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Pastor's Pen 26th April - hot or cold?

Our teaching this week brings us us to the seventh and last of the churches found in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Laodicea. It's that classic text that revival preachers like to use to rev up the distracted or back-slidden. Lukewarmness is the enemy! make up your mind one way or the other...

It is assumed that fiery hotness is good and coldness (to the gospel) is bad. Lukewarmness almost seems worse, a kind of half-hearted middle ground. A foot in both camps. However, this does not seem to fit the context of our passage. There is another reading possible.

Laodicea had a strategic disadvantage which was the lack of an obvious, reliable water source. Under siege it would have been quite vulnerable to being deprived of water. A water supply for the city came via 6 miles of stone pipes from a spring at Denzili, Colossae to the south. 6 miles to the north at Hierapolis, hot sulphur springs flowing over a 300 foot cliff towards Laodicea. Both water sources would likely be lukewarm when they got to the middle. So the physical geography of the area becomes a picture of the spiritual state of the church at Laodicea.

It follows that neither the natural thermal water nor the crisp spring water are bad. Both fulfill a human need and are life enhancing. Who does not enjoy a healing soak in a steamy mineral pool for aches and pains, or ice cold refreshing water on a hot day?

Lukewarmness is all very well for bathing babies, but not so good for beer or cups of tea. Not very satisfying. The word purpose comes to mind. The Laodicean church is providing ‘neither refreshment for the spiritually weary, nor healing for the spiritually sick.' It's purpose is buried in the lukewarmness of wealthy complacency. It is a church not fit for purpose.

I'm hoping you are doing well in isolation. It's a big opportunity to reflect on how we feel about our own church fellowship. May we be a gathering of healing and refreshment.

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