As today's Church, what can we draw from this particular verse of Revelation 3:17 which was part of the message to the Church in Laodicea? How does this message apply to the Church today, and the generation as a whole?
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Jesus refers to that particular church as 'lukewarm', without real commitment. It's church that has no problem compromising for the purpose of the material benefits. If we look at many churches today, we can see, without any deeper studying, how willingly they accept the trends of the world for the reasons of keeping for example tax exemption, tolerance by the authorities etc. It is my strong opinion that those whose role is to emphasize the importance of the absolute and total commitment to God, to the Word and the fundamental principles of Christianity, have chosen "to be in the world and of the world". There is only One Master that we serve and His name is Jesus and His law, God's law, is above any Ceasar's law. Even though sometimes standing by the beliefs may result in persecution, it is a small price to pay when we remember the rewards awaiting us. Jesus himself said "if they persecute me, how much more they are going to persecute you". When we think of the price Jesus paid for our salvation, I say, we ought to be willing to stand on the Rock and proclaim His Kingdom, irrespective of the consequences.
"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" (Revelation 3:17-18). The matter though is a spiritual one. The Church in Laodicea had been blessed materially and they had taken this material blessing for their spiritual well being. They needed to be put right. If you read from Revelation 1, you realize that Jesus is communicating to 7 Churches. However though, this was not to mean there were only seven recognized Churches. For the gospel had reached thus far and the Church had pretty multiplied numerically. The seven Churches had been simply representative, yet the message thereof had been intended for the entire Church of Christ across boarders, ages and generations. Thus, each Church family had a message addressed to it depending on how they had related with the Lord. Yet it was/is possible that one Church family could mirror itself in one or two or three, or all of the seven messages. Thus, the message to one Church family may have not applied to another Church family. But the Church is one unit and the head of it is Christ Jesus. Now, the question is; how could the message to the Church in Laodicea be of a lesson to the Church of today? If you begin to read from Revelation 3:14, the Church in Laodicea had been referred to as lukewarm. They had acquired riches and this had made them to weaken spiritually. They had carried on as Christians though. Yet in substance, they had forsaken much of their Christian stand. The Church had become simply a place of gathering for a group of people of some sort. Having the picture of having gathered in the name of Jesus, yet not exactly for Jesus. On that account, Jesus would never be present as scripture tells us (Matthew 18:20). Such conduct had grieved the Lord and because He loved them, He warned them to change course. Today, many Churches have been blessed materially. For they possess all that may be. The members are equally blessed materially. This is lovely and it is pretty of the Lord's plan that the Church is blessed. For abundance is from the Lord just as He blessed our Biblical forefathers. But if these blessings begin to compromise our commitment and love for God, we are pretty losing in all. That is why in the message to this Church, He says; "....art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" Why? Because what we are building on (the material riches) can't stand the test of time. And if it is what is taking away our commitment and faith in God, we are doomed if we don't change course. Romans 14:17 says; "For the Kingdom of Heaven is not to eat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus speaks of a foolish man who had thought that by having a lot of material things, he had had all. Yet that very night, he died and left all the harvest. It is pretty a blessing of the Lord to be rich, but we should be rich to the Lord. If we simply love these material things in the place of God, then we are going wrong. For the love of money is the root of all evil (1Timothy 6:10). Jesus teaches us to store for ourselves riches in Heaven where there is no moth to destroy it (Matthew 6:19-21). Let us fear the Lord who has power to kill both the body and the spirit (Matthew 10:28). As the Church therefore, let us take the Lord's counsel. What was addressed to the Church for in Laodicea is pretty much more present in the Church of today. Yet all will pass away, but the word of God will remain (Matthew 24:35), (Mark 13:31). We need riches to be comfortable in this world, but we need God most. Jesus is the gold that we should all buy and keep jealously and passionately.
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