What is the key message Christ has for you in this letter?
[Darris McNeely] Laodicea – a name from the book of Revelation chapter 3, that is quite interesting in the reaction that it gets from any of us who study the Bible, and particularly Christ’s messages to the churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. The last one, the church at Laodicea – Jesus has a startling, direct, uncompromising statement to, when He says that, “I know your works, you’re neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. You are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, and I will vomit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16 Revelation 3:15-16  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot.
 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.
American King James Version×) To this church Jesus offers only one way out, and it is through repentance. He describes a spiritual condition of a city, of a church, and frankly, of our own day today, in which we exist as the church of God, living at the end of the age in a unique period of human experience, that in many ways is described by this church description to Laodicea, also describing the condition of our own culture, just as it did that of the first century.
He says, “Because you say ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17 Revelation 3:17Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
American King James Version×). Rich and wealthy. And he says, you think you don’t need anything. Is that not a description of our world today – our fabulously rich age in which we live, where there’s such a disparity of the generation of wealth and the distribution of it, that even those who are poor in the United States live at a very high standard of living compared to many of the other world’s poor? And yet, we live in an age where we’re tempted to say, “We have all that we need – do we really need God?”. And God, we see, has been pushed out of the public debate discourse in many parts of our own public life. How has that affected you? How did it impact a Christian in the first century when Jesus said this to them? Well, think about yourself, because this is a message not just to a church in the first century, but it is a message to the church today in the 21st century.
Here’s what Jesus goes on to say in verse 18 of chapter 3: “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with an eye salve, that you may see” (Revelation 3:18 Revelation 3:18I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
American King James Version×). So He tells them to buy gold, garments – white garments, which are the symbol of righteous conduct according to the Bible, and eye salve that will remove the blindness.
The problem with those at Laodicea, and the problem so much about us today – that if we’re not careful, we’ll fall prey to – is that we don’t see our spiritual condition the same way that Jesus sees it. And after all, that’s the most important. So the description to Laodicea should not frighten us. It should not scare us away from taking a good, hard look at our lives, looking at the message and saying, “If the shoe fits – if the shoe of Laodicea fits us, then let’s own it and let’s understand it and let’s do what Jesus says, because He offers the one way out of such a condition”. Where we might think that we are rich and wealthy and in need of nothing, and yet indeed we need to buy the gold from Christ that is the tempered experience of righteousness and character that is forged through the experiences of life lived with the calling that God gives us; garments of righteousness; and the eye salve of God’s Spirit opening our minds and our hearts to really understand when we might be filled with pride, when we might be self-deceptive, in even a small way, and not really seeing ourselves as Christ sees us. And in doing so, we come to the point where He does say to us, “To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I overcame” (Revelation 3:21 Revelation 3:21To him that overcomes 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.
American King James Version×). He says to repent. That’s the way out of Laodicea. And in doing so, we can then enter into a much closer relationship with God and with Jesus Christ that moves us far away from such a description as that of Laodicea.
Don’t be put off by what you may have thought this message actually is saying. Understand it as indeed the words tell us, and if it fits, if Christ leads you to understand it, in some way applying to your life, take it to Him, repent and change and overcome, and walk in a closer relationship with Him, and take that promise that He has given.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.