Focal passage: Revelation 3:14-22
Growing up, my younger sister and I were always incredibly excited as we counted down the days until Christmas morning, when we could finally open our presents. Around the room were gifts wrapped with love and care. For days we examined these two piles of presents – one wrapped in blues and reds and the other pile wrapped in pinks and purples. I would shake the blues and reds, and my sister the pinks and purples, guessing the contents in each box. Finally, Christmas morning came, and we sat by our piles as our dad read the Christmas story. We got ready to open them when my mom told us we needed to switch piles – she had wrapped my gifts in the pink and purple and my sister’s in the blue and red paper. The paper had been used to disguise the contents within.
Churches can be like that as well. Often the outside looks good – not just from a physical standpoint. Programming and activities flood the church and community calendar, but it is not always an accurate representation of what is inside.
The last remaining letter in Revelation 3 went to the church in Laodicea. Laodicea was an important city in Asia Minor for trade, leading it to be a prosperous area, and its prosperity led the church to become self-sufficient. After an earthquake, Laodicea took no money from Rome and rebuilt the city themselves.
We should be careful to not become self-sufficient, but to lean completely on Jesus. Those in the church were considered lukewarm – they were neither hot or cold and were putting on a façade. Jesus did not identify their works but rebuked them for being neither hot nor cold.
Christ desired for them to be victorious and not to become self-sufficient and complacent, but rather for them to be faithful followers of Him, and that desire exists for us as well.