And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things said the Amen, the faithful and true witness…
I. THE LOVING REBUKE OF THE FAITHFUL WITNESS. The persons thus described are Christian people (for their Christianity is presupposed), with very little, though a little, warmth of affection and glow of Christian love and consecration. Further this defectiveness of Christian feeling is accompanied with a large amount of self-complacency. Then again, this deficiency of warmth is worse than absolute zero. "I would thou weft cold or hot." Because there is no man more hopeless than a man on whom the power of Christianity has been brought to bear, and has failed in warming and quickening him. Is that our condition? Look at the standard of Christian life round about us. Mark how wavering the line is between the Church and the world; how little upon our side of the line there is of conspicuous consecration and unworldliness: how entirely in regard of an enormous mass of professing Christians, the maxims that are common in the world are their maxims; and the sort of life that the world lives is the sort of life that they live. Look at your Churches and mark their feebleness, the slow progress of the gospel among them, the low lives that the bulk of professing Christians are living, and answer the question, is that the operation of a Divine Spirit that comes to transform and to quicken everything into His own vivid and flaming life? or is it the operation of our own selfishness and worldliness, crushing down and hemming in the power that ought to sway us?
II. THE CAUSES OF THIS LUKEWARMNESS OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. Of course the tendency to it is in us all. Take a bar of iron out of the furnace on a winter day, and lay it down in the air, and there is nothing more wanted. Leave it there, and very soon the white heat will change into livid dulness, and then there will come a scale over it, and in a short time it will be as cold as the frosty atmosphere around it. And so there is always a refrigerating process acting upon us, which needs to be counteracted by continual contact with the fiery furnace of spiritual warmth, or else we are cooled down to the degree of cold around us. But besides this universally operating cause there are many others which affect us. I find fault with no man for the earnestness which he flings into his business, but I ask you to say whether the relative importance of the things seen and unseen is fairly represented by the relative amount of earnestness with which you and I pursue these respectively. Then, again, the existence among us, or around us, of a certain widely diffused doubt as to the truths of Christianity is, illogically enough, a cause for diminished fervour on the part of the men that do not doubt them. That is foolish, and it is strange, but it is true. And there is another case, which I name with some hesitation, but which yet seems to me to be worthy of notice; and that is, the increasing degree to which Christian men are occupied with what we call, for want of a better name, secular things. I grudge the political world nothing that it gets of your strength, but I do grudge, for your sakes, as well as for the Church's sake, that so often the two forms of activity are supposed by professing Christians to be incompatible, and that therefore the more important is neglected, and the less important done.
III. THE LOVING CALL TO DEEPENED EARNESTNESS. "Be zealous, therefore." Lay hold of the truth that Christ possesses a full store of all that you can want. Meditate on that great truth and it will kindle a flame of desire and of fruition in your hearts. "Be zealous, therefore." And again, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." "Be zealous, therefore." That is to say, grasp the great thought of the loving Christ, all whose dealings, even when His voice assumes severity, and His hand comes armed with a rod, are the outcome and manifestation of His love; and sink into that love, and that will make your hearts glow. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." "Be zealous, therefore." Think of the earnest, patient, long-suffering appeal which the Master makes, bearing with all our weaknesses, and not suffering His gentle hand to be turned away, though the door has been so long barred and bolted in His face.
IV. THE MERCIFUL CALL TO A NEW BEGINNING. "Repent."
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;