Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and author of over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. Dr. Evans holds the honor of writing and publishing the first full-Bible commentary and study Bible by an African American. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on over 1,400 radio outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. Dr. Evans’ sermons are also streamed and downloaded over 20,000,000 times annually.

what does it look like when you leave

your first love

it means that you have to

find time for him when you have time for

other things

most folk don’t have to find time for

for this show or that show

cause it’s understood that when that

time comes and that show is on

i’m there the reason why we have to find

time for god

is because he’s not first love he’s when

i get around to your love

it has to do with priority he wants to

know he’s first

that he has been relationally


not just programmatically

included first love is where there is a

fire for him

our final church to the final body of

saints is leo decea bible fellowship

leo decea was a wealthy city

known for three things

some 45 miles southeast of philadelphia

our last

city and last church

laodicea was known for its finance


its banking industry it would be akin to

our common day wall street

it was a very wealthy place to live work

and raise a family

it was also known for its fashion


in new york you would call it the

fashion district

where they made fancy clothes

that would go out to the retailers to

sell to the general public

not only was it a financial district

and a fashion district but

the city of laodicea was a

pharmaceutical district

it was known for its medical industry

particularly when it came to

eye diseases it was specializing

in this sad for the eyes to improve

the sight of those struggling with


jesus as he does in each one of these


introduces himself as he wants you to

see him now

and he says in verse 14 to the angel of

the church at laodicea write

the amen the faithful and the true


the beginning of of the creation of god

says this

so before he gets into what he wants to

say he wants you to know who’s doing the


he says to the church at laodicea and

our church today i am the amen

amen means so be it

it is so that’s

the way it is can’t you hear

amen means the final word

on the subject so when jesus says

listen because the amen is talking he’s


saying i don’t care what anybody else

said to you

i don’t care what other folk told you i

don’t even care what you’re telling


i am the amen i’m the final word on the


i am the faithful and true witness

so i’m going to give you the testimony a

witness is a testimony

and whatever i tell you is going to be

the truth

the whole truth and nothing but the


so help you god and you’ll see in a

moment why he defines himself this way

he says i am the beginning of the

creation of god

now if you’re the beginning of the

creation that means you existed before

the creation that you began

so jesus christ declares himself to be

the pre-creation

existing prior to creation that is


he has always existed as the second

member of the triune godhead

and the one who’s responsible for how

history operates

so what he’s saying before he ever gets

into what he is saying is

pay close attention because i know what

i’m talking about

i am the amen i am the final testimony

and witness

and i am the one who existed prior to

you even being here

having established himself

to the church at laodicea he now makes


complaint his condemnation

he says in verse 15 i know your deeds

that you are neither hot nor cold

i wish you were hot or cold

so because you are lukewarm and neither


nor cold i will spit you out of my mouth

he addresses the problem at laodicea

bible fellowship

of lukewarmness you are

lukewarm now to understand

why he is saying this you have to


laodicea’s unique location

on one side of laodicea the city

was aeropolis

which was akin to hot springs arkansas

if you’ve ever been to hot springs

arkansas you know the heated water that

comes up from the earth

the steam that shows up because of the


and that water is used for healing and


aeropolis was the hot springs arkansas

of the day

and that hot water flowed down to


but on the other side of laodicea was

the city of colossae where we get the

book colossians

and cold water came down from the


into laodicea when the hot

water came down from aeropolis

and the cold water came down from


they met at laodicea and when the hot

and cold water met

the water now became lukewarm

when it reached laodicea so

jesus christ uses this geographical


to express a spiritual reality

operating at laodicea bible fellowship

he says you are neither hot

nor cold jesus writes this

church through its pastor and he says

you tell them i know about them

they are neither hot you know

hot coffee here they’re not cold has no

ice in that glass here

they are lukewarm

in other words they are unacceptable

how unacceptable is it jesus

i want to spew them out of my mouth

the phrase to spew out of the mouth

means to vomit

jesus says of laodicea bible fellowship

y’all make me sick

i want to oh i want to throw

up when y’all come to church

it makes me want to vomit

and jesus says this is the amen talking

this is the one who’s not going to tell

you what you want to hear i’ma tell you

like it really is

this is the one with the final witness

making the declaration

because you’re neither hot nor cold

i can’t do anything with you your

spiritual condition reflects your

geographical location

it is lukewarmness it is stagnant

and i can’t do anything with you so it’s

possible to be a church

that makes jesus sick

what did was it exactly about the lady


bible fellowship that made jesus

sick here’s what jesus says was the


verse 17 because you say

i am rich and have become

wealthy and have need

of nothing he says i have a problem with

how you view yourself

you say i am rich

i am self-sufficient what he’s saying is

you’ve allowed the world to tell you

whether you’re successful

but i’m the amen and i’ma tell you like

it is

and like it is you’ll make

me want to throw up

now don’t get mad at the preacher i’m

just quoting the verse

jesus says you make me want to

spit you out of my mouth

they were measuring the spiritual

by the physical and jesus says to the

church you are an abysmal

failure he says

let me tell you what you really are

second ever verse 17 you do not know

you are wretched

and miserable and

poor and blind and


don’t get mad at the preacher i’m just

quoting the verse

jesus says let me tell you about


let me tell you about yourself

you’re wretched

and everybody else may think you’re nice

but i know you

you’re wretched not only are you


but i don’t care what your bank account

looks like you’re poor

he says i don’t care where you buy your

couture clothes

you’re naked so you see he’s he’s

quoting the district finance

fashion pharmaceuticals because i don’t

think what you can think you can see

what your expensive glasses on you’re


he says none of what you think about you

is real you’re living in a dream world

because i see what’s really going on

and what’s really going on is

you don’t know how messed up you are and

what’s got you

messed up is that you’ve allowed the


to erase the spiritual

and so because you don’t see things from

my perspective

you don’t see things correctly i’ll tell

you what i want you to do verse 18

i advise you so he’s going to give you

some advice me some advice

i advise you to buy from me gold

because it’s a financial district

refined by fire so that you may become


because you’re not rich you think you’re

rich but you’re not

and white garments because it’s a

fashion district so that you may clothe


and that the shame of your nakedness

will not be revealed

and i save because it’s a pharmaceutical


to anoint your eyes so that you may see

so guess what i want to do i want to

make you truly rich

i want to give you real clothes and i

want to open your eyes so that you can


but the only way you get any of that is

from me

buy from me in other words

i’m the only one who can give you what

you really need to be what you’re

supposed to be

all that other stuff is fake

and our world is duping us and jesus

says no i ain’t gonna dupe you

no i want you to become truly rich which

means you’re spiritually rich

i want you to become truly clothed which

means you’re spiritually attired

i want you to become truly sightful so

i’m gonna remove the blindness

so you see things as they really are but

i’m the only one

who can do that cause i’m not gonna lie

to you

i’m not gonna trick you nor am i gonna

be impressed by you

that’s why you need to i need to we need


be close to folks who want to give us

jesus perspective

so jesus says i got some advice

for folk who put the physical in front

of the spiritual

buy from me you got to get on my page

you got to start with me not with what

they saying out there not what the

television is saying

not what the media is saying not what

the pundits are saying you

start with me

because i want to be the standard by


you operate therefore

i advise you to deal with me

verse 19 those whom i love

if you’re a child of god he loves you

those who i love i reprove

and discipline therefore be

zealous and repent those who i love

i reprove and discipline because i love


but you don’t really know you because

you think

you all had in a bag of chips so so you

you blind to you

but i’m not blind to you but i love you

and i want to get

you right

i’m going to create some situations in

your life

it’s called discipline i’m going to

bring some

corrective measures into your world

i’m going to put you in the situations

money can’t buy you out of

i’ma put you in situations you can’t

dress up for

i’ma put you in situations to deal with

your blindness

i’m gonna bring some discipline into

your life

to let you know that all that stuff that

the world applauds and makes you feel

wrong about yourself with can’t solve

your problem until i can get your

undivided attention

now i’m not trying to be mean cause i

love you

but i am trying to correct some things

that need to be corrected

so i don’t have to spew you out of my



him who i love i’m i’m going

i’m gonna have to deal with you verse


behold i stand at the door

and knock okay

behold i stand at the door and knock see

somebody didn’t hear that behold i stand

at the door and not he’s at the door

of laodicea bible fellowship

he’s knocking what does that mean

they have in church and he’s not even


so just because you have in church don’t

mean jesus is in the sanctuary

and what keeps him out of the sanctuary

is lukewarmness

behold i stand at the door and i knock

he goes on in verse 20. he says

if anyone hears my voice

and opens the door

so the question is how do you know if

you heard

how do you know if you are hearing the

knocking on the door

here’s how you know you’re hearing the

knocking on the door god is convicting

you of your blindness

you feel convicted that yes that’s me

standing in the need of prayer that you

feel this tug of god

on your heart you know you playing games

with me

you know you’re just going through the

religious motions you know that there is

not a full commitment to me

and he starts tugging you and you start

to feel uncomfortable

you’re squirming in your seat although

you’re not moving it’s just all

on the inside and you know god is

talking to you that means

you’re hearing a knock and he’s calling

your name

he says if anyone hears my voice

because i’ve disturbed your world i

messed up your situation

i’ve let you had money and i keep things

breaking down that you can’t pay for

i let you buy nice clothes and you lost

your job i i

you know you i i didn’t created

disciplinary situations

and now you never made the connection

between what’s going on

and the stuff you have from the world

but now you see there’s a possible link

you just heard a knock

he said if anyone hears a knock

and opens up the door

he creates the discipline he says

and then he wants to be invited in

the reason he wants to be invited in

is because he wants to help you with the


he don’t want more faking he already

knows the stuff that’s not right

inside and he says if you will invite me

and i will come in

and dine with him or her

in other words he’s inviting you into a


experiential reality of him

in your life so that you don’t have to

fake spirituality fake

commitment fake loving the lord fake

loving his word

you won’t have to fake that anymore

because you and jesus just had dinner


it’s the real deal it’s the real


and then he goes on and he closes

he says to him who overcomes as thy word

to him overcomes i would grant him to

sit down with me on my throne

as i also overcame and sat down with my


on his throne what did jesus have to

overcome that we had to overcome because

he said he had overcome some stuff too

you remember when the devil came to


the temptations in the wilderness

and what he tried to get jesus to do

was to operate independently from god

and he used good stuff to do it

jesus was hungry jesus was hungry

the devil said turn these stones in the


is it legitimate for jesus to eat to be

hungry absolutely

but it’s not legitimate for jesus to eat

if he’s hungry if the devil is providing

the food

that’s called devil foods cake so the


if the devil’s providing the food you


he says it’s okay it’s okay to eat but

not at your instruction devil

he said jump go up to the pinnacle of

the temple and jump off

because then they’ll see you do your

superman thing they’ll see you float


and and come down the earth and then

everybody will know your messiah

and you can skip the cross he was trying

to get jesus to skip the cross in order

to get the crown but god

the father had already told god the son

you’re going to get the crown after the


so he tried to reverse the plan of god

in his life

in order that he might not be


and then in the third temptation satan

came right down to it he said well let


let me tell you let me take you up to

this mountain

and uh offer you the kingdoms of this


and not only the kingdoms but their


jesus said be gone satan for you shall

worship the lord thy god and serve him


satan tried to get jesus

to be divided from the will of the


he’s after us trying to be divided from

the will of the father

and we must overcome him

as jesus had to overcome him


and it’s hard because jesus was hungry

and jesus was tired

and emotionally he didn’t want to deal

with the cross he prayed

let this cup pass from me so he had to


like we have to struggle

but jesus said he overcame him

the lukewarm christian is the one who

won’t make a decision

he says be hot or cold but don’t be


don’t just be churchified don’t just be


don’t don’t just act the part don’t just

play christianity

just make a decision be all in

be hot be cold that doesn’t mean we’re

perfect but it means we repent when god

reveals our imperfection

so that we can get back on the road

and when you do when jesus shows up he

enables us to become

overcomers of the things we have to


because he’s dining at the table with us

when the devil shows up

and when you do he says you will sit

with me

i see you’re an overcomer i get to

interview you to be a close associate

you close you’re not just in the

vicinity you close

so i challenge each one of us including


but us collectively as a church to be

all in

all in and putting the spiritual ahead

of the physical

so that we are not a wretched church a

poor church

a blind church and a naked church but a

church who eats with jesus christ


did you hear that women

listen listen shh

oh yeah that’s jesus knocking

i love the cute saying about being


be who you is because if you is who you


then you really ain’t who you is now i

know that’s not the best english

but what it is is a call for being


that is not wearing a mask

not being hypocritical in

what you say versus what you do

but being for real putting a real face


or as the young people say not being


where your authenticity is missing

in our imperfection god still expects

authenticity that’s why he allows for


repentance is recognizing where you’ve

not been right

getting right so you can begin to

function right

what we need are for real christians god

is not looking for

church goers because that can be fake

christians and certainly fake disciples

he’s not just looking for folk who carry

their bible but actually read it and do

what it says

he’s not asking for people just to

listen to music and sing it

but to express it in their lives he’s

looking for authentic

followers who demonstrate that this

christianity is for real

that they are that they’re not just a


when it’s convenient they’re not just

speaking properly when it helps them

politically or economically

or to be people pleasers now he’s

looking for folks

who want to be for real and how they

react and act

every day ask god to help you today lord

i want to be for real

and that means that your your commitment

to christ must trump every other


a commitment to your race a commitment

to your gender

a commitment to your class a commitment

to your

economic resources he must be able to

override all of that

because if he can’t you’re not an

authentic christian

you’re a fake christian because you have


more important than your relationship to


that governs your decision-making