Session 9 Recap: Kevin DeYoung, “Laodicia”
Editor’s Note: Josiah Belflower is the Missions Minister at Desert Springs Church, Albuquerque, NM. This post is a summary of Kevin DeYoung’s sermon on Sunday morning, March 3.
DeYoung carefully expounded the letter written to the church in Laodicea, a church known for its affluence and its apathy. He encouraged us with four points from this text:
The rebuke (Verse 17)
They think more of themselves than any other church. They say, “I am rich.” They thought they had arrived and that they were all set.
Jesus is going to give them their real report card. Jesus is the “faithful and true witness,” and He will reveal their true character. We should be thankful for God’s severe mercy in showing us our sin. Many scholars believe Laodicea was famous for banking, clothing, and eye medicine. If this is true, then it would be ironic that Christ calls them poor, naked, and without clear vision.
In verse 15 Jesus rebukes the church with an accusation of being neither hot nor cold, but instead lukewarm. DeYoung clarified that Jesus is not wishing that they were either really spiritual or overtly pagan. Christ is saying that He wishes they were good for something. Cold water is refreshing, and hot water is used for cooking, sterilizing and soothing aches and pains. The church was rebuked for having no purpose.
The remedy (Verse 19)
The remedy for their apathy was to be zealous and repent. The worst place a church can go is nowhere. Sardis and Laodicea were the worst churches because they were going nowhere. The church ought to snap out of its comfy, narcissistic lifestyle.
The encouragement to be zealous does not refer to the need to muster up emotion. DeYoung points out that, yes, sometimes obedience begins with passionate desires to obey. Other times, however, obedience proceeds the emotions. To be zealous is to be obedient, not necessarily emotional. (Though DeYoung points out that many who claim to be unemotional will display plenty of emotion during a football game). The church must “ditch our indifference” and live in obedience, walking according to our calling, rather than putting off Christ for the sake of following Him more seriously “some day.” We are not guaranteed “some day.”
The invitation (Verse 20)
Christ extends an invitation to the church to fellowship with Him. This isn’t an evangelistic rally. This verse was not written to unbelievers, but to believers! We must remember that with Christ we have both union and communion. Unlike union with Christ (which we either have or we do not), communion can ebb and flow. DeYoung likened this to marriage. We are indeed either married or not; that does not change from day to day. However, communion- our intimacy, our fellowship, our closeness with our spouse- can indeed wax and wane. We might acknowledge that the absence of communion in marriage is a warning sign; however, the greater warning sign would be a lack of desire to even have communion. Are you communing with Christ?
The promise (Verse 21)
Jesus promises to give this church real authority. Through Christ they can have real power.