Jesus is Here!
6th Sunday of Easter
Jesus is Here!
1. With his rebuke
2. With his riches
3. With his reward
Text: Revelation 3:14-22
I always know when trouble is happening. All parents know when something is going down in the house. What’s the telltale sign? It’s quiet. Too quiet. Normally the kids are loud or rowdy or pretending they are Batman or Dora. But suddenly you realize it is abnormally quiet. Too quiet.
“Gwendolyn, what are you doing?” “Nuffin’.” “Gwendolyn, what are you doing in there?” “Nuffin.’” “Gwendolyn, tell me what’s going on!” “Don’t worry about it!” (That is an actual conversation that has taken place far too many times lately.) Those are the times that the parent walks into a room and sees every drawer pulled out of every dresser and every piece of clothing piled up in a fort, or all of mommy’s makeup on the child’s face and on the floor.
The same things happen in schools. The teacher turns the back for one second and things start flying through the air. A teacher steps out for one second to discipline a studen and all the others think it’s party time. The teacher is correcting papers at the desk and the students think there is no way they will be caught passing a note, or these days, sneaking off a couple text messages. Then the teacher turns to look and suddenly everyone sits up straight and holds up a book—as if that isn’t completely obvious!
It’s amazing what kids think they can get away with. It’s as if they think they are above the law or immune to punishment. It’s as if they think they are untouchable. It’s as if they think they will never get caught and no one will ever know. But we parents, we teachers, have eyes in the back of our heads. We see everything. We know everything. We will always find out the truth. We will always catch them. They will never get away with anything!
It’s also amazing how we Christians will act like little children at times. It’s as if we think we are above the law or immune to punishment. It’s as if we think we are untouchable. It’s as if we think we will never get caught and no one will ever know.
Who will see what you are doing in the privacy of your home? Who will know how you really talk to your spouse except your spouse? Who will know what you look at on your computer? Who will know what you are thinking? They are your own private thoughts. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone . . . as long as you aren’t committing a felony . . . as long as you never get caught . . . then you’ll be alright.
Parents and teachers joke that we see everything and know everything. Of course that isn’t true. But there is someone that does. Jesus declares this terrifying truth today: “I know.” “I know your deeds.” Jesus knows all of your deeds. He knows what you think. He knows what you say. He knows what you do.
Children or students tend to misbehave when no one is watching. But when the parents or the teachers are standing right there, they tend to behave much better. How foolish we are as Christians—more foolish than children—that we think we can do whatever we want while our God is watching!
Here’s what Jesus had to say to the Laodiceans. The Christians in Laodicea seem to have become quite lazy spiritually. They were apathetic. They didn’t care much. Listen to what Jesus says to them: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Perhaps you’ve been at a restaurant and had the beautiful burger or chicken dish that you ordered presented to you. But when you finally took a bite—Yuck!!—it was lukewarm and disgusting. So you spit it out.
Jesus is Here! Jesus is everywhere. He sees everything that we do. He sees all our sins. Even worse, he sees all our apathy. He sees when the fire of our faith is flaming out. He sees when we don’t really care. “Maybe I’ll get involved with church. Maybe not. I don’t really feel like it anyways. Maybe I’ll pray. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll read the Bible. Maybe I’ll go to church. Eh, not today. No big deal.”
Jesus knows. He knows our deeds. He knows our sins. He knows our apathy and our laziness. It’s disgusting to him. It tastes like lukewarm mush. Yuck! So Jesus warns and rebukes that he could spit us out of his mouth.
Jesus is Here! He is here with us every day. He sees all we do. He knows all we do. So Jesus is here with his rebuke. Our Lord says, “Stop your sinful ways and turn back to me!”
Part of the reason that the Laodicean Christians were so spiritually lazy is because they had material wealth. The city was known for a number of valuable things. There were gold mines in the city. It was a textile powerhouse, pumping out clothing made of very fine linens. Perhaps most valuable to the city was an eye salve or ointment that they invented and exported all over the world. The Laodiceans were rich by worldly standards. Because they had all they thought they needed, they didn’t see much need for God.
The Laodiceans would have fit in well in America! Normally we measure success by what we have or achieve. You’ve finally “made it” once you get your own job and buy your own house and own your own car. If you are really successful then you might own a vacation home and a couple vehicles.
Somehow, unless we get these things, unless we own a home like “everyone” else, unless we own a nice car with Bluetooth integration like “everyone” else, unless we have some semblance of a life like a celebrity, then we aren’t happy. Yet meanwhile, as we become consumed with the pursuit of so many worldly things that we think are so important, we lose track of what is most important. That’s when the Laodiceans became lukewarm mush and were about to be spit out.
Here’s what Jesus said starting in verse 17: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.”
Jesus rebukes them in a very memorable way. They thought they were so rich and successful, yet Jesus calls them wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Yet as Jesus calls them to earnestly turn from their sin and repent, he also offers them forgiveness in a most memorable way.
Jesus offered them his riches. If they liked gold, how about streets of gold in heaven! If they liked clothing, how about white robes of righteousness washed with the blood of Christ! If they liked healing salve and ointment, how about the healing and comforting words from Jesus, “Go in peace, your sins are forgiven!”
So Jesus rebukes us today and calls us to earnestly turn from our sin and repent. And as we turn back to him, Jesus is Here with his riches to offer us as well. If we like money and possessions so much, then how about the priceless riches of eternity in heaven! If we like our Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce and Gabana and Versace and even our Kohl’s clothing so much, then how about those white robes of righteousness that Jesus offers to us as well. If we like all the technology our world has created, our iPads and iPhones, our TVs, and our smart cars, then how about eternally being in the presence of the God who made the universe!
Jesus is Here! He is here with us every day. He sees all we do. He knows all we do. So Jesus is here with his rebuke. Our Lord says, “Stop your sinful ways and turn back to me!” But then our loving Savior is also here with his riches that he freely offers us in merciful forgiveness. Turn to the Lord and take his riches!
The sad thing for many of the Laodiceans is that they had their chance. It’s not that God didn’t care about them, left them to rot in their sins, and finally rot in hell. Just the opposite! The Lord actively sought to keep them in his fold. Here’s what Jesus says in verse 20: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
Jesus was knocking at the door, pounding loudly with his powerful Word. He spoke to them in Scripture. He spoke to them through John the apostle who recorded these words. He spoke to them through their local pastor in Laodicea. Jesus was knocking. He wanted to come in and eat with them. He was standing at the door offering an eternal banquet in heaven. But many were not interested.
Jesus stands at our door as well. Patiently he knocks, calling us to attention with his all-powerful Word. Fervently he knocks, waiting for us to turn down the TV noise of our lives and listen to his voice calling at the door. Ardently he pleads with us to open the door and dine with him.
You and I are blessed to have a relationship with Christ. We do trust him and listen to him, which means he has already come in the door and has sat down to dine with us. So today he is encouraging us to continue listening to his voice and dining with him and not to throw him out and slam the door because we have more pressing plans.
Jesus offers us this gracious reward then: “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I 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.”
Jesus is Here! He is here with us every day. He sees all we do. He knows all we do. So Jesus is here with his rebuke. Our Lord says, “Stop your sinful ways and turn back to me!” But then our loving Savior is also here with his riches and his reward, freely offering us the riches of eternal life and the reward of ruling with him for all eternity in heaven.
This last week was an interesting week, to say the least. A few blog posts I wrote about current events led to quite a bit of discussion. The articles I wrote highlighted the importance of repenting of our sins—whatever those sins might be—and earnestly turning to the Lord. But this message left some in the world quite upset.
I heard all kinds of things like, “It’s none of your business what I do in the privacy of my home,” “Who do you think you are?” and “Who are you to judge?” I was called crazy, unloving, hateful, bigot, and more. All because I was proclaiming the truth of God’s Word and calling people to turn from their sin in earnest repentance before the Lord and then find forgiveness and a new life in Christ.
None of the comments or responses really made me angry or mad. If anything, they saddened me. As I prepared for this sermon, I couldn’t help but think how the words of Jesus applied to these people. Jesus is standing at the door knocking. He’s pounding loudly with his Word. But these people don’t care, won’t listen, and would rather have Jesus stand outside in the rain where he won’t bother them. That saddens me because their rejection means they will not receive the riches and reward of eternal life that Jesus offers.
But we have heard Jesus’ voice today. We are listening. We are glad to have him dining with us, giving to us his the riches and reward of his kingdom. So as we just sang, Do Not Let Your Hearts be Troubled. Jesus is Here! He’s here with you now, and he will be for all eternity.
Posted on May 8, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged Children, Church, Earnest, Gay, God's Presence, Homosexuality, Lesbian, LGBT, Parents, Presence, Punishment, Rebuke, Repent, Revelation, Revelation 3, Reward, Riches, Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.