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Lesson 1: Revival: Our Great Need *

Introduction: They say that lukewarm water is best for you. Not so cold that is shocks your stomach. Not so hot that it burns your mouth. Just nice and lukewarm. (Gag.) They also say that eating dark green vegetables is good for you. I'm hoping that they mean watermelon. I worry that they mean kale, since I suspect that watermelon (a fruit) does not qualify. The Bible speaks of lukewarm, and it gives hope to those who (like us) like cold and hot, since it suggests that God shares our view! This week we begin a new series entitled "Revival and Reformation." Just like our preferences in beverages, our goal is avoid being slightly warm. Let's dive into our lesson and learn more!

  1. Laodicea - the Church

    1. Read Revelation 1:12-18. Who is pictured walking among the seven golden lamp stands? (Jesus.)

    2. Read Revelation 1:19-20. What are the stars and what are the lamp stands? (The stars are angels and the lamp stands are churches.)

    3. Read Revelation 3:14. Do churches have guardian angels? (Yes, apparently. How encouraging!)

      1. If true, is that a part-time position at your church?

      2. Who is giving the message to the church in Laodicea? (Jesus. He holds the angel "in His right hand." I have a mental picture of the angel leaving the right hand of Jesus and speeding off with a message for the members of the Laodicean church.)

  2. Laodicea - the Person

    1. Read Revelation 3:15-16. We know what lukewarm water is like, what do you think it means when the water represents deeds? (You are just going along. You are not making a difference. You are just supporting the average. You might slightly move a cold person towards warm, but you might just as well cool a hot person.)

    2. Read Revelation 3:17. When a rich person says, "I don't need anything," do you think that person is talking about what he owns or what he is?

      1. What is God's message to the rich person of Laodicea? Is this about what the person owns or what the person is? (It sure sounds like what he owns, for it refers to "poor," "naked," and "pitiful.")

      2. So the rich person says they think they have enough, and God says you do not begin to understand what is enough, right?

    3. Read Revelation 3:18. God is still talking about stuff - gold, fine clothes, and medicine. Did you, however, notice the logical problem? If you are poor, how can you "buy" gold?

  3. Laodicea - the Cure

    1. What does being blind have to do with being rich? (God is signaling us that He is not talking about ordinary wealth because these people have enough. Instead, He is talking about spiritual riches.)

    2. Let's look again at Revelation 3:18 and add Revelation 3:19. How does this solve the logical issue of a poor person buying gold? (Rebuke and discipline refine us and give us "gold" standard characters - if we buy it.)

      1. How do you like being rebuked? How do you like being disciplined? Doesn't the "I have need of nothing" attitude feel better?

      2. Years ago I knew a fellow who would say that he wasn't that smart, but who didn't really believe it. He should have believed what he said about himself because he wasn't very smart. Do you know people whose attitude about themselves does not fit reality?

        1. Assuming you do not fit this description, would you like to? (This is where truth emerges. We might think it feels better to think we need nothing, but we don't want to be the person who deceives himself.)

    3. Re-read Revelation 3:19. We decided that "gold tried in the fire" is the rebuke and discipline that come our way. What does it mean to "buy" this kind of gold? What is God's goal when we are rebuked and disciplined? (We should be serious about our situation. To repent. The goal of the rebuke and the discipline is not embarrassment - who wants that? The goal is to learn something.)

    4. Read Revelation 3:20. Is God simply knocking, or is He more proactive? (The reference to "buying" the rebuke and discipline seems more involved than simply knocking. Perhaps it is very loud knocking, and that is the rebuke and discipline!)

    5. Re-read Revelation 3:18 because we have other important concepts that we don't want to miss. What does it mean to "buy" "white clothes?" (A review of Matthew 22:1-14 shows that the garment represents righteousness by faith. Revelation 7:13-14 confirms the application here.)

      1. What is salve for the eyes? (We realize our sinful condition.)

    6. As you contemplate Revelation 3:18, isn't this in reverse order? Should not the salve come first, followed by the robe of righteousness, followed by a character refined in fire? (We see our need, we accept righteousness by faith, and then we grow in sanctification as we encounter difficulties in life. That seems to be the normal order of things.)

      1. If the order is "wrong," why would God make that mistake? (Maybe this is more like a circle than a line. Consider what first caused you to think about your spiritual life. Was it some sort of tragedy? Something that shocked your world? This is why fire is properly stated first. We experience hardship, we see that something is wrong in our life, and that leads us to God. He offers to exchange our sins for His righteousness. He offers to sell us true gold - character refined in fire.)

    7. Re-read Revelation 3:20. Who decides whether to open the door? (You do!)

      1. What does that say about conversion? (It starts with a simple decision - whether you will allow Jesus into your life.)

      2. What is Jesus' attitude about spending time with you? (He wants to be with you.)

    8. Read Revelation 3:21. Do we "overcome" in the same way Jesus overcame? (If we accept Jesus, we overcome because He overcame sin. It is a much different process for us. We hear God's knock, we decide whether to let Him in. If we do, if we earnestly repent, he will give us the white robe of His righteousness. Rebuke and discipline can give us a rich character.)

    9. As you think back about the Laodiceans, do you believe that they were saved? (Look again at Revelation 3:17. They rely on their wealth. They don't need God. They have a "form of godliness" ( 2 Timothy 3:5), but they lack the power of God. Their power is what they own, not their God. What they cannot see is that they are "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.")

    10. Read Revelation 3:22. Who gives this message? (The Holy Spirit.)

      1. We have a reference to hearing in this text and in Revelation 3:20. We have a reference to seeing in Revelation 3:18. What do you think these references to hearing and seeing teach us? (God gives us a progressive message. He calls us through the Holy Spirit and the circumstances of life. He asks us to open the door, talk with Him, see the true circumstances of our life, and then repent and accept His righteousness by faith alone. Thereafter, the problems of life present opportunities to grow spiritually.)

  4. Victory

    1. Re-read Revelation 3:21. Where do we get to sit? (On Jesus' throne in the throne room of heaven!)

      1. What does this mean? (You have the key to heaven! You are in!)

    2. Friend, are you lukewarm in your relationship with God? Why not repent today, accept God's robe of righteousness, and begin walking the path of holiness?

  5. Next week: Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival.
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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