This passage is about the apathy of the church of Laodicea. The focus of the letter is to address the lukewarmness of the church – its self-contentment and mediocrity. After Christ declares his tri-fold authority as the Amen, faithful and true witness, and the arch-type of all creation – he indicts the church of Laodicea for being lukewarm and speaks his disgust over them in the imagery of vomit – keeping close to the ‘communion’ language.
Christ then offers 3 remedies to the self-complacent church:
The first remedy is to buy from Christ – Gold, Clothes, and eye salve. All three of these relate to the resources they thought they had but where deceived. But more than that, these elements couched in this language is an echo of Isaiah 55:1ff, the point of these passages are the to draw out the redemptive grace that is freely in Christ Jesus and perfectly blesses though it is without cost. The remedy for the church then is to preach Christ and Him Crucified as the only true grace, to preach his glories and inheritance, His righteousness, and His wisdom!
The second remedy is to have and respond to Christ discipline. His discipline is not His judgment – which the unbeliever falls under. No His discipline is His care, and it is only for those He loves. It is because He loves. Just as the first remedy was for the church – so to the second remedy is for the church. Her officers must practice true and proper discipline. They are the rod of Christ – and His balm, and they must be used – else Christ Love is NOT being shown!
The third remedy flows from the progression of the first two and thus becomes the truest show of good standing and fervor for Christ. It is to have communion with Christ – each one in the church. Christ is at the door of the church – and this is a bad place for Him to be! Not as Bad as absent, but near to it – for it ought to be that Christ is in the midst of the church, but self-contentment drives Him out and he will only stand at the door so long knocking to those lukewarm churches so long. How sad it is that many are fearful of communion! That the very show of fervor and love of grace, the very guide of those trained by Christ’s discipline be shunned or neglected! Why would any think it a good argument to NOT commune with Christ? This meal may very well restore the apathetic church and revive her prayer. This meal may bring the sweetness back to the house after the chastening has had to bring sharpness. O let us not neglect the Lord’s Table! Just as the Grace is ‘the Lord’s Grace, and the discipline is ‘the Lord’s Discipline – so the table is His to. If Christ deigns to eat with us – let us not turn him away for a more convenient time on our part.
The text end with a consequence for those who have followed the remedies, namely gospel victory. The church who employs Christ’s means of grace enables her members to be conquers. They are soldiers not just against Satan – but against complacency, indifference and self-idolatry. Their crown is to sit with Christ. To share His authority, in this life and in the life to come. Theirs is the ultimate exaltation. Glory surpassing imagination. No amount of zeal for this could be to much – But O how many have not enough zeal! As Christ said of the Pharisees, so to for them… they have their reward! – What a sad reward that is to be admired by men and thought respectable by the damned – will it indeed comfort them in Hell, to hear that they were well thought of?
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See more: 12 sermons by Andrew Adcock in 6 series