This is the final article in this seven part series on the seven churches of Revelation. I have already clarified how the Apostle John wrote the Apocalypse by means of signs, symbols and cryptic language in order not to be martyred by the Roman government. The number “seven” was and is considered to be the perfect number, which stands for completeness. As the true author of the Book of Revelation, Jesus was delivering messages of commendation, condemnation, encouragement, hope, warning and reward to the church of John’s day, the church throughout history, and today’s church.
Revelation 3:14-22 warns:
Verse 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;”
Verse 15, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.”
Verse 16, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”
Verse 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;”
Verse 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 eye salve, that thou mayest see.”
Verse 19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Verse 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.”
Verse 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.”
Verse 22, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
In verse 14, John is saying that Jesus is addressing the Pastor (angel) of Laodicea. Jesus is stating His position and authority in the statement, “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” Jesus reminds us that He is total truth and integrity. He also testifies that He was the source and origin of all creation. He is God!
In verse 15-16 Jesus reveals that He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Jesus not only knows what is inside their heart, He also sees their sins and the choices they make concerning how they use their time, energy and resources. A person can sometimes fool their friends, children, parents or spouse but one can never deceive God. Now Jesus passes on judgment, “I will spew you out of my mouth”. Before I go further dissecting these verses describing the Christians who fit the description of Laodicea, I want to give some background information concerning the city of Laodicea. The citizens took great pride because their city was one of the very wealthiest cities in the ancient world. Laodicea was a powerful banking and financial center. Laodicea was also famous as a center of clothing manufacturing and was well known for its great medical center.
Dr. Ronald Cottle, in his book The Risen Lord Speaks to His Church, writes, “In A.D. 61, she was devastated by an earthquake. But she was so rich and independent that her citizens banded together and refused help from the Roman government and rebuilt their city out of their own resources…Laodicea’s sheep were the most famous in the world. They were famous for their rich, glossy, black wool. The Laodicean factories made at least four kinds of outer garments which were exported all over the world. The Risen Lord made direct reference to this characteristic when he counseled the Laodiceans to buy ‘white raiment that ye be clothed (in the spirit) and that the shame of thy nakedness (in the spirit) do not appear.’ Laodicea thought very much about adornment for the body, but she completely forgot about the adornment of the soul. Finally, Laodicea was a great medical center. A large temple to the god of healing stood near Laodicea. It was the center of a medical school. It was famous throughout the ancient world for two things-ointment for the ears and ointment for the eyes. The Bible speaks of ‘eyesalve,’ and what it means, literally, ‘a little tablet for the eye.’ Once dissolved in water, they were used as a soothing, healing ointment for sore eyes. These little round tablets were exported all over the world. What the Risen Lord is saying here is this: ‘You are very conscious of your medical skill in the care of your physical eyes, but you do not realize that in the sight of God you are spiritually blind’” (pg 70-71).
Ladies and Gentlemen, does not the description of the city and people of Laodicea sound very similar to The United States of America. America is very self reliant. New York City is the center of our banking empire. After the 9/11 attack we boasted that “we will rebuild, we shall avenge” and we joined hands with false religions in prayers of blasphemy, as we allowed Muslim clerics to pray from the White House. Yes, both in society and the church many people see nothing wrong with praying to the gods of different religions. Also, many people, including Christians, are totally immersed with business, the stock market, health, medicine etc. Our business corporations, entrepreneurs and hospitals are the envy of the world. We have put our trust in ourselves and these idols instead of placing our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we give lip service, both as a nation and inside the church to God, but our first love has been replaced with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. (I John 2:16) No, there is nothing wrong with business, the stock market, medicine or hospitals etc., unless they become our first love wherein we place our trust. Only you, dear saint, can answer that question for yourself as you allow the Holy Spirit to search the hidden recesses and corners of your soul. The majority of the nation and church is caught up in humanism. Consequently, they are in deception, which is the result of pride and trust in oneself, even to the point of not realizing how blatantly naked they are, both spiritually and morally.
The Amplified New Testament in its introduction states, “‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved’ (Acts 16:31). What does the word ‘believe’ mean? It is extremely important, for multitudes are pinning their hope of heaven upon it yet, that word long since ceased to convey, if it ever did, the sense of the original. Webster’s long definition of ‘believe’ includes such synonymous expressions as, ‘to place credence….apart from personal knowledge; to expect or hope….to be more or less firmly persuaded of the truth of anything, to think or suppose.’ In this sense, most people believe in Christ - that He lived; that He was a perfect man who sincerely believed Himself to be the Son of God. But this is by no means the meaning of the Greek word which twenty-two New Testament versions out of twenty-four consulted render ‘believe.’ Yet they do so because there is no single better word in the English. The Greek word is ‘pisteuo’, and means, ‘To adhere to, cleave to; to trust, to have faith in; to rely on’-which summed up in, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved’, means an absolute personal reliance upon the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour” (Introduction, The Amplified New Testament, Fourteenth Edition, Zondervan Publishing).
Brother and sister, this means far more than some mental, cognitive recognition that Jesus Christ is God. This means that one becomes a bond servant to Jesus Christ. One’s will, decisions and actions are to become solely based on the Word. This means it is no longer your life, your wants and desires that constitute your decisions now, but the will, wants and desires for what Christ chooses for your life that matters most. Do you as a Christian actually consult the Holy Spirit through the Word of God on daily matters of life?
True Christians are in a real spiritual battle daily. We have not exchanged our old nature for a new nature, but by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior, our spirit as been made alive. Now we choose daily who we will serve, either self or God.
Dr. J. Gordon Henry, in his book Spiritual Warfare, writes, “Paul is saying when we go to war we better go with integrity and honesty and sincerity. John wrote in 3 John 4, ‘I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the truth.’ Such a walk is very demanding. One writer says: ‘Such a walk implies a stern, strict dealing with sin and self allowing no conscious hypocrisy and insincerity, no compromise with known sin, no excuse or vindication for wrong doing. No condoning sin such as temper, irritability, worry or depression on the ground of physical causes or domestic circumstances. It compels us to face things just as they are and call them by their right name. He who is truth encompasses our whole being making every part true beginning with the inward character and ending with the outward conduct.’ When you do battle with Satan there are no pretenders. There is no faking it. We have to be real from the inside out and from the outside in” (pg 41).
Dr. Henry continues, “One of the reasons we suffer so in the church today and why so many of us are losing the battle is because most of us are second-generation Christians who have grown up learning how to play the game of Christianity. We know all the right words. We know how to do everything as everybody expects us to do it. It is easy to play the game. We get so good at it. Then all of a sudden, we enter into a battle doing warfare with the enemy where reality is demanded and we understand that we are not real. We are exposed and vulnerable in the place of attack because there is no truthfulness in us. We are not to live our lives outwardly so people will think well of us. We are to live our lives from the inside out knowing that God is the ultimate Judge and He wants us to be real. The reality of the Christian life is the greatest asset the warrior has in the battle. Let’s ask ourselves the questions. Am I real? Am I genuine? Nothing less will suffice” (Ibid. pg 41).
Galatians 5:17 tells us, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” When we accept Jesus as Lord we enter into a holy war with the world, the flesh and the devil. Please read 1 John 2:15-17.
The devil attacks you and I individually through the spiritual realm, as he did Eve and Jesus etc., by twisting the word of God to cause one to doubt the authority of God’s word and disobey it. Our flesh, called the old nature, continues to manifest its will through inward desires consequently attacking our obedience to the Word of God. The world attacks us outwardly through the influences of television, sports, public education, music, etc., all an attempt to please oneself (humanism) instead of Jesus Christ.
We are to overcome Satan, our flesh and the world by transforming our minds with the Word of God and going to the Lord in prayer daily using the power of the Holy Ghost.
The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that the devil is “the god of this world who blinds minds” and Revelation 12:9 calls Satan the one that “deceiveth the whole world”. Dear saints, we are in a holy battle for our salvation, both on earth as well as our destiny in heaven, and the battle ground is in our minds. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:2, to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”. We need to protect our minds so we can do battle with the enemies of our soul which are Satan and men (atheists, agnostics, humanists etc.). In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we read, “cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
In Revelation 3:18-22, the risen Lord Jesus Christ continues to warn believers that He is watching and judging. As Jesus tells us in verse 16, He will reject the indifferent compromiser who has lost their first love and now loves this present world. Are you guilty of the sin of neutrality? Are you guilty of indifference? Nothing affects you any longer; nothing moves you to the point of action? If nothing really matters anymore to you and you have lost the ability to feel compassion for those suffering and anger against those inflicting torture, pain and murder on the innocent, then you are in danger of divine judgment. You are in danger of being rejected by God. God’s nature encompasses compassion, mercy, justice and judgment. He is a God of patience as well as action. We are supposed to be His ambassadors proclaiming His truths; His views and His warnings against all those who live their lives in iniquity. Germany would have never seen the holocaust if the Christians had not lost their first love, thus, becoming neutral and compromising for self preservation. As Christians, our lives are supposed to be crucified with Christ. Are you crucified with Christ, where it is no longer you that liveth but Christ that lives in you? Do you care about the murder of the innocent (abortion) to the point of speaking out against it or walking the picket lines with signs, or do you say nothing so that nobody argues with you, rejects or persecutes you for righteousness sake? No, you would rather continue to be the friend of murderers, infidels, homosexuals, the callous and self-centered gluttons than to be a friend of God, and consequently, the downtrodden - those with no voice.
Yes, the Lord challenges us and commands us throughout the word (logos) to talk with Him through reading the bible and praying, that we would get into the holy battle of righteousness verses selfishness. Yes, time spent in daily Bible study and praying is work. It is discipline and dedication. Why is it easier to watch the television than to spend time with God? Have you really lost your first love and you are in self-denial and deception, only fooling yourself as to your real condition?
Jesus is knocking, pleading and commanding to open the doors of your heart and let Him reign on the throne of your life. He will settle for nothing less than ruling over you. If you refuse to let Him lead and guide you, to let Him rule you, then He will reject you saying, “depart from me you wicked servant” (Luke 13:27, Matt 7:23).
“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.” (Rev. 3:21)
Do you care about the people being plundered, tortured, maimed and killed in Sierra Leone and Liberia? Do you care enough about the murder in America to help me preach the truth on radio and television against the sins of abortion and homosexuality?
Please, each person on our mailing list who does not help us with your financial support and prayers, please repent of your sins of apathy, indifference and neutrality. Repent of the sins of compromise and selfishness. Jesus said, “give and it shall be given unto you” (Luke 6:38). Help me go to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Please respond today with a generous love offering and may we all get into this holy war against the powers of anti-Christ, which is doing all it can to control the minds of people through televisions etc.
© 2003 World Ministries International