All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

26 August 2020 – Revelation 3:14-22

“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. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 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. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. [22] He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” – Revelation 3:14–22

David Chilton writes:

The city of Laodicea was proud of its three outstanding characteristics: Its great wealth and financial independence as an important banking center; its textile industry, which produced ‘a very fine quality of world-famous black, glossy wool’, and its scientific community, renowned not only for its prestigious medical school, but also for an eye-salve which had been well-known since the days of Aristotle. Using these facts to illustrate the problems in the church, Christ cites the general attitude of the Laodecean Christaisn: “You say: I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” In reality, despite the church’s wealth and undoubted social standing, it was ineffectual, accomplishing nothing for the kingdom of God. It is not a sin for a church (or an individual) to be rich – in fact, God wants us to acquire wealth (Deut. 8:18). What is sinful is the failure to use our resources for the spread of the kingdom. When a relatively poor church such as that at Smyrna was having a rich effect upon its community, there was no excuse for Laodicea’s impotence. Her problem was not wealth, but disobedience: “You do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

Yet, in grace, Christ makes an offer of mercy: “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye-salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. The symbolism here should be obvious. True faith and genuine works of obedience are spoken of in Scripture in terms of jewelry, and especially gold; nakedness is symptomatic of disobedience [and a lack of righteousness] (Gen. 3:7), whereas being clothed in white robes is a symbol of righteousness, with regard to both justification and sanctification; and blindness is a symbol for man’s impotence and fallenness apart from God’s restoration of him to true sight – the godly, mature ability to judge righteous judgment.

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 26
Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.