“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: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 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 – 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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore 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 dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” – Revelation 3:14-22
Alongside Christ’s Word of rebuke comes a Word of counsel. Jesus is urging the congregation of Laodicea to turn to Him. She supplied neither healing for the spiritually sick nor refreshment for the spiritually weary. She was quite full of herself. Jesus tells her that she is rather quite empty. “When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth; surely every man is vapor” (Psalm 39:11). Laodicea had to learn that her beauty was a façade and her opinion of herself a lie.
Our Redeemer counsels us to buy from Him. Now of course, we can not buy God’s grace. But Jesus is using it as a figure of speech to draw His people back to Himself. In so doing, Jesus is bringing censure to the church as a whole.
“Church censures are necessary, for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren, for deterring of others from the like offenses, for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump, for vindicating the honour of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel, and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the church, if they should suffer His covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.” – Westminster Confession Chapter 30.3
Christ’s censures are given in love. In Christ, we have all the riches we need. No church has arrived and we must do all we can to press forward, keeping our hand to the plough.
Suggestions for prayer
Unity in the church is important, but we may not sacrifice biblical truth for unity. Satan loves for Christians to be united in a lie. Pray we would not fall prey to the horrible errors of the Laodicean church.
Pastor Peter Vellenga serves as an itinerant preacher in the churches of Southern Ontario. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.