Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Seven Churches Part 8 – Laodicea

The Seven Churches
Part 8 – Laodicea
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION
This is the revelation of Jesus Christ to John.

John is told to record what he had seen, is seeing, and will see, which is the key to the Book of Revelation. John saw Jesus and his description defines and sets the foundation for the rest of the book. Jesus IS Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, and the Alpha and Omega.

John then records the letters to the pastor's of each of the seven churches, or, what is taking place NOW, and then record what WILL take place in the end.

Each letter begins with the Lord establishing His authority in the specific area He addresses each church in, telling us the good and the bad, as well as a warning and blessing, then closing each letter with a command for us to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying.



SCRIPTURE REFERENCE
Revelation 3:14-22

To the Church in Laodicea

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

I.       JESUS ESTABLISHES HIS AUTHORITY
a.      Dispensation
i.       The Apostate Church Age

ii.    Began?? – Present day

iii. We don't know when it began, but we know it has begun. This is the last church addressed by Christ, meaning the Rapture will take place very shortly.


b.     “To the star (Pastor) of the church, write...”
i.       "These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness..."
a.      Jesus establishing Himself as the one who is authorized to judge on being faithful and true. Neither of which the church in Laodicea were.

ii.    "...the ruler of God’s creation."



II.   I KNOW YOUR WORKS
a.      He knows our works, because He walks among the lampstands.
i.       Matthew 18:20For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” 



b.     I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.
i.       This is what we see in so many of our present churches today.


c.      I wish you were either one or the other! 
i.       half-measures won't do...Jesus does not want wishy-washy people.

ii.    James 1:6 "...when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."


d.     So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 
i.       If a person is lukewarm towards something, it means he has not rejected it, but at the same time he has by no means accepted it.
ii.    In the mind of God, a lukewarm response is the same as a negative response.

iii. Here we see the apostate church with no prospect of repentance on their part, so there is Divine rejection of the church


III. The Problem with the Apostate Church
a.      Because you say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’
i.       They equated material goods, finances, money, with spiritual Blessings, which they were not.

ii.    How may mega-churches today boast of money and riches, equating them with spiritual blessings from God?
a.      There are many rich people in the world who have nothing to do with God.

iii. The problem with Laodicea (as well as the Apostate Churches in general) is, they do not realize what the next verse says, "But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked."

iv.   The problem with this church is, while they gloated over material wealth, the church was unconscious of its spiritual poverty. very indicative of the modern church.


b.      I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich;
i.       What the church needs to buy, cannot be purchased with money, but only the precious blood of Christ, the price that has already been paid; but many modern churches are not interested.


c.      and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
i.       This refers to the Righteousness that comes from Christ.

ii.    Christ's Righteousness is gained only by faith in Christ. This shows us that the church in Laodicea is extremely self-righteous; not having the righteousness of Christ, they are "naked" to the judgment of God.

iii. The salve needed for their eyes is because they are spiritually blind.


d.     Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
i.       Correction and discipline IS love!

ii.    If you are never corrected or disciplined by God, I would be very afraid...

iii. This statement shows us there was still a remnant of followers in this church who were being corrected, and would be saved.

iv.   The Church desperately needs to repent for its rebellion against Christ.

e.      Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
i.       This presents Christ OUTSIDE THE CHURCH!

ii.    If anyone hears my voice
a.      There is so much religious racket going on in the modern church, it becomes difficult to "hear His voice"

iii. and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
a.      Christ is the true door, meaning the church has erected another door!
b.     Having been rejected by the modern Apostate church, the Lord now appeals to individuals, and continues to do so today.



CONCLUSION
To him who overcomes
I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

The overcomer will gain the prize of the Throne, which can only be done by making Christ the object of his faith.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
In plain language, the Holy Spirit is saying, "Come back to Christ!"



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