Tuesday, September 3, 2013

P2 Jesus wants a r.o.c.k solid church - Revelation 3:14-22

Revelation 3:14-15  “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot."

Jesus promises in Matthew 16:18 "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it."  That "rock" of which Christ speaks is not Peter (whose name in the Greek refers to a detached stone) nor is the "rock" referring to Peter's faith or saving faith.  Rather the "rock" upon which the church is to be built is Jesus Himself.  The word for "rock" speaks of a living stone or self-sufficient stone or uncut stone. Other passages clearly portray Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone and living stone upon which the church is built. (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:7) The church at Laodicea was a church that was anything but solid.  As we began considering yesterday this seventh letter of Jesus to the churches, the aim was to see how Jesus desires a rock solid church before His return.  We utilized the acronym r.o.c.k to represent the characteristics necessary to be Jesus' r.o.c.k solid Christian people. So what does it take to be a r.o.c.k solid church that Jesus wants? We considered two traits in yesterday's post:

1. Recognition of Jesus' ownership.  3:14,18
2. Occupy in good deeds.                 3:15-16

In today's post we will finish out this short blog series and consider two more traits necessary in order to be the rock solid church that Jesus wants, namely...

3. Check your heart.                         3:17-20 
4. Keep on until Jesus comes.          3:21-22

Check your heart.  Revelation 3:17-20 
Laodicea's chief problem was that "self" was on the throne of many people's hearts.  "Self" is that principle that operates in the left over remnants of sin in the Christian that cries out what it wants, when it wants and how it wants. The heart is like a chariot that will be driven by one of two things in the Christian, either self or the Spirit. (compare Romans 8:1-5; Galatians 5:16).  We need to check our hearts, which are the wellspring of life and from whence issue forth all the priorities for life. (compare Mark 7:21-23). In these three verses we find three phrases worthy of note from Jesus: "I advise you to buy from me..."(vs 18); "those whom I love I reprove and discipline..." (vs. 19) and "behold I stand at the door and knock..." (vs. 20). 

The first phrase is meant for the vast majority of people in the Laodicean church who were professors of Christ but were not possessors of faith in Christ.  The language of "buying from Jesus" is a remedy for their sin-sick condition. It is similar in wording to other evangelistic passages such as Isaiah 55:1,6 and Revelation 22:17. This language is another way of saying to sinners: receive by faith alone all that Jesus is and has done by giving over to him who you are are and what you have done. The vast majority of people at Laodicea felt they were fine and in need of nothing. (3:17).  

The second phrase in 3:19 of Jesus "reproving and correcting those whom He loves" is addressing what was likely a minority of true believers at Laodicea who were tempted to go along with the crowd.  The Lord's discipline in the life of a Christian is sometimes the only evidence that person has that they are truly converted and born again. (compare 2 Corinthians 13:4 and Hebrews 12:6) 

The third phrase in 3:20 of Jesus "standing at the door and knocking" is addressed to those believers in the church who have been holding Jesus at arms length.  Though some have made this verse out to be an evangelistic statement, the context suggests that Jesus is speaking to the truly saved members who have been interested more in other things than Jesus.  Truly this imagery of Jesus wanting into the midst of His people is striking, being that it is a position that is by right His. (compare Hebrews 2:11-18) 
So in order to be r.o.c.k solid for Jesus in these last days, we need to be recognizing His authority, occupying in good deeds and checking our hearts.  However there last necessary trait, namely...

Keeping on until Jesus comes.   Revelation 3:21-22
The overall tone of Jesus' warnings and rebukes to a church that had all but given up and given in was to "keep on" until He comes.  Revelation 3:21 states - "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne."  The Christian by position is seated already with Christ in the heavenly realms and in His Kingdom spiritually, even though in experience the Christian is still here on earth fighting the good fight of faith. (compare Ephesians 2:6-10) The Kingdom of Heaven describes the realm of those saints who have went on before us in death and are with Christ now, awaiting His return.  

As Jesus is preparing and putting the finishing touches on His Kingdom in Heaven, the point will come when what we believe by faith will be made sight.  Christ will return and we who are the church militant, fighting the good fight of faith in this present age, will be joined with the saints in the rapture and resurrection that will occur at Jesus' return, transforming every child of God into the church triumphant.  The church triumphant, which is composed of those already with the Lord, will be completed when at the rapture and resurrection every Christian will be in a resurrection body likened unto Jesus'. (compare 1 John 3:1-3) This is profound to think about, in that we will then be ruling and reigning with Christ for 1,000 years over a restored Israel and exercising judgment in some capacity over the angelic realm in the glorious Millennial kingdom. (compare 1 Corinthians 6:3; Revelation 20:1-6) 

 I mention all of this to say this in closing out today's post: that our energy to serve Jesus should be as if he could return in the next minute, and our willingness to serve Jesus should be as if he may not return for many years.