This post was published to Condition of the Church at 9:32:39 PM 8/30/2010
"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" Revelation 3:17
I hesitate to write on this verse because I know I've addressed it before, but maybe it is needful, at least for myself if not for others. We are living in the Laodicean Church age, there's no doubt about that. The description that Jesus gives of them fits the general church it a tee.
" I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing:" While, in general, people will not say this, the actions betray themselves. When the church can get more excited about a sporting event, a sale, a dinner, or anything else that may amuse and excite the flesh than the things of God, the above statement is being said, only not outloud. When we seem to place the things of God such as reading his Word, prayer, doing his work, at the lower end of our list and important things to do, we are saying the above.
" knowest not that thou art wretched," Christ then goes on to say, "Don't you realize what shape you are in?" Wretched means " enduring toils and troubles" but in this sense, not in persecutions but in problems brought on by over involvement and entanglement in this world. Paul told Timothy, " No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." 2 Timothy 2:4 While we have to live and work in this world, we must keep our affections on things above as Paul stated, " Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Colossians 3:2 Because of lukewarmness, the church is cumbered about details and problems that perhaps, in many ways, could be solved by Christ if the affections were on him instead of on our own ambitions.
He then says they were "miserable." How many people attend church today only to wait for the service to end. They set their timers and their watches and woe to the preacher who may preach a few minutes over his allotted timeframe! People do not enjoy church, or it becomes nothing but an entertainment center simply because there is no spirit, no Holy Ghost moving, and no unction from the preaching and singing. They leave the same way they came and are never stirred.
For a church to be "poor" as Christ describes it, is not that it lacks money. No, that's wasn't and still isn't the problem in most cases. It means that it has little to offer in the spiritual realm. Oh yes, it can offer a great deal of amenities and even do some good things in the community but there is no deliverance, no families restored, sin is not stopped and the love of Christ is not growing. This is what "poor" is.
To be "blind" does not mean to have poor vision, but to not be aware of one's own spiritual poverty and need. Today, much of the church simply cannot see their condition and cannot understand the scriptures. While we have some very brilliant people handling the Word of God, it is only in intellectual experience to the hearer but it takes Christ and the Holy Ghost to put it all together and apply it to our lives. This takes prayer, experience, and study. " But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." James 1:4
The last word to describe the church is to be "naked." With the immodest dress these days this could probably be taken literal but no doubt he means that to be "naked" implies that they were without defense. Another words, they could not defend themselves against Satan's attacks. Again, today, in many cases, the church as a whole seems to be defenseless against Satan. Yet, this should not be.
So, Jesus did not leave them or us hanging but told them as well as us what to do. He said in the following verse to " buy of me gold tried in the fire," This gold is faith that is tried and can only be purchased or gotten from Him, yet, he wants us to ask him for it. Remember what is written in Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." He longs for us to ask and seek for that faith that will be like gold so he can use us in greater ways for him.
His next advise was to buy of him " white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear." This is holiness and separation from the world. Today, the general church is almost a laughing stock of the world. If you don't believe it, just look how it is treated in the media and Hollywood. When people become holy on the inside and out, then they may be scorned for being a Christian, but not laughed at for having a double standard. We may be the only Bible that some will read so let's make sure they get a good and accurate reading. I'll pray for you if you pray for me.
Finally, he advises them to " anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see" which would allow them to have spiritual enlightenment. It is one thing to intellectually understand the Word but another to apply it to one's life and heart. God would like to show the church greater truths but will not unless we are meeting his qualifications and have that gold that is tried, the white raiment, as well as that special spiritual eye salve that will help us see. So, in closing, let me just say, " If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31b Let's get out of the lukewarm state and get on fire for Christ!!