14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
We are now in the last of the seven churches “Revelation”. The church of Laodecia. Laodicea was the wealthiest of the seven Churches. It was known for its banking industry, manufacture of black wool, and a medical school. As we have read, Christ…again like the church of Sardis, did not find anything to commend this church. NOTHING!!!
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God”.
Christ was giving witness to the Church that He did have the authority to judge their works. Jesus spoke this world into existence and rules His creation. Being a faithful and true witness from the very beginning of His creation until now, gives Him the authority to rebuke and discipline the people that He loves.
He says of Himself that He is 1) the Amen, 2) the Faithful and True witness and 3) the ruler of God’s creation. In every letter so far, the introduction used is a key to the interpretation of the rest of the letter, so remember these things carefully. So…basically, God has placed judgement on this church, faithfully, by His witness of their being and works. And it is final.
Let us now see the downfall, the condemnation of this church…
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
Christ saw a church that had become like so many churches today. He saw a church that was not productive. Sure, they attended services each week, but they did not grow. They were content to just sit back and watch the world turn as they enjoyed their luxuries/wealth.
It is clear from this passage that the wealth of the city greatly affected the church. It seems strange to most people that riches and sorrow go together. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Most of the time, riches produce rotten living. There are a few rich people who serve God, and there are a few rich churches that are spiritual, but the general rule is that riches brings sorrow. Jesus said, “It is hard for the rich man to enter the kingdom of God!”(Matt 9:23) That does not mean that God cannot or will not save a rich man? He can, and He will. But the sad fact is that riches and spirituality do not seem to walk together. You will either serve God or serve your money/wealth.
These Christians thought by being wealthy, that they needed nothing, not even God. And to think that they called themselves a church who believed in God. The Laodiceans are neither cold nor hot, but have about them a kind of nauseating quality, which will make the Risen Christ vomit them out of His mouth.
Notice the use of the terms “cold” and “hot”—not “dead” and “alive.” The LAODICEANS were in the most dangerous state possible. They were not referred to as being spiritually dead, nor as being spiritually alive. They were still lost, of course, for had they been born again they would not have been spewed out of the mouth of Him who is the head of the Church. Had the church been totally cold, there would have been a possibility of reviving the coldness, and the church might have become warm again. Had it been hot, the Lord would have blessed.
The church at Laodicea was a group of undecided… neutral members who would not take a stand one way or the other toward Christ or the truth, and this is the most hateful, disgusting spirit possible to display against God, God’s Word, and God’s Church. Such a condition must be dealt with immediately. The last condition of the church is the worst by far. They never really wanted God, their god was their wealth. It is either, your for God, belongs to God or your still of the world. God does not like a half-hearted relationship with Him. You cannot hold on to God in one hand and satan on the other.
18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent.
Laodecia prided itself on its financial wealth. It was rich and had acquired wealth and had need of nothing—so it thought. The Risen Christ advices Laodicea to buy their gold from Him; then they would have real spiritual treasures. They had fool’s gold in their bank accounts, gold from this world with no spiritual or eternal value. Only with Christ’s gold would they be rich. It may be that GOLD TRIED IN THE FIRE stands for faith since Peter compares it to faith in…
1 Peter 1:7
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
This is the kind of gold that God gives and wants. True gold that is tested and true. Wealth can do much but there are things that it can never do. It cannot buy happiness nor give a man health either of body or of mind, it cannot bring comfort in sorrow nor fellowship in loneliness. If all that a man has to meet life with is wealth, he is Poor indeed. But if a man has a faith tried and refined, there is nothing which he/she cannot face, and he/she is rich indeed. (rich in Christ)
“and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed”. A statement made by Lord to which only He can provide a “white garment”, that is fitting to wear, and acceptable to Him. Being made clean, washed by His blood alone is acceptable. As rich as this church was, they cannot by their salvation. They did not believe, nor received the truth that only Christ can clothed them for salvation.
“anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see”. It means for them to see things spiritually. Things from God, the truth of God and His words. “Let Me (Jesus) anoint your eyes, so that you can see. But…sadly, they remained blind from the truth. Gods truth…to them, was just made up of what they wat the truth to be. NOT GODS TRUTH!!! Simply because, they were still blind!
Unless our eyes are opened by the Lord, we cannot discern spiritual matters.
1 Corinthians 2:14
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
They were spiritually dead still. They were a church, but dead still. No new creation in their walk.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent”. Here is a verse which echoes a truth found elsewhere in the New Testament. God disciplines those He loves. His rebuke and discipline came because of His love for the church. Christ will “spit out” those who disobey (v. 16), but He will discipline those He loves. God’s purpose in discipline is not to punish but to bring people back to Him. God may discipline you and I, to help us out of our uncaring attitude, and He uses only loving discipline. We can avoid God’s discipline by drawing near to Him again through confession, service, worship, and studying His Word. Just as the spirit of love can be rekindled in marriage…so that through discipline, the Holy Spirit can reignite our zeal for God.
The word “ZEALOUS” means “to be hot.” This is His last message to the church. He says, “BE ZEALOUS.” Be hot. Get on fire for God. He is ordering this church to forsake its lukewarm state, and he says, “REPENT.” This church needs repentance more than all the others. And the message of repentance is for the church today.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
This verse is well-known and is often used in conjunction with a picture of Jesus standing at a door, knocking, and asking to be let in. There is no picture of intimacy more striking than that of setting at a common table and breaking bread together. This is the picture of the relationship of the Christian to God as the Christian comes to Him in Jesus Christ. There is nearness, there is sympathy, there is understanding; there is fellowship.
Remember the story of this church. Their a Christian church, WITHOUT CHRIST! Christ is saying to this church, that He is the One missing in this church…in their lives. Christ is knocking at their door as a way of revelation…reveling to them His truths. But sadly, to this church, their wealth is their god. Not…JESUS CHRIST. And they ignored His voice.
Christ enters the sinner’s heart and makes him/her new. “I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me”. That is a perfect picture of a true relationship with Him. “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne”. These are the ones who had refined gold, “tested in the fire”. One who is clothed in “white garments”, One who has received Christ as Lord and Savior. Saved for all eternity!
This is the ultimate reward for the believer. Eternal life with our God. Sins forgiven, no more tears, no more pain, no more temptation. The beginning of the true life. Like I had mentioned last week, we are only here temporarily. This is not our home, so don’t hold on to it. Our homes… enjoy it for now, for it is Gods provision from His promise. But, a mansion awaits the ones who overcomes. The Laodecian church held on to what’s in front of them, what they had, but they did not see the picture of eternity. Let us learn from their mistake. Their mistake caused them their lives for all eternity.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Seven churches, 5 condemned, two commended. And each and every church…ours included, receives this warning. How shall we respond, as a church and as an individual. Should we listen to Gods warning? YES… WE SHOULD!!!
Pastor Richard Santos
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