“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. 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.” – Revelation 3:15 – 17
The Book of Revelation can be a confusing book to read through. There is a lot of prophecy about future events and many times people get lost reading through the book. However, within the first three chapters we get some less confusing letters written to seven churches. These small sections have Jesus sometimes giving words of encouragement and challenge to these seven churches. The verses mentioned above are written to the church in Laodicea.
The city of Laodicea was known for its great banks and financial stability. They took pride in knowing that they could rely on their own resources and were not in need of help from the cities that surrounded them. Clearly this way of thinking found its way into the church within the city. They had all they needed, saying ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ They figured they could be self-reliant; they did not need help from the Holy Spirit, and they could do ministry on their own. They did not see a need to seek help. Christ calls them out, however, saying they are actually ‘wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.’ The worst part is, they do not even realize what is actually going on in their lives. Later in this section Christ calls for them to return to Him, to stop being lukewarm and put their complete reliance in Christ.
We as well can try and use all our strength and resources to accomplish things on our own without Christ. To think that we can get by in life without the help of Christ and the Holy Spirit is a dangerous thought pattern for life. Remember, John is writing in Revelation to a church, a body of believers who had lost their way. We can attend church or church events, thinking it’s the right thing to do, but then when it comes time to rely on God, we feel like we can accomplish things on our own. Lukewarm water is awful to drink, and in the same way a lukewarm Christian is an awful witness for Christ. We need to get wholly in and fully live our lives in complete reliance on Christ, not half in and half out. Do we even realize how wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked we are without Christ in our lives?
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow Me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.” – Matthew 4:18-22
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” – Acts 4:13
Jesus has ascended back into heaven, and the Disciples are now carrying on the ministry Jesus called them into. Chapters three and four in the Book of Acts is actually one long account of Peter and John healing a crippled beggar. At this point in the account Peter and John have been arrested by the Sanhedrin (same group that arrested Jesus) because of this miracle and for speaking about Christ.
The Sanhedrin was the highest ranking of the entire Jewish leadership structure. This was a very highly educated group who also had a great knowledge of the Old Testament. Many would have had the entire Torah memorized! The Disciples, as we see from the Book of Matthew, were just fishermen; in Acts it even calls them unschooled, ordinary men. There was nothing special about their background that would cause them to stand out to the Sanhedrin, except for one thing. They took note because Peter and John had been with Jesus. Jesus took these ordinary men and gave them the ability through the Holy Spirit to stand with confidence in front of a group of people who by all earthly standards did not equal them. This is how God works; over and over in the Bible God is using people that it wouldn’t make sense to use.
There are many times when believers will not feel like God can use them at all. They feel they don’t have the right background or gifting for certain things. However, the same Spirit who was at work in the Disciples is still at work today in our lives. God is not waiting for someone else to do something for Him; He is waiting for you to do something for Him. He is not looking for someone wiser, or stronger, or more educated, or more qualified or better; He is looking for you and me. The Disciples get a lot of credit for the movement of the early church but as you continue to read through the Book of Acts, other names start popping up. God was using these ordinary men to start passing down and building up new people in the faith, and then those people found others to pass it on to. God in the same way wants to use the ordinary people of today to do great things in His name. God wants to use us to further His kingdom. What does God want to use you for?