Advertisements

Blog Archives

Christian Indoctrination Vs. Atheism

Advertisements

The Church of Laodicea Pt. 3

As this is the third part of this series of posts, I would encourage you to check out the first two posts for the full context of Jesus’ address to the church of Laodicea. This post will focus Revelation 3: 18-19, but I will quote the section that we have been walking through before diving headlong into verses 18 and 19:

14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 

15 ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so 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 eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered 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.’ -Rev. 3:14-22

In the previous posts we looked at what a lukewarm Christian is and the background of the Laodicean church. They were an apathetic church and a people who were self-sufficient, which caused them to turn their backs on God’s provision. In verse 18 Jesus, speaking through the pen of John, says these words:

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 

God tells these self-sustaining people that they need to purchase gold refined by fire from him, so they may be rich. He also says that they need to buy white garments to clothe themselves, to hide their nakedness. Then, he says that they need to buy salve, a soothing remedy, for their eyes, so they may see. If we are not careful, we may miss what Jesus is saying here. These things are not items we can buy with our temporal money. These are things that we can only “buy” with no money at all. This is a concept that is spoken of in Isaiah 55:1:

‘Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;

and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.’

This passage highlights that what we need cannot be bought by us. In fact, the eternal things could only be bought by God himself. Jesus paid that price, and through faith, we may have riches beyond our imagination. Through faith we can be clothed from our nakedness. Through faith our eyes will be healed. All these things are bought by us with no money, and only these things will satisfy our souls. Even though the Laodiceans were a strong group, they did not have the power to purchase what they needed without the work and power of Christ. Jesus then moves on to speak about something that rubs many people the wrong way. Verse 19 says this:

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Jesus makes it clear that God will reprove and discipline those he loves. Parents who raise their children with discipline often see their children grow up to be productive people. Kids who grow up with little to no discipline or inconsistent discipline often grow up to be disrespectful and/or unproductive adults. God loves us enough to correct us when we are misguided. God loves us so he disciplines us when we are not living in accordance to his word. This is not a judgment on us, it is discipline. There must be a distinction between the two. God would not be a loving God if he allows us to wallow in our sin or our misconceptions of him. Reproof and discipline aid us in becoming people who glorify God. Sin will be judged for those who have not sought refuge under the cross of Christ, but discipline is a sanctifying work of God to rid believers of sin. Without discipline there would be no love. Jesus then makes it clear we are to respond to God’s correction.

When Jesus corrects a regenerated person, that person will take the correction seriously. When a born again believer reads the Bible and is challenged by it, they take it in and ponder it. They do not fight against tough teachings and try to find a way around them. For those of us who are zealous for truth and for God, we are to repent of our ways and take God’s correction and discipline as the child of a loving father would.

I pray that we all recognize our need for the amazing grace of Christ and accept the correction God provides through his word.

Thanks for reading.

The Church of Laodicea Pt. 2

Finally, I am getting around to writing the second part of John’s letter to the church in Laodicea found in Revelation 3: 14-22. Here is what the Apostle had to write:

14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 

15 ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so 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 eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered 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.’

In part one, I addressed verses 15 and 16 and explained that being a luke warm Christian is not an option. In this part, I will focus on verse 17. So, let’s get into it.

Verse 17 starts by highlighting the mindset of the common Laodicean. John writes that the Laodiceans say they are rich, they have prospered, and they do not need anything. This mindset may have stemmed from their cities self-sufficiency. This is what the ESV Bible’s commentary had to say about this:

Damaged by an earthquake in a.d. 60, self-sufficient Laodicea, a commercial center and site of thriving medical and textile industries, declined imperial disaster relief. The city did not see itself as “poor, blind, and naked” (v. 17), nor did the complacent church within it. 

When the earthquake hit, the city declined help from the empire. They didn’t see themselves as needing aid. They were a tough people and they got back on their feet on their own. This is one example of why John writes that they saw themselves as not needing anything. With that background in mind, we move to the later half of verse 17 where John writes this:

…not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 

John strikes at the heart of the Laodicean’s problem with this statement. The church sees themselves as strong, but they fail to see their weakness. This is the root-cause for their lukewarmness. If you see yourself as self-sufficient and not needing anything then why do you need God? When you have a mindset like the Laodiceans, you make God just something that you can pick up or leave behind, instead of something that you need. When you don’t see the depth of your sin, you fail to see the depth of God’s love. When you fail to see that God provides for you, you fail to see that you are poor, blind, and naked. Just like the Laodiceans, this problem has plagued the western church.

We think that because we have technology, we have all the answers. We think because we have made amazing medical advances, we don’t need God’s sustaining power. So, the Laodicean problem still remains…we don’t realize that we are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

When we fail to recognize our sin, we fail to recognize our need for God’s grace.

Thanks for reading.

%d bloggers like this: