From the June 17 sermon “Lukewarm in Laodicea: Comfort and Convenience before Christ,” preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll out of Revelation 3:14–22:
Pastor Mark preaches on Jesus’ words to the church in Laodicea from the ancient city itself. Jesus has no encouragement for them. They are lukewarm and worship comfort, not Christ. Though materially wealthy, they are spiritually poor, blind, and naked. Jesus tells them—and us—to accept discipline, be zealous, and repent. If you stop repenting, you’ll start growing lukewarm. They had basically locked Jesus out of the church. Is he really welcome in your life and church?
The Temptation to Worship Comfort
For them, their functional saviors are saviors that cannot save. They are saviors of success, saviors of comfort, saviors of pleasure, saviors of provision. And so the real issue here is one where they are worshiping comfort instead of Christ. Christ is calling them to do that which is, for them, uncomfortable, and they would rather have comfort than Christ.
We can look at them, and we can judge them, and we could say, “Yes, that’s how the haughty, proud, rich people of the world are.” And let me just say this, for those of us who are Americans or live in the Western world, we tend to be the haughty, pride-filled, rich people. We live in affluence and a lifestyle that is really unparalleled in the history of the world. […]
And it can lead us into a place of lethargy, where heaven doesn’t feel like home, that this is a good enough paradise for us.
Where Christ is not whom we live for, but comfort is what we live for.
And Jesus comes, and he says, “Though everything is going well physically and materially, I’m very concerned for you spiritually because you’ve chosen comfort over Christ.”
Be Zealous and Repent
Lukewarmness often comes when there’s no sense of urgency for repentance, for life, for faith, for growth, for others to meet Jesus, for the forward progress of the church.
So Jesus gives some commands and promises:
1. He says, “Accept loving discipline.” […] Jesus says, “If somebody really loves you, they’re going to discipline you. They’re going to correct you. They’re going to point out flaws in your life, and they’re going to do so in a way to invite you to change.”
2. He goes on to say, “Be zealous.” Now, the Holy Spirit wants you to be zealous. God can enable you to be zealous. And if you are willing, God can ignite passion and zeal, if that is something that you are availing yourself to. So if you’re lacking zealousness, you simply say, “Okay, Lord Jesus, you want me to be hot? Teach me to be hot. I want to be hot. And Holy Spirit, ignite, continually reignite that passion for Jesus.”
3. Jesus says, “Repent.” And that is: have a change of mind that leads to a change of direction and a change of life. […] If you stop repenting, you’ll start growing lukewarm.
That’s the big idea. If you’re always right, always defending yourself, always blaming others, always judging others without judging yourself, always excusing yourself, overlooking errors, follies, faults, flaws, failures in your life, that’s how you become lukewarm. And the way we stay hot is repentance. And that’s where we turn from sin, and we come back to Jesus.
Is Jesus Really Welcome?
How many of you have heard this line, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If you open the door I’ll come in and eat with you.” And usually that verse is told as like the great evangelism verse. “Hey, Jesus is here today, he’s knocking on the door of your heart.”
The truth is the church had a door, and they locked Jesus out. Jesus couldn’t go to their church. He was too, perhaps, controversial. He was too opinionated. He was too strong willed. He was too divisive. And so the church decided, “We’ll get together, but we don’t want Jesus to come.” And Jesus says, “When you guys get together for church, I see you in your building, and you all walk in in your nice clothes, and yet I show up and you guys shut and lock the door.” […]
And my question to you is this: Is Jesus really welcome in your life? Is Jesus really welcome in your home? Is Jesus really welcome in your church? And is he welcome when he tells you something you don’t want to hear?
Some of you say, “He’s welcome as long as he says things like, ‘I love you.’“ You’re like, “I’m okay with that.” But he says, “I rebuke you.” “Well, I’m not okay with that.” And it’s an issue of lordship, and sovereignty, and submission. Who’s in ultimate authority?