Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

 The Reforming Church

Revelation 3: 14-22
Vs 20: Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Laodicea was one of three cities found in the Lycus valley.  Laodicea was about 100 miles east of Ephesus and was the southernmost of the seven cities, it was about 40 miles south of Philadelphia. The city’s only vulnerability to attack was the fact that it had to pipe in its water from several miles away through aqueducts that could be blocked up or diverted by a besieging force.  Though the original settlers were mostly from Syria, later there was a large Jewish population in the city. 

This church was most likely established during the time that Paul ministered in Ephesus, but it was not founded by Paul. It is possible that Paul’s co-worker and helper Epaphras who founded the church in nearby Colossae may have been instrumental in starting the church in Laodicea. The city prospered under Roman rule and being located strategically it became an important commercial center that brought in much wealth.  The city also boasted a medical school that was known for making eye salve that was exported all over the Roman world.

When Jesus begins to speak to this church he does not have any word of commendation. He had taught His disciples that deeds always reveal a person’s true spiritual state.  We understand that salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith. Jesus was saying that the deeds of this church indicated that it was an unbelieving church. Jesus uses a metaphor to describe the condition of the church and he condemned them for being neither cold nor hot, but for being lukewarm.  The members of the church would immediately understand what he was saying. The water for the city traveled several miles through an underground aqueduct before reaching the city and when it arrived it was lukewarm.  Hierapolis boasted hot springs, Colossae had a cold, refreshing stream for their water supply, the lukewarm water of Laodicea was repulsive.

Those whom Jesus describes as lukewarm are the ones who do not openly reject Jesus Christ.  They think they are saved, they attend church, they claim to know the Lord.  They are very religious, they are like the Pharisees because their religion is a self-righteous religion.  It is not a relationship with Christ, it is a man-made religion.  Jesus says that this sort of religion makes Him sick and wants to spit them out of his mouth.  But his condemnation does not stop here, He also condemns them for their self-righteous assessment of themselves, they believed that because they were rich they thought this was the sign of God’s blessing upon them.

Verses 18-20, Jesus offers a solution to this church. The offer of salvation played on the three features that the city was most noted for: its wealth, its wool production, and its famous eye salve.  Jesus offered them spiritual gold, spiritual clothes, and spiritual sight. The Church at Laodicea was in need of reformation and Jesus calls with a gracious invitation in vs 20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me”. If one person opened the door by repentance and faith, Christ would enter the church through that individual.  Christ offers to dine with those who respond to His knocking and His voice, which speaks of fellowship, communion, and intimacy.

Jesus promises that the one who believes he is a sinner deserving hell, but believing that  Christ died to pay the penalty for their sin, was buried and rose from the dead three days later, thus overcoming sin and the world; to him, Jesus promises to grant the privilege of sitting beside his throne ( vs 21).

Is Christ knocking at your door? He is, you know if you are uncommitted, lukewarm, complacent about your faith. He wants all of us to be absolutely committed to Him. He wants us all to be earnest and zealous in the faith.
Lord, help us to rededicate and reform our lives rather than believing in our self-righteousness.
Thought for the day
Let’s take a moment to examine ourselves. Do we describe ourselves as self-righteous and spiritually alive because of all the earthly blessings we have received from God when we are going spiritually bankrupt?
Anish Thomas
Marthoma Church of Greater Washington

Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church

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