In Revelation 3:14-22, the Lord Jesus Christ says this:
“‘. . . to the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and miserable and poor and blind and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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. He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.'”
In this passage, Christ gives a message to the Apostle John to write to an angel, or messenger, of the church in Laodicea, a town near the west coast of modern-day Turkey. He first gives the audience of the letter, then describes the Author, and finally gives one long admonition, or warning, to this lukewarm church. This admonition consists of the church’s condemnation, Christ’s counsel, His command, His consolation, and His closing command.
In the first part of verse 14, Christ gives the audience of the letter — the angel, or messenger from the church in Laodicea. Why is a messenger receiving the letter? So that he or she may deliver the letter to the church. What about the town of Laodicea is relevant to the letter? According to The MacArthur Study Bible by John MacArthur, page 1967, it had four major relevant aspects. First, the town’s water was lukewarm. Also, it had three industries that made it stand out: banking, which relates to the mention of gold in the letter, wool, which could be used for clothing, and medicine, including eye salve, or ointment.
In the second part of verse 14, Christ describes the Author of this letter, Himself. He describes Himself as the Amen, which basically means “so be it,” affirming the truth of something. In Christ’s case, He affirms the truth of God’s Word by simply existing, and has fulfilled or will fulfill at least nearly all Old Testament prophecies, covenants, and promises of God. Second, He describes Himself as the faithful and true Witness of God, who has explained who God is. Third, He describes Himself as the Beginning of the creation of God, or the One who caused the beginning of the creation of God.
Verse 15 begins the admonition to the lukewarm church. In verses 15-16, Christ explains the church’s condemnation. First, He says that He knows the church’s deeds, and thus, knows that they are neither spiritually cold, nor spiritually hot, but He wishes that they were either spiritually cold or spiritually hot. Since they are spiritually lukewarm, and neither spiritually hot, nor spiritually cold, He promises them that He will spit them out of His mouth. In other words, He will make them stop having an association with Him by ending their church.
In verses 17-18, Christ counsels this church. He begins by giving the reason for His counsel. The reason is that they say they are rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and do not know that they are spiritually wretched, or troubled, spiritually miserable, spiritually poor, spiritually blind, and spiritually naked. What is His counsel? He advises them to buy from Him spiritual gold, or divine wealth, refined by fire, the fire of God’s wrath poured out upon Christ on the cross, so they may become spiritually rich, to buy white, or perfect, garments, or righteousness, so they may clothe themselves, and that the shame of their spiritual nakedness will not be revealed on the day of judgment, and to buy from Him eye salve to anoint, or cover, their eyes, so they may see, or understand, divine things.
In verse 19, Christ gives them a command, but first gives them a reason to obey it. The reason is that, those whom He loves, He reproves, or explains the error of someone’s ways, and He disciplines, or punishes to correct. Therefore, He commands them to be zealous, or passionately devoted to Him, and to change the way they think on a fundamental level, including how they think about themselves and Him.
In verses 20-21, Christ consoles those who will obey His command. He begins by telling them to take notice that He stands at the door of their church building and knocks, and that if anyone hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in to him and will dine with him, and he will dine with Him. Further, He adds, He will make him who overcomes the world sit down with Him on His throne, as He also overcame the world and sat down with His Father on His throne.
In verse 22, Christ closes the letter by commanding him who has an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
So, are you neither spiritually cold nor spiritually hot, or spiritually lukewarm?
Do you think “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked?
Have you bought from Christ with only your trust in Him gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed, as well as eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see?
Have you become zealous and changed the way you think about the fundamental things of your life, including yourself and Christ?
Have you heard Christ’s voice and dined with Him?
Are you overcoming the world?
Are you hearing what the Spirit said to the churches?
Do you understand who the spiritual gold refined by fire is? The Apostle Paul wrote about Him this way:
“. . . I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-9
This is what the Apostle John said about the gospel in John 1:1-18:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
This is what Christ Himself said about the gospel:
“. . . God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:16-20
John the Baptist said this: “. . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on [stays directed toward] him.” – John 3:36
The Apostle Paul said this in Romans 2:4-16 and 1:18-32:
“. . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.”
“. . . the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.”
Speaking of those that practice sin, the Apostle Paul uses this quote:
“. . . There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one: Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness . . .” – Romans 3:10-14
This is my appeal to you, as written by the Apostle Paul:
“. . . we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21
This is how you become reconciled to God:
“. . . if thou shalt confess [acknowledge] with thy mouth Jesus as Lord [Greek: kurios, or Supreme in Authority], and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him [depend upon Him]: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [who He is, what He has done, and what He can do] shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13