Rev 3:14-22 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; 15 I
know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or
hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I
will spue thee out of my mouth. 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: 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 eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As
many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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. 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. 22 He that hath
an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
The situation with the
church in Laodicea was that they had an erroneous view of their self and their
circumstances based on their perceived natural circumstances of wealth. It is
often said that wealth corrupts. While there is nothing in the text to suggest
that the members of the church in Laodicea had become morally corrupt, yet their
perception of their wealth had led to a corruption of their spiritual
"These things saith the
Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God."
The principle characteristics and qualities of the Lord by which he spoke to the
church in Laodicea are listed above. The first spoke to them based on the fact
that he is the Amen. The word, "Amen," means trustworthy and unquestionable.
We can completely trust in the Lord and what he says to us is unquestionably
true and best for us. Second, he addressed them as the faithful witness. The
word, "faithful," means reliable and steadfast. As a witness to us the Lord and
his word are certainly reliable and steadfast. In other words we don't have to
question it. Third, he is the true witness. A true witness knows and tells the
truth. He also spoke to them as the beginning of the creation of God. That
doesn't mean that He was created, but rather it means that he was in the
beginning and had part with the creation. John 1:1 reads, "In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same
was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without
him was not any thing made that was made." Thus the Lord is not only the
faithful and true witness, but he is also the creator of all things. He isn't
just a bystander witness, but he is the expert witness as well. In court cases
we sometimes have witnesses who have seen, or heard, or felt, or smelled, or
tasted something germane to the case. Other times we have witnesses who are
considered expert witnesses because of their expert knowledge of how things
work. The Lord not only has seen all things, but he is the creator of all
things and therefore he is the complete and greatest witness of all.
"I know thy works, that
thou art neither cold nor hot." He
who knows all things certainly knows both the amount of our works and the
quality of our works. He knows if our works are according to the scriptures, or
if they are evil works. We might lie to God and to those about us about the
quantity and quality of our works, yet we haven't fooled God, for he is the
perfect witness. The works of the church in Laodicea were proceeding from their
condition of being neither cold nor hot. The Lord didn't say that their works
were neither cold nor hot, but that THEY were neither cold nor hot. The problem
wasn't their works, but the problem was with THEM.
"I would thou wert cold
or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I
will spue thee out of my mouth." In a natural sense if we are cold or hot
we will attempt to correct our environment so that it is more accommodating to
our perceived comfort. If we are cold, we may put on more clothes, or we may
turn the thermostat up in the house, or we may become more active to generate
heat in our bodies. If we are hot, we may shed some of the clothes we have on,
or we may put on lighter clothes, or we may turn the thermostat down in the
house or we may undertake lighter activities so our body will cool off, or we
may seek a shade if we are outside. If, however, we are lukewarm then we don't
perceive the need to change. The body feels quite comfortable in a lukewarm
condition. This was the condition of the church in Laodicea: they were
comfortable in their perceived spiritual condition and felt no need for personal
change. Because of their lukewarm condition, the Lord said that he would spue
them out of his mouth. That which I take into my mouth I like to be either cold
or hot. I like my milk, my tea, my soft drinks, and my water to be cold. I
like my hot chocolate to be hot. I like some foods to be hot and I like some
foods to be cold. I don't really like for any of my foods or drinks to be
lukewarm. When we are in a lukewarm condition the Lord said that he would spue
(vomit) us out of his mouth. From this we gather that being lukewarm is not a
condition that the Lord is pleased for his people to be in.
"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."
The condition of the church in Laodicea was summarized in this sentence. The
first part of the sentence tells how they viewed themselves. The second part of
the sentence tells how that the Lord viewed them and was their actual condition
rather than how they viewed themselves. An increase in worldly riches can blind
us to our spiritual needs. Some have equated worldly gain to godliness: 1 Tim.
6:5 "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth,
supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But
godliness with contentment is great gain." The true gain in our lives is an
increase in godliness not an increase in worldly possessions. It is, however,
quite easy to become satisfied when our natural condition is such that we are
increased with worldly riches and goods. With our worldly goods, and good
health and a lack of persecution we begin to think that we have it all. The
problem is that we start trusting in ourselves and our worldly goods and think
that we can handle all of our needs by our own means. We think we have need of
nothing and therefore we stop trusting in the Lord though we may continue to go
through a routine of self-perceived godliness and holiness. Our worldly riches
and our reliance upon them blind us to the fact that we are wretched and
miserable sinners. It also blinds us to the fact that we are poor in spirit and
blind to spiritual things without God's anointing of our understanding. It also
blinds us to the fact that we are spiritually naked and needful of being clothed
with the righteousness of Christ. As he did with all the churches, the Lord
first laid out the problem to the church and then gave them the solution.
"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."
Gold in its natural environment is somewhat valuable, but when it has been tried
in the fire and the impurities have been removed, then it is really precious.
Likewise our faith is valuable, but when it has been tried in the fire, it is
more precious than gold: 1 Pet. 1:6 "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now
for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that
perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour
and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Also we read in James, "My
brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this,
that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her
perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." The Lord
counseled the church in Laodicea to buy of him gold tried in the fire. We may
ask ourselves how that we buy this gold tried in the fire (faith tried with
temptations)? We simply ask the Lord in prayer to prove our faith. He will do
the rest. Our faith will be put to the test. As long as our faith is being
tested then we will learn to trust in the Lord and not in our earthly riches.
Next, the Lord counseled the
church in Laodicea to buy of him white raiment that they may be clothed. White
is the scripture color associated with righteousness. To be clothed with white
raiment is to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. There is only one
type of true righteousness and that imputed righteousness thru the blood of our
Redeemer Jesus Christ. However, there are two forms of false righteousness.
There is the false righteousness brought about by a belief in a works systems of
salvation, whereby a person goes about to establish their own righteousness by
keeping a set of rules or commandments: Rom. 10:3 "For they being ignorant of
God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have
not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." Next there is the
false righteousness known as self-righteousness whereby the person thinks more
highly of himself than he ought: Lk. 18:11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed
thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are,
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast
twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess." The members of the
church in Laodicea were obviously afflicted with self righteousness as they
thought themselves to be in much better spiritual condition than they really
were. They were self-righteous. The Lord counseled them to buy of him white
raiment that they may be clothed and that the shame of their nakedness do not
appear. The shame of their nakedness (self-righteousness) would appear when the
Lord manifest that they were self-righteous. The way that we buy of the Lord
white raiment is to humble ourselves and pray that the Lord will remove our
pride and self-righteousness that we may see that the only righteousness we
possess is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ:
1. James 4:6
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but
giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he
will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts,
ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter
be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in
the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
1 Pet. 5:5 "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God
resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves
therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."
Next, they were told to
anoint their eyes with eyesalve that they may see. Just as the buying gold of
the Lord and white raiment of the Lord, so the anointing of the eyes also begins
with prayer. Twice the prophet Elisha prayed that God would open the eyes of
those that were blind:
1. 2 Kings 6:17 "And
Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And
the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain
was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
2 Kings 6:20 "And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria,
that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the
LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of
It is the Lord that opens
our spiritual eyesight to perceive spiritual things. We must therefore pray
unto him that he would give us perception and understanding: Matt. 7:7 "Ask,
and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be
opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that
seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Another
lesson taught us in this passage is that we need to practice self-examination: 2
Cor. 13:5 "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own
"As many as I love, I
rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
One of the great evidences that we have that the Lord loves us is the fact that
he rebukes or chastens us:
1. Job 5:17
"Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the
chastening of the Almighty:"
2. Prov. 3:11
"My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his
correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son
in whom he delighteth."
3. Heb. 12:5
"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: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth
every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with
you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye
bastards, and not sons."
4. Heb. 12:11
"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:
nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto
them which are exercised thereby."
1 Cor. 11:32 "But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord,
that we should not be condemned with the world."
The Lord loved the members
of the church in Laodicea. He just didn't like their ways. Having received
chastening of the Lord, then we are to be zealous and repent. It is the Lord's
love for us that leads us to be zealous towards him and his kingdom. It is his
goodness that leads us to repent. Failure to repent is simply stubborn
rebellion. Rather than stubbornly rebelling against the Lord, we need to repent
and that leads us to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
"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."
Some have taken this to mean that the Lord stands at the door of the sinners
heart and knocks to come in and if the sinner opens his heart to the Lord then
the Lord will come in and save him from his sins. However, this neglects the
fact that the ones to whom this were written were already in the kingdom of
God and were already born of the
Spirit and had spiritual ears and were already chastened of the Lord, and thus
loved of the Lord.
This church through their
perception of themselves had unwittingly excluded the Lord from their
fellowship. The Lord was knocking to gain entry to their fellowship. The
promise was an individual promise to each member of the church that if they
would hear his voice and open the door by means of repentance and seeking the
Lord, then he would come in and sup with him and that individual would sup with
the Lord. To sup in the scriptures is a sign of fellowship. When you ate
(supped) with someone that was a sign that you had fellowship with him. When we
have humbly repented of our sinful ways and practices and humbled ourselves from
our prideful self righteousness and seek the guidance and leadership of the
Lord, he grants us to feast upon his word and when we are permitted to feast
upon his word, he feasts with us.
"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."
In order to reign with Christ in his kingdom we must be overcomers. We must
overcome the obstacles that are set before us that would hinder us from a walk
of discipleship and would hinder us from the fellowship of the Lord in his
kingdom and from worshipping him in spirit and in truth. There are literally a
multitude of obstacles that are set against us, yet the Lord has completely
prepared us in his word. When we are overcoming those obstacles, then we are
reigning (sitting) with Christ in his throne. Sometimes we may say that the way
is too great, but we need to remember that whereas we have some obstacles to
overcome, He who went before us had many times more obstacles set before him and
yet he overcame them all to present us holy and without blame before God. Thus
he is set down with the Father in his throne.
"He that hath an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
As with the other six churches so also to the church in Laodicea the admonition
goes out that the Lord through the Holy Spirit speaks to the churches by means
of the gospel messenger (angel) as he preaches the gospel. It is imperative
that we, who have been born of the Spirit of God and thus having spiritual ears,
take heed to the things that we have heard and respond to it as it is God's
message to us as individuals and as a church body.