Reformation Pt. 3 – Laodicean Remedy

Laodicea, mentioned in Revelation 1:11 and 3:14, was one of the Christian churches originally established in the time of the disciples, after Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. According to Wikipedia.org, “…Laodicea, benefiting from its advantageous position on a trade route, became one of the most important and flourishing commercial cities of Asia Minor…” It was known for the nearby springs of water, some of which were hot. An aqueduct brought fresh water to the city, but it was lukewarm when it arrived. Lukewarm water is not very appealing to the taste, a fact which God uses to give an object lesson to the lukewarm Laodicean. He said he would spew them from His mouth if they did not become either hot or cold.

 

The interesting thing about the remedy for the Laodiceans is that it exactly matches the pattern of the Holy Spirit’s work. 1. conviction of sin, 2. righteousness, 3. judgment.

 

Click here to see my study on that pattern, Reformation Pt. 2 – The Pattern

 

Each remedy item; Gold, White Raiment, and Eyesalve perfectly parallels these three steps, therefore the Laodicean remedy represents the pattern of true conversion, revival and reformation. That means if we buy these three remedies from Christ, we will experience true conversion, revival and reformation. Let’s look for that as we study this remedy.

 

“This is the testimony borne concerning the church at Laodicea. This church had been faithfully instructed. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul wrote: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.” [Colossians 4:12-13]

Much excellent labor was bestowed upon the Laodicean church. To them was given the exhortation, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” But the church did not follow up the work begun by God’s messengers. They heard, but they failed to appropriate the truth to themselves, and to carry out the instruction given them. The result that followed is the result always sure to follow the rejection of the Lord’s warnings and entreaties.”

Manuscript Releases Volume 16, p. 12 par. 2-3 {16MR 12.2-12.3}

 

“The only hope for the Laodiceans is a clear view of their standing before God, a knowledge of the nature of their disease. They are neither cold nor hot; they occupy a neutral position, and at the same time flatter themselves that they are in need of nothing. …”

Testimonies for the Church Volume 4, p. 87 par. 2 {4T 87.2}

 

Their need is true conversion, revival and reformation. As a result, God counsels them to “buy” three things from him. This three item remedy is symbolic. If it were literal, how could we literally buy anything from God? He doesn’t deal with literal money. He invites us in Isaiah 55:1 “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.”

 

What does it mean to buy if God doesn’t deal in the money system of humanity?

 

Christ is our example, and He made a major purchase without money. 1 Corinthians 7:23 “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” What price? The cost for Christ was to sacrifice himself. (1 Peter 1:18) We are to follow Christ’s example, so when we buy from God, we must sacrifice our selfishness and submit to His will. Our price is obedience.

“The Saviour’s voice earnestly and lovingly invites us: “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.” Revelation 3:8, 18.

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. …”

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 116-117 {COL 116.3 – 117.1}

 

GOLD

 

Gold is a treasure, so for this one I had to search the mines of truth a little deeper to make the connection with Step 1, conviction of sin. I started by simply doing a word search on “gold” in my computer Bible. The word “gold” appears 417 times in the Bible! A majority of those are talking about literal gold, and make no obvious spiritual application. There are a handful of verses which make a spiritual connection with gold, and here are the ones that stood out to me.

Verses that compare the value of gold to various things:

  • Job 28:12-17 wisdom, Proverbs 3:13-14 & 16:16 gain of wisdom
  • Psalm 19:8-10, 119:127 commandments more desired than gold (used for eyesalve)
  • Psalm 119:72 law better than gold
  • Proverbs 8:10 receive knowledge, 20:15 gold or knowledge
  • Isaiah 13:12 man more precious than gold
  • Proverbs 8:19 my fruit (v. 12 wisdom) better than gold

Verses that show other comparisons with gold:

  • Daniel 2:32 head of gold (symbol for a kingdom, Daniel 2:38)
  • Lamentations 4:2 sons of Zion (God’s people) compared to gold

 

Those verses all make good spiritual applications, but don’t seem to define the symbol of gold. Notice this…

Revelation 3:18 says this, “…buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich…”

It mentions gold tried in the fire. Interestingly, I found a few verses about gold which also reference a trial or refining process. These are related to the process of spiritually refining man.

  • Job 23:10 “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
  • Proverbs 17:3 “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts.”
  • Proverbs 27:21 “As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.”
  • Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”
  • Malachi 3:2-3 “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

 

There is one verse that gives a spiritual trait that is tried in the fire, and is compared to gold. It is faith.

1 Pet. 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

 

So is the first remedy faith? As Christians, what kind of faith do we need?

Galatians 5:6 “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”

 

The gold tried in the fire is faith that works by love. Only this can bring us into harmony with God. …”

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 158 par. 2 {COL 158.2}

 

Faith and love are the essential, powerful, working elements of Christian character. Those who possess them are one with Christ, and are carrying forward His mission. . . . We are to sit at Christ’s feet as continual learners, and to work with His gifts of faith and love. We shall then wear Christ’s yoke, and lift His burdens, and Christ will recognize us as one with Him; in heaven it will be said, “Ye are labourers together with God.” …”

Our Father Cares, p. 21 par. 2 {OFC 21.2}

 

Faith and love are the true riches, the pure gold which the True Witness counsels the lukewarm to buy. However rich we may be in earthly treasure, all our wealth will not enable us to buy the precious remedies that cure the disease of the soul called lukewarmness. …

The gold here recommended as having been tried in the fire is faith and love. It makes the heart rich; for it has been purged until it is pure, and the more it is tested the more brilliant is its luster….”

Testimonies for the Church Volume 4, p. 88 par. 1-2 {4T 88.1 – 88.2}

 

“The purification of the people of God cannot be accomplished without their suffering. God permits the fires of affliction to consume the dross, to separate the worthless from the valuable, that the pure metal may shine forth. He passes us from one fire to another, testing our true worth. If we cannot bear these trials, what will we do in the time of trouble? If prosperity or adversity discover falseness, pride, or selfishness in our hearts, what shall we do when God tries every man’s work as by fire, and lays bare the secrets of all hearts?

True grace is willing to be tried; if we are loath to be searched by the Lord, our condition is serious indeed. God is the refiner and purifier of souls; in the heat of the furnace the dross is separated forever from the true silver and gold of the Christian character. Jesus watches the test. He knows what is needed to purify the precious metal that it may reflect the radiance of His divine love.”

Testimonies for the Church Volume 4, p. 85 par. 1-2 {4T 85.1 – 85.2}

 

I have yet to show how the gold of faith and love is related to the first step of the Holy Spirit’s work. This first remedy for Laodiceans is the same as Step 1 of the Holy Spirit’s work. SIN.

Romans 14:23 “… whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”

 

“The faith that works by love, and purifies the soul, produces the fruit of humility, patience, forbearance, long suffering, peace, joy, and willing obedience. Says the Scripture, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

The promises of God comprehend all the spiritual blessings needed by weak, sinful mortals, who cannot save or bless themselves. That which should cause us the deepest joy is the fact that God forgives sin. If we take Him at His word, and forsake our sins, He is ready and willing to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. …”

The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 412 par. 1-2 {1888 412.1 – 412.2}

 

Having true faith and love of Christ will cause us to confess and put away our sins.

 

WHITE RAIMENT

 

This one should be easy to understand. The Bible says it very plainly. The white linen raiment, or clothing, is righteousness.

Revelation 19:8 “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

So, this second remedy for Laodiceans is the same as Step 2 of the Holy Spirit’s work. RIGHTEOUSNESS. Righteousness is right doing. It is living as Christ lived, and reflecting His character. Romans chapter 6 explains how the existence of sin in our life hinders a righteous life and bearing the fruit of righteousness. But once we submit ourselves to the process of the Holy Spirit, sin becomes loathsome and righteousness becomes attractive.

 

EYESALVE

 

One more thing is needed in the healing process for the Laodicean. Eyesalve is needed.

Is there anything in the Bible that describes a remedy for poor spiritual eyesight or spiritual blindness?

  • Psalm 19:8 “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
  • Psalm 119:130 “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
  • Psalm 119:103 “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

 

Is the eyesalve spiritual honey?

1 Samuel 14:29 “Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.”

Jonathan experienced the effect of literal honey, but we can have a spiritual enlightening as we take in the Word of God. So, the Bible describes the remedy for poor spiritual eyesight as “eating” or studying the Word of God.

 

What happens when we feast on the Word of God? Another example given to us is milk (liquid) vs. meat (solid food).

Hebrews 5:13-14 “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

 

By eating the meat, or deeper things of God’s Word, we become skillful, and gain spiritual discernment. This is the opposite of only using the milk, the surface knowledge or “first principles” (Hebrews 5:12) of truth. Our discernment is exercised when we grapple with the more difficult passages of scripture. This is especially true when we have to bring line upon line of scripture together in order to understand the complexities of history and prophecy.

“We need, O so greatly, keen discernment, clear spiritual eyesight. Our eyes need to be anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, that we may see all things clearly. …”

Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 174 par. 5 {CW 174.5}

 

So, where is the third step, Judgment, in this?

Part of the definition of the word discernment is “acuteness of judgment” or “keen perception or judgment”. So, the discernment we gain from deeper study of God’s Word is good spiritual judgment. This is JUDGMENT, the third remedy of eyesalve for the Laodicean condition.

The benefits of good spiritual judgment are these, just to mention a few:

“… to discern between the evil and the good, and to detect sin under any guise. …”

Testimonies to the Church Volume 4, p. 88 par. 2 {4T 88.2}

 

“… that you may distinguish between truth and error. …”

The Review and Herald {RH, May 9, 1899 par. 4}

 

“… that they may discern the necessities of the time. We must be aroused to see what needs to be done in Christ’s spiritual vineyard, and go to work.”

Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 42 par. 1 {CT 42.1}

 

“… to detect the precious gems of truth, even though they may be buried …”

The Review and Herald {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 1}

 

“… then they will see light and truth in its importance and sanctifying character.”

Manuscript Releases Volume 17, p. 222 par. 4 {17MR 222.4}

 

God knows that we all need to have a greater conversion experience as the Laodicean remedy shows… building faith and love through character building trials, putting away sin and adopting the standard of righteousness, and eating more deeply of the Word of God in order to exercise our spiritual discernment.

 

References

Bible, King James Version

Quotes taken from the Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition 2008 CD

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2 thoughts on “Reformation Pt. 3 – Laodicean Remedy

  1. Pingback: How To Study – Rule 4 |

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