Sabbath, September 1, 2007
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea and them in Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” Colossians 4:12-16.
The True Witness Speaks To The Laodiceans
1. What timely, solemn message is addressed to everyone living in the Laodicean period?
Revelation 3:14, 15 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
“The Laodicean message has been sounding. Take this message in all its phases and sound it forth to the people wherever Providence opens the way. Justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ are the themes to be presented to a perishing world.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 964.
2. To whom particularly are these words addressed?
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
“The Laodicean message applies to the people of God who believe present truth.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 87.
“The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to all who have had great light and many opportunities, and yet have not appreciated them….
“The Laodicean message applies to all who profess to keep the law of God, and yet are not doers of it.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 981, 962.
Individual Needs And God’s Offer
3. Why is the church unaware of its miserable, unhealthy spiritual condition?
Revelation 3:17 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.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
“What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 252, 253.
4. What remedy is so generously, lovingly offered to a sick church?
Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Matthew 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
“Faith and love are the true riches, the pure gold which the True Witness counsels the lukewarm to buy. However rich we may be in earthly treasure, all our wealth will not enable us to buy the precious remedies that cure the disease of the soul called lukewarmness….
“The white raiment is purity of character, the righteousness of Christ imparted to the sinner. This is indeed a garment of heavenly texture, that can be bought only of Christ for a life of willing obedience. The eyesalve is that wisdom and grace which enables us to discern between the evil and the good, and to detect sin under any guise.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 88.
Urgent Need Of The First Love
5. What are the implications of being in a lukewarm condition?
Revelation 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
“The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to our condition. How plainly is pictured the position of those who think they have all the truth, who take pride in their knowledge of the Word of God, while its sanctifying power has not been felt in their lives. The fervor of the love of God is wanting in their hearts, but it is this very fervor of love that makes God’s people the light of the world.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 357.
“Halfhearted Christians are worse than infidels; for their deceptive words and noncommittal position lead many astray. The infidel shows his colors. The lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling nor a good Christian. Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do.” –S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 963.
“Sin no longer appears repulsive because you are blinded by Satan.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 233.
6. What is the ultimate, inevitable consequence of remaining in a lukewarm condition?
Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
“The figure of spewing out of His mouth means that He cannot offer up your prayers or your expressions of love to God. He cannot endorse your teaching of His word or your spiritual work in anywise. He cannot present your religious exercises with the request that grace be given you.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 408.
Appeal For Repentance
7. Before spewing lukewarm Laodiceans out of His mouth, what invitation of grace does Jesus offer them?
Revelation 3:19, 20 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
“God will prove His people. Jesus bears patiently with them, and does not spew them out of His mouth in a moment.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. l86.
“But the counsel of the true Witness does not represent those who are lukewarm as in a hopeless case. There is yet a chance to remedy their state, and the Laodicean message is full of encouragement; for the backslidden church may yet buy the gold of faith and love, may yet have the white robe of the righteousness of Christ, that the shame of their nakedness need not appear. Purity of heart, purity of motive, may yet characterize those who are halfhearted and who are striving to serve God and mammon. They may yet wash their robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 966.
8. What keeps people from opening the door from the inside?
Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
“I saw that many have so much rubbish piled up at the door of their heart that they cannot get the door open. Some have difficulties between themselves and their brethren to remove. Others have evil tempers, selfish covetousness, to remove before they can open the door. Others have rolled the world before the door of their heart, which bars the door. All this rubbish must be taken away, and then they can open the door and welcome the Saviour in.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. l43.
Answering Jesus’ Loving Knock At Our Door
9. How long will Christ remain at the door of the heart?
2 Chronicles 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
Hebrews 10:26, 27 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Matthew 12:31, 32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
“But many refuse to receive Him. The Holy Spirit waits to soften and subdue hearts; but they are not willing to open the door and yet the Saviour in, for fear that He will require something of them. And so Jesus of Nazareth passes by. He longs to bestow on them the rich blessings of His grace, but they refuse to accept them. What a terrible thing it is to exclude Christ from His own temple! What a loss to the church!” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 262.
“Every warning, reproof, and entreaty in the word of God or through His messengers is a knock at the door of the heart. It is the voice of Jesus asking for entrance. With every knock unheeded, the disposition to open becomes weaker. The impressions of the Holy Spirit if disregarded today, will not be as strong tomorrow. The heart becomes less impressible, and lapses into a perilous unconsciousness of the shortness of life, and of the great eternity beyond. Our condemnation in the judgment will not result from the fact that we have been in error, but from the fact that we have neglected heaven-sent opportunities for learning what is truth.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 489, 490.
10. What blessings will result when the door is opened to welcome Jesus in?
Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Hosea 14:4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
“The Lord knocks at the door of your heart, desiring to enter, that He may impart spiritual riches to your soul. He would anoint the blind eyes, that they may discover the holy character of God in His law, and understand the love of Christ, which is indeed gold tried in the fire.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 965.
“Let us make an application of the words of Christ to our own individual cases. Are we poor, and blind, and wretched, and miserable? Then let us seek the gold and white raiment that He offers. The work of overcoming is not restricted to the age of the martyrs. The conflict is for us, in these days of subtle temptation to worldliness, to self-security, to indulgence of pride, covetousness, false doctrines. and immorality of life.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 966.