PROPHECY- LAODICEA, REVELATION 3:14-22
Today, we are reviewing a church that was lukewarm (Revelation 3:16) and rejected by Christ because of their true spiritual condition. From Christ’s perspective, they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:17).
Let’s continue our investigation of what Christ told the church at Laodicea and the counsel that He gave to the church. Christ advised the church to do three things.
- The Lord, even though disgusted with them, counseled them to “Repent” and to buy from Him SPIRITUAL gold, clothing and eye salve. However, for His counsel to make sense we need to understand the words He used, so let’s examine each of them.
a. The church needed to buy spiritual gold, spiritual clothing and spiritual eye salve. The first thing they needed to do was to buy SPIRITUAL GOLD that is purified in the fire. Remember that the city of Laodicea was a banking center and a manufacturing center and was extremely wealthy. Christ was teaching them a very important lesson–that their wealth WAS NOT TRUE WEALTH.
NOTE: What they needed was SPIRITUAL gold, spiritual wealth. Why? So, they could be TRULY RICH. God represents SPIRITUAL RICHES, Ephesians 1:3 — all the RICHNESS AND INHERITANCE OFFERED BY CHRIST — all the spiritual things that make life rich and overflowing: love, joy, peace, goodness, faith, assurance, confidence, security, and hope. It is possessing ALL the abundance of life.
NOTE: Material possessions and wealth could not give to the people at Laodicea what God can give. It is a simple truth that earthly riches cannot buy love, joy, peace, or happiness. Material riches cannot give what God can give such as:
- keep a person health
- keep him alive,
- erase emptiness and loneliness, and
- material riches cannot buy for a person a way into heaven or God’s presence.
I believe that a normal thinking person would agree that just for these benefits from God would tell man something. However, so many people are so blinded by worldly wealth and possessions that they ignore God: man’s great need is for SPIRITUAL GOLD that comes ONLY from God Himself. (Ephesians 1:3)
FACT: Above all else man needs the riches that only God can give to him. SPIRITUAL GOLD is the ONLY thing that can satisfy our souls.
Note where spiritual treasures are found: in Christ. If we are to be spiritually wealthy, we have to come to Christ and secure the wealth He has.
- Having true spiritual wealth begins with Salvation – see John 3:16.
- If we are truly disciples of Christ then we will:
daily focus on Christ – Colossians 3:1-4,
daily put on the armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-18,
daily carry out the commands of Christ to show that we love Him – John 14:15,
daily be filled with the Spirit – Ephesians 5:18,
daily love the brethren – I John 5:1-2,
daily live by faith – Hebrews 11:6, Romans 1:16-17,
daily look for the return of Christ – I John 3:2-3,
daily have victory over the flesh by walking [living] in the Spirit – Galatians 5:16,
daily be strong in the Lord and in his power and might – Ephesians 6:10,
daily remember that we belong to Christ, not ourselves – I Corinthians 6:19-20, and
have carried out the living sacrifice – Romans 12:1-2.
Much more could be added but no doubt you understand that to be spiritually minded we must keep our focus where it belongs, on Jesus, who is in heaven, and not on the world. We are to focus on God who is eternal and not the world and the things of the world which are passing away – I John 2:15-16.
“But lay up for yourselves treasures IN HEAVEN, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” (Matthew 6:20, emphasis added, KJV).
“Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is KNOWN BY HIS FRUIT” (Matthew 12:33; emphasis added, KJV).
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; But his heart is NOT WITH THEE” (Proverbs 23:7).
“Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou wilt be perfect, GO AND SELL that thou hast, and GIVE TO THE POOR, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and COME AND FOLLOW ME’ ” (Matthew 19:21, emphasis added, KJV).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23, KJV).
“Yea doubtless, and I count ALL THINGS LOSS for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of ALL THINGS, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” (Philippians 3:8, (4) emphasis added, KJV).
“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (I Timothy 6:19, KJV).
“[Moses] esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches that the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Hebrews 11:26, KJV).
b. Besides the church needing to buy spiritual gold from Christ, they also needed to buy white clothing from Christ. Remember the city was a clothing center, a large textile and manufacturing center.
NOTE: Christ was telling them this: no matter how much clothing they manufacture, they lack REAL CLOTHING. What the church really needs is spiritual clothing. Why? So, the shame of their SPIRITUAL NAKEDNESS WILL NOT BE EXPOSED. Real clothing refers to the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST, the pure righteousness of God.
God was saying to the church that each one MUST PUT ON THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST. God does not accept a person because he…
- is religious,
- has been baptized,
- belongs to a church,
- attends worship services,
- does religious works,
- professes Christ without a changed life,
- does good works, or
- gives generously to the church and the poor.
The problem was that they saw little need, if any, for Christ Himself. They did not see their need for Him, nor did they see what His presence and power could do for them and their church. They were blinded to their own need and to Christ and the great difference He could make in their lives. The EYE SALVE means the God-given ability TO SEE SPIRITUAL TRUTH. They needed to depend upon the Holy Spirit to give them the ability to see THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, Jesus (John 1:1-13; I Corinthians 1:2-16).
Notice again the counsel to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ and become a new man in Christ.
“Therefore if any man BE IN CHRIST, he is a NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW” (2 Corinthians 5:17, emphasis added, KJV).
“For he hath made him TO BE SIN for us, who knew no sin; that WE might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21, emphasis added, KJV).
“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in RIGHTEOUSNESS and true HOLINESS” (Ephesians 4:24, emphasis added, KJV).
Let’s review how all of this got started, way back in the beginning and how God has solved all our tensions about salvation.
Part of the history of mankind is really bad news. Why? Because the first man, Adam, rebelled against God’s command, separating us from God and bringing death and suffering into the world. Bad, uh?
The consequence is that all of Adam’s descendants, ALL OF US, are sinful from conception (see Psalm 51:5), and we have ALL entered into Adam’s rebellion, that is sin (Romans 3:23). Because of our sin we cannot live with a holy God. Therefore we are ALL subject “everlasting destruction” or eternity in hell unless God does something dramatic to save us (see Romans 6:23 and notice the two parts of the verse: one is great and the other terrible). Also, please notice 2 Thessalonians 1:9).
Well, well, the good news is that God has done that dramatic thing by sending His Son the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven and into the world to do what we could not do ourselves. How wonderful is that?
Jesus Christ the Creator, though totally sinless, suffered the penalty of sin on our behalf to solve our sinful problem. “For God so loved the world [you] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He suffered death and separation from God, His Father, to satisfy the RIGHTEOUS demands of God’s holiness and justice.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice; He died on a Cross. But on the third day He rose again, CONQUERING DEATH, SO THAT all WHO TRULY BELIEVE IN Him, REPENT OF THEIR SIN, AND TRUST IN Him, rather than their own merit, will able to be with their Creator in heaven for all eternity. (see John 3:18).
NOTE: As we have seen, there is only ONE WAY a person can be acceptable to God: by being clothed in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Christ and Christ alone is sinless.
- He alone is the Perfect and Ideal man.
- He alone has made the perfect sacrifice for sins.
- Therefore, Jesus Christ alone is acceptable to God.
- Therefore, if a person is to ever be acceptable to God, he has to be CLOTHED IN THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF JESUS CHRIST. It is the ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
- As the Perfect and ideal man, the righteousness of Jesus Christ can stand for and cover ALL MEN.
- Therefore, when a person REALLY BELIEVES AND TRUSTS in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, God counts that person’s belief as righteousness. (see John 3:16).
- God counts that person as BEING IN CHRIST, as BEING IN THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST.
NOTE: If a person IS NOT IN CHRIST, if he has not been clothed in the righteousness of Christ, then he shall appear naked in the day of judgment. He shall be ashamed before God and rejected by God.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23, KJV).
This is the great counsel, the great advice, His great message to the LUKEWARM and half-committed church and believers. Buy of Me the white clothing of My righteousness WHICH RESIDES IN MY Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Putting on the righteousness of Christ, God’s righteousness, is the ONLY WAY you can ever be acceptable to God (Revelation 3:18, KJV).
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
“Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, ‘I am the LIGHT OF THE WORLD: he that followeth me SHALL NOT walk in darkness, but shall HAVE the light of life’ “(John 8:12, emphasis added, KJV”).
(see also John 12:35; I Corinthians 2:14-15; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 5:14; Philippians 2:15).
NOTE IN OUR NEXT STUDY WE WILL AGAIN PICK UP WITH CHRIST’S COUNSEL TO THE CHURCH AT LAODICEA WITH THE IMPORTANCE OF REPENTANCE. We trust that you have seriously considered why it is necessary to have the folks at Laodicea clothed in the righteousness of Christ. If you have questions, please send us an e-mail to:
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