“So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.” Revelation 3:18 NLT
Three things are prescribed by Jesus in this scripture:
1. Gold from Jesus - pure, lasting gold.
2. White Garments - the righteousness of Jesus that can only come through an authentic relationship with Him.
3. Eye ointment - The kind that only the Great Physician can give.
Let's deal with each of these.
1. The "gold" of material and financial wealth may have given the Laodicean church a successful status in the natural, but it had not added one jot or tittle (jot - tenth and smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet; tittle - small stroke of a pen that differentiates letters in the Hebrew) to their spiritual condition. A "church" can have the finest facility that money can buy, be decorated with all of the fancies of artistic architecture, supplied with the most expensive pipe organ in the world, have its own musical orchestra, be operated by an efficient ministry staff, but still be void of the presence of Jesus. Just because there is a impressive structure with a deep, religious tradition of liturgy, in no way does that mean that Jesus is pleased with it all. Often, our practices say more about our own ideology and preferences than it does about Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I stand in awe at the craftsmanship, architecture, and beauty that is on display in many cathedrals around the world. However, my heart sinks when I contemplate how much money, time, and effort go into the building but how little actually goes into the proclamation of the gospel. These religious symbols we call "churches" are, in many respects, dead, dry, and powerless. These buildings we occupy and the "stuff" we have will, one day, be remembered no more. We live in a fallen, temporarily world and the "things" we have will all perish. The only things that will last eternally are:
1. The Word of God
Where we spend eternity is the issue. We will either spend eternity with Christ and live forever or we will spend it in Hell. It won't matter where you went to church, what the buildings looked like, how many generations of your family attended there, or even if you were "Christened" or "confirmed". The only thing that will matter is the condition of your spirit. Were you redeemed or were you lost? Let me be absolutely clear here! I am not advocating churchless Christianity. I believe in His church! True believers in Christ are born again and birthed into the church. We, then, have a responsibility to be a part of a local church. Every child of God needs a family to belong to and a place to receive instruction, correction, direction, and provision. What I am driving at is this: No matter what kind of facilities your church may have, how much money it has, or how much tradition it carries, the only thing that matters is it's spiritual condition. This brings me to the next point.
2. We need the righteousness (garments) of Jesus in order to be covered in God's sight. The only garment that can cover the nakedness of our sin is Jesus complete and atoning work of salvation. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:23; 5:1; 6:23; 10:8-10, 13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; Colossians 1:14; 2:10; I Peter 1:18-19; I John 1:9).
3. The ointment we need to have applied to our eyes is the touch of God. Jesus opened naturally blinded eyes in His earthly ministry. He is the one who restores the sight to the blind. The worst kind of blindness is being able to see naturally but not spiritually. “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Matthew 6:22-23 NLT Jesus can open our eyes to see the sin that easily besets us. Just as the Laodecian society had an eye salve that was the "state of the art" of its time, Jesus was telling them that they may have had pride in their medical advancements but they were still blind spiritually. We, too, in our time have become like Laodicea. We have our medical advancements and we have become intoxicated with our own success. We think we are self sufficient and yet we can't see the sin that is eating us alive like a cancer. We fancy ourselves as walking in the light but we are actually walking in darkness. The only way we can see our spiritual condition with clarity is for Jesus to open our eyes. The only medical help for the spirit of a man is Jesus! No technology can transform the spirit of a man. That's why we live in a materially and financially prosperous society, like Laodicea, and yet we are drowning in our sin. Only a revival of the church can bring restoration to the land. I am utterly afraid that most of our churches in America are in worse condition, spiritually, than meets the eye. God sees our innermost being. The real question is this: What does He see?? Are we so "satisfied" and comfortable with our religious experience that we are blind to our actual condition? Do we think we are "ok" just because we attend a service, sing the songs, and give a little? Would you pray this prayer with me today? God, please give us pure gold from heaven. Dress us in Your righteous garments. We beg of you, help us see ourselves through your eyes. Open our understanding and reveal Yourself to us once again. I pray that we will have the pure fire of the Holy Ghost burn in our churches once again. I pray that our pulpits will be ablaze with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I pray that we will know, with absolute certainty, that God is in our midst. Then, and only then, will we be Your church. In Jesus Holy Name, Amen!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris