I was looking through our former Pastor’s excellent study on the Seven Churches of Revelation and have noted down a few things that spoke to me, mainly concerning the Lord’s view of Today’s Christian Church.
But beware, it makes uncomfortable reading in places!
Mind you, in case you want to go somewhere else, could I remind you what the Lord says just before and then after this section of Revelation:
Rev. 3:13 & 3:22 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches"
So if like me you have 2 ears, listen up good :-)
In Revelation 3, most conservative Bible commentators would agree that the first century church of Laodicea (in present day Turkey, whose ruins remain today) represents the present day church. A church in a lukewarm condition!
Rev. 3:15-16 "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth"
Now the church at Laodicea was an affluent church, no doubt expensively adorned throughout. It had probably meetings for every conceivable group within the church and yet in spite of its apparent outward beauty this church made the Lord sick!
Laodicea means, “people’s rights or judgement”. We live in an age when people’s rights are to the fore. To many people now, even in Christian churches, the word of God must fall in with our own notions in this Politically Correct or “Laodicean” age. I mean, take the recent fracas in the Episcopalian Church over the appointment of a sexually active homosexual priest. Never mind what the Bible says on the sin of homosexuality, if the church thinks that this should be acceptable in this day and age, then so be it ! I’m using this recent news item as an example, there are many more to chose from, some closer to home!
The Laodicean Church was not only a church of compromise but one of pride in itself. The cry of this church was, “We have need of nothing.”
This proud self-satisfaction is certainly symptomatic of many a church in the twenty first century.
2 Tim. 3:5 "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away"
Our self-righteousness is nauseating to God. It reminds me of the story Jesus told of the publican and the Pharisee who came to pray:
Luke 18:10-14 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and pray thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he who humbleth himself shall be exalted"
The Lord Jesus, with His omniscient eye says of the Laodicean church,
“I know thy works”
There is no commendation here. The Lord had nothing good to say about this church.
The church at Laodicea wasn’t expecting to be compared with lukewarm water. Look at the beginning of verse seventeen.
“Rev. 3:17 because thou sayes.”
We could picture the scene in this church, as perhaps they knew the Lord was going to write to them. The committee of this church had surely held a meeting and decided that everything looked well. They examined themselves, remember Laodicea means ‘people judging’ or ‘the rights of the people.’ They figured they were in for a blessed report from the Lord. Instead the Lord says, “You make me sick”.
Some churches make the Lord weep, some churches make the Lord angry but Laodicea made the Lord sick.
Could we apply this to some professing believers?
The problem with lukewarm, professing Christians, is that you don’t know whether they are hot ones who have cooled down, or cold sinners warmed up a little by a false profession.
One man visiting a church on one occasion was told, “You name it and we have it”.
He was asked, “What about Holy Ghost power?”
Rev. 3:17 "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"
Do you see the spiritual pride and self-sufficient arrogance?
Spiritually we are gifted and we show to the world spiritual graces. We have a full programme of events for all ages and to meet all needs, we have need of nothing.
That’s how they saw it. What a sad delusion.
Oh that we might realise that without Christ we are nothing, we can do nothing and all we have to offer is nothing.
Praise God He takes our nothingness and makes it something.
Rev. 3:18 "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"
Isaiah 55:1 "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price"
Above all they needed to get their eyes back on the Lord.
Rev. 3:20 "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"
This is a very good gospel text but the true context is Christ standing outside the believers heart seeking entrance, that he may occupy the throne of their hearts.
This phrase speaks of intimate communion and fellowship.
So many churches have shut the Lord out of their services. So many believers have closed their hearts door to the Lord saying, “so far and no further.” Lukewarm-ness is the order of the day.
In this Laodicean age, let us ‘get back to basics’. We need the Lord for EVERYTHING. Without Him, we are nothing and without His help we are merely working for the flesh.
And yet, with His help, He can use the likes of you and me to perform great deeds.
We could see our families and neighbourhood won for the Lord, in His will.
Need a New Year’s resolution? Re-read the last paragraph!
On behalf of Grove Baptist Church, I would like to wish you all a very happy and peaceful new year.
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!