Wednesday, November 2, 2016

2 November 2016
Revelation 3:14-22
Good morning, welcome. Today we visit Laodicea, the last of the seven churches. Laodicea was a wealthy city close to Colossae; Paul mentions Laodicea in his letter to the Colossians. Laodicea was a wealthy, independent city known for the manufacture of a very soft wool; it was also a major medical center noted for its eye salve. Leveled by an earthquake in 61 A.D., Laodicea refused Roman assistance and was able to rebuild with its own resources.

The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation (3:14)
These words echo Colossians 1:15-20. Jesus is the last Word (the words of the Word), faithfully and accurately representing God to humanity. Everything has its beginning and finds its meaning in Him.

I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. (3:15)
There may be a bit of a double meaning here. The Laodicea church is neither refreshing nor soothing. In ancient times, however, cold and hot often referred to for and against. This church had taken a middle ground approach, attempting to worship both God and emperor without committing fully to either.

For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. (17-19)
Consider the contrasts-wealthy vs. bankrupt; clothed in fine woolens vs. naked; healthy vs. blind. What a difference a point of view makes. Gold, white robes, eye salve giving true vision are not things which can be purchased-they are gifts freely given by our Lord.

I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. (19-21)
Once again, an earnest call to repent. Even though our Lord had nothing good to say here, He does not give up on His church. The invitation stands-open the door, let me in. Although often depicted as a call to individuals, this invitation is to the church. Jesus walks among all His churches; He seems to have been excluded from this one. He does not force His way in; rather He remains outside, waiting to be invited. The promise to eat together implies fellowship-day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute fellowship. The church-the worldwide church-is Jesus’ presence on earth and He desires to be present in and among her.

To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne (3:21)
Fellowship in the present has its reward in the future. This church may be wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked, yet here they are being promised a place on the throne of Christ. Our Lord sees what we are; He also sees what we can become. He is not comfortable in the role of idle spectator; rather, He longs to be an active participant in our lives, so that we may become an active participant in His.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. JRG

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