Summary: The message Jesus to the church of Laodicea reveals the christless character of many.
A Message to the Messengers
A Bible Study on What Jesus has to Say to the Ministerial Force Entrusted with Feeding His Flock
Ministers, the messages of Revelation 3 are directed to you. They are calculated to enrich and empower your preaching. They were written to wake the church.
“Because thou sayest…and knowest not.”
Laodicea converses each weekend regarding salvation, assurance, and the gifts of grace. These topics are broached in Sabbath school with characteristic boldness. We, as members of the church, are looking forward to Christ’s coming. But we don’t understand.
Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? The day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.
Amos uses metaphors familiar to us: the serpent, the lion, the comfort of getting home after danger. Perhaps we are not as mindful of the bear, that animal called by God to punish the mocking of his special messenger, Elisha. Adventists, waiting and hoping to go home to heaven, anxious to escape the roaring lion on their track, will find at last that they have been deceived by the serpent and that they must account for their treatment of Heaven’s prophet.
We are expecting great things from the Coming of Jesus. Our riches, whether or not they include material prosperity, include an assurance that all will be well with us in the end. Laodicea knows, in a superficial way, that her destiny depends on her love and her faith. She is aware that those with a faith/love relationship are the ones that are justified. But rather than being a source of worry, this thought comforts her. She is confident enough of her standing with God to speak of it.
“I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing"
Laodicea might be more conscious of her need if she understood the nature of faith and love. Men mistakenly believe they have both.
James speaks of those that are “rich in faith” and identifies them as the same class as those that “love” God. These are the spiritual riches of the gospel.
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
Our God is “rich in mercy.” This is shown by the “great love wherewith he loved us.” Eph 2:4. Faith and Love are combined in a number of other passages. A working faith can never be separated from love, for “faith works by love.” Gal. 5:6. It would be appropriate in a study of Laodicea to take a moment to probe the meaning of these golden values.
The Nature of Faith
“The just shall live by Faith.” “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Either there are two ways to live, or faith is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Faith is a relationship with the Word. Faith submits to the Word. It lives and acts as if the Word itself has power to do the thing it promised.
What does faith look like? That depends on the nature of the Word on which it rests. When faith comes to a warning, faith looks like preparation and “taking heed.” When faith comes to a rebuke, faith looks like confession and repentance. Faith lets the principle of the creative Word become the ruling power in the life.
When faith comes to Calvary and lets the glory of that story move the will, it looks like tears, penitence, humility and love. When faith comes to a promise, it looks like “hope.” When it comes to a command, it looks like obedience.
This could be partially expressed as a graph.
The Nature of the Word The Appearance of Faith
A Warning Preparation
A Rebuke Confession and Repentance
A Promise Hope
A Command Obedience
Counsel A Desire to Please
The Story of Calvary Tears, Penitence, Humility, Courage, Selfless Love
A Spiritual Hymn Spiritual Music
When the Bible asserts that we are saved “by hope” and justified by “works” and excused by our “thoughts” and condemned by “idle words” the Book makes no contradiction with those statements that faith alone can save us. The repeated statements that we are judged according to our works and even the statement that we are justified by our “words” are only a development of the theme that man “shall live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
The Word “every” must be allowed to have its meaning. Unbelief is selective. It may heed the promises and stories while spurning the counsels and commands. It may acknowledge the laws and regulations while slighting the Sacrifice. Unbelief has never saved a soul and never will.