14And 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;
15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17Because 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:
18I 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.
19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20Behold, 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.
21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Question: What is the most important word in the above passage? What word do you focus on?
Importance of words can be determined in a number of ways. One way to determine how important it is is to see how often the word occurs in a passage. After throwing away the “is”, “thou”, “be” and other common words, which ones are left that occur 2 or more times?
Maybe the word you thought would be there isn’t.
Zealous and Repent
Christ says, “Be zealous therefore, and repent.” Be zealous about what? Repent of what?
Think about it. Can you repent unless there is some sort of trespass involved? So, what is the trespass of the Laodiceans?
People concentrate upon the “lukewarm” part. Christ says the Laodiceans are “neither cold nor hot” but are lukewarm. Lukewarm about what? What does Jesus say?
- Does Jesus say they are not preaching the Gospel?
- Does Jesus say they are not printing enough booklets?
- Does Jesus say they are relying too much upon the Internet?
- Does Jesus say they are not receiving “new revelations”?
- Does Jesus chide them for not seeing “new truth”?
I do not see those words written there, do you? Then why do people read it as such?
And, what does “lukewarm” mean, anyhow?
The imagery of the Laodicean aqueduct suggests not that "hot" is good and "cold" is bad, but that both hot and cold water are useful, whereas lukewarm water is useless.
~ Laodicean Church. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved 3 Dec 2010 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laodicean_Church.
Because Thou Sayest
According to Jesus, the Laodiceans say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Jesus is condemning them for what they say about themselves. Why would He do this? He continues to point out that they “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”!
Think about what that means. They say one thing but really are another.
What do you call that?
Now, can hypocrisy lead to not preaching the Gospel? Sure. Can hypocrisy lead to watering down doctrine? Of course. Can hypocrisy lead to skewed priorities? Naturally. However, these things are symptoms, not the root cause.
Why did they feel they had “need of nothing”? Because they perceived themselves as “rich” and “increased with goods”. What we are viewing is good old fashioned materialism. They put their trust in their material, physical wealth.
Job’s 3 friends and even Jesus’ own disciples had trouble comprehending that rich men weren’t necessarily blessed by God. The assumption was that you must be blessed by God in order to prosper. That’s why the disciples asked, “Who then can be saved?” (Mt 19:25).
The Laodiceans, it would appear, suffer from the same malady. “Look at me!” they would cry, “I am well off. I must be being blessed by God!”
When you are comfortable, you feel no need to change.
However, the Laodiceans were spiritually the opposite. They were hiding behind the mask of material blessings, not even seeing their own hypocrisy.
Their hypocrisy and pride made them spiritually useless!
Can You Be Infected?
Norbert left the following comment on “Back to Sabbath Basics, UCG”:
Considering the comments in your last paragraph, to which I believe numerous other people share similiar circumstances. Why should any person demand someone else to keep the sabbath better than they are?
You know, that’s a fine question. In the comments, I chose to point out that if we are waiting for perfect people to teach us, then we will never be taught. Our ministers, no matter how dedicated and sincere, are only human.
I wish it were that simple, though. Norbert brings up a good point. It is especially strange because one person has charged that some of those who are making the most noise in the Roig case actually own businesses that stay open on the Sabbath. If true, that is intriguing to put it mildly.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t have standards. Our standards should be based upon the clear word of the Bible. When we fall short, we need to “man up” and make the effort to do better next time.