- Attributes of Jesus14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.The Amen- personal name for Christ, means “verity” and implies certainty. The idea is credibility or certainty that what this person says will be accomplished.How does this title fit with the message to the church of Laodicea?What does Jesus call the church in v. 16? LukewarmHow does the idea of Amen stand in contrast to being lukewarm?Thomas:
Since the principal indictment against the Laodicean church is lukewarmness, Christ’s attributes of sincerity and truth come to the forefront as He deals with those whose alleged devotion to Him is only superficial and not substantial.The Faithful and True Witness-This strengths and gives specificity to the idea of Jesus being the AMEN. He is credible, He is the Amen! In what way specifically? In that he is the faithful and true witness.32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.Beginning of God’s creation?Some take the passive meaning to beginning- “One begun” of God’s creation. What is the problem with this idea?13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”Better to take the active meaning to beginning- “beginner,” “originator,” or “initiator.” First cause or origin of God’s creation.3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.Knowledge of Jesus15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!8 “ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “ ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.19 “ ‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.What is the significance of this repeated idea in Jesus’ letters to the churches?15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!What are hot works?Hot- verb means to boil- has the idea of “fervent” when applied to Christian service.25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Hot describes a person characterized by a healthy spiritual fervor. The picture is of one who has been heated to a boiling point by some outside source and has maintained that state (Alford; Charles; Beckwith; Lenski). The temperament of this church left much to be desired by way of devotion to Christ.15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!What are cold works?One Suggestion- Hold / Cold water- both usefulWhat is the antithesis of a fervent spirit or a spirit boiling in devotion to Christ?Polar opposite (no pun intended) is an unbeliever who has rejected the gospel openly and aggressivelyHow can Christ wish for anyone to be cold?So despicable did Christ find lukewarmness that He preferred to deal with an obstinate opponent of the gospel, recognizing the greater possibility of finding fertile soil for the message here than with a lukewarm, professing Christian. Anything is better than lukewarmness.Spiritual Condition of the Church16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Neighboring Hierapolis had hot, spring water, valuable for its medicinal effects. In its journey to Laodicea it lost some of its heat and consequently medicinal value by the time it arrived either overland or by aqueduct in Laodicea. Nearby Colosse had cool, life-giving water that was refreshing as a beverage (Hemer). The water in Laodicea was somewhere between these two in temperature. Such tepid water was sickening to drink on either a hot or a cold day.36 The metaphorical meaning of this divine estimate of the church portrays most vividly the revulsion Laodicea provoked in Christ.What is the spiritual status of a person who is lukewarm?Spiritually immature?Some spiritual interest in the things of God, but they have fallen short?
Lukewarm is a description of church people who have professed Christ hypocritically but do not have in their hearts the reality of what they pretend to be in their actions.Think of the people that Jesus interacted with during his earthly ministry. What group of people would best describe those who are lukewarm. They thought they were people of God, but they were outside of a right relationship with God. Spiritual leaders in Israel.How did Jesus treat these people?13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.In contrast who were the ones in Jesus’ day who were cold? Harlots and Tax-collectorsHow did Jesus treat these people? Why?15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
A person who professes to be a Christian, but secretly has not believed in Christ, thinks that such a profession is enough to get him by. Nothing can be done with a nominal Christian who cannot recognize that he needs repentance and that Jesus is really outside His life (Moffatt).How will Jesus treat lukewarm people?Spit them out of his mouth- the idea of lukewarm water that causes stomach sickness.17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.What is the major spiritual problem that Jesus is addressing in v. 17?What is a bigger problem? Being wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked? OR NOT REALIZING that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked?The issue is even worse that simply NOT REALIZING the negative things about yourself. What is even worse than that? Thinking that you are rich, and that you are still rich- you prosper, and that you have need of nothing! Why is that worse?What kind of riches are we talking about? Physical or spiritual?What kind of state of mind does v. 17 produce in a church? Contented complacency!
Whatever the people’s condition, they were happy with it and regarded it highly. The Lord’s subsequent picture of reality points to a false self-sufficiency based on wrong attitudes and a wrong interpretation of the facts (Swete; Moffatt; Walvoord).What is the first major step to remedying this problem? They must fix the problem of their ignorance!
Here was a church, rich in pride but poor in grace and ignorant of the poverty.What adjectives does Jesus use to describe the true condition of the church?Wretched- of very poor quality or condition / pathetic. Used one other time in the NT24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?What is the major difference between Paul and the church of Laodicea? Paul knew he was wretched.Pitiable- miserable. Used one other time in the NT.19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.Poor- Ptōchos (“poor”), an adjective, is derived from πτώσσω (ptōssō), which names the action of one who crouches and cowers as a beggar. The idea is that of beggarliness or destitution that results from begging. What did the church think of itself? It was rich- but Jesus says your are in a state of beggarliness.Blind- Spiritual blindness!14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Written to a city famous for producing eye medications, its reference here is to an inability to see spiritual values (Trench; Beckwith; Walvoord).Naked- spiritually naked! What does that mean? Salvation is often pictured in Revelation as being clothed.9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.The Importance of Self-EvaluationHow do we avoid being the the church of Laodicea?We might not be pharisees who think we are saved, but are not.But what if we look around at our church and we say-“We are a pretty good church!”“We are not like a lot of other wordly churches out there!”What do we mean by that? What criteria do we use to make the statement we are good church, we are not a wordly church?But what if we are just like the Laodiceans? We think we are rich, we think we are prospering, we think we need nothing, when in reality we are the exact opposite!How can we really know?What criteria should we be using to take an accurate self-evaluation of our church?What would be a good tool that everyone in the church could use to take their spiritual temperature?Church mission statement!Faith Baptist Church exists to equip and inspire believers for Christlikeness unto the abundance of the glory of God.How are you accomplishing the mission statement of the church personally? Are you involved in church related ministry? Is that ministry accomplishing our mission statement? How can you change if necessary?Jesus’ Offer of Help18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.The idea to buy is used three times in this text-Buy gold, buy white garments, and buy eye salve.What is the problem with Jesus counsel to buy these things? What did he just say about their spiritual state in the last verse? They are beggars! Jesus is telling them to buy things they cannot afford! What is the solution? GRACE!1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.But the way this is the same grace we will need if we are to be successful as a church!5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.What does Jesus counsel this church to buy?Gold refined by fire? What is that?High quality faith!7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.3 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.9 And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.Why did they need to buy gold? They currently are beggars and Jesus will make them rich!What else did they need to buy? White garments- the very righteousness of ChristWhy? clothe yourself and the same of your nakedness many not be seenWhat else did they need to buy? Salve to anoint their eyes.10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “ ‘ “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
1 Corinthians 15:19ESV
1 Corinthians 2:14ESV
1 Peter 1:7ESV
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