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Letter to Laodicea 2

Revelation 3:17-18
You say, "I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing." But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so that you can see. (NIVUK)

Jesus had just accused the Laodicean church of lukewarmness, ineffective apathy, and existence without love (Revelation 3:14-16). Like the tepid city water which had lost its heat after travelling six miles across the aqueduct from the host springs at Hierapolis, the church made Jesus feel sick. They kept Him outside their church and they were useless to Him. The warning was strong, a last call to repent. It seems as though the church wanted to answer back that they did not need Jesus anyway.

Jesus knew their thoughts (Matthew 9:4). Their response was to boast of all that they had. They were rich. The trading of wool and mutton, as well as financial services had made the city rich and the church was hungry for money too. The famous Laodicean heavy black wool brought wealth, but they were miserable. Their hearts were so starved of Jesus that He saw them as being weak and sickly. Even though the city produced potent eye ointment, the church could not see the urgent need of the lost to be saved and the saved to grow in holiness, and in serving Jesus.

Yet all they needed was to be found in Him (2 Corinthians 9:8). All they had to do was to recognise their lack of spiritual health, and call out to Jesus. Then, He would purify them (Malachi 3:2-4) so that they were rich in faith (James 2:5). He would clothe them in bright garments of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) to cover their shame (Genesis 3:21). He would anoint their eyes so that they could see what is good and true, and no longer stumble around in the darkness (John 9:6-11).

When we are preoccupied with idols (anything that takes the place of our Lord Jesus), we cannot see how foolish they are, and we are (Psalm 115:3-8). We may think that the idols of money and wealth, ambition and popularity, sensuality and pride – will make us great. But we end up serving them and becoming as spiritually inert as they are. We lose touch with truth, we cannot pray, we see God's Word as a threat and His people as undesirable company. And yet the Lord Jesus longs to gather us to Himself, to love us and forgive us; to protect and provide; to give us a hope and a future. But we are quite capable of foolishly saying, 'No'. That is why the Lord sometimes cuts into our conscience, if we will not read His Word. He is commanding us to repent, and to do so quickly (Revelation 3:19).

Father God. Thank You for providing all I need. I am sorry for the times when I have run after idols and left You for other gods. Please forgive me and teach me how all my needs are met in Jesus, and to spend time with Him so that He can shape and mould me into what will please Him and be a blessing in the world. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams