I Wish You Were Cold or Hot

John J. Blanchard
December 19, 2015 (listen to audio)

Good morning, brethren.  The title of today’s sermon is I Wish You Were Cold or Hot.  Obviously that is a reference to Revelation chapter 3, so that will be our first Scripture.  If you turn to Revelation chapter 3, we are going to read the message to the Church of Laodicea.

Revelation chapter 3, beginning in verse 14:  “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God; I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing”—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.  To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

This is a message for our time.  The Church has understood that really for quite some time.  It is a message that the Spirit has for the churches, and this particular message is for our time, the Laodicean era of the Church.

We need to first establish for certainty that this is the Church and who the Church is.  That is simple to do.  Let’s turn to Ephesians chapter 5.  I am going to read what was written here for the benefit of the Church, starting in verse 22.

Ephesians 5, verse 22:  “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”

Get this connection of Christ being the head where the mind is located, and He is the Savior of the body.

Continuing in verse 24 of Ephesians 5:  “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…”

CLEANSE THE CHURCH WITH THE BIBLE

Christ wants to cleanse His bride and the body of Christ with His word, which is Holy Scripture.

Verse 27:  “…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.”

Christ loves His body—the Church.  That is where He is working today.  He is working through the Church.  We are told here in admonition to families, wives submit to your husbands and  husbands love your wives as Christ loves His wife, the Church, and His body.

Then it goes on to say in verse 29 of Ephesians 5:  “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.  For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.  ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh,’  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

This great mystery is that we are literally flesh and blood and bones for Jesus Christ!  We are flesh and blood for Him to work with and dwell inside, as a body in which He can continue to do the work that He started with His sacrifice!  That’s an incredible thing to think about:  Christ being in us as a mind and the head of the body, and us being part of a body.  He wants that body to be clean and healthy and wholesome.  Just as a family and a husband and wife are supposed to embody that in life, Christ is doing that in a spiritual and a physical sense.  He is taking care of us in every way possible for our benefit.  We are one flesh with God.

LET CHRIST GUIDE US

Christ is the head and the mind, which is what we saw in verse 33.  He is the head.  He is the Savior, but He is also where the mind should be getting its influence from.  We get influence from His mind.  We can see that corroborated in I Corinthians chapter 2.  Let’s go back to I Corinthians chapter 2.

I Corinthians chapter 2, starting in verse 9:  “But as it is written:  ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’”

It is talking about some things that can’t be seen with our physical ocular eyesight.  It can only be discerned spiritually, which it goes on to tell us.

Continuing in verse 10 of I Corinthians 2:  “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”

To understand the things given to us by God, the word of God (the Bible), we need God’s help.  We saw that earlier.

Verse 13:  “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

Once again, these are things that cannot be seen with physical eyesight.

Verse 14:  “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.  For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”

We are not instructors of Jesus Christ.  He is the mind in us instructing and guiding our physical minds and, of course, guiding us into how to use these physical bodies to do His work and to grow in holy righteous character.  It is a great mystery!  Jesus Christ is working with physical human beings in this way.  He does it by dwelling in us.  His mind being a part of our mind obviously means He is in there.  If we have the Holy Spirit, He is there.  Let’s go to the gospel of John chapter 14 where Christ is speaking.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS IN US

John 14, verse 15:  “If you love Me, keep My commandments.  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

Then He goes on to say in verse 18:  “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

He says, it is My Spirit that the Father will release to come into you and dwell in you.  Simply put, it is the mind of God dwelling in us, opening up the truth and the understanding of His word—the Bible—by giving us spiritual instruction and guidance and spiritual vision.  It is a tremendous mystery, but an awesome blessing!  It has awesome responsibilities.

Let’s go to I John chapter 2.  We are looking at I John 2, verse 24:  “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning.  If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.  These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.  But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

Now we are talking about Jesus Christ abiding in the body and us abiding with Him—this truth and this knowledge that will lead to eternal life.  But it is alive within us.  It is abiding in us.  It is literally part of us.  Therefore we have a very intimate connection between Jesus Christ and His Church—His body.  It is very, very intimate.   The only thing that comes close on earth is a husband and wife where the two become one flesh.  We know that from the very beginning of the Bible.

How Christ is accomplishing this is a great mystery.  God the Father is allowing it and encouraging it by sending Jesus Christ to us.

LUKEWARM:  SPIRITUALLY LETHARGIC

But we had that warning in Revelation 3.  “I will vomit you out of My mouth.”  He said that He would do that because you are neither cold nor hot.  Then He went on to say, I wish you were cold or hot, but because you are neither cold nor hot but you are lukewarm, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Many sermons and Bible studies have been given on being cold or hot, and they are all valuable, really.  But we want to look at this as deeply as we can for the time in which we live.  Obviously the simplest reason a body can be cold or hot is it is either alive or dead.  A dead body is cold to the touch.  There is no energy transfer in it anymore.  There is no heat, so it’s cold.  Of course, if a body is alive, it is generating heat.

That’s the simplest definition of cold or hot, so Christ could be saying, I wish you were dead or alive.  But He says, you are lukewarm, so we obviously have to go beyond just being dead or alive.  A body wouldn’t be lukewarm for very long.  It would go cold.  Lukewarm is somewhere in between dead and alive.  What could He mean there?  It could mean that we are comatose.  If someone is comatose, they are in a limbo state between dead and alive.  We could be stupefied or dumbfounded, not comprehending a lot, so we can’t be actively hot or cold because we are dumbfounded or stupefied.  We could also be ill.

When we are really sick, we are laid flat out on the couch or in bed.  We may be hot from a fever, but it’s not heat with life so to speak, so we would have the energy to go do something that a body would do.  We are dead.  We are not cold, either.

We could also be lethargic, and I think this is closer to what Christ was talking about.  That is, lethargic about our faith, not really too into it, so to speak.  That’s where we lead to this idea of zeal.  Maybe it’s just a lack of zeal.  If we were cold, that would mean we left the truth. We rejected our calling, so God says, I know where I stand with you.  You have rejected Me.

On the other hand, He is saying you are not hot.  I can see that you love Me, and you want to do everything you agreed to at baptism.  You are really excited about the truth.  You are lukewarm.  You are not energetic or zealous about allowing Me to use your body or you using your own energy to get something done.

Therefore hot would be the zealous side.  Cold would be rejecting the truth.  Lukewarm is somewhere in between.  It is ho-hum, waffling back and forth.  It is doing the bare minimum to stay a Christian.  It’s not really serious about our calling, with perhaps one foot in the world, as they say, and one foot in the church or the truth.  It is just somewhere in the middle.  Christ calls that lukewarm.

If you go back to the message to the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3, let’s read verse 18 because Christ says there is something that results from being lukewarm.  Revelation 3, verse 18:  “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”

He says this is what you need to do because in verse 17 it says this:   “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”

He says because you are lukewarm, here is what you need and what you should have.  But because you are lukewarm, you don’t have the white garments.  You are not truly rich.  You are not clothed.  You are naked, and you don’t have good eyesight.  He says what you do have, and you don’t realize it, is that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.

He says because of this condition—being lukewarm—and you are poor, blind, wretched, naked, and miserable, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  Vomit is an interesting thing for Christ to put in here because it connotes a lot of things.  Vomit is a very unpleasant thing for us to contemplate, but Christ inspired these words.  When we vomit, it is evidence of sickness.  In some ways, it is the first step to becoming healthy.  Let me explain that.

WE MAKE THE CHURCH SICK

When we are getting sick and some kind of germ has landed in our intestinal tract or if we have ingested some food that has gone bad, our physical brain tells the body to seal off the gut.  Try not to digest that food, because I am going to instruct the stomach to vomit that food out.  It is making the body sick.  It is a defense mechanism.  In a way vomiting is the first step to getting healed from many diseases.  To vomit gets those germs or that bad food out.  It is the mind subconsciously telling the body to get rid of it!

If you remember, I Corinthians 2:16 told us we have the mind of Christ.  When Christ says I am going to vomit you out of My mouth, that’s the mind saying that we personally are making the body sick.  We are part of a problem here!  We are making the body sick.

Food is interesting.  We know food is the word of God as well.  If we take physical food that should be cold or hot such as fish or chicken or whatever and we leave it lukewarm on the counter for a while and eat it, we are going to get sick.  Usually the first manifestation that you have eaten some bad food is your body sealing off the gut and saying let’s get this out before we get any sicker.  Then we vomit it out.  That’s the analogy Christ is talking about here.

When we look around at the evidence of what has happened in the Church today, it’s pretty obvious He has vomited us out of His mouth.  We are scattered everywhere.  We are not a unified body in any sense, hardly.  Yet Christ told us in Ephesians 5 that He loves us like a wife and a body that has become His own flesh.  He wants to accomplish something with it.

In one sense we need to look at this and say, yes, it is a sad situation.  There is something desperately wrong for Christ to vomit us out.  But by the same token, that is the first step to getting well, but you have to recognize it as such.

Let’s go back to our analogy of picking up some food that has been left on the counter too long.  I have had food poisoning a few times.  I am sure most of you can relate to this.  I don’t want to touch that food for a while.  I remember one time many years ago it was chicken soup at a restaurant that I got sick on.  It was about two years before I could eat chicken soup.  I certainly did not run back to the counter and take another bowl of that soup.  When Christ says you are poor, blind, wretched, naked, and miserable, perhaps we are going back to that same food over and over again.  It’s the same soup.  Whatever it is that we were ingesting that is making our part of the body of Christ sick, we are not getting rid of to get well.  That’s why I think Christ said you don’t seem to know it.  You are sick.  You are wretched!  There is even a term for vomiting called retching.  He says you are sick, but you don’t seem to know it.  He says you are blind as well.

BLIND FROM NOT LETTING CHRIST’S LIGHT IN

Blindness is another interesting thing, because blindness is the absence of light coming in the physical body.  If it is spiritual blindness, which obviously this is what Christ is talking about here, there is an absence of light coming into the body.  There should be light in the body.

Let’s to go Matthew chapter 5.  Keep your finger or marker in Revelation because we will be going back to Revelation a little bit.  Matthew chapter 5, verse 14:  “You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

It is obvious the Church is not growing around the world.  It seems to be stagnating.  I don’t care what group you are talking about.  One reason is that there is no light there.  There is not enough light to see it.  It is hidden.  That also means there is blindness, because without light in a dark world, you can’t see anything.  On a dark night if you don’t have a flashlight or a torch or headlights on your vehicle, you can’t see.  You might as well say you are blind.  There is no light coming into your eyes to discern anything in the darkness.  That would be the physical analogy of what is happening here spiritually if we are blind in Revelation chapter 3. There is no light coming in.

Let’s go to the gospel of John.  These are Scriptures that we are very familiar with.  We have read them many times, but let’s re-read them in the context of this sermon.

John chapter 1, verse 1:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of the Light.  That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”

That’s the only spiritual light that there is.  There is Jesus Christ and His word.  That is why He is called the Logos—the Word.  His Bible contains His light.  He says you can’t understand it or discern it without the mind of Jesus Christ working with you.  We saw that in I Corinthians 2.

We can go back to Malachi.  Flip a few pages over to the last chapter of the Old Testament.  Christ is literally called sunlight here.  Malachi 4, verse 1:  “‘For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.  And the day which is coming shall burn them up,’ says the Lord of hosts.  ‘That will leave them neither root nor branch.  But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings…’”

It is a direct reference to Jesus Christ and why it is capitalized here.  Yet He is called the sun like sunlight.  That’s why John 1 said He is the Light that came to this dark world.  Just like the sun rises every morning and dispels the darkness, Jesus Christ was the sunlight to dispel the darkness in our lives.  It is very interesting that God says to the Laodiceans you are blind.  They don’t seem to have the light.

PROPHECY LIKE LIGHT

Let’s go to II Peter chapter 1.  Peter says this in II Peter 1, verse 16:  “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory:  ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’  And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.  And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

We can see here that the prophetic part of God’s word is a type of light that shines into the darkness.  It helps us understand the future of mankind, and it’s like a light dawning in us.  That’s why we are called the “light of the world,” and it has to do until the literal Light returns, and that’s Jesus Christ.  Then it will be day everywhere.  Until that Light comes, you need the prophetic light of Scripture in your life.

Christ talks about blindness.  One-third of the Bible is this sort of light—prophetic light.  If you divide the Bible into three parts, it is roughly one-third history, one-third education, and one-third prophecy.  We can see we need to grasp enough of that prophecy to understand the hope, as Peter said here.  He was talking about what Jesus Christ has in store for us and for the world.  That gives us the confidence to understand and how to preach to people of the world.

When you couple that with the end-time Church of God—the last of the seven eras—before the Millennium starts, what we are supposed to bring the world is a good understanding of God’s prophetic light.

We’re putting this all together now.  God says if you are blind, you are blind because of that.  You can see that makes sense, because when we look at the Ten Commandments as the main source of light, we grasp that we shouldn’t be worshiping idols.  Those of us who are keeping the Sabbath, we grasp the value of the fourth commandment.  We don’t take the name of God in vain.  We try to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We are doing those things.  But when we misspeak about what God intends for the future of mankind and we rob them of hope, we are feeding them bad food!

Out of our mouth, which is a body that Jesus Christ is using, is coming bad food.  Christ as the head of this body says, I am sick of this food!  I am sick of this viewpoint!  I am sick of people robbing the world of hope.  I want to vomit you out of My mouth because you don’t seem to realize what you are doing and how sick you are and how judgmental you are.  That is another definition for Laodicea—judgement of the people.  How self-righteous you are.  How judgmental and how Pharisaical you are.  You just don’t get it!  I have been working with you now for quite some time to try to clear this up.  I have sealed off the gut, but nothing is working except vomiting you out of My mouth!

This morning star that is going to come in the form of sunlight should be working in us as a lamp for the world right now, but we are told we are blind.

DON’T ROB PEOPLE OF HOPE

Now let’s go to Revelation chapter 8.  Revelation chapter 8 tells us something very interesting.  Revelation chapter 8, verse 12:  “Then the fourth angel sounded:  and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened.  A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.”

A misinterpretation of prophecy would be this is nuclear winter!  There has been nuclear war and devastation, and a third of the sunlight is blocked.  That’s what causes starvation around the world, and we are warning all you people to change or your fate will be to starve to death!  Wait a minute!  We just looked at all these Scriptures as to what light is and who the sun is and who the sun in the sky is representative of.  It is Jesus Christ.

We know that a third of the word of God, the prophetic word that we just saw in Peter, is light.  When a third of the word of God goes dark and it is preached as prophecy, it’s darkness.  It’s bad food!  It’s bad food for the world, and it causes a third of the sunlight—a third of the Bible—to go dark!  That means a third of the part of the Bible that the moon presents—the Church—is a message that is dark.  That portion of its message is darkness.  As darkness, it causes blindness.  As a source of food, it makes people sick, judgmental, and very selfish because people begin to think of, how am I going to survive all this devastation in a physical sense.  They are not looking at their spiritual condition.  This is exactly why Christ said in Revelation 3, you don’t know that you are poor, blind, wretched, naked, and miserable.  You don’t know it!  By vomiting you out of My mouth, you should get the idea that there is something wrong with your prophetic message.  There is something wrong with your attitude.  You need sunlight to see it.  We need that anointing of the eyes for us to have spiritual discernment.  It’s like a flashlight opening our eyes to blindness, so we can tell good food from bad.

We can see the fruits of the Spirit or no fruits of the Spirit in our own life first, but in the people that we hear messages from also.  Discernment is a gift from God, but it requires light.  We need that light to discern truth from error and, of course, truth from out and out lies.  We need that light to discern what is accurate from what is a deception from Satan, who is the one who really wants to blind the world and, of course, make the Church sick.  If we can’t do these things, the result obviously is we are poor, blind, naked, and miserable and don’t know it.

Let’s go to II Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 1:  “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed the son of perdition…”

We are told there would be a great falling away from the truth, and the son of perdition will be revealed.  We will understand what he has done, putting bad food for good, darkness for light, error for truth, and deception and lies instead of the accurate use of God’s word.

Verse 4 of II Thessalonians 2:  “…who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

We have looked at Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 many times.  This is obviously a spirit being, and he is sitting in the temple of God. We know that’s not in heaven, because we know it says in Revelation 6 that he has been cast out of heaven.  He is sitting in the temple of God on earth!

Continuing in verse 5 of II Thessalonians 2:  “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?”

People back then were concerned that they were at the very end time already, when they were actually in the first era of the Church!  There were six eras to go.  He says, I already told you this before, but I am repeating it.

Verse 6:  “And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.”

Satan has been restrained for quite some time from accomplishing all that he would like to do.

Verse 7:  “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”

Lawlessness is separation from the law of God—the Ten Commandments.  It was working back then, but it was being restrained.  There was only so much it could do.

Verse 8:  “And then the lawless one [the wicked one, as stated in the Old King James Version] will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”

With that rising of the sun when Jesus Christ returns and there is light everywhere, we will be able to see clearly who was preaching deception and lies and who was poor, blind, wretched, naked, and miserable and who didn’t know it.  All that will be revealed.  Until now we are using the word of God and the prophetic message to understand, as it were, with a flashlight.  We are looking out there in the darkness to see what is accurate and what is right.  Then we preach that way, giving light and hope to a very sad, worried, and fearful world.

Verse 9:  “The coming of the lawless one [or wicked one] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders…”

It is a false prophetic message, and we have studied that before.  That’s what makes one-third of the light go dark.  They are false signs and lying wonders.

Verse 10:  “…and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

There are those who kept one foot in the world and one foot in the Church.  They had some of the truth and enough of the truth that they should have known better, but couldn’t quite let go of the errors.  God says, I will eventually let blindness take over.  I will let delusion fill your life.  There are dedicated people preaching some horrible things, but they are dedicated to an illusion, a delusion, an error, and deception.  They are robbing people of hope.  Christ said I have had it with that.  It is making the body sick, and it is robbing the world of truth and hope.  He says, we are going to deal with this, so there is still hope.  Just the fact that the Church has split up and has been vomited out of Christ’s mouth does not mean that’s the end of everything.  That’s the first step to getting well!  That’s how I think we need to look at this.  It is a hopeful thing.  When we begin to understand it, we can do something about it.

THE LAWLESS ONE WITH BAD SPIRITUAL FOOD

The term “wicked” in II Thessalonians 2 is the Greek word anomos (#459, Strong’s Concordance, 1995).  Anomos means lawless, or not subject to the Jewish law, meaning primarily the Ten Commandments.  It comes from the combination of two words.  The first word is number one in the Strong’s Concordance and #3551.  Number one is the first word in your Strong’s, and it is the letter A, alpha.  Christ calls Himself the Alpha and the Omega:  the first letter and the last letter, the first letter of the law, the first letter of the five books, and the first letter of the Ten Commandments, and the last.  That’s the Alpha and the Omega.

But the term “wicked” in II Thessalonians 2 comes from the word anomos.  Anomos is the letter A, alpha, the first letter of the alphabet, and the word nomos (#3551, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means to parcel out food, especially for grazing animals.  It doesn’t take a lot of imagination that the Church is also called God’s flock and sheep.  He is our Shepherd.  He is to parcel out good food to us, and preachers who imbibe of that food are to turn around and serve that food to the brethren in their care.  When you put together A, alpha, and nomos (anomos) and call it wicked, it is obviously bad food, because nomos also means the prescriptive use of the law and the gospel.  It is the wrong use of the law and the gospel as food, and the entire gospel contains one-third of the Bible that is prophetic!

Revelation chapter 3 tells us that this bad food can be corrected if we are willing to let Christ put eye salve on our eyes, so that we can see and so light can come in.  It’s important to realize there is hope, brethren.  If we begin to see these things, there is hope, but we do have to do something.

REPENT ZEALOUSLY

All the conditions that we read about that are so terrible in Revelation 3 (poor, blind, wretched, naked, and miserable) can be reversed!  They can all be repaired, and we are told how.

Let’s go to Revelation chapter 3 again.  Revelation 3, verse 19:  “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.”

Repentance is the key!  That is, response to chastening.  I think all of us can recognize in our lives when we have been chastened.  The Church as a whole has been chastened.  Christ says, I do this because I love you.  I did not want to vomit you out of My mouth.  I had to chasten you to examine yourself and to get serious about your calling.  He said it is important for you in order to get the blessings that I also am telling you about in Revelation chapter 3.  Let’s start in verse 18.

Revelation 3, verse 18:  “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

That is good food and meals shared with our Savior.  Of course, we are going to need to be able to see and understand our condition.  We need to see how sick we are in order to open the door and let Christ come and bring us some good food.

Continuing in verse 21:  “To Him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

We are told these wonderful blessings including sitting on the throne with Jesus Christ can be ours for repentance!  But the repentance has one condition.  Did you notice in verse 19 that repentance must be coupled with zealousness?  It must be zealous repentance.  Zealous repentance curses lukewarmness.  Do you want to know why?  That means we are hot.  We are excited.  We want to do what is right.

Repentance is something that we need to understand.  We need to understand it.  Sometimes I think we have had a simplistic view of it.  Repentance comes from the word metanoeo (#3340, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means to think differently or afterwards, by example, to re-consider.  Morally it means to feel compunction.

In other words, we are thoughtfully thinking about our situation in our lives.  We think about it enough that the mind of Christ can engage with us and open that door, so that we can begin to think differently—to think like Jesus Christ.  I have the Lexicon, and it says it a little bit more clearly, so I want to read this from the Lexicon that is part of my New King James Bible.  It says this of the word metanoeo:  To repent with regret, accompanied by a true change of heart toward God.  Metinoah:  repentance or retrospection.  We need to think consciously and in retrospection and to want to change.  It is also related to the word metinoah which means to repent, a change or alteration of mind.  Repentance:  change of mind from evil to good or from worse to better.

If you want to look it up, it is related to metamorphosis, like a butterfly that changes from a worm to a beautiful butterfly.  We can change if we allow the mind of Jesus Christ to work with our mind.  That requires us to let him put eye salve on our eyes, open the door, and let Him bring us good food.  Then we need to share that good food with others.

We need to repent zealously.  Zealously means to have warmth or feeling for or against.  That’s what the word zealous means here.  It comes from zelos in the Greek (#2205, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means heat, zeal or ardor.  It comes from the word zeo (#2204, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means to be hot, to boil as a liquid, and to glow as a solid.  That means to develop character like gold and silver.  Christ says, buy from Me character of gold and silver if you do these things zealously and with gusto.  Really the cure is to repent with gusto, with sincerity, with wholeheartedness, fervently trying to change.  The result is the opposite of the lukewarm Laodicean condition.

Christ says, I will bring you good food, and I will sup with you.  I will bring you clean garments as you work to share these things and allow My body to be used correctly. I will bring you clean garments, so you won’t be naked or full of blemishes.  You will have character of gold and silver—good character.  You will have spiritual vision instead of blindness.   You will have joy.  It will be a joy that surpasses all understanding instead of wretchedness and misery.

The secret, brethren, is to use the time that we have left to fervently and zealously repent. God in His great mercy and His tremendous love for all of us is giving us time.  But time is a precious commodity, and it’s time that is getting wasted by too many.

That’s why the subject of this sermon is, I wish that you were cold or hot.  Let’s choose hot!  Let’s choose zealous repentance.  The rewards that God will bless us with, that Jesus Christ wants to share with His Laodicean Church, are as fine a reward and as fine a blessing as any human being could ever hope to attain!  They can be ours if we are willing to stand up and share good food with all who come into contact with us, and if we are willing to repent zealously of our own sins and our own inaction of sitting between cold and hot for too long.  Let us be feeling the compunction and the compelling of God’s Holy Spirit to choose to be hot.

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