Rev 3:14-19 - 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.
The American church, at large, is the church of Laodicea. Laodicea was a church that was not on fire for Jesus, but nor was it totally dead. It was lukewarm. Indifferent. Complacent. It was content to have material things, but it lacked what was truly important: Spiritual riches. Pure spiritual gold. Pure white robes of righteousness. It thought it was rich, but it was truly poor. Jesus loved this church very much. He loved it enough to rebuke it and correct it. What was His correction to this church He loved? Be zealous and repent (turn around, change your mind and direction).
I believe this is The Lord’s message to the American church at this season. What can we learn from these two commands laid forth by Jesus? First of all, we learn that with Jesus, there is always hope. He did not write off the church of Laodicea because they had become lukewarm. No, He rebuked and corrected them. You rebuke and correct those you love. He gave them opportunity to change. He told them how to do it. Be zealous and repent. Buy from Him refined (spirit) gold. Be clothed with white robes of His righteousness. Anoint your eyes with eye salve (His Word of Truth), that you may see.
He told them to be zealous and repent. This reveals to us that this is something we have the capability of doing. We must be zealous. We must repent. It is not God’s job to make us do these things. Let us not ask, “God, make me zealous”. This is unbelief. God says, “Be zealous”. Stir yourself up. Stir up the Gift of God inside you. Stoke the fires of zeal that you once had. If you never had them, maybe you need to be saved.
Repent. Own up to your lukewarmness. Admit your spiritual laziness. Acknowledge your sin. If you are a true Believer, you know good and well what the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you about. Quite ignoring the Lord’s voice. Don’t laugh it off or joke about it. Don’t run from it. Don’t avoid blame. Be responsible. Be a mature saint of God. Repent. Turn from your unrighteousness. Turn from Spiritual apathy. Be zealous. Be on fire for Jesus!
Jesus loves the American church so much. He hates to see what is becoming of her. He purchased her with His own blood - the Blood of God. He suffered and died for her. He wants her to change. He wants her to recognize her pathetic state, be heartbroken over it, and repent. He is not cruel and unloving. He is kind and compassionate towards us. His command to repent is for our good. He does not want to see our light utterly snuffed out. He does not want us to be destroyed. For our sake he corrects us in love.
“Holy” and “Work” are not “four letter words”, as some Christians think. The same Apostle who wrote Romans 1-8, also wrote 9-16. The same Apostle who wrote Eph. 1-3, also wrote 4-6. Works and holiness are part of the New Covenant. Yes, we are saved by grace through faith - and we are also saved unto good works (Eph 2:8-10). Holiness is expected (Heb 12:14, 1Pt 1:15-16, 1Thess 4:7, 2Pt 3:10-14). Works are expected (Titus 1:16, 3:1, 8, 14). They are not at odds with grace (Titus 2:11-13).
We must understand that the spiritual realities of the new creation in Christ, do not automatically transfer to the believer’s soul and body. Yes, your born-again spirit is saved, sealed, sanctified and holy. But the new spirit man inherited a left behind, unrenewed mind, out of control emotions, stupid and sinful thoughts, and a flesh body, still containing an old flesh nature. These must be dealt with by effort and wisdom. We will address that next week. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!