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 Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 26) (verses 14 -20)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 26) (verses 14 -20)   Sun Jan 04, 2015 6:03 pm

Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 26) (verses 14 -20)
LAODICEA

Today we come to the church in Laodicea in our study. There was nothing bad said of the previous church we studied. Nothing good is said of this one. We will see why this church age is the worst of them all. Prophetically, Laodicea represents the years AD 1900 to the Rapture. This is the last church age, which should serve as a warning that the time of the end is truly at hand. At the conclusion of discussing this church, I’ll share the other bible verses that prove that Jesus’ Second Coming is soon approaching. Discussing this church might take 2 or 3 posts. I would like to carefully dissect this church, which represents us, to see why Jesus so strongly condemns our worship efforts. The biggest tragedy, perhaps, is that we do not see our own folly. We see nothing wrong with our church services and worship practices. The typical Christian goes to church on Sunday, sings songs and hymnals to the Lord, dances and shouts along with the choir, pay their tithes and offerings, and listens to a well prepared sermon. They think they’ve paid their duty to the Lord, and go home and live the rest of the week with little regards to the Lord and His will. We pray that our wills be done. Practically nobody in this church era picks up their own cross to walk with Jesus. We pray that our lives do not consist of any cross. Jesus is left searching for disciples. Laodicea is the idolatrous, do-nothing, complacent church.

I will be talking a lot about the American church. Prior posts consisted of discussions of Rome, Asia Minor, and alluded to Germany and England. Recall that these 7 churches in Revelation track all Christian churches in church history. As the churches expanded out, so does the application of who Jesus is addressing. Of the previous church we discussed, the “open door” expansion brought Christianity to many new nations. So this last church, Laodicea, relates to all current Christian churches of the world. Since I know most about the churches of my own country, and not much about foreign Christian churches, my comments will be mostly directed towards the American Christian church. But since this is a prophesy from Jesus, and He is saying that these words apply to the Church Age of our time in human history, I really don’t have to know much about foreign churches: Jesus Himself applied one passage to all current churches. So if you, the reader, are from a country other than the United States of America, Jesus, not I, have applied these words to the Christian churches in your country as well.

Laodicea was a city located near modern Denizli. In John’s day, it was the wealthiest city in Phrygia. It was known for its banking establishments, medical school, and textile industry. One of its successful commercial trades was its famous eye salve, which is reference in verse 18. This is the upper class, high echelon, white-collared people. One flaw of this city was its water supply. Cold water was piped from Corinth, but by the time it reached Laodicea it was lukewarm and stale.

The climatic prophetic clauses that highlights our time include: “you are lukewarm”, and “You say; I am rich,” which are found in verses 16 and 17 respectively. Revelation 3:14 reads, “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.” We saw from chapter 1:5 that Jesus is the faithful witness. He is faithful because whatever he says is truth. Even if it is not evident at the moment, whatever he speaks comes into being in its time. He is the witness because He was and is with the Father in Heaven. “Witness” also has to do with the court of law. He is the faithful, righteous judge who sees all. Revelation 3:14 affirms Jesus’ Deity by stating He is the ruler of God’s creation. In Isaiah 48:11, God said, “How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” If God refuses to yield his glory to anyone else, Jesus is either God, or He lied in Isaiah 48:11.

Jesus says in verse 15, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” Just like Jesus’ salt parable, where unsalty salt is good for nothing except to be trampled on by the foot of men; so here, Jesus says that water that is neither cold nor hot is not very useful. If it were cold it would be useful to cool down; if hot, it would be useful for tea. This is the do-nothing church. He goes on to say in verse 16, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” This is a stale water church. Not even useful for drinking. The Greek word for “spit” here is the word for “vomit.” This verse literally reads, “I am about to vomit you out of my mouth.” In other words, Jesus is saying of this church, “You make me sick!!!” These are indeed strong words. Most churches today would not access themselves as “making Jesus sick.” We must look deep within to see and understand why the church today, and especially the American Church, makes Jesus sick.

To be lukewarm, water must be mixed with both hot and cold. The church today has mixed holiness with sin. To be lukewarm and stale, water must be settled, having sat there for a long time without moving. The church today is not convicted, but is rather self-satisfied. We are complacent. We do have a zeal for religion, not one based on truth. We have a conceited, self-centered, and individualistic doctrine. Our religion today is not that described in James 1:27, which reads, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We have a materialistic mindset that keeps our focus, yea, even our religion and doctrine on ourselves. Jesus diagnosis all of this well. He says in the next verse, “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.” Jesus says to the rich church that they are poor and wretched. He earlier said to the church in Smyrna, who was poor, that they were rich. Revelation 2:9, Jesus says to the church of Smyrna, “I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!” The great idol today is money, wealth, power, and affluence. This has showed up in our churches as the gospel of prosperity.

There are quite a few false doctrines being preached these days—I’ll briefly mention a few. Among them include the doctrine of holistic forgiveness. This doctrine excuses sin by reasoning that since belief in Jesus covers all of our sins then there is no longer a need to live holy. This doctrine has opened the door for there to be homosexual preachers, and churches who do not involve themselves with member accountability. They accept the sins of everyone without scruples. There is also the doctrine of hopeless sinfulness. This doctrine excuses all of our sins by simply reminding the accuser, “The bible says ‘All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.’ So you cannot accuse me or point out my sins because everyone, including you, have sinned.” Their favorite line is “You can’t judge me.” This false doctrine also disarms church leaders of admonishment rights. It allows the parishioners to pick and choose what they want to obey from the bible without worry of being called into account. The false doctrine of evolution, which is the world’s doctrine, has crept into the church. Many Christians do not believe Genesis to be literal because they have accepted the worlds’ doctrine and so-called science. This is a dangerous doctrine because if we can just write off the first 3 chapters of Genesis, how many other books and chapters can we just write off? But the most prevalent of all false doctrines is the gospel of prosperity. This has crept into all churches to some degree. So great of a problem is this doctrine, that I will go through the rest of these verses and then post a separate study just on the gospel of prosperity, stating what the bible really says about it.

There is another grave sin that America and many nations of the world are guilty of that makes the diagnosis of lukewarm applicable to us. That is the sin of abortion. Abortion is closely linked to the gospel of prosperity. Abortion has been labeled as a solution to dispelling inconveniences that hinders our prosperity endeavors. We abort to gain income. We abort so that we will not have to sacrifice from whatever savings or lack of that we have. We sacrifice our children to the god of Molech. Against this sin the church is extremely lukewarm. We have accepted the world’s definition of abortion and have been either too complacent or scared speak out and change the establishment. We reason as they reason it. And they have gotten their reasoning from Satan. God is not silent on this issue. He is not smiling. He has warned us of the consequences of this sin. Since abortion is our (the churches’) greatest sin, as it is tied to the gospel of prosperity, I have to include two posts on this subject after my post on the gospel of prosperity before continuing our study in Revelation.

Continuing, Jesus says in verse 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.” Jesus says this church is blind and cannot see. They do not even see their own wretchedness. Jesus wants us to buy from Him gold. Buying gold might sound paradoxical, but these riches, are refined in the fire. God wants us to be refined so that we can then position ourselves to receive true blessings from him. How do we buy from God? Isaiah 55:1-2 reads, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? [our attempts at prosperity worldly gains] Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest fare.” God says that purchasing from him is free. He wants us to live by the grace that He supplies. But he wants us to seek only Him! He wants our hearts and minds only on Him!

Jesus says in verse 19, “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” There is nothing good said of this Laodicean church, but at least we read here, that Jesus still loves us. He commands us to heed his rebuke and discipline. He commands us to repent. If He didn’t love us, he wouldn’t discipline us. Because he loves us, He sends judgment and corrects.

Jesus says in verse 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 him, and he with me.” Look how bad this church is. Jesus already said that we make him sick and he vomits us out of his mouth. He already said that we are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. But here we see that He is not even with us on the inside of our church services. We have left Jesus outside the door while we are inside having church!!! Jesus is not a participant in our church services. While we are inside the sanctuary, dancing to the choir songs, observing the lovely praise dancers, shouting to the demagogic and eloquent preacher’s sermon, Jesus is on the outside of our services, knocking, crying out for somebody to let him in. We have forgotten to let the guest of honor in our church services. Our church today is outside the will of God. We do not have Jesus on our agenda. We have awesome feel-good services. We put some change into the benevolence basket. We give God some of our tithe. But we are not pleasing the Lord. The problem is that we have not picked up our crosses. To pick up a cross is a call to sacrifice. We prefer to be convenient all of the time. We do not like to be uncomfortable. To be a disciple of Jesus means that we must be taken out of our comfort zone and defend those who cannot defend themselves. Who more needs our help than the baby in the womb who is about to be murdered by his or her own mother? To be a disciple of Jesus means that we must not have idols. Preachers today preach that our blessing is proportionate to the size of our paychecks. It means that we must not reason as the world does.

Finally, while Jesus is knocking on the door of the entire Laodicean church, here, he is also giving a plea to any individual who is willing to personally answer him and let Him in to his or her heart. He says, “If anyone hears my voice, I will come in and eat with him, and he will be with me.” This is a reference to the Kingdom Supper of the Lamb, which is a reward for true disciples, not merely Christians. Our contemporary church holistically might not answer His call and knock, but I pray that you, the reader do.
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Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 26) (verses 14 -20)
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