7B.   Letter To The Angel Of The Church In Laodicea (3.14-22)

 

Matthew Henry writes, “We now come to the last and worst of all the seven Asian churches, the reverse of the church of Philadelphia; for, as there was nothing reproved in that, here is nothing commended in this, and yet this was one of  the seven golden candlesticks, for a corrupt church may still be a church.”[1]

 

(3.14)  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

 

1.   “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write

 

a.   A. T. Robertson writes, “Forty miles south-east of Philadelphia and some forty miles east of Ephesus, the last of the seven churches addressed with special messages, on the river Lycus on the border of Phrygia, near Colossae and Hierapolis, recipient of two letters by Paul (Col 4:16), on the great trade-route from Ephesus to the east and seat of large manufacturing and banking operations (especially of woollen carpets and clothing, Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, p. 40ff.), centre of the worship of Asklepios and seat of a medical school and also of a provincial court where Cicero lived and wrote many of his letters, home of many Jews, called by Ramsay (op. cit., p. 413) “the City of Compromise,” the church here founded apparently by Epaphras (Col 1:7; 4:12), now a deserted ruin, one of six cities with this name (meaning justice of the people).”[2]

 

b.   On the other hand, John Gill maintains that Laodicea means, “the judging of the people.”[3]

 

c.   But yet another commentator on the Revelation, Henry More, declares that the name of the city means “the righteousness of the people,”[4] and goes on to explain that the context of the passage and condition of their circumstances suggests that the derived meaning of the word Laodicea should be understood to be “to judge the people.” Thus, John Gill, who was born 28 years after More’s work was published, agrees with him.

 

d.   It is in this city, noted for its banking, its wool, and its medicines (most notably the eye salve produced there)[5], that the pastor to whom Jesus directs His most scathing denunciation lives and, if it could be called that, serves.

 

2.   “These things saith the Amen

 

a.   To the pastor of this church the Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself as “the Amen.” Nowhere else in God’s Word is the word “amen” used as a proper name, as it is used here.[6]

 

b.   Please, turn to Isaiah 65.16 and read with me:

 

That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.”

 

c.   Do you see the words “truth” in this verse? The Hebrew words here translated “truth” are translations of this word “amen,” which means truth or verity. In this verse the phrases “the God of truth” could be literally rendered “the God of the amen.” Therefore, when used as a name, as it is in Revelation 3.14, “the amen” emphasizes the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ and His immutability, which is to say His changelessness. Truth does not change, does it?           It is always the same.

 

d.   There can be no doubt that the Lord Jesus Christ, by referring to Himself in this way, is calling this pastor on the carpet, is putting him on notice, is emphasizing to him just Who it is Who has addressed this letter to him. And the significance of this? “According to 2 Cor. 1:20 all the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ; that is, all God’s promises and unconditional covenants are guaranteed and affirmed by the person and work of Jesus Christ.”[7] Let us turn there and read what Paul has written:

 

For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”

 

3.   The Lord Jesus continues His self-description by saying, “the faithful and true witness.

 

He alone, of all beings, can be perfectly faithful and perfectly true as a witness of God.

 

4.   He then says, “the beginning of the creation of God.

 

a.   This phrase “beginning of the creation of God” refers to an extremely important truth. Pay careful attention here, because this verse is grossly misinterpreted by the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult. The word “beginning” is translated from the Greek word “arch,” which does mean beginning. However, this word is not here to be understood as a reference to the first thing made. Rather, as the underlying support of that which is made. What is being stressed here is Christ’s role as the underlying foundation, beneath the surface, from which a structure gains all of its strength. So, this verse does not detract from the Biblical doctrine of Christ’s deity, as the cultists would suggest, but supports the claim that Jesus is God.

 

b.   This is such an important point that we need to spend some valuable time dealing with the issues raised by this statement. Allow me to paraphrase Albert Barnes[8], the 19th century Presbyterian commentator: “The beginning of the creation of God. This expression is a very important one concerning the rank and dignity of the Savior, and, like all similar expressions respecting Him, its meaning has been much misunderstood. There are only three ways this phrase can be intelligently understood. Either,

 

i.    Jesus was the beginning of the creation in the sense that He caused the universe to begin to exist. That is, that He was the Author of all things, or

 

ii.    He was the first created being, or

 

iii.   He is preeminent over all, and is at the head of the universe.

 

c.   It is not necessary to examine any other possible interpretations, since the only other possible interpretations of this phrase are so foreign to the natural meaning of the words as to need no special refutation.

 

d.   As to the three possible meanings, it may be observed, that the first one, that Jesus is the Author of the creation, and in that sense the beginning, though a true Bible doctrine (John 1.3; Ephesians 3.9; Colossians 1.16), is not in accordance with the proper meaning of the word here used, arch. This word properly refers to the commencement of a thing, not its authorship, and denotes properly primacy in time, and primacy in rank, but not primacy in the sense of causing anything to exist. The two ideas, which run through the word as it is used in the New Testament, are those just suggested, primacy in time and primacy in rank. For the former meaning, primacy in regard to time, which is properly the beginning of a thing, you can examine the following passages where the word occurs: Matthew 19.4; 24.8, 21; Mark 1.1; 10.6; 13.8, 19; Luke 1.2; John 1.1-2; 2.11; 6.64; 8.25; 15.27; 16.4; Acts 11.15; 1 John 1.1; 2.7, 13-14, 24; 3.8, 11; 2 John 13. For the second meaning, primacy of rank, or authority, see the following places: Luke 12.11; 20.20; Romans 8.38; 1 Corinthians 15.24; Ephesians 1.21; 3.10; 6.12; Colossians 1.16; 2.10, 15; Titus 3.1. The word is not, therefore, found in the sense of authorship, as denoting that one is the beginning of anything in the sense that He caused it to have an existence.

 

e.   As to the second of the meanings suggested, that it means that Jesus was the first created being, it may be observed,

 

i.    First, that this is not a necessary meaning of the phrase, since no one can show that this is the only proper meaning which could be given to these words, and therefore the phrase does not prove that Jesus is Himself a created being. If it were demonstrated from other sources that Christ was, in fact, a created being, and the first being that God had made, it cannot be denied that this language would appropriately express that fact. However, it cannot be established from the use of the language found here. In addition, since the phrase used here is susceptible of other interpretations, it cannot be employed to prove that Christ is a created being. To restate: If it was elsewhere proved that Jesus is created you might use this phrase to support that position, but this phrase by itself does not support that position.

 

ii.    However, such an interpretation would be at variance with all those passages which speak of Him as uncreated and eternal, which ascribe Divine attributes to Him, and which speak of Him as being the Creator of all things. Compare John 1.1-3; Colossians 1.16; Hebrews 1.2, 6, 8, 10-12.

 

f.    The third possible meaning, therefore, remains, that He is “the beginning of the creation of God,” in the sense that He is the head or prince of the creation. That is, that He presides over it so far as the purposes of redemption are to be accomplished, and so far as is necessary for those purposes. This is,

 

i.    in accordance with the meaning of the word, Luke 12.11; 20:20, and,

 

ii.    in accordance with the uniform statements respecting the Redeemer, that “all power is given unto him in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28.18), that God has “given him power over all flesh” (John 17.2), that all things are “put under his feet” (Hebrews 2.8; 1 Corinthians 15.27), and that he is exalted over all things, Ephesians 1.20-22. Having this rank, it was, therefore, proper that He should speak with authority to that pastor at Laodicea.

 

g.   To restate and summarize, then, the phrase “the beginning of the creation of God” means that Jesus is describing Himself as being preeminent over all, and that He is at the head of the universe. Thus, He has the right and the authority to tell this pastor what to do.

 

5.   Christ, then, has referred to Himself in three ways in His opening remarks to this “man of God.” Apparently, this preacher falls very short of the mark in these three areas. Let us review these three areas:

 

a.   “The Amen”  

 

This might suggest that the pastor did not emphasize strongly enough Christ as the truth of God. Perhaps he did not stress that Christ is the way, the truth and the life. Associated with that is Christ’s immutability, His unchangeability, since truth does not change. Can pastors become lax in declaring such truths as these? Oh, yes.

 

b.   “The faithful and true witness” 

 

This might suggest that the man had a problem with Christ being the revelation of God to man, that if you have seen Christ you have seen the Father, and that if you have not seen Christ you have not seen the Father.

 

c.   Finally, “the beginning of the creation of God.

 

i.    This self-description by our Lord might suggest that the pastor in Laodicea needed some reinforcement in the area of the Lord Jesus Christ’s preeminence.

 

ii.    Perhaps this Laodicean pastor is not genuinely converted. It would not be unusual to find an unconverted pastor of a church. Such was frequently the case during the times of the Puritans in England and later on in New England.

 

iii.   I greatly fear that those who seem to be quite successful among us are, in fact, unconverted, relying on the methodology of the marketplace and emotional manipulation rather than the power of God to evangelize and build congregations up.

 

iv.   Each of these references by the Lord in this verse to Himself suggests areas of Bible truth, doctrine, and practice that modern day pastors currently have problems with. As we study this final of the seven letters let us be sensitive and alert to apply what Jesus said to our own situation.

 

(3.15)  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

 

1.   Folks, this is the most scathing and condemning opening denunciation the Lord Jesus Christ has uttered to date to these seven pastors. He is really tying into this man.

 

2.   The Lord Jesus declared to him, “I know thy works.

 

a.   Perhaps you have already noticed that the Lord Jesus said this to each of the angels of the churches. For some reason, He felt it important to emphasize and remind each man that “I know thy works.

 

b.   Is it not ironic that the same words can have such different meanings to seven different men? To the man who is doing good and serving God faithfully the words “I know thy works” can be profoundly comforting. On the other hand, the fellow who is committing sin or who is not conscientiously obedient dreads such a statement as this.

 

3.   Jesus then observed about him, “that thou art neither cold nor hot

 

a.   Various commentators have their opinions about what is meant by being cold or hot, with hot usually referring to great zeal for the cause of Christ and the work of God, and cold either referring to strong opposition to the gospel or what we might refer to as cold indifference.

 

b.   But the one observation no one seems to make, and everyone seems to overlook, is that the Lord Jesus Christ’s remarks are still being made to an individual, with the pronouns in this verse all being singular. The word “thou” in this phrase coming from the Greek se, which is accusative singular.

 

c.   Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ comes about as close to the idea of pointing His finger of accusation at this Laodicean pastor as you can come with words, yet most commentators completely overlook this rather obvious fact. To me, however, it is like not noticing an elephant in your living room.

 

d.   That said, let us consider the import of His words to this preacher. We have here a pastor of a church who is utterly indifferent. This man does not care one way or the other, about the things of God, about the things of Christ, about the things of the Spirit, about sins and salvation, or about the people who are under his care.

 

e.   This is not to say that this fellow does not seem to have the trappings of spiritual success. This is not to say that he would not work hard to increase the size of his crowd. This is not to say that he will not employ manipulative means to persuade people to do what he wants. This is not to say that he will not make use of coaching techniques and leadership styles to make people feel as though they are receiving spiritual benefit. It is just to say that in his innermost self he does not really give a rip about the spiritual issues involved. He works, all right, but he does not really have a heart for the things of God or for the cause of Christ.

 

f.    How common is this problem? No one knows, for sure, except the Savior. But it frightens me that pastors will delegate that duty to others that is second most important for them to tend to after preaching, guiding the lost to Christ. Who ought to have more experience, discernment, skill and interest in guiding that single person to Christ than the pastor? Yet I, myself, was guilty of collecting a few folks and providing for them some perfunctory training so they could do what I have been called to do and which no one here could possibly do better than I could.

 

g.   So, my experience in the gospel ministry convinces me that this is a very common problem. Having counseled sinners face to face for seven years now, I would have to be a very unconcerned pastor to now turn convicted sinners over to altar workers. Even a huge church, such as Charles Spurgeon pastored for decades, was organized to funnel sinners and hopeful converts into his office for counseling to conversion.

 

4.   In the last phrase of the verse He said, “I would thou wert cold or hot

 

a.   The Lord Jesus Christ prefers those who are either hot or cold. “Hot” comes from a word that means to bubble and boil.[9] The word “zeal” is derived from it. “Cold” means just that. Obviously, these words are a commentary on the man’s spiritual state. Just what is meant, we cannot be exactly sure of at this time.

 

b.   Perhaps it is a reference to the fact that other cities in Asia were known for their waters. Hierapolis had very hot, medicinal waters. Colossae had cold, refreshing waters.[10] Perhaps Jesus is indicating that this pastor was providing neither refreshment for the spiritually weary nor healing for the spiritually sick. He was totally ineffective and, thus, distasteful to the Lord.

 

5.   My personal opinion, at this time? I believe that this fellow referred to in Revelation 3.15, who is neither hot nor cold, is so described to illustrate the fact that he is a pastor who is religious without being regenerated. He is a lost man who has somehow worked his way into the pastorate of this church in Laodicea.

 

(3.16)  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

 

1.   “So then because thou art lukewarm

 

Here the man is specifically identified as being lukewarm. That is, tepid, room temperature. This man has not openly rejected the gospel. There is no indication that he has publicly deviated with regard to any doctrine. Our Lord’s complaint against him is that he is lukewarm, neither for nor against the cause of Christ.

 

2.   “and neither cold nor hot

 

a.   It appears that the Lord Jesus Christ would rather have this man totally reject the gospel and be spiritually cold than have him accept the gospel intellectually, but without really being saved, and go through the motions of being a Christian.

 

b.   Why would the Lord prefer it this way? Simple. So the world would not be confused about the possibility of there being a spiritual middle ground when it comes to salvation. Jesus does not want folks to think, and especially to be convinced by this pastor’s lifestyle, that salvation is not either black or white, saved or lost, and that it is neither a terrible nor a wonderful thing for someone to be lost or saved.

 

c.   You see, there is, in fact, no middle ground. Either a person is Hell-bound or he is Heaven-bound. Being spiritually lukewarm about such an important issue is deceiving, in that a person is thereby led to believe that eternal matters are unimportant. Of course, this can cause monumental problems for the lost man, whose own sense of urgency will not be determined by what the Bible declares, but will be determined by the preacher’s sense of urgency.

 

3.   “I will spue thee out of my mouth

 

a.   The Lord Jesus informs him that He will spew him out. The word “spue” is a euphemistic translation of the Greek word for vomit.[11] A completely different Greek word refers to the act of spitting or to expectorate. So, we see this “man of God,” who claims to be saved, nauseates the Lord Jesus. This man who passes himself off as a spiritual leader, but who is actually dead in trespasses in sins, makes the Lord Jesus physically ill by his charade. You cannot fool the Lord. Amen?

 

b.   But you can fool the people. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” However, Abraham Lincoln was wrong. Almost all the people can be fooled almost all the time. Moreover, it is only by God’s grace that all the people cannot be fooled all the time.

 

c.   This pastor was fooling his congregation. It may be that this pastor was fooling himself, as well. But the greater tragedy is that there are so many pastors who so completely fool so many people. “How do I know you are not fooling people, pastor?” you may ask. That is a fair question. 

 

d.   My answer is my fruit. If you are under the age of 50 and have been hopefully converted under my ministry, please stand. Please look around at these people. My answer is my fruit. Thank you. You may be seated. If I am fooling people, I am fooling all these people.

 

(3.17)  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:

 

1.   Notice the radical difference between what this religious fake perceives his spiritual condition to be and what the Son of God says it is.

 

2.   He was convinced that he was rich, but Christ said he was poor. He was rich in material things, but spiritually destitute. He said he was increased with goods, perhaps thinking that his material prosperity reflected spiritual blessings. Jesus, however, said that he was blind and naked. And to be spiritually blind and spiritually naked is to be lost as a goose.

 

3.   In Scripture, only lost people are described as being spiritually naked and spiritually blind. Saved people are clothed in the righteousness of Christ and have spiritual perception given to them by the indwelling Spirit of God.

 

4.   This man actually felt that he had no needs. What he did not realize was that he was wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. “Miserable” is a word that Paul used, in First Corinthians 15.19, of those who denied the resurrection, or had no hope of the resurrection. In short, this pastor is surely going to Hell if he does not repent of his sins and trust Christ.

 

(3.18)  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.

 

1.   Ever wonder why Christ counsels this man, instead of ordering him to repent? Though men everywhere are commanded to obey the Gospel, it seems that the Lord Jesus holds back from making an individual get saved. He does not force Himself on folks.

 

2.   Instead, the man is sent what amounts to an invitation to receive Christ. Turn to Isaiah 55.1, where we see an invitation to purchase that which is of infinite value for absolutely nothing, a clear allusion to the salvation of infinite value that is available to the sinner freely through the merits of Jesus Christ’s shed blood:

 

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

 

3.   Back to Revelation 3.18.  “and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear” 

 

The white raiment, or the white garment, speaks of salvation, being clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

 

4.   “and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see

 

Eye salve, in this city famous for its eye salve. Ironic that their famous eye salve could not cure spiritual blindness. Only an anointing with the oil of the Holy Spirit could cure this pastor’s disease of spiritual blindness. You see Jesus said, “Except a man be born again he shall not see the kingdom of God.”[12]

 

(3.19)  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

 

1.   God does not typically chasten the lost. Notice that this verse does not warn the pastor that he is about to be chastened. The warning, I think, is that this pastor is not being chastened. What he is admonished to do is to be zealous and repent, which is to say, get hot and repent. In other words, I think the Lord Jesus Christ is as much as saying, “Get fired up about your lost condition and repent and get saved.”

 

2.   But there is more to this verse than just an admonition to this lost pastor. Speaking also to those who would read this letter later, the Lord Jesus Christ reminds us that He rebukes and chastens those He loves. He rebukes and chastens His Own. A bit of a hint of the truth that, while bad leadership will tend to lead a church into sin, God still holds each of us individually accountable for doing right.

 

(3.20)  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.

 

1.   This is a sad verse. Jesus is standing outside. The invitation is open to anyone who will simply receive Christ as Lord and Savior. What a wonderful invitation to any lost man. What a wonderful invitation to this lost preacher. All he need do is respond to the Savior’s knock and he will be saved. This is further evidence that sinners do not really seek the Savior, He seeks sinners. Amen? Matthew 18.11 shows this very clearly:

 

For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”

 

2.   There is an additional reason this is such a sad verse. It has been thoroughly hijacked by decisionists and twisted into meaning what it does not actually mean. Let me deal with you about this verse in three ways:

 

a.   First, let me deal with you regarding what this verse does not mean. Please look the verse over again very carefully. Do you see any reference in this verse to a sinner’s heart? Look high and look low, look in the English text and carefully examine the Greek text, and you will not find a single reference or allusion to anyone’s heart in this verse. And why will you not find a reference to the heart here? Because, as the Geneva Bible notes suggest, “This must be taken after the manner of an allegory,”[13] as we see in John 14.23, which reads:  “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” I know that there are some commentators, good men, who have suggested that the picture described here is one in which Jesus stands at the heart’s door. But playing fast and loose with such imagery does violence to Scripture. How can Jesus be rightly imagined to stand at the heart’s door when He is literally shown in Scripture to be seated at the Father’s right hand?

 

b.   Next, what does this verse refer to, if it does not actually refer to Jesus standing at the door to one’s heart? Folks, the Lord Jesus Christ is picturing this lost pastor as a man inside his dwelling, shut off by the walls and door from communion with the Savior. The Savior is pictured as being at this man’s door, knocking to gain entrance so that they might be reconciled and enjoy sweet communion with each other. There is no inference that this door is the door to any man’s heart, or that Jesus is knocking on any man’s heart. Where else in God’s Word is there even a hint of a suggestion that Jesus knocks on men’s hearts in any way to gain entrance? You will not find such a picture as that because it runs contrary to the reality of Jesus Christ being seated at the Father’s right hand.

 

c.   Now, let me tell you how this silly and unscriptural notion of Revelation 3.20 being misinterpreted so that this door is mistaken for a sinner’s heart gained wide acceptance. From time to time, a pastor or commentator would refer to the door of Revelation 3.20 as the heart’s door, but the fellow who cemented the notion into America’s consciousness was named Robert Boyd Munger. Let me read his obituary from the Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2001:

 

“Robert Boyd Munger, a Presbyterian minister and professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, who wrote the widely used sermon ‘My Heart, Christ’s Home’ a half-century ago, has died at the age of 90.

 

Munger died Friday in Pasadena.

 

Written in 1954 when Munger was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, the classic sermon has been quoted and distributed by numerous clergy, including his friend, evangelist Billy Graham.  About 10 million copies have been printed over the years.

 

Munger rooted his sermon, which struck a chord with many Christians, in biblical text, including Revelation 3:20, in which Christ says, ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come unto him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’

 

In the sermon, the pastor relates:  ‘One evening I invited Jesus Christ into my heart .... He came into the darkness of my heart and turned on the light.  He built a fire on the hearth and banished the chill.  He started music where there had been stillness and He filled the emptiness with His own loving, wonderful fellowship.’

 

As host, Munger describes leading Christ through the figurative library, dining room, drawing room, workshop, rumpus room and locked secret closet of his heart.  The guest helps the host sweep away all the clutter keeping him from being a good Christian--trashy literature, worldly goods and gluttonous fare, unsavory friendships and sleazy amusements, ineptness and old hatreds.

 

At the end of the sermon, the grateful host signs over the title of his heart/home to his guest for safekeeping and vows to remain with Christ ‘as houseboy and friend.’”[14]

 

d.   Perhaps you noticed from the obituary what I noticed when I read the entire sermon by Munger. There is no reference to sin. There is no reference to atonement. There is no mention of judgment or condemnation or guilt. In fact, Munger portrays the lost man as “host,” to use his term. What keeps this Christless man from being a good Christian? According to Munger, it is what he terms “clutter, such as trashy literature, worldly goods, unsavory friends, sleazy amusements, ineptness.” Munger, apparently, did not seem to think that unforgiven sin posed much of a problem.

 

e.   As if Munger’s unscriptural view of what happens to bring about conversion was not bad enough, Billy Graham then took up the banner and preached this unscriptural concept around the world. The notion of Jesus coming into a sinner’s heart in this way at conversion gained such wide acceptance that it has been almost universally adopted by evangelicals and fundamentalists alike as just about the most popular way of describing what happens when a sinner gets saved. The problem, of course, is that this is not what happens when a sinner gets saved. Moreover, anyone who relies on this approach to dealing with the lost is guilty of spreading false doctrine and preaching another gospel.

 

3.   My friends, there are several verses in the New Testament that seem at first glance to locate the Lord Jesus Christ in the believer’s heart. But a careful examination of this passage and its context clearly shows that Jesus indwells a believer’s heart in the person of His envoy, the Holy Spirit of God. This is such basic Bible doctrine that it should really need no explanation. Jesus is seated, in a glorified human body, at the Father’s right hand. This is attested to by some 28 verses in the New Testament. Therefore, it is an inexcusable lapse on the part of any pastor to allow in his ministry, much less to advance himself, such false, such misleading, such a clearly dishonoring to Jesus Christ approach to evangelism.

 

(3.21)  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

 

1.   What would you do to the person you were most upset with? Is it not grace that speaks when Jesus Christ offers the greatest incentive for repentance to one and all, even to this man who had most offended and dishonored Him?

 

2.   When you and I get angry, we have a strong tendency to lash out or seek to do harm to the person who has angered and outraged us. But we ought to do what the Lord Jesus did. We ought to love more. Demand righteous behavior, yes, as he did. But love more.

 

3.   An overcomer, of course, is a saved person. A person who is saved, who trusts Jesus, will sit with Jesus in His throne and rule and reign with Him. What a glorious promise.

 

(3.22)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

1.   The Spirit of God speaks softly, does He not? The Bible says He speaks in a still, small voice. However, our Lord Jesus Christ does not speak softly. His voice is loud and clear.

 

2.   May we here at Calvary Road Baptist Church listen to the still small voice, so that He Who has a voice like many waters and great thunder will not have to speak to us with a stern voice of rebuke.


[1] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary On The Whole Bible, (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), [email protected]

[2] A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol VI, (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1930), pages 320-321.

[3] John Gill, The John Gill Library, (Paris, AK: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., 2000)

[4] Henry More, An Exposition Of the Seven Epistles To The Seven Churches; Together with A Brief Discourse of Idolatry; with Application to the Church of Rome, (London: James Flesher, 1669), pages 142-144.

[5] See footnote for Revelation 3.14 from John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), page 1997.

[6] J. Vernon McGee, Reveling Through Revelation, Part I, (Pasadena, CA: Thru The Bible Books, 1979), page 34.

[7] See footnote for Revelation 3.14 from John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), page 1997.

[8] Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ NT Commentary, (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), [email protected]

[9] Fritz Reinecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 821.

[10] See footnote for Revelation 3.16 from John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), page 1997.

[11] Rienecker, page 821.

[12] John 3.3

[13] 1599 Geneva Bible Notes, (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), [email protected]

[14] Los Angeles Times, Thursday, February 22, 2001, Home Edition, Section: Metro, Page: B-9

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