Monday: A Loving Rebuke
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Read Revelation 3:15-16. Why does Jesus give the Laodicean church such a strong rebuke?

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

What does it mean to be lukewarm? What other words might Jesus have used in place of “lukewarm”?

Commenting on Revelation 3:15-16, Ellen G. White states: “The message to the Laodicean church applies most decidedly to those whose religious experience is insipid, who do not bear decided witness in favor of the truth.”- The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 962. This is a fascinating statement. An insipid religious experience is one that is lifeless. It has the outer husk of Christianity but lacks the substance. It has the external form but lacks the living power. The Laodiceans are not heretics or fiery fanatics; they are, simply, spiritually indifferent. The Laodiceans appear to be good moral people. They have what Paul calls, “a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:5, NKJV). Jesus speaks of religious people in His day who “draw near to [Him] with their mouth and honor [Him] with their lips, but their heart is far from [Him]” (Matt. 15:8, NKJV).

Read Hebrews 12:7-11Job 5:17-19Psalm 94:12; and Proverbs 29:1517, and describe God’s purpose in His rebukes.

Our Lord loves His people too much to let them go easily to perdition. He will do whatever it takes to rekindle a spiritual flame in their hearts. His strong rebuke is because of a stronger love. His chastisement is only because of His longing to heal us. The prophet Hosea echoes this sentiment with this call to repentance: “Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up” (Hos. 6:1, NKJV).

Has God ever used painful, even embarrassing, experiences to humble you and draw you closer to Him? What did you learn from these experiences that, ideally, ensures you won’t have to go through them again?

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Monday: A Loving Rebuke — 20 Comments

  1. This week's lessons are centered on the Laodicean message of Rev 3:17-19. In this we see one of the first steps in revival. We need to know where we are and that is done through the ministry of the Holy Spirit for, "He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness" (Jn. 16:8 NKJV). Without that ministry we will never see ourselves as sinners in need of Christ because sin blinds us to that reality. It is in this way that God initiates revival but as we will see He is involved in every step of the way and not just as an observer either but as an active participant in our lives who is the one doing the works.

    I think it is a grave mistake to think that we have any ability to do anything on our own. From the beginning of the Bible to the end it is Christ and Him only just as it was for the disciples who basically worshipped important people in Jewish history along with the angels. To them the vision was:
    Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid." When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only (Matt. 17:4-8 NKJV)
    To Paul it was, "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2 NKJV). He was fully aware of his weaknesses and at the same time knew the strength of Christ. To him it was, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27 NKJ).

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  2. If we are to be honest with ourselves we know when we are not all spiritually there. When we have given but not our all and so from time to time The God of our faith to whom nothing is lost has had to allow us to go through adversity in order to call us to go back to where we left him and drifted because if you find yourself drifting it is you who left and not Him because He never leaves us.

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  3. God never intend for us to stray and so he does everything to bring us always to him but never ever out of compulsion. It is essential then that we let Him have his own way in us no matter how bitter to us the experience may be.

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  4. We are often more comfortable speaking of "we" and "the church" when it comes to the rebukes and chastening of the Lord, and the message of Laodicea is to the church. Still, I know that the church is made of individuals and God deals with us individually as well as corporately. This lesson ends with a personal application.

    I wish I could say that I always listened to the still, small Voice of God's Spirit. I wish I would always listen to caution before jumping off the middle of the road. Sadly, I do remember that God has had to use strong measures with me to help me to learn, grow, and stop doing particular things I should not do.

    Sometimes I would even think, "Hey, that person over there gets away with it, why am I so strongly rebuked?" When I should be thankful that God used any means or person to rebuke me for crossing a line I should not have crossed. I am thankful for painful experiences that have helped me not to continue in a rut of my own sin.

    I am very thankful that I can run to God as a tender and loving One who will patch things up that I have broken. I can always trust Him to fix things. I can cry to Him, "I've done it, Lord. Please forgive me and help me."

    He always answers those prayers right away and I can walk hand-in-hand with Him as I continue my journey! I am thankful He is this kind of God. Yes, I cannot do anything without Him.

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    • I agree Jackie and sometimes I have unfortunately found myself using "we" or "us" to refer to everyone else but me. I guess that it is something that just slips out before we know it like the word "I" sometimes does.

      I do think, however, that there is another use of those words found in the Bible. For instance in Daniel 9 after considering the 70 year prophesy of Jeremiah Daniel wrote, "And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, 'O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments'" (Dan. 9:4-5 NKJV). Here Daniel was including himself as one of the sinners and part of the problem rather than the solution. I think any one of us can righteously do the same by considering ourselves as part of the group. Therefore, those words don't have to be exclusionary but as we realize that we are all in the same sinking boat they can be very inclusive instead.

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  5. The song " have thine own way lord, have thine own way. thou are the potter, I am the clay. mold me and make me after thy will while I am waiting, yielded and still" describes what kind of mindset we need to be in. The devil knows that if he keeps us comfortable, we would become friutless. We need to be ALWAYS in the hands of the Potter to mold us and fashion us after his Divine will.This is the best place for us, not relying on our own desires. May God continue to Lead us to him!

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  6. Realizing and admitting your wrong is the first step that one should take. There is no way that God can help us if we don't first acknowledge that we have issues/problems that will keep us out of the kingdom.To fully submit requires dying to self daily and giving God that complete control every morning when you first get out of bed.Guide me this day Lord and direct me in the path that I should go.May God continue to strengthen us this day and every day to do His will and be a light to those around us.

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  7. It is unnatural to accept rebuke with joy. But these verses declare the blessing of not just receiving rebuke, but accepting it! We need God's Spirit to help us accept the stern rebukes we need to bring the transformations that will give us "delight" as a result.

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  8. Many times I have had to rebuke my children for the same thing over and over again, I see this happening with God and His children as well. We are a subborn people, we hear and then go about our way, like the seeds that are planted in the rocky soil or among the thorns (Matt. 13: 20-22). God loves us so much that He does not want any to be loss. How I pray I would learn the lessons He so teaches, like Errol Long shared, "have thine own way Lord....He is my potter, I am His clay", may I be totally open to His rebuke and continue to bask in His Son!

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  9. Anyone know why Jesus tells Laodicea to "buy" gold, garment and ointment? I thought these things are gifts and thus free? Even in the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus said the foolish ones went to the market to "buy" oil. Keep in mind, oil in the Bible represents the Holy Spirit. I know the Heavenly kingdom is not the business of buying and selling. Anyone care to elaborate that word "buy." It's been bothering me since last night.

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  10. Firstly, thank you, Tyler, for another angle from which to view the text. I like to look at verses from various angles and apply them. I certainly was not attempting to diminish the corporate, and I so agree that we need to see that we are all on level ground before the cross of Jesus! I am thankful for personal relationship with Jesus and for my place in His Kingdom and Church!

    Next, Newton Shaw, what a good point you bring out! I am put in mind that we are saved freely and completely by Jesus, but He always encourages us to invest. I am throwing in my "two cents," but are those two cents all that I have? It takes my "everything to serve the Lord!" as the old song states it. Maybe, that is the invitation to buy. Another example is in Isaiah 55 that talks about the one without money should come, buy, and eat. We enter fellowship and are given our place to work or to invest in the cause of the Kingdom.

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  11. Jesus often used parables to teach about the Kingdom of God in terms of trading. The wise merchant bought the pearl of great price, the man who found the treasure in the field sold all he had to buy this treasure, and we are to trade on our talents.

    The currency of heaven is faith that works by love. Loving obedience or the obedience of love is what God wants of us. This is in contrast to keeping the letter of the law which is formal or outward conformity to some requirement of God. This kind of loving obedience is possible only through the Holy Spirit which we receive by faith through the word of God. To receive the Spirit we have to let the Spirit displace self and selfish motives and actions. In other words we trade self for the Spirit, the representative of Christ. We give up on self (trade it in) to receive the gospel of Christ.

    Ellen White puts it nicely in Christ's Object Lessons commenting on buying the pearl of great price. "The gospel of Christ is a blessing that all may possess. The poorest are as well able as the richest to purchase salvation; for no amount of worldly wealth can secure it. It is obtained by willing obedience, by giving ourselves to Christ as His own purchased possession. Education, even of the highest class, cannot of itself bring a man nearer to God. The Pharisees were favored with every temporal and every spiritual advantage, and they said with boastful pride, We are "rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing"; yet they were "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Revelation 3:17. Christ offered them the pearl of great price; but they disdained to accept it, and He said to them, "The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." Matthew 21:31.
    We cannot earn salvation, but we are to seek for it with as much interest and perseverance as though we would abandon everything in the world for it.
    We are to seek for the pearl of great price, but not in worldly marts or in worldly ways. The price we are required to pay is not gold or silver, for this belongs to God. Abandon the idea that temporal or spiritual advantages will win for you salvation. God calls for your willing obedience. He asks you to give up your sins. "To him that overcometh," Christ declares, "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." Revelation 3:21." Christ's Object Lessons 117.

    Hope this is helpful

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  12. Dear Newton To me when you buy something or purchase it it belong to you, We were brought with a price so we belong to Christ. And if you are His then He has claim on you. Didn't cost you anything. We are cover by the blood ,Christ Blood.Not by works but by FAITH.

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  13. So I did some meditation on my previous question. We “buy” the treasures in Rev 3: 18 (pure gold, white garment and eye-ointment) from Jesus in exchange for our time. Time is money as Benjamin Franklin put it. Even in the law of Moses, we see how in the Israelite’s society, if a person becomes poor, he can sell himself--not a slave--but can sell his time as a service to his lender (see Leviticus 25.) Paul also urges us to “redeem the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16.) Now question: what commandment deals with time? You see, the good Lord is implicitly telling Laodicean church to not only remember the Sabbath but to keep is holy. How shall we keep it holy we ask? Isaiah 58:13 has the answer: not doing our pleasure and not doing our ways. Ask Him in prayer precisely what you should and shouldn’t do in your life (everyone’s circumstance is different.) But we gotta spend that time with Him. So the message to Laodicean church, in a nutshell, is this:

    You have a form of godliness but you lack conviction. You remember the Sabbath but you don’t keep it holy. Your worships have become just formalities instead of heart-felt convictions. You are too busy during the week--back to the time being money--to have that pure gold from The Word in time spent in personal devotion or family worship. You have taken your salvation for granted (instead of keeping/maintaining it in fear and trembling-Philippian 2:12.) It’s easy to get saved but it takes desire, dedication and commitment to remain saved.

    God help us all!

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    • Newton, do you think we could "buy" those things by using the bartering system of Bible days, and trade in our rags for His righteousness and trade in our self-righteousness for His righteousness?

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      • You're right. I might be over-spiritualizing the word "buy." It's a self-evident truth that the treasures of our Redeemer are free for any believer to claim:

        Revelation 22:17, "Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

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  14. Newton, you have some good insights and your note has helped me to see something new. Time is indeed money and so are all the gifts and talents put under our stewardship. Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5, NKJV

    I see that the key element is faith. I receive Christ by faith and I abide in Him by faith. I continue to grow in Christ by the same power that first gave me life in Christ that is the life-giving power of God that not only germinates the seed but also keeps it growing. I do not grow by my own care,worry, effort or power but like the branch on the Vine by receiving that sap and nourishment which the Vine provides. "First the blade then the ear then the full corn in the ear." Like the plant I need to receive the elements that are needed for growth - air, sunshine, water, nutrients etc. that natures God provides and God gives the increase. Jesus said, "It is the Spirit that gives life, the words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life."John 6:63. The closed door of Laodicea that Jesus invites us to open is the door of our heart, the door of conscience. Laodiceans know the truth but are not exercising the faith that assimilates the truth to take it from head knowledge to become a part of our everyday life. They are holding on to self and are still living in the flesh rather than the Spirit. Yes I believe that keeping the Sabbath by faith in Christ and in the right spirit is a sign that we have opened the door of our hearts to Christ. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Praise God. Thank you, brother! That's an amazing scripture you quoted from John 6:63, "The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life.” How privileged we are that we have the same “words” in a written form—accessible anywhere whenever we want. There’s something about the Word of God that’s fascinating. God’s sound energy (His word) is a thousand times stronger than man’s atomic energy. When God speaks, atoms and molecules pop up from thin air, the mountains melt, the rivers depart and, more fascinatingly, the stone-hearted sinner gets transformed into a meek, loving, selfless child of God. Oh, how many of us take God’s written word for granted? When they’re read in spirit, they’re unquestionably as powerful as the very first day the heavens were formed just because He spoke. It’s no wonder Moses says in Deut 8:3, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Let’s feast on God’s written manna every single day—lest we die of starvation.

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  15. was the message sent or intended for the church at Laodicea or the angel of the church, because the first step is to pray to God to open our eyes so that we can understand HIS word.

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  16. It's yet another momment that we to go back to drawing board and see where we fail from and go back to our lovely God. It is self that make us blind, it is the love of the world that drift us far from God, it is pleasure seeking rather than God make us to be naked and blind. We do need to see the life of Job, he lost wealth, he lost his children, he became ill and not just illness the pain of sore he experience in is body was not joking matter, God need also the job of today who can give everything just to have God in their site , and that is you and me.

    Buy from God and you will see the difference.

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