Passion for Jesus

January 29, 2017  Revelation 3:14 – 22    Passion 

 

    This is a personal letter from Jesus to his church.  It is to our benefit to listen and to hear.  Jesus finishes this letter to Laodicea with he who has ears to hear let him hear what the spirit is says to the churches.  It is really sad that Jesus does not praise anything in this church. That is pretty frightening I think.   There are some churches like that today.  .  I believe Jesus would have some good things to say about us.  There is a word for the Church of Jesus today and that is Jesus is very interested in each Christian’s passion for him.  That is a good word for us to hear today. 

    Jesus said to the church of Laodicea I know your deeds.  He knows how we live our life.  Everything will be judged someday.  Jesus said every idle word will be judged.  I Corinthians 3 tell us that that there is no other foundation than Jesus and as the song writer wrote all other ground is sinking sand.   We can build on the foundation of Jesus with things that last in eternity or not.   If a person builds on the right foundation that lasts they will receive a reward.  Some do not build on it and their works will be burned up.  They will have no rewards in eternity.  We can have the blessing of building God’s kingdom here and now.

   Jesus told the church at Ephesus I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.   You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.    Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.    To Smyrna Jesus said I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!    I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.   Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.   I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days.   Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

    It is pretty scary what Jesus said to the church at Sardis.   I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.   Wake up!   Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent.   But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.  That may apply to some churches today.    In each of the 7 churches in Revelation chapter 2 and 3 Jesus said I know this about you.   Jesus knows the good you do and the bad you do and we can’t hide anything from him and God knows what is going to happen.   Jesus blesses the good and Jesus is against the bad. 

   Jesus said to the church of Laodicea I wish you were hot or cold.  I believe that His greatest desire is that each Christian would be hot.  Jesus wants Christians to be passionate in their relationship with Him.  He desires a burning passion and love.  Jesus was zealous.  In John 2 we read His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me which is a quote from Psalms regarding Jesus.  Zeal for your house will consume me.  In Titus 2 we read who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. The King James says a people who are zealous of good works. 

   The Laodicea church was not hot.  They were luke warm.  They were a church at ease.   They were not concerned about the lost.  They were not zealous to feed and clothe those in need.  They were not zealous to pray, read the scriptures, and worship.  Life was more about them and their comfort.  They did not go the second mile and they were not a light on the hill top.  Their lack of concern and self centeredness made Jesus sick to his stomach and Jesus wanted to throw them up or spit them out of his mouth.  Did you ever eat something disgusting and just spit it right out.  I do not like beer and when I was in the Army my buddies took a Coke or Pepsi bottle and begged me to drink it and I took big drink of it and I spit that all over the place.  It was a natural violent reaction. 

   Perhaps this church was useless to Jesus.  The church is not light if it embraces wrong.  We love people we are commanded to do.  They justified the life style they had.  They made excuses for their condition.  Jesus calls them out on it.  Jesus said to them you say I am rich, I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.  That is pretty brazen I think.  Hey God take a look at me.  I am really doing well down here.  I have the answers.  Jesus said not so fast folks.  It is like Jesus said let me tell you how I see your condition. 

   Laodicea was a wealthy town.  It was wealthy from wool and they made cloth.  They were also sought out for their eye salve or ointment.  The city was known as a banking center and they exchanged money.  The town minted its own coins.  It was destroyed in AD 60 with an earthquake and it was rebuilt by the wealth of its citizens.  I read they did not ask for government help.  The town was a Roman military outpost and a trade center.  It was located 100 feet above a river. 

    We see that the town or city was rich and it looks like the church took on the attitude and culture of the town they lived in.  The church is to change the culture around it and not become like those around them.  Some Christians may think that if the money is coming in that they are close to God and everything spiritually is OK.  That may not be true.     The church bragged we are rich and have acquired wealth and need nothing.  Ouch.   We always need Jesus.  Jesus said to them but you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. The church at Laodicea was to be light and salt.  They were to be different than those around them.  We do not see ourselves properly apart from the Lord.  David prayed search me O God and know me.  See if there be any wicked way in me.  We would do well to ask God to search us out once in awhile.  Sometimes we think we are doing well and we are not doing well.  Pride comes before a fall.  They are known for their cloth and Jesus tells them they are naked.  They are known for their eye salve and Jesus tells them they are blind.  Jesus just speaks to their pride.  Jesus can speak deeply into our life.  Sometimes it can hurt.  We need those times.  He judges and corrects so we are not condemned with the world. 

    Jesus counseled them to get real gold from him. They were to get gold from Jesus was refined in fire.  It was pure gold and real gold.  The gold that Jesus gives will make them truly rich.  We need to get our eyes off the temporal stuff and see the eternal.  The eternal is real.  The eternal is permanent.  They could use their physical wealth for the poor. The reality was that they were not rich at all.  It all belongs to God.  Our life belongs to God. 

  Jesus told them to get white clothes from him.   Zondervan Dictionary said they got rich from black sheep.  I suspect the cloth they made was black.  Jesus tells them get white clothes from me.  Spiritually we are only covered in his righteousness and his blood.  There is such a beautiful picture in Revelation 19 the armies of heaven were following Him ridding on white horses and dressed in fine linen white and clean.    I love that purity.   I love that picture and righteousness.  That righteousness is a gift.   It cost God and Jesus a great deal.  And they needed to get salve from Jesus so they could really see.  They thought they could see.   They thought we help people to see.  We make a salve that helps people see.   They thought they were rich.  They thought they were clothed.   They thought they were doing well and needed nothing.  They were wrong.   Jesus told them they were wrong.  I suppose it was a shock to many of them. 

    Then Jesus said repent.   Change your ways.  Don’t keep doing what you are doing. You’re going the wrong way.   Your behavior is wrong and your attitude is wrong.  They were looking for a good report card.  They thought things were good and Jesus gives them a failing grade.  I would say that Jesus totally failed them.    Jesus tells them I am knocking.  I want to come in.   That is like saying I am not even in your life.  I am outside but I want to come in.  I am out in the cold and out in the rain.  Let me in.   I want to help you and talk with you.  Let me in.  Jesus is saying if you can hear me listen up.  It is for your good. 

   Jesus said to them I would that you were hot or cold. How do we stay hot?   How do we continue with passion?   Jesus wants us to be passionate.    Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. It is not automatic.  It is something we focus on.  We can get distracted from our passion.  We can get distracted from Jesus.  I got a couple of the following thoughts form Rick Warren.  We can over work. Too much work can stifle or kill your passion.  Psalm 127 unless the Lord builds the house, the builder’s labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.   In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.    Some need to rest.  Some may not be working enough. The church at Laodicea was content.  Too much work and not enough work can impact a per5sons passion.  We need balance and that comes from the Holy Spirit.  . 

   Another area is that of spiritual gifts.  God has blessed each Christian with at least one gift.  Using your spiritual gift can build passion in our life.  Conversely not using your spiritual gift can diminish your passion.  God has given us certain bents and passions.   We need to sue those abilities and gifts.   The Holy Spirit blesses us as we use our spiritual gift.  It is a blessing to see God work through your life to minister to someone else.   Using your spiritual gift blesses others and Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive.   Certainly sin can impact your passion.  The church in Laodicea said we do not need anything.  I would say that is pride and that does not help your passion for Jesus.  Unconfessed sin and guilt and anger are robbers of spiritual health and passion.  We need the spirit of God moment and day by day.  How can a person be enthusiastic and be fearful or angry at the same time?  

   We need to spend time with God to be passionate about God and the things of God.  We need to spend time with others that have a passionate relationship with God.   Two are better than one.  Sometimes we have a bad day or we fall and it is good to have support.   I took the van to a garage for a vehicle inspection Friday morning.   Brian the owner I heard was going to church so about 2 minutes in our conversation I asked him how is Jesus today.  That kind of stuns people I have found and he responded rather quickly Jesus is great.  We had a wonderful conversation that set the tone of my whole day.  It ignited my passion.  We talked for 20 minutes.  One of the things that he shared was that they were going to open a new business in the building they own and as they were preparing the 1st floor for the business the renters upstairs were yelling at each other and swearing.  Brian and his wife prayed for them and they ended up going to their church and the yelling stopped.  

    Every day there are negative things that will come our way.   The enemy, the world seems to be on a downhill spiral and some of that falls in our lap.   How do you handle those issues determines your spiritual passion. We need to renew our mind.   We need to be aware of what is draining us emotionally.  Some folks lose their passion for God and that is the worst thing that can happen.  Jesus told the church I wish you hot or cold.