14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. – Revelation 3:14-22
Jesus introduces Himself to the Laodiceans as the Amen, the faithful and true witness, and the beginning of the creation of God. What do these mean?
The Amen. Amen means, “truly,” or “let it be so,” according to my understanding. This reminds me of God as the I Am. Jesus is one with the Father, the Great I Am. That’s how I take it. It is by Him that we know of God because Jesus is the “express image of His person,” therefore, Jesus is THE true witness of God. He is our “Emmanuel,” and “God with us.” Jesus is also the Creator. In John we read that Jesus is the word of God that moved upon the creation and brought all things into being.
Jesus is not someone to be “lukewarm” about.
He says, “because thou art lukewarm, and are neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” This makes me think of our spiritual “offerings” to God. Though we do not make offerings as they did under the Old Covenant, there are offerings to make.
Paul the Apostle said, “offer yourself a living sacrifice, which is your reasonable service.” We can also give a “sacrifice of praise” as we openly honor His Name and all He stands for without shame.
If we aren’t really into living for Jesus or if we are ashamed of Him, then our offerings are going to be unpalatable to the Lord.
Why doesn’t this church care much for living for Jesus?
It appears they are too concerned with being enriched in this world.
I see this in two ways.
We can look at this in terms of worldly prosperity. Jesus teaches that the “cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches” will choke the word of God from people. If we are content with this life to the exclusion of Jesus and His Kingdom, then we are going to be lukewarm towards Him.
I also look at this as a church who thinks they have all that they need from Jesus, so they do not really seek Him. They have all the knowledge and understanding they need. They have their Christian motions to go through. They have no need for repentance, growth, and continual striving in the things of God and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. They consider themselves “enriched” in the Lord but are in-fact impoverished.
Contrast this with the Church of Smyrna—a church that considers themselves to be in poverty, but Jesus considers them to be rich.
If we are overly content with the riches of this world or if we consider ourselves “rich in spirit” and no longer in need of new revelations and on-going growth in Jesus, then we are at risk of becoming lukewarm towards Him. This makes us “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”
You might say, aren’t we clothed with the righteousness of Christ? Don’t we know the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ? How is it that a believer can be reckoned as “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked?”
Jesus says, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich.” The scriptures say that our faith is tried as by fire. Our God is as a “consuming fire.” Our faith is made “golden” when it is tried by the fire of God and by the fiery trials of this life. This faith is more precious than any worldly prosperity and this faith is not attained by a Christian who thinks they have their salvation all wrapped up without enduring trials for the Namesake of Jesus.
Jesus says that they need “white raiment that thou mayest be clothed and the shame of thy nakedness doth not appear.” We might claim salvation by His sacrifice, but where is our sacrifice? Where is our “reasonable service?” If there are no works done in His name, then our faith is dead, as James says. If our faith is dead, we are not clothed with His righteousness. We stand before God naked and wretched.
Jesus says, “anoint thy eyes with eye salve that thou mayest see.” There is more to salvation than accepting grace through faith then laying that up someplace and going about your daily life. There is more to the truth of Jesus than the cross also. There is the resurrection, and that entails much—both in this present world as the Lord renews our minds by His Spirit and at His coming when we are raised or transfigured.
Jesus, who is the Amen and the Faithful and True Witness said this: “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Jesus has a lot to say, and it is by Him that we can have “eyes to see and ears to hear.” If we do not receive Him, then we are blind. We are poor. We are miserable. We are naked.
Jesus says, “as many as I love I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore and repent.” If we are sons of God, we will be chastised. He will not lose a single soul that belongs to Him. If He must, He will cause our faith to be tried by fire. He will cause us to offer acceptable sacrifices and due respect for His blood. He will cause us to see and to hear. This means pain for us if we have gone astray from His will.
It is far better for a the Laodiceans to be “zealous” and to “repent.”
They need to remember Who the serve. He is deserving of all devotion, not a lukewarm attitude. He is deserving of their whole heart and their whole life. He is deserving of their attention so that they can know Him of a truth, learn of His ways, and grow in the true riches of His Kingdom.
Jesus says, “behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me.” This is incredible. If we hear Jesus, and those who are of the truth should hear His voice, then He will come to us. He will show us our errors so that we can repent, He will teach us a better way, and He will give us of Himself.
Jesus said that we must “eat His body and drink His blood.” This means more than free salvation. This means taking Him into your very being. Living of Him. Knowing Him in your innermost parts and being renewed by Him.
Jesus promises that “he who overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am sat down with my Father in His thrown.”
There are things to overcome as Christians. We must hold our faith to the end, learn to live as faithful servants, and continue seeking more from Jesus because there is always more to gain.
This makes me think of Revelation 12. I believe there are multiple correct interpretations, but my favorite is that of a faithful Christian bringing forth a Christ-like nature.
If we overcome as Christ is formed in us, we will bring forth a new creature that is renewed in Christ Jesus. This is more than a judicial freedom from sin. This is a life dedicated fully to Jesus as we love not our own lives but instead take up our cross and follow Him. In so doing, we are “called up to God and to His throne.”
This takes reverence for the truth and a willingness to walk in the truth as one clothed with the light of the sun. This takes walking after the word of God and allowing Him to direct our steps so that we can overcome the things of this world as one who has the moon under their feet.
This requires pain as we suffer the trials of this life and learn to keep His commandments of the New Testament which we wear as our crown of glory as we learn to love God with all our being and to love our neighbor—which requires much sacrifice of self.
Jesus did not just die to judicially free us from sin so that we could live as we please on this earth without real dedication to Him. He died so that we could grow up into Him.
This is the calling we have been called to, and if we overcome, we are given authority in this age and in the age to come.
We can overcome the ways of the Laodiceans!
I know what it is like to live many years as a lukewarm Christian. I also know that the Lord chastens those He loves. He will light a fire in us that cannot be quenched, though we might dim and brighten at times. He will try us and refine us. He will work in us a great respect for Him as we experience His grace and mercy, learn of His incredible ways, and desire to live for Him. He will give us understanding so that we can see and hear what He is really about and what He expects from us.
We can repent of our stale faith and seek the Lord. He will do the rest. He made us and He can remake us again. Have faith in that!