Revelation 3:15-17 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Christ’s pronouncements to the churches in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 are in many senses more important than the eschatology in the chapters to come. Why? Because where Revelation 4 – 22 deals with things that are to come and furthermore Revelation 4 – 20 in particular with many things that only a small fraction of Christians will see or endure, Revelation 2 and 3 talks of things that are happening now and that all Christians must endure! Further, no matter the time in which a Christian lives, the ability to keep Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 will determine the fate of the “last days” Christians in Revelation 4 – 20 AND in the judgment and eternity period mentioned in Revelation 21 and 22. Do not be deceived by any man, spirit, or yourself: failure to believe, take seriously, and faithfully keep Revelation 2 and 3 will certainly mean that your spirit will be forever tormented in the lake of fire. Meanwhile, faith and submission to the words of Revelation 2 and 3 will mean eternal salvation and glory in the presence of God in Heaven.
So, pay no heed to all of these differing interpretations of Revelation 4 – 20, or the earlier prophecies and pronouncements that they build upon. Earnestly seek your own personal revelation from God regarding these matters and share it with others, but ultimately the fate of someone’s eternal soul will not rest on whether they believe in a rapture, whether the beast and false prophet will be actual people, when the tribulation is going to come and whether it will last 7 literal years, etc. Proof of this is the fact that a lot of the knowledge in Revelation 4 – 20 was sealed up and not known to the vast majority of Believers who have walked the earth. For example, how would a person reading Revelation before the re – establishment of
Israel in 1948 have interpreted things? And even now, much of our religious doctrines and traditions which many contemporary saints still view Revelation through were established long before 1948! Would Wesley, Luther, Calvin, Augustine, and Aquinas have formed different doctrines and traditions had the Jews been miraculously returned to
Israel, fulfilling so many prophecies?
Instead, study, believe, and seek revelation on Revelation 4 – 20 so that you will be blessed (Revelation 22:7) and elect (Matthew 24:24), but study, believe, seek revelation on, and LIVE Revelation 2 – 3 so that your spirit will be with God in Heaven! Keep in mind: Revelation 2 – 3 is not to sinners. As a matter of fact, the entire Bible itself is not meant for sinners because it is impossible to comprehend the Bible without the Holy Spirit. Nay, Revelation 2 – 3 is meant for the church. It is a warning to Christians concerning all of the tactics that Satan and his agents will use to scatter and devour the sheep (yes, one of those tactics is false doctrines and teachings based on religious traditions that come out of the and the lusts, hatreds, hard – heartedness, and faithlessness of man rather than the Word of God). Those who keep Revelation 2 – 3 will recognize Satan’s tactics, personally oppose them, warn and intercede for others, and be saved. Those who ignore or reject Revelation 2 – 3 or are unserious and half – hearted about them will put their trust in the corrupt religious system. The religious system is in the world and of the world, and those who put their trust in it will also be in the world, of the world, and therefore corrupt. It is those who will be discovered with filthy garments upon the return of the Savior and cast into the lake of fire.
Of the 7 churches that Christ spoke to in Revelation 2 – 3, the most striking to me was the church in
Laodicea. Yeshua had nothing positive to say about that church, and also delivered to them the strongest rebuke and warning and rebuke of the 7 that they should repent or be lost. But do not be deceived!
Laodicea was a legitimate church of people who professed Christ. They were not a fake church of false Believers and Scripture – deniers, and they were not a synagogue of Satan. They were an actual group of true Christians! Were they anything but, Christ would not have called them a church, and He would have not had John write a letter to them. Were they unbelievers, the call would have been for others to preach to the Laodiceans so that they could convert. But as they were Believers, Christ instead sent the call to the Laodiceans themselves so that they could repent. The Laodiceans were not in need of a prophet or preacher like Jonah to teach them the ways of the Lord and warn them of right from wrong (Jonah 4:11). Instead, the Laodiceans were people who had The Word and were not keeping it; who knew the ways of the Lord but were not following them. The Laodiceans already had the knowledge and power to seek God in repentance, obedience, humility, and submission so that they could be restored, and hence Christ was demanding of them not salvation but revival.
And why did they need revival? Do not delude yourselves into thinking that the Laodiceans were just sitting around not doing anything; not performing works. Had that been the case, Christ would have told them “I know not of your works”, or “you have produced for me no work.” That would have been the sin of the wicked servant who buried his talent in the sand (Matthew 25:14-30). Instead, their sin was as the sin of Cain. Cain did works, bore fruit, and gave the Lord a sacrifice. But the Lord had not respect to Cain’s sacrifice because it was of the flesh and not of the spirit; it was unacceptable to Him. The Lord wanted a blood sacrifice because the life is in the blood, and only blood can wash away sin and reconcile man to God (Genesis 9:5, Leviticus 17:11), and Cain offered a sacrifice of bloodless plants.
And the Laodiceans were the same. They did works in abundance. But the source of their works were material wealth (Revelation 3:17a). In Shadow Of The Apocalypse, Paul Crouch asserts that the Laodiceans were extremely wealthy because they were selling a mineral clay used to treat eye diseases. Not only did their wealth make them arrogant and hard – hearted, but it was what they were using to build the church; they were trying to buy their way into Heaven. Christ told the Laodiceans that while they were materially wealthy and had done all of these things in the Name of God with their wealth, they were actually spiritually poor (Revelation 3:17b). This is in stark contrast to the church in
Smyrna, who were suffering extreme persecution and poverty (Revelation 2:8-10). The source of their works were the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit was all that they had. Christ told them that they were spiritually rich (Revelation 2:9), that they and their works were already acceptable to Him, and gave them no rebuke or warning at all; in contrast He told them to remain just as they were … He did not even tell them to strive to improve upon what they had! Instead of being a taskmasker who gives work for work’s sake (which incidentally is what many Christians see the walk of faith as), Christ saw that they had already reached where He wanted them to be and told them “Well done” while they were yet on earth. So while works are required of us, we are not saved by them, and Matthew 11:29-30 (“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”) as immutable proof that God is not this slavedriving taskmaster! This is principle was given by Jeremiah 23:33-36 when he rebuked and cursed people who spoke of “the burden of the Lord.” It only seems to be a burden because people are unwilling to give up the flesh and surrender their free will to God because they are so in love with the world. But Revelation 2:8-10 shows that were a person to simply die to and utterly the world with no compromises and live by the Holy Spirit alone, that is all that God asks of them! Now,
Smyrna could have done things to improve their worldly condition. They could have compromised with
Babylon and with the Judaizers to ease their persecution and their poverty. They could have even told themselves that such was the Will of God, for why should God want His People to be subjected to such dire conditions? And why not make friends with the Judaizers and the Babylonians; a truce? Is not Christ the Prince of Peace, and is not making peace with your enemies walking in Christ’s example? But no,
Smyrna took the “Keep it real! No sellout!” approach, and in them God was well pleased while they were yet on earth! So, Smyrna, mentioned first, was the polar opposite of
Laodicea, mentioned last. And they were mentioned first and last because they were the most important: the model of what a church should aspire to (Smyrna) and what they should avoid (
Laodicea). Make no mistake, if a church or even an individual becomes too comfortable and too embraced by the world, then something is wrong. They are not out there causing trouble for Satan! So even if there are no battles out there for such a church to fight, they ought to create them! Christ did not come to make peace with the world, but to make war with and overcome it (Matthew 10:34)! Why? Because the world is sin, and sin must be opposed, overcome, and destroyed. It is the Will of God! And you cannot do God’s Will of opposing, overcoming, and destroying the world with the flesh, because the world is flesh, as the flesh is sin. You have to battle and defeat the world with the Holy Spirit, which the flesh hates and has no chance against. It is not easy, as it was not for Smyrna, but it is all that God requires of you, as He did of
So where does this “not hot or cold but lukewarm” refer to? For all who have discernment and understanding by the Holy Spirit (which is speaking to you through me right now; revelation and faith come by hearing) it refers to the Holy Spirit. “Hot” means gifts of the spirit. The gifts of the spirit are wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues (I Corinthians 12:8-10). Other gifts are identified elsewhere in the Bible (i.e. exhortation, administration, and helps); neglect not those either. The gifts are the spirit are what cause unbelievers to believe and what causes believers to get motivated and excited. Gifts of the spirit are often stirred up by and associated with vigorous sincere praise and worship, and are obvious methods to those who may not be mature or deep in the faith and spirit by which God’s Spirit is made manifest and experienced in the natural world. Seeing people get healed and demons get cast out; hearing prophecies, tongues, and interpretations; marveling at someone’s great wisdom and seeing someone apply that wisdom into knowledge and do great things with it is something that really brings in the unsaved to be converted and puts a passion in new Believers to go out to do great things for the Lord. Gifts of the Holy Spirit are the beginning of the Christian walk, by which a Believer comes into the realization of faith that God is real and His Word is true, and that all things are possible by this same God.
“Cold” means the fruit of the spirit, which are given in Galatians 5:22 as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They are experienced by the Believers who are ready to take the next step, who have been weaned of milk and are ready for meat (I Corinthians 3:1-3, Hebrews 5:11-14). Such a person should have seen and experienced enough of the gifts of the spirit to be utterly convinced of the reality, truth, and power of God and are now ready to begin the process of dying to self; the crucifixion of the flesh. Make no mistake; no one can die to self without becoming thoroughly personally convinced to the point of living and practicing faith by the Holy Spirit that death to self is not only possible, but necessary. Meanwhile, dying to self and the spiritual maturation and power that results from A) the process of seeking it and realizing that it and its aims cannot be achieved in the flesh but only through total submission to God and B) the actual realization of achieving it cannot be achieved by the gifts of the spirit alone. It is not its role. The fruit of the spirit cannot thoroughly convince you that God is I AM THAT I AM because before you get saved and even after you are initially saved, your knowledge and thought process is of the flesh, for the flesh is what you have been born in and lived in, the flesh is the only way that you have ever done anything, and the flesh is all you know. So even upon seeing someone who is thoroughly spiritually mature with total mastery of the fruits of the spirit, you would not recognize it. You would not appreciate it. You may not even LIKE it. You would look at someone who turns the other cheek and think “What a chump. Another dead, defeated Christian. I want to see someone use the gifts of the spirit to call fire down from Heaven and consume them! Now THAT is the power of God!” Of course, such a person is not considering that it is better to use the fruit of the spirit to turn the other cheek until you convert your enemy into your friend in Christ rather than to simply use the fruit of the spirit to destroy them. Christ demonstrated this on the cross. He could have asked God to destroy everyone there who did not believe after He had done God’s Will and died, and God would have answered His prayer; it would have been no less than the non – believing mockers and scorners deserved, and Jesus would have still paid Adam’s debt, been resurrected again, and would have still had his believing disciples to commission. But instead, Christ begged God to have mercy on those who mocked Him, and 3000 of them were saved 50 days later at Pentecost by Peter’s preaching! And then there were James and John. When the people of Samaria rejected Christ, out of anger James and John asked Christ to demonstrate who was boss by destroying them as Elijah did; not only to punish the wicked but as a device that others would see and by that believe. (And it was also easy of James and John to ask Christ to destroy the SAMARITANS, whom the Judeans LOATHED, and not those in Nazareth or
Galilee; their own people.) Christ rebuked James and John and suggested that they were not yet fully cleansed of evil spirits (Luke 9:54-56), saying that Christ came to save souls, not destroy them! The gifts of the spirit show you the door that leads to spiritual maturity, the fruits of the spirit take you through it.
Sadly, many liturgical and traditional churches try to attain the fruit of the spirit through tradition, doctrines, and rituals but never attain it because they deny the gifts of the spirit. Such people become those who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof (II Timothy 3:5), and as the Bible says you should let those be. They are never going to find the fruit of the spirit without the gifts of the spirit convincing them of who God is in all faith and power and revealing the nature of that same God to them. So, rather than putting their trust in God, they put their trust in men, traditions, institutions, doctrines, and rituals … they worship their religion. That is the inevitable result of denying the gifts of the spirit, and such people are saved only by God’s Mercy indeed. People who consciously reject such a thing will be held accountable, and people who are never preached the gifts of the spirit will be judged according to the far lower standard of the sin of ignorance. I shall say that in today’s world in the midst of an amazing charismatic revival which has been carried throughout the world by the modern media and through global revivals in which amazing miracles are performed, it would be difficult indeed to meet a legitimate claim of a sin of ignorance!
Meanwhile, many charismatic churches spurn the fruit of the spirit because they are not really seeking spiritual maturity. First, they associate great spiritual power with the magnificent manifestation of great spiritual works. They forget that since the spiritual world is so much more powerful than the natural world, it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain! While they are being so impressed by the works produced by spiritually immature showmen with mustard sized faith, they are completely dead to the realization that were they to only acquire more faith through the maturation of the spirit and the crucifixion of the flesh, they will not even need to tell the mountain to move because the mountain of flesh is irrelevant to the person of the spirit! Instead, what they are seeking is entertainment; to be thrilled by the great miracles and outpouring of God’s Power, to enjoy the vigorous worship services that stir up the spirit, and the emotional and spiritual high that comes with personally feeling a bit of God’s presence. But because they are not seeking spiritual maturity and the charismatic religious system is not demanding it, they never grow. So, first off the spiritual experiences get routine and even old and boring to them: they get cynical. That results in a loss of zeal, a loss of power, and a loss of faith. Why? Because they built their houses on sand to begin with; the source of their faith was things that they saw, experienced, and comprehended in the flesh. So they become prey for Satan, especially when people become offended of them because of their holy roller belief, when people (and Satan) remind them that despite their holy roller belief they still have plenty of spiritual flaws that manifest in the flesh (again, because they are still spiritually immature and living in the flesh), and when that happens even seeing fantastic miracles (which they have seen before) will not be enough to extricate them from their spiritual crisis that may descend into spiritual morass. And the charismatic religious system often does not emphasize developing fruits of the spirit. They spend too much time trying to “outmiracle” each other, and concern themselves more with church growth and sin. The leaders of this religious system does not even realize that A) if they attain spiritual maturity through the fruits of the spirit God will grow their church for them AND make them dead to sin and B) 5 mature believers are more powerful and valuable than 50,000 immature ones. Oh sure, God loves us all and has no respect of persons, but realize that the enemy motivated Pharoah to kill all of the Hebrew males because Satan was trying to kill MOSES! Moses = one who sought spiritual maturity so that he could deliver his people. Meanwhile, everyone else (save Joshua and Caleb) were so lukewarm that they refused to enter the Promised Land and died in the desert.
So, the traditional mainstream religious system does not even provide you with the Holy Spirit to show you the door, and instead erects a charade of rituals, doctrines, and traditions that they falsely call spiritual maturity. And the new charismatic religious system provides the Holy Spirit to show you the door, but then (similar to the Corinthians) breed such contempt for spiritual maturity that folks are loathe to pass through. The result is they both remain lukewarm, which represents the flesh. They take different routes but arrive at the same destination! Both of the dominant religious traditions today represent the Laodiceans. Instead of contending against each other, with the charismatics calling the traditional Christians “dead” and the traditional Christians all but accusing the charismatics of practicing witchcraft, they both need to read Revelation 2 – 3 and realizing that God is calling them to repent; that He is calling them for revival! Let no man think that there is some value in being the one closer to the truth! First off, close only counts in horseshoes; it has absolutely no value in the
God. Every member of the
God is an overcomer, and it matters not whether you overcome as a person given 5 talents who multiplies it into 10, or a person given 1 talent who puts it in the savings account; either way you bear spiritual fruit that is acceptable unto God. But he who does not bear spiritual fruit is cast into the unquenchable flame! Also, which sin is greater: the traditionalists who deny showing people the door and replace God with the works of their own religious hands (idolatry) or the charismatics who show people the door but then cause them to reject God by spurning walking through (blaspheming the Holy Spirit)? I say six of one and half a dozen of the other. Both are equally lost Laodiceans who will wind up in the lake of fire unless they change.
So, if you are not a Laodicean now, do not become one. And if you are one, come to God and be redeemed. God’s Word is true; all of it! Even if you are among those who wonders about things like lost books, questionable translations, and outside agendas, the Bible is still more than good enough, because it points you to Jesus. Once you find Jesus, you get the Real Word from the Real Source. And once that happens, you will find out that even with all of the lost books, questionable translations, and spurious agendas, the Bible is still true. Realize that the integrity of the Bible was never dependent upon man and was never a function of man, it is all of GOD! So God’s Word will still be true and revealed to you in truth that confirms the Bible in spite of the best – or worst – attempts of fallible and corrupt man to mess it up! And yes, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If it happened in the Bible, it ought to be happening now. Why? Because nowhere in the Bible did it say “These things shall cease to be, and all you will have is a book that talks about how great things were in the good old days when God saw fit to bless people with His Power.” After all, if the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is no longer true, then what else is no longer true? The Ten Commandments? Salvation by grace? God’s Covenants with His People? The fact that Jesus is coming back? That the wicked will be destroyed and the righteous will inherit Heaven? That God is more powerful than Satan? You go on a slippery slope when you claim that the time of miracles is past. The reason for the lack of miracles is the lack of faith. Even Christ Himself could not do any great works save lay hands on a few people with minor diseases in His hometown of Nazareth because the people were offended of Him and did not believe (Matthew 13:54-58). So if the manifestation of the Holy Spirit was being blocked by faithlessness not only in Christ’s time but with the workings of Christ Himself, how much more so today? Well I have to tell you; it is not being blocked today. People who are willing to be loosed by the religious system are experiencing the gifts and fruits of the spirit as we speak. Those are people who believe in God’s Word and love Him and are concerned enough about the eternal fates of their spirits to go forth and allow God to use them to make His Word be so. You can join them. Read Revelation 2 – 3 to find out why you should, and then read the rest of Revelation to find out what will happen to you if you do not. And rest assured: every word of what you read is true. If you are unsaved, say the Salvation Prayer today. And if you are saved, seek the gifts and fruits of the spirit through much prayer, fasting, and study of the Scriptures in a pursuit of actual living faith.
Father God in the name of Christ Jesus, please cause Your children to desire being as Smyrna and not as Laodicea, and please provide leadership, guidance, protection, and comfort to them as You fulfill that desire, Your Desire, within them. In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen! Deliverance:
The demons that work in this area are worldliness and false doctrine. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!