Throughout the seven letters to the churches, the loving concern is meted out in the hope that the individual, the church or the church era will follow the counsel supplied for the issue at hand. This last letter to the church in Laodicea is no different. If anything, this letter should scream to Christians today to take action.
Unfortunately, this church and its issues are said to be what many end-time scholars believe all Christians are moving into or are currently experiencing. "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 you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so 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 that person, and they with me.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22)
Believers are especially known to be on God's heart and mind, before His sight and always hearing their thoughts and words. However, did you know Christians also reside within the mouth of God? According to Christ in Matthew 5:13 they are to be flavorful or salty like that of food. Then in this letter, Jesus adds the food/deeds need to be the right temperature. Jesus declares, as He does in four other letters, "I know your deeds...". For this church, what follows is not good. The observations demand change or harsh consequences occur. Jesus says, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!"
This letter speaks to the individual, the congregation and church era whose temp is lukewarm. This entreatment is a dire warning - "I am about to spit you out of my mouth." - followed by the solution and rewards for obeying His counsel. God has done His part with Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection to secure the salvation of these believers. However, Christ has gone above and beyond by NOT YET spitting these people out of His mouth - "I am about to..."!
The independent, indecisive and defiant Laodicean spirit has led them to say, "'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.'" The god of wealth or means has puffed-up this church's pride and ego to the point they reject God's provision. Dependency on self and own wealth brings about complacency, middle-of-the-road behavior, straddle-the-fence mentality and/or lukewarmness in deeds.
Actions flow from where one's heart is. Whatever you appreciate, you will find a way to then honor, exemplify and serve others in that capacity. If you appreciate Christ's salvation, you will find ways to spread the good news to others. This whole process was totally missed by this church or at least forgotten because the second part of verse 17 reveals an additional condition - "But you do not realize ...".
In their self-provision they are unaware of their extreme condition. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
The original term for "wretched" in the Greek referred to a person miserable in life due to the constant trouble they are in, many of the instances revolving around money.
The second word, "pitiful", describes a person who shows no mercy or compassion because they were shown none. They wallow in their muck and do nothing to try to change their condition.
The word used for "poor" means financially distraught. Bankrupt and begging is a good description of this condition. Not a good status for any church or individual to be.
Saying the church was "blind" referred to their loss of sight on God's ways. In fact, tuphoo, the Greek word here means high minded or lifted up with pride. So, not only did this church lose sight of God, but they turned their eyes and efforts inward.
"Naked" meant the church was not wearing the righteousness or right-standing of Christ upon themselves daily. They were not holding themselves accountable to The One True God. Old Testament priests wore garments that reflected an inward dedication. Christian's dedication should be reflected in their deeds, behavior and words - an entire lifestyle.
What a wonderful Savior! He took the time to say, "I counsel you to....". If He had not rebuked or disciplined these believers, I would be worried because His character is long-suffering, compassionate and counseling - "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline."
Christ's special identity to this church is "These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation." Amen means let it be so. God's word is final. When Christ speaks, He is vocalizing Father God's thoughts; whatever "it" is will be accomplished.
The phrase "faithful and true witness" reflects God's omnipresence. The Spirit of Christ is everywhere, making Him not only a witness to everything but faithful in never leaving or forsaking believers and true in that He will never misrepresent Christians as our Advocate.
The phrase "the ruler of God's creation" not only implies dominion and authority but sovereign sustainer of that which He created, which is everything.
The solution to these consequences of being lukewarm is "buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see."
View your faith as gold and God as refining the gold, your faith, in His Holy fire. Within this process of perfecting our faith believers will be able to purchase what we need from the Lord.
There is no sin, no disobedience of God, tiny or grand, that goes unnoticed and is not covered by the righteousness of Christ. Everybody's right-standing with God can only be found through the wearing of Christ's righteousness that He provided through His death and resurrection.
Jesus provides more of The Answer when He says, "So be earnest and repent." If the believer follows through with this counsel, Christ states, "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." The immediate reward for this church is a supernatural dinner with the Lord. Restoration of intimate fellowship and relationship with Christ. The future reward for the "victorious", those who continue to live in and by the solution is the right to sit on Christ's throne.
Many believe this Laodicean Spirit has come and been upon the world for some time now. Believers in Jesus Christ have the answer. Christians need to get red hot passionate about Christ and His ways. Earnest prayer for every country, worldwide as the message of hope is shared by the power of the Holy Spirit locally is our mission. God is disgusted with defiance, arrogance and pretending to be a believer in Christ, BUT He hasn't "spewed" them out of His mouth YET! So, for those that need to apply this, please follow His solution and keep from being God vomit!
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