• By Rev. Devadosan Sugirtharaj
  • Posted 02/14/2021
  • Viewed 52

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DNA of Our Church: Epiphany Sermon Series

Commitment with Trust

Revelation 3:14-22

Rev Dr Devadosan Sugirtharaj

 

Introduction

  • We continue to explore the DNA of our church from messages to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation so that we may understand what kind of Church we should be.
  • Last Sunday, we meditate on the Church in Sardis and its message from God and we learned that our church should be a model church in real and authentic life and ministry and passion to live in truth and purity, not just for the namesake in this world.
  • Today we meditate on the fifth Church in the book Revelation, named the Church at Philadelphia 

 

Word study

  • In Hebrew, the word Chaneph is used for hypocrisy. It means muddy, irreligious, sinful and profane person.
  • In Greek, the word Hypocrites is used for it. It means one who answers, acts or double-faced.
  • According to the word of God, a hypocrite professes beliefs in God but he is not willing to uphold it or plays a part but not completely or acting a double life in the world such as piety outside but sinful inside.

 

Context of the text

  • City of Laodicea: Laodicea means the rule of the people. Laodicea was an important and wealthy city with having significant Jewish population. There were three important areas this city was the pride of. They were: financial wealth, extensive textile industry and a popular eye-salve which was exported around the world. The main water supply of this city came from the hot springs of Hierapolis and when it arrived at the city, it became lukewarm. Caesar’s worship is the recognized religion of this city. There was a temple in this city called Asklepios God who was called a healing God. In this city, there was a medical school connected with this temple. When it was destroyed in AD 60, it arose from the ruins by its strength and death without any help from outside. The church at Laodicea is mentioned in Colossians.2:1, 4:16.

 

 

1. The DNA of the Church is to be a model church to be committed to serving the Lord. Revelation. 3:14-16

  • 14 And to the [i]angel of the church [j]of the Laodiceans write,These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither [k]cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 
  • 14. லவோதிக்கேயா சபையின் தூதனுக்கு நீ எழுதவேண்டியது என்னவெனில்: உண்மையும் சத்தியமுமுள்ள சாட்சியும், தேவனுடைய சிருஷ்டிக்கு ஆதியுமாயிருக்கிற ஆமென் என்பவர் சொல்லுகிறதாவது;15. உன் கிரியைகளை அறிந்திருக்கிறேன்; நீ குளிருமல்ல அனலுமல்ல; நீ குளிராயாவது அனலாயாவது இருந்தால் நலமாயிருக்கும்.16. இப்படி நீ குளிருமின்றி அனலுமின்றி வெதுவெதுப்பாயிருக்கிறபடியினால் உன்னை என் வாயினின்று வாந்திபண்ணிப்போடுவேன்.
  • The picture of the church at Laodicea is connected with lukewarm. It is neither cold nor hot. It is the picture of indifference and compromise. They want to be in the middle. They were apathetic and self-reliance. They followed empty religion. They were cold-hearted sinner. They tried to serve God and World. Lukewarm means they were useless for either purpose. They stayed as religion, not for the kingdom of God. They were happy with the world as well as Christians and also they were happy with Jesus as well as pleasing the world. 
  • God wants the church to be wholly committed to him only and should be always hot in their commitment. We must not be a church of lukewarm. We must show life or death and we cannot show life and death at the same time. Double-minded and dual commitment should not exist in our faith life and ministry.
  • Matthew 6:24: 24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [i]mammon.
  • 24. இரண்டு எஜமான்களுக்கு ஊழியம் செய்ய ஒருவனாலும் கூடாது; ஒருவனைப் பகைத்து மற்றவனைச் சிநேகிப்பான்; அல்லது ஒருவனைப் பற்றிக்கொண்டு, மற்றவனை அசட்டைபண்ணுவான்; தேவனுக்கும் உலகப் பொருளுக்கும் ஊழியஞ்செய்ய உங்களால் கூடாது.
  • Matthew 7:15-20:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
  • 15. கள்ளத்தீர்க்கதரிசிகளுக்கு எச்சரிக்கையாயிருங்கள்; அவர்கள் ஆட்டுத்தோலைப் போர்த்துக்கொண்டு உங்களிடத்தில் வருவார்கள்; உள்ளத்திலோ அவர்கள் பட்சிக்கிற ஓநாய்கள்.16. அவர்களுடைய கனிகளினாலே அவர்களை அறிவீர்கள்; முட்செடிகளில் திராட்சப்பழங்களையும், முட்பூண்டுகளில் அத்திப்பழங்களையும் பறிக்கிறார்களா?17. அப்படியே நல்ல மரமெல்லாம் நல்ல கனிகளைக் கொடுக்கும்; கெட்ட மரமோ கெட்ட கனிகளைக் கொடுக்கும்.18. நல்ல மரம் கெட்ட கனிகளைக் கொடுக்கமாட்டாது; கெட்ட மரம் நல்ல கனிகளைக் கொடுக்கமாட்டாது.19. நல்ல கனி கொடாத மரமெல்லாம் வெட்டுண்டு அக்கினியிலே போடப்படும்.20. ஆதலால், அவர்களுடைய கனிகளினாலே அவர்களை அறிவீர்கள்.
  • Biblical Example: Three Parables in Matthew 25: The foolish maiden (1-13); The wicked servant (14-30); The goats (31-46)
  • Sermon Illustration: Don't be like the bodybuilder visiting Africa, who was asked by a village chief what he did with all his muscles. The body­builder thought an exhibition might better serve to explain it, so he proceeded to flex his bulging calves, thighs, biceps and tri­ceps, demonstrating how he performed in competition. After admiring this amazing specimen for a few moments, the chief inquired, "What else do you use them for?” "That's about it," answered the muscular man. "That's all you use those huge muscles for?" Reiterated the chief.
    “Yes." "What a waste," muttered the chief in disgust. "What a waste.” So many of us are like this bodybuilder. We're strong in the Lord, well equipped to deal with our adversary, but we never use our strength or our weapons. Step into the ring!
     

2. The DNA of the Church is to be a model church to be committed in trusting the Lord Revelation. 3:17-22

  • 17 Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.[l] Therefore be [m]zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”
  • 17. நீ நிர்ப்பாக்கியமுள்ளவனும், பரிதபிக்கப்படத்தக்கவனும், தரித்திரனும், குருடனும், நிர்வாணியுமாயிருக்கிறதை அறியாமல், நான் ஐசுவரியவானென்றும், திரவியசம்பன்னனென்றும், எனக்கு ஒரு குறைவுமில்லையென்றும் சொல்லுகிறபடியால்;18. நான்: நீ ஐசுவரியவானாகும்படிக்கு நெருப்பிலே புடமிடப்பட்ட பொன்னையும், உன் நிர்வாணமாகிய அவலட்சணம் தோன்றாதபடிக்கு நீ உடுத்திக்கொள்வதற்கு வெண்வஸ்திரங்களையும் என்னிடத்திலே வாங்கிக்கொள்ளவும், நீ பார்வையடையும்படிக்கு உன் கண்களுக்குக் கலிக்கம்போடவும் வேண்டுமென்று உனக்கு ஆலோசனை சொல்லுகிறேன்.19. நான் நேசிக்கிறவர்களெவர்களோ அவர்களைக் கடிந்துகொண்டு சிட்சிக்கிறேன்; ஆகையால் நீ ஜாக்கிரதையாயிருந்து, மனந்திரும்பு.20. இதோ, வாசற்படியிலே நின்று தட்டுகிறேன்; ஒருவன் என் சத்தத்தைக்கேட்டு, கதவைத் திறந்தால், அவனிடத்தில் நான் பிரவேசித்து, அவனோடே போஜனம்பண்ணுவேன், அவனும் என்னோடே போஜனம்பண்ணுவான்.21. நான் ஜெயங்கொண்டு என் பிதாவினுடைய சிங்காசனத்திலே அவரோடேகூட உட்கார்ந்ததுபோல, ஜெயங்கொள்ளுகிறவனெவனோ அவனும் என்னுடைய சிங்காசனத்தில் என்னோடேகூட உட்காரும்படிக்கு அருள்செய்வேன்.22. ஆவியானவர் சபைகளுக்குச் சொல்லுகிறதைக் காதுள்ளவன் கேட்கக்கடவன் என்றெழுது என்றார்.
  • God rebuked the church at Laodicea for their understanding of spiritual poverty. They were wretched, naked and blind in their spiritual lives. They thought that they were spiritually rich, clothed and insightful. However, they were opposite from Gods perspective. The problems with them were the lack of trust in the Lord but themselves only. So the Lord called them to repent and get riches, cloth and salve for their sight. In the book of Revelation, gold signifies faith, white garments signify redeemed life and salve signify discernment. God asked them to open their doors which were locked inside and so we would have come and union with them and also provide the place to sit with him on the throne.
  • God wants our church to be wholly committed to trusting him only. When we trust our lives and think that we are more spiritual but from Gods sight if it is the opposite, we become like this church. We need to trust God to be rich in faith, clothed with redeemed life and see things through Gods discernment. When we slip away, God asks us to repent from where we fell and, if we do, he will provide these three things and also to sit with him in his kingdom. Until we do, God does not give up but the discipline to get this done. 
  • Psalm 51:12:Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
  • 12. உமது இரட்சணியத்தின் சந்தோஷத்தைத் திரும்பவும் எனக்குத் தந்து, உற்சாகமான ஆவி என்னைத் தாங்கும்படி செய்யு
  • Ephesians.4:21-24:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
  • 22. அந்தப்படி, முந்தின நடக்கைக்குரிய மோசம்போக்கும் இச்சைகளாலே கெட்டுப்போகிற பழைய மனுஷனை நீங்கள் களைந்துபோட்டு,23. உங்கள் உள்ளத்திலே புதிதான ஆவியுள்ளவர்களாகி,24. மெய்யான நீதியிலும் பரிசுத்தத்திலும் தேவனுடைய சாயலாக சிருஷ்டிக்கப்பட்ட புதிய மனுஷனைத் தரித்துக்கொள்ளுங்கள்.
  • Bible example:  Ezekiel.37:11-14: 11 Then He said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ ”
  • 11. அப்பொழுது அவர் என்னை நோக்கி: மனுபுத்திரனே, இந்த எலும்புகள் இஸ்ரவேல் வம்சத்தார் அனைவருமே; இதோ, அவர்கள் எங்கள் எலும்புகள் உலர்ந்துபோயிற்று; எங்கள் நம்பிக்கை அற்றுப்போயிற்று; நாங்கள் அறுப்புண்டுபோகிறோம் என்கிறார்கள்.12. ஆகையால் நீ தீர்க்கதரிசனம் உரைத்து, அவர்களோடே சொல்லவேண்டியது என்னவென்றால்: கர்த்தராகிய ஆண்டவர் உரைக்கிறார், இதோ, என் ஜனங்களே, நான் உங்கள் பிரேதக்குழிகளைத் திறந்து, உங்களை உங்கள் பிரேதக்குழிகளிலிருந்து வெளிப்படவும், உங்களை இஸ்ரவேல் தேசத்துக்கு வரவும்பண்ணுவேன்.13. என் ஜனங்களே, நான் உங்கள் பிரேதக்குழிகளைத் திறந்து, உங்களை உங்கள் பிரேதக்குழிகளிலிருந்து வெளிப்படப்பண்ணும்போது, நான் கர்த்தர் என்று அறிந்துகொள்வீர்கள்.14. என் ஆவியை உங்களுக்குள் வைப்பேன்; நீங்கள் உயிரடைவீர்கள்; நான் உங்களை உங்கள் தேசத்தில் வைப்பேன்; அப்பொழுது நான் கர்த்தர் என்று அறிந்துகொள்வீர்கள்; இதைச் சொன்னேன், இதைச் செய்வேன் என்று கர்த்தர் உரைக்கிறார் என்று சொல் என்றார்.
  • Sermon illustration: One day a sailor is sitting on the deck and an officer comes along and says, Sailor, get up and mop the floor. So the sailor gets a mop and starts mopping. Then another officer of the same rank comes along and says, Sailor, put down that mop and wash the windows. So the sailor puts down the mop, grabs a rag and some Windex, and gets to work on the windows. Then the first guy comes back through and says, What are you doing polishing the windows? I told you to mop the floor!” The sailor goes back to that task; but then the second fellow comes back and says, Put down that mop and do what I told you!”Whats going to happen to this poor sailor? He will go crazy!

 

Conclusion

God has called us to be his church with His DNA. Through the message to the Church in Laodicea, in Revelations 3:14-22, Jesus speaks to us to be the church of humility and sacrifice. 

  • The DNA of the Church is to be a model church to be totally committed in servingthe Lord. Revelation. 3:14-16
  • The DNA of the Church is to be a model church to be totally committed in trustingthe Lord Revelation. 3:17-22
     

Questions for Discussion

  •  When you compare yourself with the church at Laodicea, what is your spiritual condition? How do you experience lukewarmness in your life and what causes to create such spiritual condition?
  • How does God perceive your spiritual condition? What is his assessment? How is it different from your own perspective?
  • Why do people say that we are ok though they are not ok? How can you enlighten them the need of Christ in their lives?
  • How does self-deluded and complacency destroy people and churches in this world> How can a church to be a church but at the same time dead? How does a church get this condition now a days? How can they come back to God?
  • When people or church close their doors from inside, God calls them to open their doors? What prevent them to close their doors? What makes them to open their doors to Jesus?


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