Peter Barnes: Revelation 3:14-22
(28 January 2018)
SERMON NOTES : LAODICEA: LUKEWARMNESS IS SICKENING (Rev.3:14-22)
– no praise at all. Lord Melbourne, the British Prime Minister from 1835 to 1841, declared: ‘If we are to have a prevailing religion, let us have one that is cool and indifferent.’
1. Christ, the true and faithful witness and ruler.
– 3:14. Christ is the ‘Amen’, the faithful and true witness. Not the first created being but ‘the beginning [the one who begins] or the ruler or even the first cause of the creation of God’.
– G. K. Beale links this to the new creation, as in Rev.1:5; cf. 3:21
2. The sin of being lukewarm.
– 3:15-17. Recall Luke 24:32. George Buttrick: ‘People are driven from the Church not so much by stern truth that makes them uneasy as by weak nothings that make them contemptuous.’
– 3:17; like John 9:39-41. Leon Morris: ‘There is more hope for the openly antagonistic than for the coolly indifferent.’
– Christ responds to very graphically – 3:16; see Mark 3:5.
– Augustine: ‘Give me a man in love; he knows what I mean. Give me one who yearns; give me one who is hungry; give me one far away in this desert, who is thirsty and sighs for the spring of the Eternal Country. Give me that sort of man; he knows what I mean. But if I speak to a cold man, he just doesn’t know what I am talking about.’
3. Christ’s counsel to a lukewarm church.
– 3:18 – the ‘you’ is singular. See Isaiah 55:1. Love and discipline in 3:19.
4. Christ’s promises to a lukewarm church.
– 3:20-1 – renewal and victory. The Puritans had a saying: ‘If Christ be anything, He is surely everything.’