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.
Jesus opens the message to the Church of Laodicea as saying that He is “the Amen”. He is the “so be it”. In other words, He is the fulfillment and therefore speaks the truth.
1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2, King James Version)
Protestants will sometimes focus in on “finisher” without understanding. First, Jesus is the author of our faith. “Author” can also mean “chief leader” or “prince”. He is in charge! He will direct us if we are willing to follow. HWA, GTA, or any other minister is not in charge of your faith. Remember the last church? “Let no man take your crown.” “Finisher” means “perfector”. He has already been made perfect before the Father and is now the supreme example of faith. What was “finished”? Becoming our example.
However, Paul wrote he is “author and finisher”, which in combination is a powerful statement. He not only initiated, he not only leads, but He will see it through. I believe “author” is an apt translation. What does an author do? They sit down, they write out a draft, and then they go back time and time again to perfect their work!
Then, if that isn’t significant enough, this faithful and true Witness is “the beginning of the creation of God”. He was the “beginning” because He was the One Who set it into motion! Remember, all things were created by Him. Therefore, the NIV chooses to translate the last part of verse 1 as “the ruler of God’s creation.”
Again, what is God’s government? We see it right here! Jesus Christ is not only Head of the Church, but He is over all creation! He is the rightful heir, and He is the rightful ruler. If we follow and obey Him rather than the imaginations of mortal men, then everything else will fall into place.
The message to the Churches of Revelation and the message in the Book of Judges is very similar: God is King. If we each individually obey Him, we will have peace, prosperity and His blessings. If we cannot govern ourselves according to His laws and decrees, calamity will overtake us. The main distinction is that Israel was promised physical blessings, while the Church is given spiritual promises. So, how many of our problems in the Church are directly the result of the actions and attitudes of the person that looks back at us in the mirror in the morning?
“Laodicea” itself is a compound word meaning “the people decide” or “judgment of the people”. Who was more judgmental of anyone than the Pharisees? Who more than anyone else in Jesus’ day believed they had need of nothing? Who thought they were not under bondage? Who had their eyes on physical riches all the while claiming spiritual superiority?
Isn’t having a need for nothing just the same as self-righteousness? Isn’t that what typically leads to judging others?
Keep in mind, the hand that points has three fingers pointing back at them.
9Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
10And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:
11And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58:9-11, King James Version)
Consider verse 20: “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.” Jesus was standing outside knocking. These were a group of people claiming to be Christ’s church, but Christ was not in them! They had lost sight of Who they were supposed to worship.
Why? Their love had grown lukewarm. They were paying lip service to what He had set down. They were self-righteous and in the end, they were doing what was right in their own eyes.