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A Walk Through Revelation - Part 10


Letter #7
To the Church in Laodicea  
Revelation 3:14-22
Laodicea-creative commons image

14 “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. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 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. 18 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.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 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.
21 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. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:7-13
 Jesus begins this letter by introducing himself as
 "...the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation."
I've never heard Jesus referred to as the Amen before so,  of course, I went running to the internet to find a good definition of the word amen to see the significance of Him using the term.  This is what I found...

The term “Amen” is common to both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and it has a variety of uses, depending upon the context in which it is found.

The Hebrew word, amen, means “surely, indeed, truly.” It derives from a root form, aman, which signifies “to be firm, steady, trustworthy, faithful” (again, the context can suggest which of these shades of meaning is most appropriate in a particular setting).  Dig a little deeper into the meaning of the word.
Jesus is saying that you can rely on him - on his testimony to be solid, trustworthy and faithful...Amen!

 Then comes the scary part! Notice that for the first time, the Lord has good to say about this church, nothing to commend them for...how sad!

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Jesus chastises them for their lukewarm apathy.

Apathy


lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
indifference, lack of interest, lack of enthusiasm, lack of concern,

This sickens Jesus so much that he says he's about to spit them out of his mouth. (Ever take a drink of water you expected to be ice cold or a sip of coffee you expected to be steamy hot?)

This is the passage that should make us sit right down and do a thorough examination of the state of our faith and relationship with Him!  Are you on fire for Jesus or have you let your relationship with him grow cold.  Worse yet, are you one of those people who travel the middle road, just coasting along?  Are you surprised that God says he would rather you be speeding down the highway or come to a dead stop, rather than just coast?

This reminds me of a great song by Steve Camp from back in the 80's. Take a minute and listen to this soul-challenging song and pay attention to the lyrics...

Living in Laodicea - Steve Camp



Well, what did you think? (leave a comment)

Let's go on...
17 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. 18 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.
Not only were they in pitiful spiritual shape - they were too dumb to know it. Ok, it's not nice to say dumb, but really - they thought they were rich (whether financially or spiritually, I don't know), that they had gained all the wealth there was to be had (again I'm not sure they are referring to material wealth or spiritual knowledge) and that they did not need another thing. No reason to look to God, to depend on Him for anything.  They were so blinded by self-satisfaction and complacency that they didn't didn't realize they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Jesus calls them to repentance. To come to him to have the fires rekindled, to become spiritually rich and washed clean, to have their sins covered and healing salve put on their eyes so that they could clearly see the truth about their spiritual state of being.

His next words are very reassuring - there is hope...
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 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.
Don't be distressed when you find that you are being rebuked and disciplined by the Lord. If he didn't love you, he wouldn't discipline you. He encourages the folks in Laodicea to sincerely repent - in earnest, not half-heartedly.

He promises that he is at the door, waiting to be invited in. He will not barge into your life, but if you will open the door, he will come in, and just look at this promise...
21 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. 
 What an encouragement to stir up our faith fires, to remain red-hot in our pursuit of a deeper, ever-growing relationship with God, to be busy doing His will and fulfilling His purposes for our lives...to be V-I-C-T-O-R-I-O-U-S to the very end!
22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
So, how's your spiritual life?
Are you satisfied with the status quo or are you pushing forward in your journey?
Have you been "living in Laodicea?"

Introduction to Laodicea
(video starts at the 12 second mark)
 

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2 comments:

Kathleen said...

Thank you for this excellent post!

jesusandthebible said...

The contrast between the proud wealth of this church and its sad appearance (before Christ) is "seen" later in the contrast between the proud rich "harlot" (great city), dressed in literal gold, silver, and fine linen (Rev. 17:4-5; 18:7,12) versus the bride of the lamb, dressed in fine linen, "for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints" (19:7-8). Thus proud rich churches must repent, and "come out of her" (18:4), no longer being part of the great city's greed and pride; only by turning to the lamb--and turning away from the pursuit of wealth--will they do righteous deeds like giving up wealth to help the needy, and thus no longer be naked (in Christ's sight), but dressed in the fine linen that is the righteous deeds of the saints.