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February 22, 2012
By John Barnett
Read, print, and Listen to this resource on our website
There’s only one portion of God’s Word, specifically written to the Church, by Jesus Christ: Rev. 2&3.
Join me there as we continue systematically examing Christ's challenges to this, the seventh and final of the churches.
If you had traveled to visited friends or family in Laodicea, three things would have stood out to you in the First Century.
These three unique features to this city, are the framework of Christ's words we are examining today in Revelation 3:18.
These could be called:
*Laodicea’s Three Key Industries*
First, you would have noticed gold in Laodicea.
As you walked around the city it would have had the feel of a wealthy, financial district type of city like London, New York City, or Shanghai, where wealth was evident, banking was concentrated, and gold was readily seen, worn, used, and available.
Secondly, you would have noticed Laodicean people were wearing, and shops were selling, exquisite clothing made from a rich black wool fabric that was darker than any black wool you’d ever seen.
This wool looked and felt so silky smooth, you would have asked the person where they got such soft, luxurious wool.
Of course they would have said from right here, because that was the world famous wool that was sheared and processed right from Laodicea’s own special flocks of sheep.
Finally, you would have noticed the sprawling Laodicean campus of the famous medical school and hospital, that specialized in eye care.
The locally compounded eye-salve that was so effective that people of means, from across the ancient world, would travel here to get their opthalmic eye-salve and treatments.
Laodicea: a wealthy, gold-brokering and banking center; and a world-class woolen garment center; and a world-renowned medical center specializing in ophthalmic eye-care.
Those would be what you would have noticed if you visited, and what you would have known if you would have been native to the city.
Knowing that makes us realize:
*Christ's Pointed References to Their City’s Claim to Fame*
Look down at Christ's words in Rev. 3:18, He notes those exact three key industries.
Jesus Christ told the church at Laodicea that they needed to make three specific purchases from Him.
As we read this passage and focus especially on the three items that Jesus specifically pointed out as vital to their spiritual lives.
Please read with me these words in Revelation 3:14-18
/“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I could wish you were cold or hot.
16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see."/ (NKJV)
This verse should cause each of us to ask ourselves : “Is Jesus asking the same of me today?
And if He is still asking this, are we listening to Him with our hearts?
Focus with me upon each of the four phrases of v. 18:
First, “I counsel you to buy from Me”.
The word “counsel” is a very serious word that speaks of quite deliberate, thought-out, pre-meditated action.
Almost every other time this word is used its translated “plotted”.
Jesus is asking this church:
*Get Completely Focused On Doing What I Ask*
When a person plots about doing something, it begins to dominate their thoughts and actions.
That is how serious Christ calls us to get today.
This word is used four other times in the New Testament and always describing the deep seated desire at all costs to find a way to do something.
Look with me at the other uses to get the feel of how seriously Jesus is speaking to this church.
1. Matthew 26:3-4 (NKJV) /"Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him."/
2. John 11:49-53 (NKJV) /"And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.”
51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.
53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death."/
3. John 18:14 (NKJV) /"Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people."/
4. Acts 9:22-23 (NKJV) /"But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
23 Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him."/
So Jesus gives the level of focus we need to obey Him in this matter.
It needs to be what we plot about.
This is something that becomes our plan so meditated upon that we are very serious, and take a planned course of action.
But what is the action?
He wants us to “buy” something from Him.
The word is agouradzo and means something purchased from the “marketplace”
Now look closely at the next three phrases in v.18, and let me put them in context for you.
Using what we know about the first phrase, Jesus is saying I am constantly asking you to very seriously plan how to get these three items from Me.
Jesus offers us gold, white garments, and eye salve.
Remember, those were all items famiiar to Laodiceans, they were the key industries of their town.
*Decide to Come to Me To Obtain These Items*
• “Gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich”; we studied this last time as Habit # 4: Repent of Spiritual Wastefulness.
Remember the points?
Jesus wants each of us to repent of using our short lives to only gain what can be lost, rather than choosing what can never be lost.
Jesus wanted them to have true wealth, and turn away from the intoxicating chase after materialism’s stuff.
Jesus wants them to use the account He already set up for each of us His children to make deposits in the Bank of Heaven.
Jesus wanted them to be sure they were investing into their eternal IRA.
The third phrase is what we need to consider today.
Here are the details:
• /“And white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed”/; This is Habit # 5: Repent of Spiritual Neglect.
We are asked by Christ pointedly to get dressed every day, all day long in a series of outfits He designed for us.
Each day we have a choice to obey or disobey.
That spiritual concept is what we will be coming back to in just a bit.
The final phrase is for next time.
Jesus says:
• /“And anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see/
This is Habit # 6: Repent of any Spiritual Blindness.
Jesus wants us to protect our eyes.
Spiritual blindness is preventable and treatable, it does not have to persist.
So living in Laodicea, and being familiar with its gold, its black wool garments, and its eye-salve, this letter would have been so impactful.
They understood the message.
Jesus was rebuking them for getting distracted from why they had been saved.
But the saints in Laodicea needed to:
*Learn How to Apply God's Word*
They had neglected the eternal for the temporal.
They had swapped the celestial for the mundane.
They were spending their lives on trinkets and trash instead of priceless treasures.
That is why Jesus pleads with them to listen and respond.
Just as He is still doing with us.
Now, focus on that second phrase:
v. 18b "/and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed;"/
Jesus pointed out that they had started neglecting a vital part of their spiritual lives.
They were not clothing themselves as they had been taught to do.
Spiritual Neglect is when we become more concerned with what we look like to men rather than to God.
We impress people outwardly rather than pleasing God inwardly.
What clothing does God's Word describes for us, and command us to wear?
Turn back to Romans 13 where we see the two main types of clothing believers wear every day.
Paul explains the necessity of daily clothing ourselves with Christ in Romans 13:12-14 (NKJV):
/"The night is far spent, the day is at hand.
Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts."/
Note in this verse that getting clothed for Christ has two areas Paul tells us we need: the first is the armor of light, the second is putting on Christ.
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