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1. Lukewarm – As group members arrive, offer them a beverage that is either typically served hot (like coffee) or cold (like soda), but serve it to them at room temperature. Don’t say anything. Later during the discussion time ask the group members how they enjoyed their beverages. Have group members discuss their reactions to trying a lukewarm beverage that they thought would be hot or cold.
2. Place a portion of grease (example, bacon grease) that is lukewarm in a bowl and a portion of ice cream in a bowl that is lukewarm also. Ask for volunteers to try either or both samples and describe their reaction. If no one volunteers, ask them why.
Read the text, Revelation 3:14-22.
1. In Revelation 3:14, Jesus declares His deity and His authority to judge. Verses 15-16 contain the strongest language in His letters to the seven churches. Imagine witnessing something that might make you want to vomit. How might that relate to the strength of what the Lord is saying here?
• Intent: Draw a comparison between the intensity of these personal reactions and the intensity of the Lord’s words.
2. Describe the qualities of a hot church. Refer to the other six churches for attributes that Jesus commends.
• Intent: For example, love, faith, deeds, perseverance, intolerance of evil people, testing doctrine, persecution, and staying true to Jesus.
3. Think of a professed Christian who appeared to you to be lukewarm. How did you determine they were lukewarm?
• Intent: Discuss attributes of being lukewarm, which include a lack of the qualities listed in the intent of question 2. Also, see Eph. 2:8-10 – saved by grace for good works – and Matt.25:44-45 – sheep and the goats.
4. Have you experienced a time when you were lukewarm toward the Lord? What did it look like and did you come out of it? If so, how?
5. Read Rev. 3:17. How can you be wealthy and yet wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked? What does each of these descriptors look like in this context?
• Intent: Discuss how we can be deceived into thinking we have God’s favor because we are materially wealthy. See Proverbs 28:11 – The rich man is wise in his own eyes. Explore the difference between material and spiritual wealth. Also see John 9:39 – Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."
6. In verse 18, Jesus advises them to buy from Him refined gold, white garments, and eye salve. What does each of these mean?
• Intent: Living faith purified in the furnace of affliction, true holiness, and spiritual illumination (Matthew Henry commentary). See 1 Pet. 1:6-8 regarding gold. See Rev. 6:11 and 7:9 for white garment (robe). Contrast white garments with filthy rags of Isa. 64:6.
7. This letter may seem harsh. If you have kids, think about a time you disciplined them for doing something dangerous. Why did you discipline them?
• Intent: See Heb. 12:5-11. Parents, like Christ, discipline their children, sometimes harshly, out of love for their good and protection.
8. In verse 20, Jesus speaks of dining with the one who invites Him in. Why do you think He uses this metaphor?
• Intent: Discuss how having a meal with someone is usually associated with taking time to connect. See Mk. 2:15-17.
The church in Laodicea thought they needed nothing because they were rich and prosperous (Rev. 3:17). Break into partners or triads and confess your great need and dependence on Jesus Christ. Repent of any lukewarm deeds or attitudes you have had lately and ask God to stoke a hot fire in your heart for Him again.
Revelation 3:17 shows that we can be lukewarm and unaware because we only self-evaluate: You say, “I am rich…and do not need a thing.” Ask someone who you trust, like a small group leader or close Christian friend, whether your deeds match your words, or if they see some aspect of your life as lukewarm. If there is a problem, seek the Lord in prayer with repentance for His work to be done in you (Rev. 3:19).
• Intent: We may be incapable of properly assessing ourselves. Pride, as C.S. Lewis and others have said, is blind.