My wife is an inspirational person. Sometimes its by what she says, and other times its within the study she was/is leading at church. Last night we finished our \”Christian Atheist\” series with the final discussion asking if there is any such thing as a \”lukewarm\” Christian. The basis for this conversation was from the scripture passage in Revelation 3. Here is what it says…
\”To the angel of the church in Laodicea<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30761AN" data-link="(AN)\”> write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness,<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30761AO" data-link="(AO)\”> the ruler of God’s creation.<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30761AP" data-link="(AP)\”> I know your deeds,<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30762AQ" data-link="(AQ)\”> that you are neither cold nor hot.<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30762AR" data-link="(AR)\”> 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.’<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30764AS" data-link="(AS)\”> But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30764AT" data-link="(AT)\”> I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire,<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30765AU" data-link="(AU)\”> so you can become rich; and white clothes<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30765AV" data-link="(AV)\”> to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness;<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30765AW" data-link="(AW)\”> and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30766AX" data-link="(AX)\”> So be earnest and repent.<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30766AY" data-link="(AY)\”> Here I am! I stand at the door<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30767AZ" data-link="(AZ)\”> and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30767BA" data-link="(BA)\”> I will come in<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30767BB" data-link="(BB)\”> and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious,<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30768BC" data-link="(BC)\”> I will give the right to sit with me on my throne,<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30768BD" data-link="(BD)\”> just as I was victorious<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30768BE" data-link="(BE)\”> and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-30769BF" data-link="(BF)\”> what the Spirit says to the churches.\”
This portion is the letter to the church of Laodicea, or what has been called the \”Lukewarm\” or complacent church. A church that was known for trusting in their human abilities and wealth to meet their needs. As we were discussing it became increasingly apparent that the church had become indifferent; especially towards the love of God, equating his love with financial increase. Joyfully Jesus had never lost hope, but through it all still saw the potential that they had to \”bounce back\” from this condition and fulfill the calling and purpose that God had planned out for them. It was while looking a bit deeper at the statement that are made, that I realized just what God was offering in order to see this \”bounce back\” take place!
Firstly, God says to buy from Him, so we can see that God states the beginning of the return to him is recognizing him as the source! God uses the word \”buy\” which is a business term, but reply implies accepting or receiving a transfer of goods from one person to another. God is saying he is the source and he has what we need if we would only receive it from him rather than depend on ourselves to supply for ourselves.
Secondly, there are three things that God has expressed he wants to transfer to us from His unlimited supply!
- Gold refined in the fire. Gold was considered the second most precious metal of the time, and the more it was refined through fire, the more pure it would become. Gold is a sign of abundance and provision. And what\’s more important is that the more pure gold is the more reflective it is as well. Being that it belonged to God, it would be seen as his and would reflect HIS IMAGE. In other words, God was wanting to transfer abundance and provision to the church; gold that reflected His image as provider. The truest sense of \”rich\” is when we realize who our provider is and embrace his source as the source for our lives.
- Another item he desired to transfer was white clothes to cover their nakedness. The Greek word for clothes, is a word which means \”mantle\”. Mantle is a covering. God told the church that they were exposed. Looking on the nakedness of a person according to the Law was a devaluing of a person; in a way it was removing the purity and intimate nature of the person. It left people vulnerable to harm when they\’re nakedness was exposed. The pride they had in themselves, was a removal of their intimacy and left them open to free-for-all attack from the enemy. God was saying that he desired to transfer his covering, which was a restoring of their intimacy, and more than that became He would become the protection for them once again.
- A final item he was desiring to transfer to them was eye salve for seeing. Laodicea was well known for an eye ointment made from a Phrygian powder used by the medical schools there. Salve was to help cure and fight off blindness or reduced ability to see clearly because of infection. God was offering an eye salve that would restore their sight to clearly being able to see. God is dealing with Spiritual Sight/Vision. Their independence from God was affecting their ability to see the truth of the provision they had and MOST importantly, the source of that provision.
These three things that God was desiring to transfer, move us to the realization that God states in verse 20: HERE I AM! This was an exclamation, not a statement. It is similar to a person playing peekaboo with a baby. An even better imagery created is a person frantically waving their arms attempting to get the attention of another person they may see in a crowd. It was God\’s way of saying \”YOOHOO!!!! I\’m right here! I want to get back to true and right fellowship with you! But you\’re not noticing me over here, so let me give you what you need to be able to see me once again!\”
Jesus tells us that when our attention has been redrawn back to him, and we notice and attend to him, that he will come in and eat with us. This is nearly always inferring fellowship. More importantly I believe it is a allusion to communion. Its an opportunity to eat a meal in an intimate manner with our High Priest Jesus! What an awesome promise that carries an even better promise too! It involves Victory!
Jesus says to the one who is victorious. This means that what the church was in was a battle — one that He sees as worth fighting. This fight is necessary and worth it when we understand that God has given us the very tools we would need to be victorious. That victory would carry with it an opportunity to sit on His Throne, just as he has been able to sit on God \’s throne through His own obedience to the purposes of the Father and the Victory that He has over death, hell and the grave!
How do we overcome luke-warmness? We do it by rekindling our vision and action towards the Father, through the transfer of what we need for Victory. The Victory that God guarantees through dependence on the transfers from His Own supply that he has in stow for us.
REACH OUT AND RECEIVE WHAT HE HAS FOR YOU, VICTORY STANDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUR FAITH-FILLED OPEN HANDS!