Lukewarm Laodicea-Revelation 3:14-22

Revelation 3:14-22 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame 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.”
Apocalisse 3:14-22 14 «All’angelo della chiesa di Laodicea scrivi: queste cose dice l’Amen, il testimone fedele e veritiero, il principio della creazione di Dio:15 “Io conosco le tue opere: tu non sei né freddo né fervente. Oh, fossi tu pur freddo o fervente! 16 Così, perché sei tiepido e non sei né freddo né fervente, io ti vomiterò dalla mia bocca. 17 Tu dici: ‘Sono ricco, mi sono arricchito e non ho bisogno di niente!’ Tu non sai, invece, che sei infelice fra tutti, miserabile, povero, cieco e nudo. 18 Perciò io ti consiglio di comprare da me dell’oro purificato dal fuoco per arricchirti, e delle vesti bianche per vestirti e perché non appaia la vergogna della tua nudità, e del collirio per ungerti gli occhi e vedere. 19 Tutti quelli che amo, io li riprendo e li correggo; sii dunque zelante e ravvediti. 20 Ecco, io sto alla porta e busso: se qualcuno ascolta la mia voce e apre la porta, io entrerò da lui e cenerò con lui ed egli con me. 21 Chi vince lo farò sedere presso di me sul mio trono, come anch’io ho vinto e mi sono seduto con il Padre mio sul suo trono.22 Chi ha orecchi ascolti ciò che lo Spirito dice alle chiese”».
 
     Laodicea was 60 kilometers from the church at Philadelphia and Jesus’ message couldn’t have been harsher. What a contrast between these two churches! Philadelphia was blessed for their faithfulness and Laodicea was rebuked for their indifference and nominal commitment. Paul never visited Laodicea but wrote about it in his letter to the Colossian church (2:1-2, 4:16). 
     The problem is an age old one that has affected churches in every generation: a lukewarm faith. Using the lukewarm metaphor, these Laodiceans could easily understand what Jesus meant. The water in their city came from rock canals and was tepid at best. People did not drink the lukewarm water but rather heated or cooled it down. Their lukewarm spiritual state is described here as being satisfied with their wealth and riches. But Jesus depicts them as being wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.   
     The solution for spiritual lukewarmness is proposed here by three actions that demonstrate repentance. The city of Laodicea had a reservoir of gold as well as it was famous for its expensive wool and medicinal ointment for damaged eyes. Jesus uses these three items to teach the lesson of repentance. First, He recommends that they buy refined gold (not ordinary gold of the world) which is essentially the true riches found in God’s glory and grace. Second, they should adorn themselves with white clothes. This symbol alludes to living a righteous life. And third, they should apply the spiritual salve to their eyes in order to bring to light their errors and provide healing for their eyes. The truth for us should be plain: Jesus rejects those whose faith lacks commitment and sincerity.
Pray with me: Lord, You know the true condition of my spiritual state. Help me to never be satisfied with a life that is complacent but rather cultivate in me a vibrant faith and genuine desire for more of You.


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