Full text of Charles Spurgeon’s sermon titled ‘An Earnest Warning About Lukewarmness’ which was preached on July 26, 1874 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
Listen to the Audio Version:
The text today comes from the Book of Revelation 3:14-21.
Revelation 3:14-21 (NIV): “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘These are the words of the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Ruler of God’s creation: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of My mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”’
No Scripture ever wears out. The epistle to the church of Laodicea is not an old letter which can be put into the waste basket and forgotten. Still glowing on its pages are the words, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
This Scripture was not only meant to instruct the Laodiceans, it has a wider aim. The actual church of Laodicea has passed away, but other Laodiceas still exist. Indeed, they are sadly multiplied in our day, and it has always been the tendency of human nature, however inflamed with the love of God, to gradually cool down – cool down to a state of lukewarmness. The letter to the Laodiceans is without a doubt the epistle for the present times.
I would guess that the church at Laodicea was once in a very fervent and healthy condition. The apostle Paul wrote a letter to it which did not claim inspiration, and therefore its loss does not render the Scriptures incomplete, for Paul may have written scores of other letters besides.
Paul also mentions the church at Laodicea in his letter to the Colossians; he was, therefore, well acquainted with it. And since he does not utter a word of censure with regard to Laodicea, we may infer that the church was at that time in a sound state. However in the process of time it degenerated, and cooling down from its former passion it became careless, lax, and indifferent. Perhaps its best men were dead, perhaps its wealth seduced it into worldliness, possibly its freedom from persecution produced carnal ease, or neglect of prayer made it gradually backslide.
But in any case it declined until it was neither cold nor hot. Lest we should ever get into such a state, and lest we should be in that state now, I pray that my message today will come with power to the hearts of all present, but especially to the consciences of the members of my own church. May God grant that it may arouse each one of us.
THE STATE INTO WHICH CHURCHES ARE VERY LIKELY TO FALL
My first point will be The State Into Which Churches Are Very Likely To Fall. A church may fall into a condition far different than that for which it has a reputation. It may be famous for zeal and yet be lethargic. The words of our Lord begins: “I know your deeds” which is the same as saying “nobody else knows you; men think better of you than you deserve; you don’t know yourselves. You think your deeds are excellent, but I know that they are very different.”