07-30-17 Let Them Hear: Laodicea

Man, everyone is still more or less fried from VBS, but it was totally worth it.  But my family is going on vacation for the next two weeks, so we should have plenty of time to rest up and recuperate from all of the fun and excitement.

That means that if anyone has any pastoral needs, please do contact one of our great Elders -- Randy, Richard, Bill, or Scott.  Any of them would be more than happy to help out with anything that anyone needs help with.

I’m also going to strongly encourage everyone who can to be on hand for the next couple of weeks to encourage the rest of your church family members.  For instance, Orpha’s 97th birthday is coming up next Sunday, and we’re also hosting Peoria’s Teen Challenge ministry -- a great, Christ-based program for helping young men work through drug and alcohol addictions that has an amazing success record -- so you’ll want to be around for both of those special things. 

Then, the next Sunday after that, we’ll be having a special Testimony Sunday where everyone can share a little bit about what God has been doing in their lives -- especially through the ministries of our own church family.  That’s always a very moving time, and I’m actually always a little sad whenever I’m not around for it.  But after the service on the 13th, we’ll also be hosting our FCCFFL (First Covenant Church Fantasy Football League) Draft, and we’d love to have as many FCCers as possible involved.  Not only is that always a fun time, but it’s also a way to build connections and community between people in fellowship.  And maybe win a trophy at the end...

In our message this week, we concluded our series looking at Christ’s mini-letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor in the first couple of chapters of Revelation, this time focusing on the church in Laodicea.

The city was a home for industries like a thriving textile market specializing in rare black wool tunics, a famous medical school renowned for its eye salve, a respected banking system that the most prestigious Romans used, etc., making Laodicea the richest city in Asia.  They used expensive stone pipes to draw cooled water in from the south, and the famed hot springs of Hieropolis were only six miles to the north.  Laodicea was a happening place, and the church there was doing great.

Well, at least they thought that they were doing great.  They were popular, financially solid, and comfortable -- and let’s be honest, aren’t those things that most churches would really like to be more like?

But Jesus said that far from being rich, they were poor in what matters.  Far from being a center for eye medicine, they were blind to what matters.  Far from being the “go-to” place for the best, most popular clothing styles, they were naked in what matters.  They were neither refreshing like their cold water, nor soothing like the nearby hot springs -- instead, they were like the lukewarm, gooey run-off that didn’t help anyone.

Jesus was upset, but He didn’t share this all out of His anger -- He shared it in an attempt to help them to change.  He called them to repent and to choose a life of consequence instead of comfortable sameness.  He said that He was standing at the door knocking -- that though the church had blithely shut out the God whom they’d casually thought they were worshiping, He still wanted to be in their midst and be their God.

Like a good parent, God rebuked them because He loved them, and He gave them the chance to change.

There’s a reason that lukewarm water is often referred to as being “room temperature” -- because the environment around us always works to bring us to its temperature level.  We have to actively work to make things cold or hot, and most of us would rather just adjust to the environment than to work to make a significant difference in the environment.  In fact, one of my favorite quotes is from John Henry Jowlett, who said that “It is possible to evade a multitude of sorrows by cultivation of an insignificant life.”  I do understand the siren call of a comfortable, non-invasive mediocrity (or even a comfortable, non-invasive impressiveness), but all in all, I’d rather live significantly than comfortably.

How about you?