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Seven Churches Revelation Study

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Revelation Chapter 3

Verse By Verse Study of Revelation Chapter 3

Looking at church history, we now come to the Reformation. The age of Medieval Catholicism became so dark that when Sergius III became Pope (904‑967), he ushered in what history calls the Rule of Harlots during which time his mistress publicly accompanied him to the papal palace. Sergius' grandson, John X, continued this legacy until he was actually killed in his bedroom while committing adultery. Next came Benedict IX, who assumed the position of pope at 12 years of age through the practice of simony ‑ selling positions within the church to the highest bidder. Benedict IX was so corrupt that the citizens of Rome drove him out of the city, replacing him with Clement III, who was appointed by Henry III. Clement III was not a Roman because, in the words of Henry III: "I appoint no one from Rome because no priest can be found in this city who is free from the pollution of fornication and simony."

Times were dark, diabolical, depressing which caused some stirring to take, place in the hearts of good Catholic people. In 1330, a man named John Wycliffe was born in England and what a giant of the faith he was. An oxford scholar and Catholic priest, he began to write about the need to get away from papal edicts and back to the Bible. He began to publicly question doctrines such as transubstantiation and continual sacrifice so much that he was excommunicated by the powers in Rome. Although he himself was safe at oxford, his disciples, men like John Hus and Hugh Latimer, were burned at the stake. But their deaths caused a spark of Reformation which would burn throughout England.

A glorious move took place, crescendoing in the year 1483 in Eiselben, Saxon Germany when a coal miner and his wife gave birth to a baby boy they named Martin. "This boy is not to follow me into the mineshafts," said Martin's father. So Martin enrolled in the University to study Law. While walking on campus one day, a thunderstorm arose unlike anything he had ever seen before. Petrified, Martin cried out to St. Anne, the patron saint of coal miners, "If you save me from this lightning, I will become a monk," he cried. Spared, and true to his word, Martin Luther enrolled in seminary. After two years, he earned his Doctorate, but the more he studied theology, the more he knew he could never be righteous enough to earn God's favor. To this end, he regularly beat himself, slept outside in freezing temperatures, and fasted for long periods. Still not experiencing the reality of God in his life, he decided to journey to Rome for an audience with the Pope. On his way to Rome, however, he contracted a dangerous fever. While recovering in an Alpine monastery, one of the monks, sensing Luther's struggle told him to read the book of Habakkuk.

Why Habakkuk?

Habakkuk was also one who wrestled with issues. Luther took his advice and when he came to the fourth verse of the second chapter, 'The just shall live by faith', he finally understood.  "That's it!" he cried. "If I'm going to be just, it's not because of what I do or who I am, but by faith in what God's done, and who He is." However, upon arriving in Rome, with his heart full of excitement, Luther was shocked by the abuses and hypocrisy.

Returning to Germany, he realized he had to take a stand. So in 1517, he nailed a parchment containing 95 theses to the university door in Wittenburg challenging the Pope.  Three and a half years later, Rome answered, 'Retract or die.' After burning this response, Luther was summoned to Rome. In 1521, the Diet of Worms was convened at which the church realized, that due to his popularity, they had a problem in Luther. "We're giving you a second opportunity to recant," they said. Martin Luther gave his classic reply:"Here I stand. I can do no other, so help me God."

Luther's stand gave rise to the birth of the Jesuits ‑‑‑ an order dedicated to enforce Papal power no matter the cost. Meanwhile, the Reformation swept across Europe. Luther in Germany, Zwingli in Switzerland, Knox in Scotland all called for a return to the Bible.That call strengthened the determination of the Jesuits to stand by the Pope and stem the tide of what they perceived to be heresy.

Of the 4,000,000 people living in Bohemia in 1600, 80% were 'Protest‑ants', sympathizers of the Reformation. Two years later, the population of Bohemia numbered a mere 800,000. Austria and Hungary were also early hotbeds of the Reformation.

Today when we think of these countries, we think Catholic. Why? Because the worst bloodshed in history took place in the wake of the Reformation ‑‑‑ even worse than the persecution of Christians under the Roman Emperors, and the holocaust of Nazi Germany under Hitler. This upheaval and bloodshed was so far reaching that the seeds of the events in Bosnia and Northern Ireland today have their roots in those terrible, brutal times. Understanding this context of the Reformation is vital to understanding the meaning of the text before us.

Revelation 3:1
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write;

Sardis is a fitting name meaning 'remnant'. Built on a 1,000‑foot bluff, Sardis was an extremely wealthy city which seemed invincible ‑‑‑ until the year 549 BC when Cyrus, conqueror of the city of Babylon also he conquered Sardis. Sardis was conquered again 300 years later, a fact to which Jesus will allude.

Revelation 3:1
These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars;

As you read this section, you will notice that all of the references about Christ in Revelation 1 are repeated again in Revelation 2‑3. We saw in Revelation 1:4 that the 'seven Spirits of God' refers to the seven‑fold nature of the Holy Spirit as seen in Isaiah 11:2. Why would this description be repeated in conjunction with Sardis? Because, while many traditional mainline Protestants like Lutherans and Presbyterians, Wesleyans, Methodists and Congregationalists champion everything from homosexuality to environmental issues, they are wary of the ministry of the Spirit.

Revelation 3:1
I know thy works, that thou hath a name ...

The word translated 'name' is 'omina' in Greek, from which we get our word 'denomination'. You can go out tonight and behold the beauty of the North Star. In reality, however, you don't know if it's there. Thirty‑three light years away, it could have blown up thirty‑two years ago, and we wouldn't know it until next year. So too, there are those who proudly say,"'Look at this group, or that denomination." And the Lord says, "You're depending on reputation, on history, on what it used to be. You're resting in tradition, not relationship."

Revelation 3:1
... that thou livest, and art dead.

Although Jesus had much to correct in Thyatira, He commended them in Revelation 3:19 for their works and charity, service, faith, and patience. But here at Sardis, He simply says, "You're dead."

Revelation 3:2
Be watchful ...

Why should Sardis be watchful? Because their city fell when they weren't watching. So too, spiritually, they were saying,"We're on solid ground. No one's going to knock us down. You guys in Sardis should know better than that," Jesus says. "Your own history should tell you the results of being haughty and arrogant, resting in a false sense of security."

Revelation 3:2‑3
... and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect: before God. Remember therefore how thou hath received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.

What was received initially? The Bible ‑‑‑ from Wycliffe, Calvin, Knox, Luther. "Remember how it was received initially," Jesus is pleading. "And repent for how far you've come from that foundation.""

Tragically, the Jesus Project‑‑‑ the group of theologians who concluded that "It's more blessed to give than to receive" is the only verifiable phrase uttered by Jesus‑‑‑  mainline Protestants often compromise. And their sin is greater in God's economy than the abuses of the Roman church with her bloodshed and immorality because these guys in mainline Protestant denominations have bought into liberal theology. What's worse, they are undermining peoples' beliefs by muddying even the clearest statements of Christ.

Revelation 3:3
If therefore thou shalt: not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Jesus says, "If you don't get back to basics, I'm going to come to you as a thief." This is where mainline denominationalism increasingly finds itself. They do not believe in a Rapture, or even a Millennium ‑ as they teach that the promises of the Kingdom, the sayings of Isaiah, the teachings of Revelation are simply allegorical. "Don't look for the Rapture," they say, "and don't look for a real Kingdom established on earth." Thus, they will be totally caught off guard by Jesus' return.

Revelation 3:4‑5
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment ...

In other words, those in Sardis, or in this epoch of church history which began in 1500 and goes on until the Kingdom comes, who have stayed true to the Word will be overcomers.

Revelation 3:5
... and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

When someone comes to me broken‑hearted about his sin, I take him to John 10 wherein Jesus says we are eternally secure in His hand; to Romans where we read that nothing can separate us from the love of God; to 2 Timothy 1 where we are reminded that He is able to keep that which is committed to Him. But when someone comes to me and says, "I don't care what you think. I'm going to do this anyway. It's none of your business," I take him to a different set of Scriptures ‑ to 1 Corinthians 6, Ephesians 5, Galatians 5, and here to Revelation 3:5 ‑‑‑  because if there's no repentance month after year after decade, he's not on very solid ground.

Revelation 3:6
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Every generation needs its own Reformation, its own revival. It's not enough for a generation to hear about how it was in Dad's or Mom's day. The Jesus Movement of the 60's was wonderful but the days to come are going to be grander still. God's heart is to go from glory to greater glory whenever we get out of the way and don't fall prey to the Sardis Syndrome.

Revelation 3:7
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write ...

In this next phase of church history, we see a stirring in the dead denominationalism which had strayed from the simplicity of the Gospel.

Two books sat in the London shop of a young cobbler: a well‑worn Bible and Captain Cook's journal. As the days went by, the cobbler found himself losing interest in working on the soles of shoes, and caring more about the souls of people in far regions. Such passion stirred within him that on May 31, 1793 he strolled into the little Protestant church he attended and said, "Could I please share?" Allowed to speak a word, he read Isaiah 54:2‑3. "We must lengthen the cords; we must strengthen the stakes," he preached passionately. "We must include others who have never heard. I want to go. Send me to India."

His request stunned his congregation. After all, it had been 1,000 years since anyone had launched a foreign missionary endeavor. But their surprise didn't stop Carey's congregation from sending him to India. In his first ten years, he became fluent in twelve languages. In fact, one of his works, the Bible he translated in Sanskrit, is still used to this day.

William Carey goes down in history as the father of the modern missionary movement as suddenly the church awoke from her lethargy. Carey set the example that one doesn't have to be skilled, gifted, or special to be used in the Kingdom. God is simply looking for men who are willing to go.

The church at Philadelphia speaks of this age of church history beginning in the 1800's, for it was through men like Carey in India and Hudson Taylor in China, D.L. Moody in America and C.H. Spurgeon in London that evangelism was taking place, and missionaries were being sent out. The letter to Philadelphia is one of only two letters of the seven in which Jesus has nothing critical to say. Why? Perhaps it is because the Philadelphians were involved in evangelism. They were loving the lost and love covers a multitude of sins(1 Peter 4:8). There are three basic words for love: eros is erotic or sensual love; phileo is brotherly love; Agape is God's Love. Interestingly, the city of Philadelphia was founded in 189 BC by a man named Eumanes II. When he died, he was succeeded by his younger brother, Attalus II, who named many  new buildings after his older brother, minted coins bearing his brother's image, and talking about his brother constantly. Consequently, the people of the town began to call this place Philo‑delphia, or the city of brotherly love.

Nothing is coincidental in the Scriptures. I believe it is true that every book of the Bible is inspired. And every chapter of every book is inspired. And every verse of every chapter is inspired. And every word of every verse is inspired. And every letter of every word is inspired. In fact, I agree with the Rabbis that every space between every word is inspired!Thus, it is no surprise that Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love is the center of evangelism.

Revelation 3:7
These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David ...

In Revelation 1, we read that Jesus holds the keys of hell and death (Revelation 1:18). To this missionary church, He says He holds an additional key: the key of David ‑‑‑ which takes one back to the key of David spoken of in Isaiah 22, wherein we read of a man named Shebna who was the treasurer in the kingdom of Judah during the reign of Hezekiah. After Shebna used Temple money to purchase a sepulcher and chariots for himself, Isaiah came on the scene and said, "What are you doing? You had opportunity, but you abused it."

So the key to the treasury was taken from off Shebna's shoulder, where the key was traditionally worn, and was given to a godly man who wore it wisely. Isaiah went on to speak of this one who used the keys properly as being 'fastened like a nail,' or steadfast and dependable. Of course, we think of Another Who was fastened with a nail. We think of Another Who perfectly carried the key of the government upon His shoulder (Isaiah 9:6) ‑‑‑‑ Jesus Christ.

Revelation 3:7‑8
... he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it ...

Jesus is the One Who opened the doors for William Carey in India, Hudson Taylor in China, for us in the Rogue Valley here in Oregon. But He also shuts doors which can't be opened. If a man continually says 'No' to the Lord, there will come a time when he will be unable to say 'Yes', at which point he's locked in to his eternal decision and destruction.

Revelation 3:8
... for thou hast a little strength ...

There are those who teach that in the last days there will be a major manifestation of the sons of God; that miracles will happen wherein every sick person is healed and glorious things will occur. But I believe that's hype. Yes, there are some good things happening. But it's the time of little strength. Jesus does not say this condemningly. He merely says that's the way it is during the age of Philadelphia. Thus, it's not an indictment, but rather an honest assessment of the 'last days' church at Philadelphia.

Revelation 3:8
... and hast kept my word ...

Besides having little strength,


Revelation 3:8
... and hast not denied my name.

The idea here is 'You have not denied My Deity. You recognize I AM Who I claim to be ‑‑‑ not just an interesting teacher, not just a model of how to live successfully, or of how to have prosperity, or of how to be happy. I am the Christ.'

Revelation 3:9
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to came and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

In this end‑times church there is a synagogue of Satan those who say they are Jews but aren't. Who are these people? In John's day, the reference would have been to the Jews who persecuted believers. Jesus said previously and reiterates here, "They're not true Jews, any more than Christians who persecute Jews are true Christians." In our day, I believe the reference is to the growing number of people in the Christian community who say, "Because God is through with the Jew, we are Israel." Some feel it refers to those that are Jews in name only. They say they are Jews because they were born into a Jewish family but have nothing whatsoever to do with the God of the Jews.

In The Road To Holocaust, Hal Lindsay proves that the deaths of six million Jews did not begin with the Third Reich. They began 100 years prior when Bible teachers began to teach that God is through with the Jew. Anti‑semitism is always the mark of a people who fail to read their Bibles. In Romans 9‑11, God declares He is not through with Israel.

There are three categories of people in the Bible: Jews, Gentiles, and the Church. Who's the Church? Former Jews and former Gentiles. This is important to understand because we need to realize that the reason for the Tribulation is the fact that God is not through with Israel.

The Rapture is when Jesus comes to get us but the Second Coming is when Jesus comes back to rescue Israel. May God help us to never lose our understanding of Israel's importance.

Revelation 3:10
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience ...

What is the word of His patience? In 2 Thessalonians 3:5 we are told that God is establishing us in the patience of waiting for Jesus Christ. I point this out because the church at Philadelphia is the church interested in Bible prophecy. Although in the first two centuries, much writing and much preaching concerned the Second Coming and the Rapture, Bible prophecy, was lost as an interest in the church until the 1800's because allegorization crept in. "It's impossible for a nation to come back from the dead," people said. "It's unthinkable that the Jewish people could have a national identity again. It's gotta be an allegory. Why would the Middle East be the focal point of a battle? Who cares about the Middle East?" We now understand why that region of the world is so strategic: oil. Economically, militarily, politically, the attention of the whole world is constantly focused on the Middle East.

Revelation 3:10
... I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation ...

You at Philadelphia, you of little strength, you've kept My Word and you haven't denied My Name; you've gone through the open door, and you've been patiently awaiting My coming. Because of this, I will take you out of the time period of temptation yet to come.

Revelation 3:10
... which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

I believe the Church is this group of people who will be taken out of the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world. This is not simply local persecution in Philadelphia, but a time of difficulty which encompasses the entire globe. There's only one event which fits this description: the Tribulation.

Revelation 3:11
Behold, I come quickly ...

The word here is 'suddenly'. Thus, the Lord could come at any moment. Only we who believe in a Pre‑Tribulation Rapture can say, "It could be today." Mid‑Trib, Post‑Trib, all other positions are forced to say, "The Lord can't come back today because the, Tribulation hasn't begun yet." But we say, "It could be today" ‑‑‑ and that is the throbbing heartbeat of Bible prophecy ‑-‑ to be watching, living in constant expectancy.

Revelation 3:11
... hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

This is intriguing. "I'm coming quickly," Jesus says, "so hold fast in order that you don't lose your crown." "Crown?", you say. "I don't have one yet. What does this mean?"  I believe the answer is found in 1 Thessalonians 2:19‑20, where Paul identifies the crown as people ‑‑‑ people with whom we've shared, people for whom you've prayed. "Stay with them," says Jesus. "Keep praying for them. Dont give up on them."

Revelation 3:12
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out

"Hold fast to your crown, look for My coming, and you will be planted as firmly as a pillar in My Kingdom," says Jesus.

Revelation 3:12
... and I will write upon him the name of my God...

Revelation 3:12
... and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God ...

You're not only going to have the glory of God upon you, but you're going to have the government of God given to you. The New Jerusalem is going to make any city on this planet look insignificant. We will be the aristocracy of eternity, residents of the New Jerusalem, where the Power truly is.

Revelation 3:12
... and I will write upon him my new name.

Proverbs 25:2 says it is the glory of God to conceal or to Name, but it is the honor of kings to search it out. God hides things and He says if you want to be a king, search it out. The Bible says we shall be kings and priests, which means we're going to be those who search out this name.

When we get to heaven, we're truly going to be the Bride of Christ. We are His Bride, yet unlike any relationship on earth, this one will only produce greater and greater ecstasy, greater and greater delight as we explore the nooks and crannies of His Nature for all eternity. His new name is hidden. It's as if the Lord is saying, "There are aspects of Who I am of which you have no idea on this earth, for it will take eternity for you to perceive and enjoy the aspects of My Being. It's My glory to conceal a thing. It's your privilege to search it out."

Revelation 3:13
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Brotherly love, evangelism, holding fast ‑-‑ all characteristics of this church at Philadelphia ‑-‑ perhaps best typifed by Francis of Assisi when he said, "Witness wherever you go, and if absolutely necessary, use words." Truly, evangelism is directly connected to love.


Revelation 3:14
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;

Six miles south of Philadelphia, the city of Laodicea was the banking center of the region. Consequently, it had ample money to spend on entertainment, as evidenced by the 30,000‑seat amphitheatre whose ruins still stand.

In addition, Laodicea was known throughout history as being very tricky politically because the city was built in a way that it could not defend itself militarily which was a very unusual trait for an ancient city. The only way Laodicea could survive was by making compromises with her enemies and neighbors
Finally, even as Aristotle noted, Laodicea was known as the opthamological center of the world due to the eye salve they manufactured, highly valued in the ancient world. All of these factors figure in to what Jesus will say to this group.

Take note that the address is not to the church at Laodicea, but to the church of the Laodiceans. The Greek word 'laos', from which we get our word 'laity', means 'people'. 'Diece' means 'decision' or 'rule'. Thus, the church of the Laodiceans was not guided by the Lord. It was directed by the people. The Laodicean mentality remains. I'm amazed at the influential churches whose services regularly include interviews with celebrities who are not living godly lives, who have not taken a stand for Jesus Christ, who have little more than positive stories to share ‑‑‑ churches where people rule; wherein "Smile, be happy," has replaced the message of repentance and the Good News of the, Gospel.

Revelation 3:14
These things saith the Amen ...

Why does Jesus refer to Himself as "the Amen?" 'Amen' meaning 'so be it', Jesus identifies Himself to this group, so prone to compromise, saying, "There is Certainty. It's Me."

Revelation 3:14
... the faithful and true witness ...

The Greek word translated 'witness' is 'martur' from which we get our word 'martyr'. What is a witness? One who lives so much like Jesus Christ and is so in love with Jesus Christ that he ends up being treated, or crucified even as Jesus Christ was crucified. The Bible puts it this way: Yea, all those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).

"Don't talk about suffering," the Laodicean would say. "We just want to be positive and happy." You'll never hear a message about suffering, persecution, martyrdom in a Laodicean church. They don't want to think about those things.

Revelation 3:14
... the beginning of the creation of God.

This verse is often used by cultists to say Jesus is created, therefore not co‑equal with the Father. But the Greek word translated 'beginning' is 'arche', which actually means 'the origin'. You see, God the Father created all things through the Son (Colossians 1:16) by the power of the Spirit (Genesis 1:2).

In the last days, the question is and will continue to be, "Who is the Creator?" Evolution being part of the end‑time deception, it is no surprise that in the church of the Laodiceans there will be questions concerning creation.

Revelation 3:15‑16
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.

In Laodicea's sister city of Hieropolis were hot springs ‑‑‑ from which the present‑day Turkish government is trying to extract geo‑thermal power. To take advantage of this, an aqueduct was constructed which carried the hot water from Hicropolis through Laodicea and on to Colossae. In theory, it was a good idea, but in reality, by the time the water reached Laodicea, it was lukewarm. Thus, as lukewarm water flowed through their city, the Laodiceans would know hot water was useful, cold water was refreshing but lukewarm water was not good for much. The Lord says the same thing about His people. "If you're hot, I can use you. If you're cold, I can deal with you. But if you're lukewarm, you'll neither be hot enough to use nor cold enough to correct."

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:

To this Laodicean church which wasn't talking about the reality of sin, the need for repentance, or the Cross of Christ; which didn't speak of witnessing, standing, and living for eternity, Jesus said, "You think you're rich ‑‑‑ but you're impoverished. You think you're doing well, but you're miserable."

Revelation 3:18
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich ...

In Bible days, smelters would take the gold brought in from the mines and heat it by fire until it liquefied. After stirring it until the impurities were burned out, they would know the process was complete when the smelter could look into the pot of liquid gold and see the reflection of his own face.

Because Jesus is the Master Smelter, He uses heat as well. So, to these people who were impure, carnal, vacillating, lukewarm, He says, "Get into the fire. Get into the battle. Engage yourself like you once did in ministry."

Before the Battle of Trafalgar, knowing this particular battle would determine the fate of Europe, Lord Nelson assembled his men and said, "In the event you cannot see or read the signals in the heat of battle, know this: No captain in this fleet can do wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy."

I like that! "Captains, if you can;t read my signals, and you don't know what to do, the answer is very simple: Engage in battle the first enemy you can find." So too, when you feel yourself becoming complacent, get involved in service, in sharing, in ministry. Determine in your heart to engage yourself once more in the fire of ministry ‑‑ not because God wants to watch you burn, but because He wants to warm your heart and get you going again.

Revelation 3:18
... and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear ...

Secondly, not only get back into the race, but get back to grace. Throughout Scripture, white raiment speaks of the robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61, Luke 15) given to those who are in Christ. The Laodiceans were known for a unique kind of wool taken from black sheep, yet the Lord says to them, you need garments of white, righteous garments, the covering of My Grace.

Revelation 3:18
... and anoint: thine eyes with eye‑salve, that thou mayest see.

The same Jesus Who says, "Anoint your eyes with eye salve" is the One Who put mud in the blind man's eyes in John 9. The way of the Great Physician is to allow irritation to produce illumination. "You're seeing everything in a carnal way," He says, "and you need to humble yourself before Me and deal with the mud." "Ouch," we say. "That mud hurts." But in reality, there must be an awareness of the problems in our hearts and the trouble in our souls before we can see. "Search me, O God," cried David, "and see if there be any wicked way in me," (Psalm 51). Listen, if you're feeling Laodicean, if you feel lukewarm, you need to ask the Great Physician to search you, for that will be the eye salve which will allow you to see clearly. How long has it been, dear brothers and sisters, since you've been in prayer before the Lord saying, "Search me concerning the words on my lips, the bitterness in my heart, the thoughts on my mind?" Truly, confession precedes vision as surely as irritation precedes illumination.

Revelation 3:19
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

If you feel miserable and blind and wretched and troubled, the Lord would say to you, "Terrific. It just proves to you conclusively I love you a bunch." A coach will always be the harshest on those in whom he sees the most promise. If he looks at you as a benchwarmer, he'll never criticize you. But if you have potential, he'll have a lot to say to you.

Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him ...

While this verse has been used as a powerful illustration of the invitation for personal salvation, Jesus is primarily speaking to the churches. Tragically, some people go to church all their lives but never hear a message on repentance, on the fact that there is sin, or that there is a hell. To such a church, Jesus says, "I love you and care about you. That's why I give this invitation to you."

Revelation 3:20
... and will sup with him and he with me.

In every account of Christ's post‑resurrection appearances He's eating. I like that? Of course, that's where we really find the answer to our Laodicean condition ‑‑‑ at His Table. There's a season for everything, Solomon tells us (Ecclesiastes 3) ‑‑‑ a time to weep and a time to rejoice. The Lord's Table has a unique way of bringing us into the full orb of just such diverse emotional reactions and responses because we leave, saying, "I'm sobered by my sin, yet elated by the fact that It's washed away."

Revelation 3:21
To 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.

"Open your heart to Me," Jesus would say, "and I'll open heaven to you."

It one thing to have Jesus as a Model, or a Mascot. That's what they were doing at Laodicea. They were good Christians. But Jesus is not to be a Model or a Mascot. He is to be our Master. That's what He was asking of that congregation, and that's what He's asking of you and me.

Revelation 3:22
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

May this church not be a place that is popular, full of people who have good mottoes and good intentions. May it be a place where we realize that, although were sinners who have failed miserably God has provided Jesus Christ and He will come in to our heart: rule and reign within if we simply open the door.

The above information is an edited version of
'Tree of Life Bible Commentary, Revelation - Volumn 1', by Jon Coursen.

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