“Searching the Seven Churches”
The Cure – (Revelation Chapter 3 Verses 14-22)
We are not given the impression that there is a great deal of hope for the Laodicean church. There have been times of course through history when denominations, churches have returned from apostasy. When the medicine has been applied (v22-22). And through the grace and power of the Lord Jesus such have been revived. But equally, there have been times when repentance has not been applied and the sword of justice has fallen (v16). When we look at the region of what was Paul’s field of ministry, Asia Minor, and the churches there then. Now, Islamic hotbeds. But we can look closer to home, our own country, Great Britain. There are buildings strewn all over the land that used to house thriving, saving churches. Now, business premises of one kind or another. The marks of apostasy all over the land. But this is the plaintive cry of the Lord Jesus himself here (v20a). This is a plea to the remnant (v19). There is always a remnant. The problem for the remnant is that they are infected by the state of the church, pulled down. Maybe even to the point of being backslidden. Please note that Jesus is standing at the door of the church, not someone’s heart (v20a). If Jesus wants into a person’s heart he sovereignly opens it (Acts 16:14). He neither knocks nor asks permission. This church had rejected him, cast him out and from outside of the church he calls, and rebukes, and chastens his own, the remnant within. The way back to communion with Christ remains a possibility for them (v20b). The invitation to supper symbolises this communion, a return to intimacy with Christ, with the Triune God. The message to the remnant is, you don’t have to go down with the ship. As a young boy, I used to marvel at the old movies that portrayed a stricken ship’s captain going down with his ship. He would stand there on the bridge, saluting, and heroically go down with his ship. I used to think, what courage! It was a waste of human life in reality. Well, the Laodicean church is a sinking ship, but the remnant doesn’t have to go down with her. That too would be a sheer waste.
The possibility remains, they can yet reign with Christ (v21). They may yet conquer, by pure, royal, and free grace. And they will ultimately be where he, Christ is, reigning (Revelation 20:4). My throne and my Father’s throne, the carrot that is held out to the remnant, to rule with the Father and the Son of God (v21). This is an exaltation that is inexpressible in human speech, who can even begin to imagine being lifted up to such heights? And the required cure? Simple gospel repentance. But remember this is not just a legal requirement, repentance is always unto faith (Mark 1:15). A believing repentance. Think of Jesus’ exaltation when he returned to glory (Philippians 2:10-11). Well, the promise to the conquerors is that they will share in that glorious exaltation. So what does the Spirit say (v22)? Watch! Fight! Conquer! Fight the good fight of faith! This church in Laodicea was self-sufficient, self-satisfied. They had no need of anything. Surely a church that doesn’t pray is a church without Jesus, he is on the outside. If our dependency is truly upon Jesus will that not be expressed in both private and corporate prayer? The fulness of grace is in Jesus, he has an inexhaustible supply of grace in himself. You cannot exhaust that supply. And we are always in need of his grace. We needed it for salvation, we need it to continue, and we need it to finish the course as a conqueror. We always need his grace. And whatever you have of this world’s goods and chattels no one nor nothing else can ever truly satisfy you. Maybe you and I are going to be out of this world sooner than we think, are we ready? Perhaps there was a time when you wanted Jesus more than anything else. Do you still want him? And if not, why not? What harm has he done to you? The message to the Laodicean Christians was a simple gospel message, it’s always simple, it’s we who complicate it. Get right with God!
(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)