The Lukewarm Church – Rev 3:17

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. – Revelation 3:17 ESV

The church at Laodicea was lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, and Jesus threatened to spit them out of his mouth. There were sources for hot mineral water, suitable for soaking, and cold spring water, suitable for drinking, near Laodicea. But they were like neither. They were just bleah. The problem was that they did not recognize their condition. They were like a church with nice facilities, abundant offering, dynamic preachers and worship teams; everything that they could humanly desire. Yet they were spiritually destitute and badly in need of the true riches that God had to offer them.

Like so many other areas of life, Jesus’ view of the condition of a church is often quite different than ours. The church in Smyrna was afflicted and poor, but Jesus declared them to be rich. The church in Philadelphia had little strength, but Jesus saw them as faithful. The church in Laodicea was well off and strong, but Jesus saw them as weak and poor, pitiable. We need to evaluate churches, especially our own, not on the outward appearances, but on our obedience and faithfulness to Christ as our head. Being a poor, weak church is no guarantee of approval from Christ. Nor is having a large and prosperous body a guarantee of Christ’s disapproval. What counts is our heart and relationship with the head, with Christ.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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