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Laodicean Message - Divine Remedy

There are two kinds of progress-material and spiritual. It is possible for the church to experience the former without the latter, as many examples demonstrate. Because of material prosperity it is the general opinion that "the church is flourishing, and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders," whereas at the same time there has ‘been a steady retreat toward the world. While gaining in membership and developing in extent, influence, and facilities, the church has been waning in piety and retrograding in spiritual power.
If numbers and material prosperity were evidences of success. Satan and his false and counterfeit systems of religion could claim the pre-eminence over Christ and Christianity. The real test of spiritual prosperity is the degree of moral power, virtue, intelligence, and piety found in the members of the church, rather than numbers and material wealth. One writer has said that God "values His church, not for its external advantages, but for the sincere piety which distinguishes it from the world. He estimates it according to the growth of its members in the knowledge of Christ, according to their progress in spiritual experience. He looks for the principles of love and goodness." -  Prophets and Kings, Page 565, 566.
A recent writer beautifully explains the real cause of Laodicea’s self-satisfaction: "Is Laodicea then a victim of spiritual hallucinations? We think not. What, then, is the reason that God, contemplating the condition of the church of Laodicea, sees one thing, while Laodicea, considering her own status, beholds an entirely different condition? The reason lies in the fact that God and Laodicea are really looking at two different things. Laodicea gazes upon material things. She tends to observe her achievements, which are not inconsiderable. She thinks of her missionaries at the ends of the earth. She recalls the hospitals and dispensaries which her wealth has erected and which her generosity maintains. She surveys the schools, academies, and colleges in which she purposes to lead her young people in the way that is right. She counts her printing presses and publishing houses, established to enlighten the world. She remembers her stately houses of worship, erected in many cities of many lands. She counts her membership, and analyzes her offerings. Her mind goes back to her humble beginnings, and traverses with a subtle and unconscious pride the years of growth, of progress, of attainment. It is a splendid showing. Laodicea is happy, is complacent. She has a flawless doctrine, a competent organization, a triumphant message. Who can deny these things?" - GWYNNE DALRYMPLE, "The Church of Laodicea," in Signs of the Times," Nov. 14, 1933.
The same writer then gives God’s viewpoint of the reason for Laodicea’s weakness: "But God, the infinite Father of all, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, looks beyond all this. His awful gaze penetrates past Laodiceays schools, sanitariums, publishing institutions; past her fine buildings and worth-while equipment; past her growing membership and constantly widening sphere of influence, and looks only down upon Laodicea’s heart. There He witnesses pride, the sin by which the angels fell; and desire for human praise; and love of the world with all that the world offers. He sees little of sacrifice, and much of self-importance. He sees dangerous conformity to unchristian customs, and a perilous striving for preeminent place. The gold of character is strangely lacking, its place being taken by brilliant tinsel which does not deceive the heavenly Watcher. The raiment of Christ’s righteousness, at once so simple and so ample, is not worn; instead there is an ingenious arrangement of the filthy rags of Laodicea’s own righteousness. And upon the eyes, festering with the sores of worldly shortsightedness, is no healing salve, to cleanse, to strengthen, and to sanctify." Ibid.
This is the secret of the Laodicean condition of the modern church, and until God’s people get a clear vision of the spiritual disease that makes them distasteful to Christ, there is no need of suggesting the remedy that has been so graciously and abundantly provided by the Great Physician. To the sin-sick Laodiceans, Christ says: "I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou may be rich. And white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that thou may see."

The  Divine  Remedy
The Great Physician graciously stoops to the words and language of the Laodiceans. He appeals to them as it people always ready to listen to any counsel as to how to buy to advantage in order to enrich themselves in material things. He asks them to listen to His counsel on how to obtain spiritual wealth. One writer refers to Christ’s counsel as "gentle and loving irony," and another said: "There is deep irony in this word. One who has need of nothing, yet needs counsel on the vital points of self-preservation." Instead of commanding, Christ tactfully counsels. The same Physician who so accurately and honestly diagnoses Laodicea’s disease also provides a healing remedy that will completely restore her to spiritual health and favor with God. The acceptance of this counsel means life; its rejection will bring death. it is a life-or-death message that can be lightly esteemed only at the peril of the soul. There is but one Physician who can heal the terrible Laodicean disease, and He alone has a healing medicine.
The divine merchant says to the spiritually bankrupt Laodiceans, "I counsel thee to buy of Me." Christ is declared to be the Mighty Counselor. He is the source of the "unsearchable riches" of the universe. In Him "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." In Proverbs 23:23 we are told to "buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding." But it would be impossible for a poverty-stricken soul to purchase this remedy if it were not sold "without money and without price." This means without the price of money, for everything worth while costs us something. The cost is often greater than the price of silver and gold. The pearl of great price in the parable cost all that the purchaser had.
Christ virtually says to the Laodiceans, "Thou has nothing to give, but thou must give all that thou has." The price is one that even the beggar can pay. It places all on an equality as far as spiritual riches are concerned. The price is penitence, confession, and self-surrender. The gifts of God can be purchased only at the cost of moral endeavor, humble repentance, and courageous faith. All the truth and wisdom and understanding we have acquired have cost us something in time and effort, if not in actual money. The person who is not willing to sacrifice and endure to attain the heavenly treasure, must remain without it, for it will he given to no one without a price.
Spiritual wealth is symbolized by "gold tried in the fire" or "gold refined by fire." (RV) The gold is fresh from the fire or furnace which had tested its purity and burned out all dross. Gold has always been the symbol of wealth, and it is a fit symbol of spiritual riches. Christ promised the Laodiceans sterling spiritual riches in contrast to their counterfeit wealth, of which they were boasting. What constitutes the spiritual riches of the church? (1) The Word of God. (Psalm 12:6; 18:30; 119:127.) (2) Faith. The "rich in faith" are declared to be the "heirs of the kingdom." (James 2:5.) None are richer than those who have faith in the Word of God. I know thy "poverty, (but thou art rich)," was Christ’s message to the suffering Smyrneans. (3) Love. In Galatians 5:6 we are told that faith works by love, and in Romans 13:8,10, that "love is the fulfilling of the law." The Laodiceans are lukewarm because they have lost their first love. Christ offered to the spiritually bankrupt Laodiceans His Word, faith in His Word, and a love that leads to obedience to His Word.
The first cause of spiritual poverty is the attitude of the modern church toward the Scriptures. She has settled down in contentment and self-satisfaction because of the light and truth she possesses. This attitude has kept her from advancing in the ever-increasing light that shines from the Scriptures and will continue to increase till "the perfect day" of revealed truth. (Proverbs 4:18.) The church today is making the same mistake which was made by the church of the Reformation that ended in the Sardis state of spiritual stagnation and death.
The church is boasting that she has the truth-as if there were no more light for the people of God to the end of time whereas the inexhaustible mine of divine truth is literally filled with gems awaiting the diligent searcher for heavenly treasure. The Bible is today "the neglected Book," even of the professed people of God, and will remain so until the counsel of the True Witness is accepted and acted upon. One of the greatest needs of the church is a rebirth of the old-time searching of the Scriptures, to confirm the truths already discovered and to seek for more and more of the heavenly treasure.
Closely akin to the gold of truth is the gold of faith. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17. It is evident that genuine faith in the Word and promises of God will be very scarce in the last days. At the close of a parable illustrating the rewards of importunity in prayer, Jesus asked the question: "Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8. (See also 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:14.)
We are told that faith in the near Advent of Christ will be at a low ebb just before He returns. Many will cast away their confidence because of decreasing faith. During this time those who hold fast to the end must "live by faith," and to them is promised a "great recompence of reward." (Hebrews 10:35-39.) When Jesus returns He will find a people waiting for Him who have held fast to His Word and have kept the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 3:10, 11; 14:12.) This lost faith, which is due largely to the influence of skeptical modernistic preaching, must be restored in the remnant who are prepared to meet their returning Lord.
Paul declared that of the three eternal and priceless virtues of faith, hope, and love, "the greatest of these is love." Love is the first fruit of the Spirit, and therefore the chief of the golden treasures of the kingdom of heaven. The love that was lost during the Ephesian period must be regained. The church is greatly lacking in love for both God and man, the two attitudes on which hang "all the law and the prophets." Love is the most fundamental principle of the heavenly kingdom. It is the very foundation of the throne of God. It is the motive that should inspire all our actions.
"The love of Christ constrains us" was the motto of the apostolic church, and glorious were her accomplishments. It is love that impels us to do right and restrains us from doing wrong. Seiss declares that "the primal source of all defective saint ship, and of all that the Divine Judge censures in any of His professed people, is the wane of love. Let a man be alive in love to God, and make it his joy to give his whole heart to Jesus, and his title is clear, and his acceptance sure." (Page 223.) The brotherly love of the Philadelphian period must return and possess God’s people. Love will be one of the chief characteristics of the faithful remnant who will be ready to meet Christ when He returns to gather His jewels.
Christ counsels His people to buy of Him "white robes, that you may be clothed and your shameful nakedness be hidden," or "so as to hide your shameful nakedness," according to other translations. The spiritual nakedness of the Laodicean church is indeed shameful, and ought to put her to shame. But instead of being ashamed of her nudity, she is proud and boastful. It is because she "knows not" that she is naked or clothed in filthy rags. A real vision would quickly bring shame and remorse, followed by repentance and reformation.

     The White Rainment
Laodicea is deceived because of her blindness and self deception. If her eyes could be opened, there would quickly follow the confession of Isaiah 64:6: "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." The white robe Christ offers to the Laodiceans is the beautiful garments of His own righteousness. It is the royal robe of the King of glory. (Isaiah 52:1; 61:10.) It is the wedding garment of the bride in preparation to meet the Bridegroom. (Revelation 19:6, 7.) The imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ is the real clothing of the soul. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer in justification and imparted in sanctification.
The white raiment which constitutes the wedding garment of the church-bride of Christ is a gift from the Bridegroom. "To her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Revelation 19:8. The word granted indicates that the character raiment is obtained by an act of faith and not on the basis of works, or merit. In the parable recorded in Matthew 22:14 it is evident that the garment is provided by the divine Host of the wedding banquet, so that there is no excuse for ‘being without this character robe.
Our only hope is to "abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." 1 John 2:28. The shame of those without the robe of Christ’s righteousness will then be made manifest. When Adam and Eve sinned their glorious character robes departed, and they were naked. In shame they hid themselves from the divine presence. In the Orient to strip a person of his clothes is to put him to "an open shame," and to clothe him with linen is an act of great honor. It will be either open shame or divinely bestowed honors when the Bridegroom comes to claim His bride.

    The Eye Salve
The Phrygian eye salve sold in Laodicea was used principally to benefit the partially blind, whose eyesight was growing dim. It may imply that the Laodiceans are not entirely blind, just as they are not entirely naked or spiritually dead. They have on filthy rags, and there are some signs of life. The modern church is defective in spiritual vision, and unless this is regained she will surely perish. The wise man said that "where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18), and he was speaking chiefly of spiritual vision. Jesus declared that when the blind leaders lead a blind people "both shall fall into the ditch." Like ancient Israel, Laodicea is living under the blazing light of prophetic vision, and is at the same time spiritually blind. A church with the gift of prophetic vision, with great light and truth, and with a glorious history and heritage, which is at the same time spiritually blind to its own condition and needs, is in a most pitiable condition. Such is the sad state of Laodicea.
It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that opens ‘blind eyes and guides into all truth. (John 16:8, 13; 1 John 2:20, 27.) This spiritual anointing was the secret of the success of Christ and His apostles. We are told that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power." Acts 10:38. "The Holy Spirit’s unction, like the ancient eye-salve’s, first smarts with conviction of sin, then heals. He opens our eyes first to ourselves in our wretchedness, then to the Savior in His preciousness." (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, Page 562.)
The spiritual eye is the conscience, or inner light of the soul. It is the means by which we can see spiritual things. The eye salve is that spiritual discernment that enables us to see the wiles and deceptions of the enemy and shun them, to detect sin and abhor it, and to see truth and obey it. John 9:6, 7, 39-41 is a splendid illustration of what would happen if the Laodicean church would apply the spiritual eye salve. The greatest need of the church of today is the anointing of the Holy Spirit in preparation for the outpouring of spiritual power in a repetition of Pentecost. With the psalmist every Christian should fervently pray: "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." Psalm 119:18. On the answer to this prayer depends our every hope.

Video:  "One Eyed Man is King"  by Daniel Pell
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