Why Temperature Checks Are Important

What Are The Signs That You've Become A Lukewarm Christian?

Matt Stokes
Jan 10, 2021    41m
How can you recognize the signs that you've become a lukewarm Christian and then renew your relationship with Jesus Christ? By examining a church that has become dependant on themselves rather than Jesus, this message shares how we can reignite our relationship with Jesus Christ. Video recorded at Ocean City, New Jersey.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Matt Stokes: 00:00 God's revelation reveals God's history and future. And in the midst of the Book of Revelation, God reveals his heavenly past, present, and history on current events. Revelation is the only example of apocalyptic literature, that's the ancient prophet's symbolic interpretation of dreams and visions. And in the midst, there is a perspective given on future events, so that the present could be viewed in light of history's final outcome, and that's the essence of prophecy. Ancient words of prophecy are often called into the present, during a time of crisis, to warn or comfort people. The final words of these thoughts are collected in a book called Revelation. In Revelation, John is saying, Whoa, back up, everybody, my message stands in the tradition of the ancient biblical prophets, and I am bringing their message to a final conclusion. So John makes it clear it's written to seven churches in their modern day. Here's the part we need to get, this is not a secret predictive code, the Apostle John is using futuristic imagery. He presumes that we will go and discover, within the symbols, what the Holy Spirit means. And John is confident that we will be confident, and comforted, because we have heard, listened to, and experience the Word of God. And there's an invitation today to see, understand, and experience the Book of Revelation.

Matt Stokes: 01:35 Yes. So let's get right to it. If you have a pen, I want to encourage you pull one out of the seat back, get a piece of paper or whatever it is that you might be able to find. I think I might be sharing, I have plenty of slides, but I think I'm going to be sharing some things today that I don't necessarily have written down. I noticed that as I was going through the first gathering, we are in the seventh church of the seven churches, wrapping it up today. So getting right to it, 40 miles Southeast of ancient Philadelphia, which is not very far, is another church and a city called Laodicea. This city, Laodicea, was a banking and a governmental epicenter for the entire metropolitan region, that whole area. And that region included Colossae, which was like one of the biggest cities along with Ephesus and Hierapolis, they were all in there along with other cities as well. And the citizens of this city, Laodicea, that we're going to speak up today, they boasted of their self-sufficiency. In fact, not being far from Philadelphia, being very close actually, they also suffered from seismic activity, earthquakes happening all the time. In fact, it's actually recorded that in AD 60 that there was an earthquake that actually shook Laodicea right down to the core, and Laodicea decided to refuse help from the great city of Rome because they wanted the whole world to that they could rebuild their city themselves. And guess what? They did. And according to Tacitus, an ancient Roman historian, the rebuild was spectacular.

Matt Stokes: 03:14 Now watch with me, Revelation chapter 3 beginning in 14, it says this, “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation." Now it says that he's the amen, by the way, not the awomen, can I get an amen on the amen? Holy smoke. Amen, let's get this straight, amen was an expression of promise. Amen, was an expression and a confession of truth. In fact, when you read the Old Testament, amen is used many times. It'll say, amen, the Lord is this, or amen, I shall do that. Or the prophet said to do this, and the people said, amen, we shall do. It was a word of oath, it actually meant this is true. So you know, because I did it, like, I went to church for years. I was a Christian, and I went to church for years and I said amen at the end of the prayer, and I didn't even know what it meant. I just thought it was like a lick on the end of the envelope to like, before you chuck it up to God, you just that's how you end it. You know, like, sincerely, right? I mean, is anybody with me? And then years later I found out that when it really means, the amen, means this is true, this is authentic. So when we get together and all God's people say, amen, what we're doing is, is we're all entering into an oath, we're entering into a promise. And we're saying, what has just been said, we believe that this is true. That's what amen means, that it's true.

Matt Stokes: 04:46 Do you know what else is true? Jesus. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me." John chapter 8, Jesus said, "You shall know the truth." Alítheia, right, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." And if the Son sets you free, if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed. The message of Jesus is true, and it's verified and validated by the truthfulness and reliability of his word, his action, and his life, death, and resurrection. And the description that you see of him being the faithful and true witness, picture this, picture being in a courtroom and you see Jesus approaches the stand, he sits in the seat, he is the faithful and alítheia, he is the true witness. The resurrected Christ, the living Lord is there, and he is giving his testimony. He is declaring, I know who you really are.

Matt Stokes: 05:42 And he says to the church in Laodicea, despite your extraordinary prosperity and the prominence in your region, your prestigious accomplishments are actually hindering you from hearing me. Does that sound familiar at all? Because it's very similar to what he said to the church in Sardis, "I knew everything about you. You've got a reputation for being alive, but you're actually dead." Now watch how he'll unfolded in the next verses, 15, “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit (literally spew you) you out of my mouth!" Explanation, because people look at this and have lots of ideas on what it might mean, but actually when you do the research, it's quite clear. There were hot springs in this region I talked about earlier, called Hierapolis, and these hot springs were known for their healing. Because in those hot springs and in those hot pools, they were very rich in mineral deposits. So when you would sit in these baths, you would actually receive and absorb the minerals.

Matt Stokes: 06:51 Interestingly enough, back in November, my son Jesse and I went to a pastor's conference at Calvary Chapel Bible College, and the Bible college is actually built on the Marietta Hot Springs in Marietta, California. So we actually went in the hot springs, and actually there was a cold snap at the time, so you actually saw the steam coming off of these hot pools. And there were tributaries that ran down to these other pools, so you just see all the steam coming up. And like, because all the restrictions, we weren't sure what you could do or not do. So we like snuck down the mountain, like did this covert operation and like slid into these pools. What we didn't know is this, it smelled like rotten eggs. Now you probably know this, if you know a little bit of science, the reason hot pools are hot is because of sulfur deposits that are coming up through the earth, and that sulfur actually smells like rotten eggs. So, but you get used to it after a while, and the joy of the hot pool is not diminished by the smell, it kind of goes away over time.

Matt Stokes: 07:49 But on the other side, you had Colossae, Hierapolis and Colossae, and Colossae was known for its cold water, it was known for its refreshing springs. However, the water in Laodicea was recorded as having a very foul taste because of the mineral deposits that were in the water, so no pleasant drinks ever came out of Laodicea. Jesus is making a very strong point, with a very poignant, applicable metaphor here. And he's saying the church was so indecisive in his commitment to him, it was disgusting, it made him want to puke.

Matt Stokes: 08:28 There's been a lot of temperature checking these days, right, when you came in today you saw one of these. Mine said, for my temperature, it said low. I guess I'm just cold blooded, I'm so low that I don't even come up on the record. You can come in 98.6, we're glad you're here. 98.7,8,9, okay, glad you're here, if it goes a little below, that's fine too. But the truth is there's a number of numbers that really makes it, you're still in the range. But the truth is, if it's told at the end of the day, in essence, the genuine believer only has three temperatures. There's only three temperatures, that is hot, that is cold, and that is lukewarm. Which one are you? Because everyone in this room and coming through here in the course of these three gatherings, you're either hot, you're either cold, or you're lukewarm.

Matt Stokes: 09:26 And it could change on any given day, depending on where you're at in your spiritual life. You could be hot, you could be burning, on fire. It says in Acts chapter 2, "If the Holy Spirit marvelously moved like a rushing wind, he came into the temple where the believers were. And it says over the heads of 120 men, there was something that seemed like cloven tongues of fire. And when those cloven tongues of fire appeared upon these men, they spoke to the wonderful works of God, and every man was able to hear those men speak in their own native language, the wonderful works of God. They shared the gospel and 3000 souls were saved from these men that were literally on fire." In Luke chapter 24, Jesus walks down the road to Emmaus with these two men. He goes into their house with them, he shares all the scriptures with them, the law, the prophets, Moses, all regarding himself. He shares a meal with them, he breaks bread, and then disappears. They realize it's Jesus Christ, and Cleopas turns to his friend, he spins to him and says, did our hearts not burn, burn? Did our hearts burn within us, when he unfolded to us the scriptures?

Matt Stokes: 10:32 Hot, cold, and then there's lukewarm, which you see right here. What's a lukewarm Christian, a lukewarm Christian is a comfortable, complacent, carnal, complying with the world Christian. A diluted Christian doesn't realize his need, that his greatest need, is to realize his need. Because if you knew that you were cold, at least you would feel it, right? There's a family here I was watching on the Facebook that actually recorded their family and friends doing the polar plunge, right, in early January they jump into the water. But immediately, as soon as you hit that water, there's something that says it's cold, get out, right? I mean, every brain must have those two sentences, just jump right into your cranial lobes the moment that you step into the water, it's cold, get out.

Matt Stokes: 11:21 Now the cold water from Colossae would combine with the hot water from Hierapolis, and by the time it traveled through the aqueducts, it was terrible by the time that it reached Laodicea. Jesus is pressing home that point, and they understood the metaphor. Look with me at 17, "You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked." Okay, wow, okay, that's pretty bad.

Matt Stokes: 11:58 I was just thinking, do you remember that movie Jerry Maguire when he was telling his wife he loved them, and she was like, "You had me at hello." And she starts crying, it's like you had me at hello. It's like, okay, Jesus, you had me at wretched. Right? Like we could have stopped right there, wretched is good enough. Look up the definition of what wretched means, and it's like, okay, that was good enough for me, poor, dejected, sickly. Okay, we're good. But no, he says, no you're sickly, but you're also depressed and negative and empty and you see, and by the way, you've got no clothes on. It's like, he really just drives home the point about how far they've gone from God. And although believers in Laodicea were so prosperous, man, they were so independent, Jesus calls them out, he calls them out with some very specific words in regards to their spiritual condition.

Matt Stokes: 12:44 And the reason I say that is, you can be part of a family of faith, sing the songs, and falsely presume that spiritual possessions and status are signs of God's approval, signs of God's endorsement, signs of God's acceptance, and you're wrong. Those things aren't wrong in and of themselves, the scripture says that God has given us all things freely to enjoy. If God's blessed you with means, then praise God, hallelujah, good for you. I hope that you use whatever gifts God's given you to bless his body, to bless his church, to bless him. But here the city was wealthy, and so was the church, and Jesus was warning them because they couldn't see that their desire for possessions had become more powerful and valuable to them than the riches of heaven.

Matt Stokes: 13:38 You know, on the other hand you have Ephesus, remember the first church we studied was the church of Ephesus, and he said the opposite to them. He said, "I know that you are poor, but you are actually rich." Now he flips that whole thing when we get to the last church at Laodicea, and he says, "You say that you're rich, but you have no idea that you're naked, blind, wretched and poor." See, there's a riches that are not of this world, it's a spiritual riches, that Jesus trying to press that point home. In fact, in Ephesians, it talks about the rich being rich in mercy. In James, it talks about being rich in faith. And my favorite is Ephesians 2, it says, "That when we were dead in our trespasses and sins of God in the great love, wherein he loved us, he made us alive, he raised us up, and he caused us to sit in heavenly places. So that..." Write this down please, Ephesians 2:7, "So that in the ages to come, God might be able to show his exceeding (watch the word) riches in his grace." "The riches in his grace, in his kindness towards us, through Jesus Christ." In other words, in the ages, and the epochs, and the years to come into eternity, our minds are going to be constantly blown as we see the riches, of all the riches of God. There's a certain riches called the riches of his grace, and we're going to see that in the way that he was kind to us, the Father, in sending his son Jesus, to save us. There's a riches that are beyond this world, and I hope I'm pressing that point home right now.

Matt Stokes: 15:04 It's like Pastor Gene, who's one of the pastors that's with us, on more than one occasion I hear people talk about how he is so rich in the word. Oh, he's just rich in the word, Right? So like, what are you rich in? What are you, like rich means to be, literally, it means to be filled with, or to have an abundance of. Like, what are you filled with? Because what's being said to us here is, being wealthy or having luxury can make people confident and satisfied, and there's nothing wrong with being confident and satisfied until you cross the line and confident leads to complacent, confident leads to carnality, confident leads to just complying with the world. No matter how much you possess, or no matter how much money you make, and I hope that you do, there's nothing wrong with that, but you have nothing if you don't have a sincere, authentic, genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Riches, the word riches, again, it means to be full, it means to be filled with. And I'm saying, what level of riches or wealth do you have, whether it's riches in your own self-confidence, or riches in your good looks, riches in your personality, riches in your skillset whatever it might be, riches in your intelligence, intellectually, how much of that is affecting your spiritual desire? Because it does. Be honest with yourself, instead of pursuing the priority of your own kingdom, what about finding the true riches in Christ that lasts forever?

Matt Stokes: 16:34 Look what he says in verse 18, o in light of that, "So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your (here it is, that word again) nakedness." And by the way, these words are attached in the Greek, so that the verbs attached to the noun. By from me, "Ointment for your eyes so you'll be able to see." Okay, so what's the remedy, right? As I listen to you and connects with me, or there's a potentiality, what's the remedy? Well, the prescription for the proud and prosperous in Laodicea was a complete and utter total change of mind mentality, to move from self-sufficiency and self-reliance to complete and utter dependence on God. Jesus says buy purified by fire gold from me, buy garments that are white from me, buy the ointment that you really need for your eyes from me.

Matt Stokes: 17:35 Now, let's look at this, when Jesus says buy gold from me, they knew exactly what he meant, because they had whatever they wanted. See, it's one thing to have whatever you needed, right. I mean did you ever have your parents say that to you when you were younger, like, well, is that a want or is that a need? Well, is that a want, or is that a need? Right? It's like, oh my gosh. And then, you grow up and your financial advisor says, is that a want, or is that a need? And it's like, every time you hear that, it's like that person is like telling you don't get that thing you want, right? They had everything they wanted, they had everything they needed, they had both. But what they really needed was to cha-ching, like cash all of that in for the treasures of heaven, so that they would have spiritual riches that lasts forever.

Matt Stokes: 18:21 Peter talks about it in his epistle when he writes, First Peter, can you write this down, this is why I would like you to have a pen. First Peter 1:4, he talks about a riches that he has. That the trials that he's been through have endured, and they've come forth as a gold that's been refined in a fire. And he says, "I know this, I know that when I meet God in heaven, there is an inheritance that's undefiled, incorruptible, and is kept by God for me." It's an inheritance that's incorruptible, undefiled, and never fades away, and guess who keeps it? God. He keeps it for me until the day I see him face to face. Like who doesn't want that? It lasts forever.

Matt Stokes: 18:59 Jesus says the same thing, can you write it down? Matthew chapter 6, find out where the reference is, Matthew chapter 6. Jesus says, "Lay not up for yourselves, don't accumulate for yourselves, treasures on earth. Because when they're treasures on earth, the moth can eat it and rust can decay it, and thieves can come in and steal it. Instead, Jesus says, lay up for yourselves, accumulate, treasures in heaven, where no moth, nor rust, nor robber can touch it." And then he just takes the hammer, he just nails past flush by saying this, "Here's why, for, because, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Wherever your treasures are, that's where your emotions are connected. Jesus says that this gold has been purified by fire, that's the gold you're looking for. See, "While the wealth of this world will not withstand God's judgment by fire..." If you want to write it down First Corinthians chapter 3 verse 15, "While this world's wealth will not withstand the trial by fire, spiritual wealth only gets refined by the fire and it has eternal value."

Matt Stokes: 20:13 That's the gold, now the garments. We talked about the garments, and I encourage you to look back at the messages from the seven churches, because he also talked about other garments with them. Those who are victorious will receive white garments, you remember white garments represented, in terms of spirituality they represented purity, in terms of government they represented authority, in terms of the Greek games they represented victory. And ironically, prophetically, metaphorically, not white, black, not white but black wool cloth, was the prized export of Laodicea. Isn't that interesting? I mean, do the research for yourself, this is fascinating, black wool cloth was the prized export of Laodicea. Remember Lydia, Lydia was from Thyatira in the Book of Acts. And the prized possession that went forth from Thyatira, people would go there because you could buy this special purple dye. And it was so rich, and so beautiful, that people would travel from miles around to have the purple dye from Thyatira. Well, Laodicea was known for black, black wool, particularly black garments. And I just look at that, and does anybody see what I see? How in a very real sense, that represented the city's pride and dark spiritual condition.

Matt Stokes: 21:35 Laodicea's material prosperity was also due to this well-known Phrygian ointment that they would put on their eyes if they had ophthalmalgia or some other eye disorder. Most of you don't know Phrygian, Phrygia today, it's [inaudible] is what they call it in Turkey, modern day Turkey. It probably was used in what was a very famous eye clinic back then, you know, we didn't have a lot of medicines in clinics, but they had an eye clinic in Laodicea. And there was a very famous physician there, his name was Demosthenes. I know it's a mouthful, but it's actually written in history that Demosthenes, in the city of Laodicea, he was the one that you'd go to see, literally, if you needed help with your eyes. But the people of the city needed this spiritual ointment from Christ through faith. Just like there's a riches that are not of this world, but there are riches that are a spiritual riches. There's also a vision, there's a particular spiritual sight that is not of this world, but comes from God, and he gives it to a person from heaven. He gives you a fresh vision, and only the healing ointment that comes from the savior is going to help them see spiritually.

Matt Stokes: 22:44 That's the metaphor, when he talks about the gold, and then the garments, and now talks about what they need for their eyes to see. The kind of medication these saints needed, you couldn't buy from a drug store, it wasn't available in any apothecary. Most of you would agree that there are few places on the human body that are more sensitive than the eyes. And it's not the Greek physician, it's the great physician, he's the only one with the sacred salve. He's the only one that could help you see as you ought to see, if you were from Laodicea. That just happened, I didn't even say that at first service, that just happened. So my point is, and again, I don't have a pen, so could you please write this down? What do you need to see that you can't see? Like I'm convinced in the three gatherings coming through here right now that everyone, God has something that he would want you to see that you're not seeing right now. Because it says that God wants us to continue to experience having wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, and that the eyes of our understanding would be open so that we would know certain things, First Corinthians chapter 1.

Matt Stokes: 24:03 What does he want you to see? I am totally convinced that right here and right now there are certain things that God wants me to see that I'm not seeing, because I need to go deeper in prayer, I need to fast, I need to pray. And I believe that God is going to help me see some things that I can't see right now. I know that, I feel pressing me to enter into a deeper prayer life, a deeper experience with him, so that I could see something that I really need to see right now. And the reason that I think that that's true for every person in this room, is because as goes to the pastor, so goes to the church. I believe God wants every one of us to be seeing something right now. What is it? So I would ask you to pray for me. I appreciate when you ask, how can I pray for you? Here's how, thanks for asking. Here's how you can pray for me, pray that God would give me a vision to see what it is that he has in front of me right now that I'm just not seeing, because I know there's something. I'm waiting on him, I'm praying to him.

Matt Stokes: 24:59 We see Jesus healing on more than one occasion in the gospels, I count three, there may be others. But I know this, John chapter 9 fascinates me, because this man was born blind. And Jesus sees the man born blind, and he actually stoops down, he stoops down and takes dirt off the ground and he spits into it. And sorry, I have no mask, and everyone's going to run through the doors. So he spits on it, he makes mud out of it, and then he puts it on the man's eyes. And then it like cakes up, I guess, and then he tells the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam and he would be healed, and he was. And so that's miraculous, and the history of that goes on.

Matt Stokes: 25:41 But what I thought when I read that, and thought about this text right here, about the eyes, and Jesus, and healing, and seeing, like how annoying, how irritating must've have been to have that mud all caked onto your eyeballs. Like if I got one speck of dirt in my eye, like everything stops. Like, okay, okay, okay, okay, hold on. something's in my eye. Do you see it? Can you see it? Can you, no come on, can you see it. Right? Like the water, I'm squeezing it, whatever it takes, everything stops until I get whatever this is. Now we're talking about cakes of mud on the eyes, how irritating it might be. But I need to say this, listen closely, it might be irritating, but sometimes God irritates before he illuminates. Let me say it again, and if you've got a pen, please write it down. Sometimes God irritates before he illuminates. But it's the wise Christian that takes the prescription, and maintains good spiritually and emotionally healthy habits, so that he can receive vision, vision that grows greater, vision that grows keener, vision that grows sharper. And that's why I'm saying, please pray for me. I don't know about you, but I know that I am in desperate need for a fresh vision from God as we head into many unknowns that are in front of us in this year to come.

Matt Stokes: 27:09 19, "I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference." Whew, that's strong language from Jesus. Strong language from Jesus. But remember Jesus loves his church, and he will correct and he will discipline, those whom he loves. That's what the scripture says. Listen to this, Hebrews chapter 12 says, "Have you forgotten the encouraging words that God spoke to you as children?" What are the encouraging words that he's talking about? If you want to write it down, he's talking about Proverbs chapter 3 verses 11 and 12. I'm going to read something to you, but what I'm about to read to you, want to write it down. What about to read to you from Hebrews 12, actually comes from Proverbs chapter 3:11-12. When he says, "Don't you remember?" He saying, don't you remember this? That it says in the scriptures, "My child do not make light of the Lord's discipline, do not give up when he corrects you." "For..." Here's the reason why, "For the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child."

Matt Stokes: 28:18 You know, when we were growing up, like I remember when I was a young parent, along with Laura, and we're reading all those parenting books. It was like, never discipline your child out of anger. Never discipline...You're like every book has a chapter on not disciplining your child out of anger, right? Like Jesus, like here's something he'll never do, he never disciplines out of anger, he disciplines his children out of love. Hebrews chapter 12 will go on to say, "As a Father disciplines his child, as everyone does, how much more will your heavenly Father not want to actually discipline you." And the reason I'm saying that is, maybe you're going through a trying time right now, and you feel like God's punishing you in some particular way. And I'm saying, rather than rejecting them, he's correcting them.

Matt Stokes: 28:59 The Laodiceans, man, they were so lost, they were so complacent, they were so carnal, he had every right to say, you are not my child, get out of my family, I'm Holy. But that Is not what he does. Instead of rejecting them, he's correcting them. Why? I'll tell you why, because he's faithful, he's a faithful Father. And his faithfulness, if you read in the scriptures, his faithfulness extends to a thousand generations. In another place it says, "His faithfulness endures forever." And in another place it says, "His faithfulness reaches to the skies.", in the Psalms, right? You know, "Your love of the Lord reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness stretches to the skies, literally beyond the clouds." He's faithful to love you, even when we've gone astray like Laodicea.

Matt Stokes: 29:55 Let's make sure we're clear on this, Jesus says that he would discipline this lukewarm church. That they had to turn from their indifference, and turn back towards him, that's called repentance. And repentance is an old school word that we use here at Coastal, because we're not afraid of it, it simply means to turn from sin and turn to God. Maybe that word has been overused, or it's been abused by certain people, for authority or control, but it's a biblical word. Repent, turn from your indifference and turn back to Christ. The purpose of Jesus in discipline is not to punish, but it's to bring people back to him. It's to bring you to a place of repentance, because he loves you. So I'm asking you, are you lukewarm in your devotion to God today? God may discipline you to help you out of your uncaring attitude, your indifferent attitude, but he only uses loving discipline.

Matt Stokes: 30:53 So very quickly, if this is you and you're resonating with it, or you're feeling there's a potential for it. How can you avoid further discipline? Here's how you do it, and if you have a pen, please write this down, it's a very simple format, there is no mystical secret to this. Number one, confession. I love it, because at Coastal we talk about repentance, we talk about confession. I mean, these are just, these are biblical concepts. Confession just means that you admit that you are broken before God because of what you've done. And then after confession, do you know what you've got to do? You've got to go to His Word. After you pray to God and confess, then you've got to go to His Word, because how can you actually take another step unless you know what God says? So then once you read his word, after you confess, and read his word, and you study his word, then you break forth from that and you go obey him. And as you obey him, God continues to reveal to you, he continues to take the blinders off and give you wisdom, and revelation, and knowledge, and vision. And then after he does that, then after you obey him, you worship him. Why? Because now you've received so much from God, you just can't contain yourself, you've got to give it back to God. And if you're with me, say, amen. It begins with confession, then it's the word, then it's obeying him, and then it's worship. And just as a spark of love can rekindle a marriage, so the Holy Spirit can, he can reignite the zeal for God, if you allow him to work in your heart. Well, I want that. Oh, I want that. Okay, do you?

Matt Stokes: 32:21 Okay, well, here's what Jesus says. Verse 20, he says, [foreign language] again in the Greek. "Behold, (Hey, look.) I am standing at the door and I'm knocking. And if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and share meal together as friends." I love the New Living Translation, because it really brings out the meaning of the verse. If you hear [inaudible]. You is specific, he's not talking to the whole church, now he's talking to the individual. Specifically, individually, he's talking to a person. It's a word that means if a certain someone, and then if a certain someone [foreign language] where we get the word acoustics. If a certain someone will listen, will hear my voice, here's what I'm going to do. You open the door, and I'm going to come in. We're going to share a meal. Why does Jesus say this?

Matt Stokes: 33:15 First reason he says this, he's outside the church, he's outside the life of the believer. In the language. it's fascinating to me, he indicates that he's speaking to the individual. If you read the other churches, he's talking to the entire church. You read to some churches like Sardis, and he says, "But there are some of you who are still faithful." Like, he's talking to a small group of people. Not here, he's talking to the individual, right to the individual. The grammar and the syntax of the structure of the sentence says, he's talking to the individual. If any individual, if a certain someone hears my voice, whoever you are, you open the door, I will come in and we will share a meal together. Why do I say that? Don't wait for everyone to worship. Don't wait for someone else to stand when we're making a call for you to give your life to Jesus Christ. Don't wait for someone else to start the revival. You give your life to Christ today, because God can do great things through one individual, specifically, individually, one individual, when it all comes down and you stand before God, you're not standing with Coastal. We're not all getting into the this is the Coastal. Let's all of Coastal stand before God. No, you stand before God individually. God can do great things through one single individual, and maybe one single individual in these three gatherings needs to hear that right now.

Matt Stokes: 34:24 There's a call to the Christian to hear Jesus say, I am knocking on the door. And although this verse is used as a verse to call people to Christ, behold, I stand at the door and knock, come open the door. And I don't see anything wrong with that, calling out to the church. What's really happening, is there's a personal pattern here for revival. This is how it works, I'm coming to you, and I am standing here, and I am knocking on this door, you've grown weak, you're out of fellowship. Hey, anybody here ever feel weak? Anybody here ever feel out of fellowship? Because as goes the pastor, so goes to the church. And I can put in 50, 60, I'm not kidding, 70 hours a week, and I could be out of fellowship, it could happen to anyone at any time. And he says, I love you. I'm knocking, you just open that door, and we can renew what we once had. Literally he says, you know what we'll do, I'll bring a pizza, we'll share a meal together.

Matt Stokes: 35:47 Now, I have this book at home, I have several books in my library. One of them is called Manners and Customs of Biblical Times, and it explains all of these kinds of concepts. Back in those days, in ancient times, sharing a meal was very significant. It was symbolic of acceptance, and friendship, and covenant, because here's this loaf of bread. Do you see it right here? And if I partake of that loaf of bread, and you partake of that loaf of bread, it represents life, it sustains and prolongs life. And we're both partaking of that Life-Giving, sustaining, element. And in that, we are making a covenant with one another. We're sharing it, it's precious, it's sacred to have a meal with someone, it's even symbolic of a covenant relationship. Like today, the way that you make a covenant with someone is you shake hands, do you want to shake hands on that? Like that's how we do that today. Right? We make a covenant by shaking hands, or you sign a letter. Back then when they made a covenant, they had a meal together. They would make an agreement, and they would have a meal together.

Matt Stokes: 36:40 Jesus took the Passover, which was a covenant that they had with God to continue to do, to show that they were as people they continually every year had this meal together. Jesus has that meal with them, and what does he say in the middle of this covenant meal? He says, take this cup and drink it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, for the remission of sins for many.

Matt Stokes: 37:04 And then if we had time, and we'll talk later about the marriage supper of the lamb, and why was significant that they had a supper. This church was complacent and they were rich, they felt satisfied with themselves, but they didn't have God's presence. He was knocking, but their hearts were so busy enjoying the world, and its pleasures, and all of the distractions, that come with whatever they were filled with. And he's trying to enter, and the pleasures of this world, money, security, material, possessions, they're great, but they're also very dangerous, because temporary satisfaction can actually blind you from lasting satisfaction.

Matt Stokes: 37:40 If you find yourself indifferent to the Holy Spirit speaking to you, to the truth of God's word, you may be shutting God out and you need to open that door again. Let him in, experience the joy of Jesus leading you, and guiding you, and ministering to you. If he's knocking on the door and you sense it, turn to him, trust him, open the door. He wants to be with you, renew that covenant with him. He's patient, he's persistent, he's trying to get through to you. Jesus is never going to get arrested for breaking and entering, that's not who he is, he allows you to decide whether or not you want to open the door to him. Do you intentionally keep his life changing power and presence on the other side of the doorway? Why? Why?

Matt Stokes: 38:24 Well close with 21-22, "Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” What's the reward for the victorious, for the one who overcomes, the one who is obedient? They will sit with Christ and reign. In other words, Christians, don't become divine, but he allows you to share in his victorious reign. And if we had the time, I would explain how many verses, I mean, Revelation 20, Revelation, 22. My favorite Colossians chapter 3, where it says, "You're dead and your life is now hidden with Christ and God. But when he's revealed, your life will be revealed with him, and you will share in all his glory." Second Timothy 2, "If you endure hardship, you will reign with him." Romans 8, "If we suffer with him, we will also be co-heirs and reign with him."

Matt Stokes: 39:20 So I'll close by saying this, are you taking your temperature? Are you taking it every day? Are you on fire, are you cold-hearted, or are you lukewarm? You have nothing, if you don't have a genuine, authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. What's the remedy from self-sufficiency? It's a complete and utter total change of your mentality from self-reliance, to complete dependence on God. Draw near to him by confession, and let confession lead to his word, and let his word lead to obedience, and let obedience lead to worship. What are you so filled with, that you can't hear God, or you can't see God? He's the only one that can help you see, but sometimes he irritates in order to help illuminate. Be encouraged, if you're going through it right now, God is not rejecting you when he's correcting you. Turn from your indifference, and turn towards what has infinite significance, God can do great things through one individual. Temporary attractions make us blind to lasting satisfactions. If you hear Him knocking, open to his life-changing power, his life changing presence, he's lovingly waiting for you on the other side of the door. And with that, Amen.

Recorded in Ocean City, New Jersey.
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