fire for God than to be mediocre or a hypocrite?

Find out in today's message, cold, hot or lukewarm. Read letter words. If you have a Bible that prints the words of Jesus in red, you'll see a whole lot of red in the first three chapters of Revelation, because Jesus, the risen Lord, is speaking to his church.

Amen. He's speaking to his church, which is his body. Every born again believer is part of the body of Christ and a part of his church. But this is broken down into seven letters. There were seven churches that were located in ancient Turkey on this one particular route, and they were all nestled there close together. And Jesus wrote a letter to each one of them.

We know that unfortunately, five of the letters were very stern rebukes and two of them were not. Amen. And as we look at each church, we see different characteristics of churches throughout the church age, beginning with Jesus. He said, upon this rock, I'll build my church until our day. And we can see a little bit of all of us in these seven letters. However, when we get to the final letter of Laodicea, we can truly see the church age that we're in now. So let's look at chapter three in verse 14 and under the angel of the church of the Laodiceans.

Right. These things say if the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. I know thy works that thou art neither cold nor hot and I would thou were cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.

And let's stop here for a moment. When he said, I know your works, he said that to all seven churches. There are certain things that he said to every church. And this is one of those statements.

I know your works. Amen. You know, we have a tendency sometimes our opinion of our own selves and of our own works sometimes gets inflated. Amen. We have an inflated opinion sometimes of ourselves or even of our church. Maybe, you know, the scripture says, don't think more highly of yourself than you ought and take heed when you think your stand or you've got it all together that you don't fall. Amen.

And this was the condition that we find that Jesus found this church of Laodicea in. One thing about the Lord is even his rebukes are with love, which we will see in a moment. And when he says, I know your works, he knows the good and the bad. He knows our weaknesses and our strengths. Amen. And the strengths that we have are gifts, things and abilities that God has given to us when we give them back to him.

He anoints them powerfully and he uses them for the advancement of his kingdom. But he also knows our weaknesses. And we all have them.

We all have them. Amen. When the Lord makes me acutely aware of my weaknesses. Yes, you may feel like squirming a little bit, but I get over that part because then I say, Lord, you said that your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Now, Lord, I'm giving it over to you. And I believe that you can transform me through your word.

And that weakness, instead of being a liability to me, can actually become an asset. Because there's nothing that the Holy Ghost can't do in your life. There is no problem he can't solve. There's no situation he can't fix and not only fix it, but make it a trophy of his glory and his grace.

Amen. So he said, I know your works. And he said, here's the thing I have to say to you. You are neither cold nor hot. Now, I would that you were cold or I would that you were hot. Either one of those choices, he said, is OK with me.

But because you're lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth. You know, when I was growing up, I heard a lot of ministers minister on this and you may have heard it, too. And their interpretation of this is that God said he would rather you be an outright center in the world.

You know, cold to the things of God or be born again, a Christian, a saint in the church, rather than be a hypocrite in the middle. How many have ever heard that before? And this is something that I thought that it meant that for a long, long time. But then the Lord showed me, gave me some information.

I began to study what he was saying and what it meant. And I realized it didn't mean that at all, because child of God, there is no circumstance, there is no situation in which God ever wants anybody at any time to be a center in the world. It makes no sense, does it? There is never a reason that he would prefer someone to be in the world, a center lost, a backslider lost. It goes against everything that the gospel is about. Isn't that right? Now, it's true he doesn't want you to be a hypocrite.

That's true. He never had anything nice to say to hypocrites. He had even kind, compassionate words to say to sinners.

Amen? And even when he had to rebuke his children, he always did it with love. But I tell you, when it came to hypocrites, he let it fly. He didn't mince words then, if you don't believe me on your own time, later read Matthew 23. And you will find out that he had nothing nice to say to them. He called them a bunch of snakes. And he warned them, you better flee the judgment that's coming.

So he had no patience. He had no kind words for hypocrites. So while it is very true that he doesn't want you to be a hypocrite, that's not what lukewarm means here. Amen? So he doesn't want you to be cold as in being a sinner because we know that Peter said in 2 Peter 3, 9, that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance.

We know that Paul wrote to Timothy that God would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. So it cannot mean that he wants you to either be cold as sinner out in the world or hot Christian in the church. Do you agree with that?

How many agree that that's true? Well, if that's true, then what did he mean? What was he talking about when he said, I'd rather you be cold or hot?

I don't want you to be lukewarm because if you are, I'm going to spew you out of my mouth. Well, let's go on and read a couple more verses. Verse 17. Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

Ooh, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. Amen. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed and that the shame of thine nakedness do not appear and anoint thine eyes with eyesad that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous, therefore, and repent.

I like verse 19 a lot, don't you? Because he's really read the riot act to them. But still he comes back and says, I love you. I love you. And because I love you like any good parent does, chastens a child that needs to be corrected. Amen.

So he's saying, yes, I'm stomping on your toes and I'm going to tell you how I feel about your condition. And it's not good. But I want you to know that I love you. And here's what I'm hoping that you will repent. Amen. So what does he mean here?

What an indictment. And, you know, everything that we read here that he calls them has a physical correspondent, an attribute about the city itself. Now, he's talking about their deplorable spiritual condition.

But why is he saying what he's saying? Because he's referencing the city of Laodicea. The city of Laodicea was a city located on the Lycus River. And being on that major trade route, it brought in a whole lot of different people and a lot of different cultures. And it was a thriving city. Amen. Any time you have a port city like Baltimore or New York, you're going to find out that ships come from other nations and other countries.

And so it brings in different cultures, which brings in different ideas. Also brings in money. Money to help the city and the city prospers. Amen. There were times when Baltimore was in a tug of war with Norfolk over different contracts where different ones were going to come. Were they going to go to the port of Norfolk or were they going to come to the port of Baltimore? And we won some and we lost some. And every time we would lose something in Norfolk, we knew goodbye. There goes some dollar signs floating down the Chesapeake Bay.

Amen. So being a city on a river on a major route meant that this was a thriving city with many cultures and many rich people were there. And the people were rich. So they built a lot of fine buildings and monuments all over Laodicea.

And yet Jesus said, you are poor. Did you know that Laodicea was a major banking city, a major banking city? Now, today, when we think of major banking cities off the top of my head, I think of New York and Wall Street. Amen. And, you know, over in Europe, you have London, you have Zurich, and then in the Far East, you have Tokyo. There are others, of course, but it was like these. It was like, say, Wall Street in New York.

It was a major banking city. Amen. And yet Jesus said, you are poor. And I counsel you, what you need to do is you need to buy some gold from me.

See, he was alluding to their actual physical situation of what they were in the natural. But he was also referencing in the spirit, you may have a nice bank and you might have a NASDAQ or a standard and poor or stock exchange. That's what you may boast of. But I see your spiritual condition and I'm telling you, you are poor. And the Greek word for poor, it doesn't just mean that, you know, you're kind of like struggling to make it. You just barely get by.

You don't have any excess. You don't have any prosperity, but you're making it. No, this poor means you are destitute. It means you have no resources. It means you have nothing of yourself, nowhere with all to help yourself. And that's the kind of poor he's talking about. Amen.

But you've got to see yourself as that. And they didn't. They boasted, we are rich. So then Jesus told them, he said, you are naked. Now, what was he talking about?

What was he referring to? Laodicea was also a fashion center. When we think of fashion centers today, we think of usually right off the bat, we think of locally in the United States, New York. That's where all the designers go.

Amen. And design all of their new lines. And we also think of Paris immediately.

We think of Paris because we know that every year the big names, the top names travel to Paris for the runway shows. And they have all of these models come out. Amen. And they introduce their new spring line and the rich people go there and the people that are into the fashion world go there.

Amen. So they were like this. They were a fashion center.

Wow. They're a banking city. They're a fashion center. And not only that, they were famous for producing a particular black cloak that was made out of a particular type of wool that was a glossy black wool.

And the coats that they made were very unique. You couldn't go on Amazon and order one and have it sent to your house. Amen.

No, you couldn't. You had to go to Laodicea if you wanted one of those beautiful cloaks they were famous for. And they were very proud of their made in Laodicea label.

Amen. They were proud of that label. You know, some people are really into labels and other people could care less.

How many know? Some people are very impressed if they see a particular designer's name label. They're thinking, oh, wow, that is a Christian Dior or some other famous person.

You know, I just like what I like. I do like this one designer, Bob Mackie. You say, well, who in the world is Bob Mackie? Well, back in the 70s and 80s, he designed a lot of the costumes and clothing that were worn on your variety shows, like when Sharon Sunny had their show and Carol Burnett had her show and different ones had their shows. He designed a lot of their clothes. And so he is a designer.

He's well known. Why I like him so much is because his clothes always have this open work. In other words, not just embroidery, but where it's cut open, it looks lazy, but it's cut open. You probably know I wear a lot of jackets like that. And so they're Bob Mackie jackets. Now, look, I get his el cheapo line. On to VC.

OK. He has a line with them, which, of course, he's the prices come way down from what it would be if you went to a boutique that carried his stuff. And then I've gotten even smarter. I find what I like on TV. See, I say I want that jacket. That's the jacket I want.

And I'll go on eBay and a lot of times I'll find it on eBay and I'll get it for like 20 bucks cheaper. See, because I'm not impressed with labels. I just like him because I like his unique style of that open, lacy look. That's it. Otherwise, the name would mean nothing to me. But these people were proud of their label made in Laodicea. Amen.

And they had rich people that came there for the purpose of purchasing their clothing, their fashions from this fashionable city. But what Jesus said is, you know what? Let me give you some counsel. I counsel you by some white raiment from me and then you won't be naked and your shame won't be showing. Wow. Smack me in the face.

Why don't you? Amen. Boasting, we have the most fashionable clothes in all this area of Turkey and people come from near and far to buy our fashions. But Jesus said, you're not only naked, you're shameful and you need to get covered up. You need to be covered up with white raiment and that always in the Bible is symbolic of righteousness.

We know that we're going to get clothed in the white linen of the righteousness of the saints. Amen. And Jesus smacked him. He said, you need to cover up with my righteousness because your shame is showing. Amen. So what else did he say to them?

He said, you are blind. Now, we know they're a banking city. We know they're a fashion center.

You know what else they were? They were a famous medical center. They had a healing school and they had a healing clinic where people came. And they were especially renowned for an eye salve that they made there for the healing of the eyes. You know, I think about Baltimore. We have the worldwide renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital and University right in Baltimore.

Amen. And they have pioneered many cures and protocols throughout the years. They have pioneered new protocols and new cures that other hospitals then do the same that they learn there. You know, doctors that are in learning, they love to be a resident at Johns Hopkins. And, you know, later on when they are, you know, looking for different positions in different jobs, boy, do they like to put on their resume.

I was a resident at Johns Hopkins University or I went to school at Johns Hopkins Medical School. They want that on their resume because that definitely gives them an advantage. Amen. That gives them an advantage as soon as someone sees Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Medical School, they are impressed.

Amen. And I know a lot of doctors that I have had to see through all the situation that I was in last year. The majority of them had put some type of residency in at Johns Hopkins. And that makes you think to yourself, well, they probably know what they're doing. You have hospitals like Johns Hopkins, they're on the cutting edge of things. They're the ones that pioneer and everybody else catches up to them. Amen.

Well, that's kind of how Laodicea was. Wow. Are you impressed with this city?

Banking center, fashion center, medical center. Amen. And so people come from all around the country today to come to Baltimore. They bring them from overseas. They bring little children that have incurable diseases. And money is raised to bring those children to Johns Hopkins. And often they're able to reverse the disease, even cure the disease. Amen. Or fix some sort of terrible congenital birth defect. Amen.

And so this is how it was for Laodicea. They were known as a medical center and not only that, they had this particular SAV medication that they produced for eyes. You know, again, Johns Hopkins has the Wilmer Eye Clinic.

And if you have a problem that can't be solved in your local doctor's office, a lot of times if you have a rare condition or a condition that they don't feel comfortable treating, they will send you to the Wilmer Eye Clinic. Because there you're going to have those that are at the top of their game in that field. The best of the best.

Amen. When you are facing a serious illness, you want to go to the best of the best in that field. Don't you? If somebody's going to be cutting on you, you want to know you're not their first patient. You want to say, how many of these have you done and what is the success rate?

And you might even go so far as to say, do you think that you could give me the name and numbers of someone who you operated on that would be willing to talk to me? I mean, we're talking about serious business. Amen. We're not talking about just getting your toenail fixed from an ingrown toenail. We're talking about serious things. And so this is how it was for Laodicea.

People came from far and near to their medical facility to be treated and especially for their eyes. But Jesus said, you are blind. Can you imagine?

Are you putting the two things together? Putting together all the things they boasted in and then how Jesus came at them. Amen. He said, you're not only blind. He said you're wretched and miserable. Wow. You're wretched and miserable.

Wretched. There's that word. That word sometimes gets me prickly.

You say, what are you talking about? I'm talking about when these singers start singing Amazing Grace and they get to the part that says, save the wretch like me. And they say, no, I'm not saying that that might offend somebody. I'm going to say that save the soul like me. The Bible says you're wretch. Amen.

Call a wretch what it is. That's the problem today. Sin is not what it used to be. Sin is not what it used to be. Amen. They've got new terms for sin. And the same thing.

Nobody says you're going to offend people if you call them a wretch. Paul said, when I thought I was right, I was religious, but I wasn't born again. And all the good things I wanted to do and said I will do, I ended up not doing them. And the worst thing is the things I said I wouldn't do that I hate.

I ended up doing those very things. He said, oh, wretched man that I am. Who will save me from this body of sin and death?

Because religion didn't help Paul. He said, I am really an elitist when you want to talk about the religion of the Jews. I will just tell you my pedigree. I'm not boasting because I won't impress you.

I'm telling you the facts. I was in an elite group. I was a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He said, I sat at the feet of Gamaliel and that was one of their most esteemed rabbis.

Amen. But he said, you know what? I kept breaking the law. That I was so zealous to preach, to teach and demand that people obey, but I kept doing it. And we know that he said, I would have never known sin except that the law said to me, thou shall not covet. So we don't know what Paul's sins were, but we know that at least one of them was. He had a covetous spirit. And we know for sure that he was proud.

Amen. Because we know later on, even after being born again, he said that so he wouldn't get a big head from all the revelations that God was given him for the church. God sent a messenger of Satan to buffet him. And he kept saying, get this messenger out of my way. He's buffeting me. He's vexing me. He's a thorn in my side, a thorn in my flesh. And God said, nope, I'm not going to remove him.

I'm going to leave him there and give you grace. Amen. Because he said, lest I be exalted above measure. That's what Paul said twice.

Amen. So we see that this is the mindset that Laodicea had. But Jesus said, you are wretched and you are miserable. And I looked it up in the Greek and it's the same Greek word for wretched and miserable. It was used twice. Twice by the Bible writers. So any time something is doubled, it's to emphasize it. Amen. So what does all this have to do with?

I want you to be hot or I want you to be cold. Now, I have shown you that they were a major city on a major trade route, which brought all kinds of cultures and rich people in and important people in that caused the city to prosper financially. Culturally, the city was prospering. We saw that it was a banking center. We saw that it was a fashion center. We saw that it was a medical center.

What has all this got to do with being hot or cold? Well, another thing that Laodicea boasted of was an architectural marvel. And that was that they had built an aqueduct, an above ground aqueduct to bring drinking water into the city from nearby areas and cities. How many understand what an aqueduct is? You know, when we went on our Holy Land tours, we actually saw one up close in Caesarea.

The ruins are still standing. I'm going to tell you what it kind of looks like to me just to give you an idea. If you ever go in Brooklyn and see the Hanover Street Bridge, it's that old style architect that has those arches that hold up the bridge.

Now, think about that idea. But instead of it being a road on top that you would walk or drive on, think of it as being a trough that water would flow through. And you'll have a general idea of what an aqueduct looked like. And so they had built this aqueduct. And, you know, that meant that they had water coming straight into the city all the time. Water was just coming right into the city. Now, really, it was an engineering marvel.

And it was what seemed to have been a great idea that would have made them just seem to be on the cutting edge of things. But there was a problem because it was above ground, quite a bit above ground. It was always exposed to sunlight. So that meant however many hours of day the sun was shining, it was beaming down on that aqueduct.

And that meant the waters were always lukewarm, always being warmed up by the sun. And how many know there's nothing quite as distasteful as lukewarm water? Amen? Somebody say yuck! I mean, when you are really, really thirsty, you've been working on the treadmill, you've been jogging, you've been lifting weights.

I didn't hear very many amens, but I'm going to ignore that. I've got to find another illustration. So you've been working and exerting yourself and sweating and you're becoming dehydrated. Your body is screaming for water. And so you want to drink so bad.

Have you ever been jogging or running around on the different recreational playgrounds around the city? I remember when I was a kid growing up, we used to go up on Federal Hill and they had a water fountain there. But sometimes you would go and turn that water fountain on and you'd spit it right out because it was lukewarm. Amen? And it was nasty and you didn't want it lukewarm.

Amen? Have you ever been in a hurry at home to get a drink of water and you turn on the faucet and it hasn't been turned on for a while and you don't let it run and you stick your cup under there and you take a drink and you spit it out because it's lukewarm. We want our water either cold or hot so we can make some tea with it.

But we don't want it lukewarm, do we? You know when you leave that bottled water in your car. You've left it in your car a couple days. And now you're riding down the road and you are so thirsty and you reach over for that bottle of water that's been sitting there in that little component and you take a drink of it and it is disgusting. Amen?

It's been sitting in the sunlight and it's lukewarm and it tastes nasty. This will help us determine where our program is blessing people like you. Write to Sound of Faith, P.O. Box 1744, Baltimore, Maryland 21203.

Don't forget those call letters on the front of the envelope. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-04 13:19:24 / 2023-05-04 13:30:36 / 11

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