BIBLE STUDY: PART 9
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:1-6).
V. 1- The church at Sardis is 50 miles east of Smyrna. It was once the capitol of the Lydian empire and was built on a cliff 1500 feet above the Valley of Hermus. It was here that the first gold coin was issued. Sardis was a gold and silver mining community. Sardis was once destroyed by a large earthquake, and Rome rebuilt it. All that remains of Sardis today is the ruins of the acropolis, the temple of Artemis, a gymnasium, and the Tumuli, which is the burial place of the kings of that area. Sardis also had hot springs that the Sardinians believe would keep them young. They were very focused on staying young.
This church was famed for being alive. It must have had a large congregation to become so well known. This church had great leadership, an effective pastor who could teach the Bible, and money. It was thought then, as it is now, that the number in a church is the way to determine if the church was alive or dead. Again I refer to Robert Schuller. His church is always full to capacity, yet he has the reputation for distorting the Word. Neither did Sardis have the Spirit of God. All its popularity and fame was based on their phony ways. They were so effective in what they did do that they had everyone convinced this was a church with life!
But Jesus saw it differently. Remember that we said the seven things the Spirit of God teaches are: Rest: Wisdom: Understanding: Counsel: Might: Knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. So, three of the Spirit’s attributes are wisdom, understanding and knowledge. He can read the hearts of men. All we humans can see is whatever people present themselves as. If they are well dressed and dripping with jewels, we assume them to be wealthy. If they are grungy, smelly, and wearing torn clothes, we assume they are poorer than dirt. So it follows that when we see someone speaking Christian-eeze, dressed conservatively, and praising the Lord with their tongues, that we believe they are true born-again, Spirit-filled Christians. That’s not true. And the spirit of God can see through all that garbage to the real deal inside. Jesus was not fooled by the appearance of purity. He knew the truth of this church’s lack of it.
V. 2- The “wake up” or the “be watchful” depending on your translation here means to “remain awake in order to remain alert.“ Be watchful, awake, vigilant. What things are they to be watching for and strengthening? What things are about to die? It was the last vestige of true faith in the place. There must have been some hangers-on who continued to believe and follow the gospel, but because of the teachings going on, and the wickedness in that church, their faith was about to die too. That would leave this church totally destitute of anything to do with God. Jesus warned them that the believers must hold on tight. I love the analogy I read about Sardis. It said, “Sardis was like a chocolate bar filled with little worms.”
V. 3- What is it these people have “received and heard?” They were given the gospel of Jesus which is the good news of salvation. What are they to repent from? They were to repent for being dead and not receiving the gospel into their hearts. These people went to church regularly, sat under the teachings of the Word of God, went home convinced they were doing God’s will, yet they were dead! Nothing they heard pierced to the heart where change is born. Their works were dead too. Jesus wants us to work outside the church to help the poor, the orphaned, the widows, and apparently this church was not doing any of that.
Remember what God did to Sodom? Abraham asked God if He found fifty righteous people in Sodom, would He leave it alone, and God said He would. Abraham reduced the number with each question he posed. The number went from fifty to forty-five, to thirty to twenty, to ten (Genesis 18:16-33). If there had been ten righteous ones in Sodom God would not have destroyed it. The people of Sardis knew this history, and this is why Jesus told them to watch and repent. He knew they would understand that warning. We are told to watch for the Lord in many Scriptures like Matthew 24:42 and 25:13; Mark13:35; Luke 21:36, and others.
V. 4- “A few names” is the people who remain faithful. In Acts 1:15, Peter stood up in front of the “number of names which was about 120.” Let’s get a good idea what the defiled garments are in Jude16-22. So Jesus is warning them to keep themselves from the defilement of their garments, which is their salvation, and to be a light in this otherwise dead church. These true believers were the only ones who kept God’s hand from destroying that church. Jesus would bless the true believers, and they would wear their robes or righteousness, the white robe, and walk with Jesus in eternity.
V. 5- The ones who overcome and wear the white garments are those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Look at I John 5:5. These are the few who remained in Sardis, and Jesus promised to confess them to His Father in heaven, and before the angels. In Luke 12:8 Jesus promised that all those who confess Him before men, He would confess them before angels.
V. 6- Open your spiritual ears and eyes, folks, and begin to repent of all the harmful ways you have been dealing in. If you don’t repent, and turn from your evil ways, Jesus will deny you before the Father and His angels in heaven.
Are the churches today so different from Sardis? No, not really. We still have the 90% observes and the 10% doers. We still have the fanatics who actually follow the Word of God, and work hard to live by it. I don’t mean David Karesh type fanatics, but true believers. These are the ones who pray for their leaders, their families, and for each other. They pray for Israel and their government and our government, and the lost in the community. Let’s be doers of the Word, and not just hearers.
STUDY: PART 10
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:7-13).
V. 7- Philadelphia, now known as Alasehir, Turkey, was a city on the Cogamus River 105 miles from Smyrna. It was built on a terrace 650 feet above the sea in 189 BC. It had such fertile soil that the grapes grown there made the best tasting wine anywhere. Even as the coastal communities began to decline, Philadelphia maintained its status and grew in importance. It was a wealthy town. It was, however, an area that suffered many earthquakes, and was destroyed by severe earthquakes twice that I could find. For many years after the total destruction of Philadelphia in 17AD, the area suffered violent aftershocks. The people moved to the surrounding areas outside the city because they felt safer in the open than in buildings.
The One who is Holy is Jesus. The word Holy means sacred, physically and morally blameless, and consecrated. Let’s read Acts 3:13-15. Jesus was holy and true. Since He is truth, His judgments are also true. So what He is declaring in Philadelphia is truth. Let’s read I John 5:18-20.
What is the “Key of David?” Let’s go to the Old Testament to find out. When Shebna, Hezekiah’s steward was in charge at the palace telling who may or may not enter in to see the king, his power went directly into pride, and he acted foolishly. Let’s read the result of his actions in Isaiah 22: 15-22. Eliakim was a type of Christ. All this that was said about him became true of Jesus. This key that opens the door into the presence of the King is now held by Jesus for eternity, thus the verse that says, “No one comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6). Only Jesus can open the door for us to enter into eternal fellowship with God. As a missionary church, Philadelphia knew that truth, and they lived by it.
V. 8- What is this door that is open? I believe this is the same door that is open for us when we die so that we can enter into the kingdom mansions. The reason I do believe this is in Mark 1:10, “And straightway coming up out of the water, he (Jesus) saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him,” and Revelation 4:1, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” In John 10:9 Jesus tells us, “I am the Door, if anyone enters through me they will be saved.” The door of heaven was open to this church congregation because of their faithfulness to God through Christ. They kept His Word, did not deny Him, and did not allow false teachers to preach from their pulpit. They had the power of the Holy Ghost to preach the Word, and to live by it themselves. The Door that was opened, no man will ever shut, not even the atheists of this “now” generation of “me-ism.”
V. 9- There were Jews in the congregation of Philadelphia who claimed to be saved, but were not. They were claiming to be part of God’s chosen nation, but were not. God will cause them to see the truth of Jesus and will make them come into the church and bow down at the feet of those who truly know the Lord. It won’t be for the glory of the people who worship the true God, but to the glory of God. The people who are of “the house of satan” will seek from them the wisdom to be saved. Even the staunchest Jews will know that what this church preaches is truth, and they will bow the knee in humility.
We can understand this concept as there are people in the church now who claim Jesus as Savior, yet have never made a profession of faith, nor repented from their lifestyles. They continue in sin and invite others to join them in their way. One day, they too will be required to bow before the King and give account of themselves, and it won’t be pretty.
There is also coming a day when Atheists and the scientists who claim that things are not from God will have to renounce their truths for the reality of Jesus as Christ. Let’s read Philippians 2:5-11. One lesson we can take away from this church study is, don’t give up. No matter what might come against you in your church family, Jesus is still Lord, and He will make the oppressor repent for his charge against you. Why will God’s enemies bow down before men? It will be to the glory of God. We will get the satisfaction of seeing God’s enemies, our enemies, brought to their knees by Him. Those who spent their lives mocking God will now acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior.
V. 10- This is a verse of reciprocity. Jesus is saying that because those people did something for Him, He will repay them. This is also the verse we use to prove the “rapture” of the church. Do I believe we will be raptured? Yes! I think that we will see much terrible suffering first. The birth pangs, so to speak. But I think we who stand strong in the Lord will be delivered out of the torment that those who persist in deny Him must face. I think we can liken Revelation to Exodus. As God used Moses to bring the plagues on Egypt, so will He use His angels to bring plagues to this earth. Both of these incidences were to bring deliverance and freedom to His people. Israel was taken out of Egypt, and we will be taken out of the world. Will there be a church in the tribulation? Sure. It will be the cults that don’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for redemption of sins. They will be led by pastors and priests who never had a relationship with Jesus, and who never took Him as their Lord. But be assure of this one thing: There will be a strong church of believers in the Christ during that time who will stand firm as Philadelphia and remain true to the Lord.
I love this quote I found in my studies. It’s by a Calvary Chapel pastor, and he said, “How terrifying it will be for those who today continue to "play church," for those who today trust in their church membership, or good deeds to save them. One day, they will discover that it was not enough. They will be left behind to endure the Great Tribulation.” Would you rather believe in God, Father, Son, and Spirit and be thought a fool, or deny them and be a fool?
V. 11- Jesus says He is coming quickly, but not as we understand quickly. Here the word “quickly” actually means suddenly. Jesus will come as a “thief in the night.” We have to be like the wise virgins who trimmed their lamps and brought extra oil for the trip. We need to be alert and of sound mind in the Bible. We need to keep ourselves in Philadelphia. If we watch and wait with eager anticipation, we will not be overcome when He returns.
This is not meaning the second coming of Jesus to earth. That won’t happen till the end of Revelation. This is His appearing in the cloud to call the dead in Christ and us home. Read I Corinthians 15: 50-52. Corruption, immorality, perversion, degeneracy, in a word, sin will not be allowed in Heaven.
What are we to hold fast to? We are to hold on tightly to the power we have in the Spirit of God for good works, keeping the Word as much as possible, and never denying Jesus as Lord and Savior.
V. 12- “He who overcomes...” Who does Jesus mean by that phrase? Let’s read in I John 5:4, 5 to find out. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” The “overcomer” is he who believes in the Son of God! Why are we to become pillars if we do this? It takes strength to overcome. Pillars symbolize strength. They can withstand even the horrible earthquakes that come against them. As we trust in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit we gain strength to withstand all assaults against us, and we become pillars in God’s mansion. That’s what Jesus was promising the Philadelphians.
Remember in a previous study we saw that God has given us a new name, and that name is probably written on a stone? Well, a pillar is a large stone, and this is where our name will be inscribed along with the name of God, the New Jerusalem, and Jesus the Christ. Apparently from reading this verse, we can expect that Jesus will get a new name too. It’s not a stone we can carry around to show others. Rather it is a permanent stone of faith that God is building in us as we live out His Word daily.
V. 13- Again I encourage you to develop your spiritual ears and eyes so that you can see and hear the truth. Don’t let false teachers, false prophets, and false christs stir you wrongly. Stay strong in the faith; be faithful in your worship, prayer and service. Never doubt or deny Christ as Savior, and watch carefully, for the day and time is coming when Jesus will return for His elect. Then will all hell break lose on the world; literally.
STUDY: PART 11
“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; 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. 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: 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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:14-22).
V. 14- Laodicea was a rich church in the Roman province (now Turkey) 11 miles from Colosse. It was founded by Antiochus II of Syria and named for his wife, Laodice. It was located approximately 40 miles southeast of Philadelphia.
Laodicea was destroyed by an earthquake, but 35 years later, at the time John wrote Revelation, it had been reconstructed by the wealthy business people of the church. The main industry in Laodicea was wool.
What does the word “amen” mean? When said by God, amen means, “It is and shall be so.” When spoken by men, it means, “So let it be,” or “it is so.” In this case, the word Amen is Jesus. He is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (john 14:6). Jesus is the Faithful and True Witness because He was there at creation. He is the Faithful and True witness of all that has happened. He saw the beginning, and now is involved in the ending. Jesus is God (Faithful), and cannot lie (True). Jesus is sovereign over God’s creation. He is the Perfect, and if He says something, it’s an “amen.”
Let’s read Numbers 23:19.
Numbers 23:19 is quoted by Paul in Titus 1:1-3. “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour…”
Look at what John called Jesus in Revelation 1:5:
Faithful witness, firstborn from the dead and Ruler over kings of the earth.
And now look at what Jesus called Himself in Revelations 3:7?
He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and He who shuts, and no one opens.
I think it is pretty clear that our God and His Son cannot lie. I believe Jesus called Himself Faithful and True because He was making the point of how very corrupt Laodicea’s church had become. It was a way to highlight there offense to God and give them time to repent and make corrections so that the church and the individuals could still be saved. Jesus is the Supreme Ruler - and He rules with fairness and justice. God gave Jesus the right to judge, and when He returns, fulfills the last covenant, and lets loose the judgments, we will know the truth of all He is.
Jesus is “the Beginning of the Creation of God.” This does NOT mean Jesus was God’s first created being. It simply means that He was in on all creation activity.
Read John 1:1 and Colossians 1:15.
“The Firstborn over all creation” means Jesus was the Beginning of our earthly creation, then became our spiritual creation, and soon our eternal creation when we will receive our new glorified bodies, and our new names. Rejoice, rejoice O’ Christian!
V. 15, 16- Jesus makes it clear He has been watching the activities of the church at Laodicea. He knows their works, and He determines by these works that the Laodiceans are not hot or cold, so not refreshing or comforting to God.
In the Walvoord and Zuck commentary, we read about the rebuke of Laodicea. “In their feasts as well as their religious sacrifices people drank either what was hot or cold - never lukewarm. This rebuke would have been especially meaningful to this church, for water was piped to the city from Hierapolis, a few miles north. By the time the water reached Laodicea, it was lukewarm.” The Laodiceans would have considered the lukewarm drink unpalatable and would have spat it out.
To be lukewarm is to be uncommitted, fearful, indecisive not wanting to hurt anyone‘s feelings. Jesus requires His followers to be zealous and submitted to Him. The people in the cold churches let Jesus know up front that He’s not welcome there (like the Pharisees). A hot church calls Jesus and the Holy Spirit to enter in and take control. A lukewarm church is for ear tickling. A lukewarm church allows Jesus to come in for a visit, but expects no corrections, admonitions, or activities that may interfere with their “comfortable” way of doing things. If the Holy Spirit of God begins to confront or to convict the people of their sins, they close the door in His face quickly.
Welcoming and affirming churches of this day are this type of lukewarm ministry. Allowing people living in fornication, homosexuality, and all manner of sinfulness to come into the church, run programs, and even take leadership is so lukewarm! I can assure you that one of the phrases coined in the 20th century will get you into all sorts of trouble with God. That phrase is, “Politically Correct.”
Don’t get Revelation wrong. The people of the Laodicean church loved God and served His people. They just forgot the two greatest commandments as given by Jesus, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets“ (Matthew 22:36-40).
In order to please God, we must walk in love, be on fire, and be biblically correct. We must make the decisions for the church based on the truths God wrote for us to follow not on some new law penned by politicians seeking re-election. He didn’t say, “Here’s my commandments, follow the ones that don’t make you feel badly.” He said, through Moses, “And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us” (Deuteronomy 6:25).
In Revelation 1:10, John describes the voice of Jesus as a loud trumpet. Can you imagine Jesus shouting at you in such voice that you have become putrid to Him, and that He must throw you up out of His system? Seems to me that would rattle even the most seared and deadened hearts.
Having lived all my life in New England, I can testify about hot and cold. In the winter when temperatures dip to -10 or -20 with a wind chill of 30 - 40 below zero, a hot chocolate, hot bowl of soup, or hot tea is most welcome. Conversely, in the summer when the temperature rises to 90 or 100 degrees with 90 percent humidity, ice cold water is most refreshing. In neither of these cases would lukewarm satisfy the need.
Pray with me now. Thank You, Jesus Christ, for being our Savior. Thank You for being the just judge, not condemning, but wishing for none to perish. Thank You for being True. We ask that You will point out the truth of the church we are involved in. Is it hot, or cold? Or is it tepid and unsatisfying to You? I pray You give us each the wisdom to be in a ministry that is hot for the Lord and doing the works as set out in the Sword of the Word. Please make each individual here tonight on fire and walking the walk for You. In Your name, Amen, we ask, amen and amen.
STUDY: PART 12
“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: 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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:17-22).
V. 17- As we found out last week, being lukewarm is a personal offense to God. One of the main reasons the Laodiceans entered such a poor state spiritually was pride and arrogance in their wealth. They began to place their faith for salvation in their works and money. This church thought itself better and more spiritual than others because of all the works it did. But faith (in God) without works is dead.
In James 2:17-26 we read about the faith of Abraham and a blip about Rahab. Both of them proved their faith by their works. God asked Abraham to give up his son for whom he and Sarah had waited a lifetime. How many of you, having a child you deposited all your future hopes into, would easily take him to the altar of sacrifice to give him up to God? Would you go kicking and screaming all the way? Would you try to bargain with God to save your son? Abraham knew, by faith, that God would not kill Isaac, and that, if He did kill him, God would raise him up again. You see, Abraham had a promise from God that through his and Sarah’s son, the nation would grow and have people too numerous to count. By faith Abraham moved on God’s command, never doubting.
God asked Rahab to risk her life by hiding the spies. She agreed, and because of her strength of faith, she and her household and all they had was saved when Joshua took Jericho.
So Laodicea was working for nothing. She was a shallow, sounding brass. She made a lot of noise with little substance.
The same God who had been faithful to this people when leading them out of Egypt was now ignored. The people felt they no longer needed God because they had great wealth, and could have all they wanted. Ironically - it’s God’s overflow blessings to the Israelites which they now trusted more than God. It’s true that people can be completely full, but is blessing only as they stand in Christ. Wealth, fame, good health will all fade away, but faith in Jesus to the end assures us of our position in Him for eternity. Laodicea put their faith in the wrong things. Sadly, we have churches like that now. They are rich in worldly gain, but wretched in their spirituality.
Let’s look at the definitions of the words Jesus called this church:
WRETCHED: very unfortunate in condition or circumstances; pitiable,
MISERABLE: of wretched character or quality; contemptible,
POOR: deficient in desirable ingredients or qualities,
BLIND: unwilling or unable to perceive or understand,
Now let’s paraphrase these descriptive words into a sentence Jesus might have spoken to them.
"You are unfortunate in your pitiable condition and circumstances. You are a miserable, wretched, and contemptible character deficient of any good qualities. Your unwillingness to see or understand has left you defenseless, unprotected."
What these people needed, and those today need, is a new supply of faith to build their spirit, and new grace for the days.
V. 18- Remember this: The people in Laodicea who read this letter were born-again Christians, not the unsaved. These were Jews who knew the Gospels and Jesus the Christ through the Apostles, and by the eyewitness accounts of Jesus from their families. Some in the church may even have seen Jesus for themselves. They knew He was real. But, as with Israel, they lost sight of God in their splendor. Now Jesus calls on them to “buy from Me gold refined in the fire.” That gold is the reflection of God’s glorious light, sound doctrine, righteousness, and good conduct in Jesus.
“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” (Isaiah 55:1).
Ho in Hebrew is a calling, or invitation. So it could translate to say, “Hey everyone, come here!” In this Isaiah verse, God is inviting the newly freed Israelites to forget their ties to Babylon and come to Him and drink of who He is. Here in Revelation, Jesus is inviting the Laodiceans to come and feast on Himself, the Bread of Life (John 6:48). In both cases the buying is done without actually exchanging moneys. This is something freely given by Jesus to all who seek after it in faith. We can know this absolutely because in both cases the call is to the spiritually poor. They had no means to buy these blessings. A great lesson within this study is, no matter how much wealth you accrue, you cannot buy the things of God. “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
Why should we buy this refined gold from Jesus? So that we can be rich in spirit and faith (sufficient), wear white garments (symbol of righteousness), and have our spiritual nakedness covered (be protected).
Let’s read Romans 13:11-14.
One of the products produced in Laodicea was an eye salve made at a medical school in Asclepius. It was used to heal the common eye troubles they experienced. The eye salve Jesus is telling the Laodiceans about is the Word of God that, when applied liberally, will enter their eyes and allow the Light to shine through and illuminate the Word to their spirits so they can [see] the truth of who God is. When this letter was written, all those people could see was their rebuilt, beautiful buildings, and all that they had as individuals from their wealth. Their eyes needed to be healed from this blindness.
V. 19- Jesus loved the Laodiceans too much to allow them to wallow in sin and disconnection from Him. That’s why He rebuked and chastised them. He also rebukes and chastises us today. What gives Jesus the right to rebuke us? He died for us. He paid the penalty for our wrongs. He redeemed us. He ransomed us (bought us back) with His blood.
Let’s read Job 5:17, 18, “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole,” and Hebrews 12:5,6, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
What’s the first step in salvation, or in returning to God? Repentance! To repent is to change our mind about what we’re doing, turn from that way, and walk uprightly. We need to seek cleansing in order to be able to walk in the righteousness of Christ. How do we approach God for this cleansing? Zealously, eagerly, with conviction, and as though we are starving for it.
In Joel 2:13, we are told what God requires. “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” Yes, that was written for the Jews. But believe me; it applies to us as well.
V. 20-22- We need to wait eagerly for the voice of Jesus. When He knocks on the door of our hearts, we need to run to open it (Luke 12:36). Jesus will come in and sup with us. That is, He will take spiritual communion with His faithful believers.
“To him who overcomes...” That is the lukewarm state of spirit they were in, and so many today are in. When we come out of our spiritual lethargy, Jesus gives us preference. We will then be sitting in the place as joint heirs with Jesus, which is the right hand of God. Sitting with Jesus in this place demonstrates the fact that we too have overcome sin and death. We are now eternally alive with Christ.
Let’s read Matthew 19:28, “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel,” and II Timothy 2:11-13, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”
The church today is more Laodicean than Philadelphian. I found this following nugget in an article at the Everlasting Life website. There was no attribution, so cannot credit the author. The author said, “A 'market driven' church is a Laodicean church, a 'do it yourself' church is a Laodicean church, 'unity at the expense of truth' is a Laodicean church, a 'compromising' church is a Laodicean church, a so called 'Purpose Driven' church is a Laodicean church. All of these are a picture of the church in America today. The third wave has been a tidal wave leaving scattered pockets of true believes who will not compromise and seeming to warn with few to hear. Can identify a great deal with Paul who wrote: "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." Phillipians 3:18-19”
I’ll add another. The church that kowtows to the young generation at the expense of the older generation is a Laodicean church. Numbers are all that count. They want to become ranked with mega churches rather than feed the flock.
Open your spiritual ears that were given to you at salvation. Refresh your spirit and mind to remember the things of God that came to you that day, and how your lives changed. We were made new creatures with new understanding, so let’s test the spirits, be they people, money, things, or antichrists. Let’s grab on and cling to that which is holy and true.
Let’s finish by reading Ephesians 4:17-24 (NKJV). “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
And let God have His perfect way in us, Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen and amen.