Saturday, January 31, 2015

Don't Make God Spit You Out

This morning, as I read the letter to the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22), it startled me to realize that false converts had overtaken the church that, at one time, shared Paul's epistles with the Colossian church (see Colossians 4:15). By the time John had experienced his revelation, the Laodicean church had evidently deteriorated so drastically that they had no real connection with the Lord. Think about this sad passage with me:
14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 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 eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (ESV)
Not only did this congregation lack passion for the Lord, but it had no idea of its impoverished condition.  Yet our Lord, in His abundant grace, offered salvation and restoration to this rebellious church. If they continued in their indifference and false pride, He would vomit them from His mouth in mutual rejection. But if they repented and zealously heeded His Word, He would draw them into fellowship with Himself.

I believe many 21st Century churches, like the Laodiceans, find excitement in their music, their various outreach programs and/or their attempts to be "relevant" to the world while they demonstrate boredom with the doctrines that reveal Christ's nature. The may read the Bible, but usually only to see how it might benefit them personally. They don't realize how much they need salvation.

Yet the Lord still offers them hope, if they'll just admit their spiritual poverty and look to Him. This passage makes me marvel at God's patience with those who passively reject Him, and even more at His willingness to restore repentant churches (and individuals) to Himself!

3 comments:

  1. Revelation 3:14 in this version of scripture makes it seem that Jesus is a created being. In Young's Literal Translation it reads: the Chief of the creation of God

    Which gives a more accurate depiction (I think) of being over and above all creation.

    I speak one other language and can understand why some words that can be translated multiple different ways from my language (Dutch) into English, can sometimes be "correct" (literally) without actually being true to the actual intent of the original language. Often when I translate from Dutch into English one correct meaning can make a huge difference in interpretation over another correct meaning for the same word....just as there often are multiple words that can be used for English words into another language and depending on how the word is used makes a huge difference which word it gets translated into.

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  2. Okay...but you've missed the main point of the passage, seems to me. And anyway, I saw "beginning" more in the sense that creation finds its origin in Him. I am almost certain John meant it that way.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, sorry I gave that impression, no, that verse happened to stand out to me when I read your post and reminded me of what I know from my own experience of translating from one language to another. I agree with you that would be what John intended for that verse, that creation was made by Him therefore it began by Him.

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