08: Jesus’ letter to the church in Laodicea

5023595540_020c5d7638_o-1Revelation 3:14-22 NIV

‘To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so that you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

“Everything in moderation” is a popular statement in some circles. It sounds so reasonable – and so respectable. “Moderates” are unlikely to be persecuted – because they never take a strong stand!

But the Gospel and the Great Commission are not moderate! Jesus did not attract moderates; he required absolute commitment! Consider these words recorded in Luke 14:26-27: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

So Jesus called this church to make up their mind:

Are they “in” or “out”?

Are they disciples or not?

Are their lives laid down or not?

He makes his feelings very clear: “neither here nor there” disgusts him; he’d rather we be cold than lukewarm!

Jesus also challenged their attitude: it seems they had a smug, self-sufficient attitude: “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” Their wealth had evidently blinded them into believing that they were in a great place, whereas in reality they were in a shocking place – “you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

Jesus called the church to reinvest their wealth. Instead of holding on to it, they need to invest in what would bring riches in heaven, pure faith in him, holiness and spiritual sight. This is true wealth!

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock” These words are often quoted to unbelievers, but they are actually spoken to believers who have “lost the plot” and are the object of a scathing rebuke from their Lord. The wonderful news is that when we “lose the plot”, Jesus does not walk away in offence; because he loves us he rebukes us – “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.” Even though these believers are in such a bad place that they revolt Jesus, he knocks on their door to be invited in for fellowship! He truly is the “friend of sinners!”

This letter is a powerful call to “get our house in order”. We would do well to heed the call – there is a great reward when we do! Jesus wants to enjoy a great relationship with us – if we would just make up our minds to be “all-in”!

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