The Book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible. It is a book of prophecy containing things going to happen in the future. Although there are numerous prophecies in the Gospels and Epistles, the Revelation is the only New Testament book that focuses primarily on prophetic events.
We can understand about the state of the seven churches of that time by reading the first three chapters. One of the churches is the Church of Laodicea. In this post, I would like to share with you about the state of this church specifically. Revelation 3:17,18 says,
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:
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.
Their life was physically good, had all kinds of abundance, but spiritually they were in a state of poverty. In the sight of God, they were poor. In verses 15,16 God says, 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 spue thee out of my mouth.
A lukewarm state is a terrible state. These verses are also a warning for us, so as to see which state we are also in. We may think we have everything and lack nothing. But how is our spiritual state really?
In the end of this year, let’s examine and see our own heart and life. Let’s not be deceived by others nor deceive ourselves into thinking we are in the right track. Let’s compare our lives with the Laodiceans and see where we stand.
About this church, 5 things are mentioned – Wretched, Miserable, Poor, Blind, Naked.
1. Wretched – In the New Testament, St. Paul was living in a wretched state before being saved. When he lived in sin and far away from God. In Romans 7:24 he says, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
According to the Word of God and in His sight, someone who is living a life in sin is considered wretched. Such kind of people live without Jesus, without the truth. St. Paul was intelligent, knowledgeable, was literate, had riches and wealth, but in God’s sight he was found in a wretched state. But when Jesus came into his life and delivered him, we see how he became a servant of God.
Wretched people contemplate suicide when everything is bleak before them. Some even after knowing the truth, desire to kill themselves. Eg. Judas Iscariot. He lost his peace and rest when he went away from Jesus and had a miserable end. He lived and walked and talked with Jesus yet his end was bad.
Our state should not be like this.
2. Miserable/Despised – One who doesn’t have any blessing left with him. What this means is – if we have peace, God has blessed us with the blessing of peace, if we are delivered from sin, we have the blessing of being free/ delivered. Hannah was being persecuted by Peninnah. She was miserable because her adversary was always mocking her. Why? Because Hannah was barren and had no children.
Children are a heritage of the Lord – Psalms 127:3. They signify two things:
- Literal children as a blessing
- Spiritual blessings we receive from God
Hannah didn’t have these. Thus, when she was despised, she fasted and prayed in the house of God. She prayed with bitterness of soul and wept sore – 1 Samuel 1:10. The Lord visited her and blessed her. Not with just one child but many children – 1 Samuel 2:21
When we pray with a broken heart and with tears, the Lord removes our reproach and miserableness.
Joseph was hated and despised by his brothers. They cast him into a pit. But the Lord delivered him from this state of being despised. He went on to become the Second-in-Chief of Egypt.
3. Poor – Those who don’t have anything are poor. For eg. The Prodigal Son. In Luke 15:11-13, we read about what happened to this person. The Prodigal Son ruined all the substances he received from his father. Verse 13 clearly states,
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
What Substances has our Heavenly Father given us?
- First Faith
- God’s love shed in our hearts – Romans 5:5
- The hope of the Coming of Jesus
- Life of holiness
- Life of Prayer
In 2 Kings 4:1, we find a woman telling about her poor state to Prophet Elisha. Her husband was dead. Husband refers to our Lord Jesus Christ. Mary and Martha told Jesus that their brother was dead because Jesus wasn’t there – John 11:21. If we have Jesus with us, we will never lack anything.
You may have everything, but without Jesus you are in a completely miserable state.
The woman said because her husband was dead, she became poor and the creditors came to take her 2 sons away. 2 sons – hope and faith.
First Son – Those without the hope of the Coming of Jesus are poor.
Second Son – We must earnestly contend for the faith, delivered to the saints – Jude 3
4. Blind – Who does the blind spiritually refer to? The Blind are those who have lost the Truth. Their eyes can’t see. Eyes – Vision. If we have lost our spiritual vision, then we have become blind. Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. We must renew our vision before becoming completely blind.
Why does one become blind? Because of sin, backslidden life and walking according to one’s own will. Samson’s eyes were plucked out by the Philistines. He lost his vision. He didn’t abide in the covenant – not allowing a razor to come in his head. Judges 16:21 explains this. The tribe of the Ammonites(devil) works against the children of God by ruining their strength and vision. When we have heavenly vision, we are ready to go through any path joyfully.
5. Naked – No clothes over the body. When does one become naked in God’s sight? By committing sin. Adam and Eve committed the sin of disobedience and became naked – Genesis 3:10
After Jesus healed the demon possessed man, he came to his senses and was seen in his clothes.
(….to be continued)