1. Application

Response to the Gospel

Revelation 3:14–22 (ESV)

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

As the Amen of God, and his faithful and true witness, the enthroned Christ testifies unmistakably of a gospel that is meant to electrify all who hear it: corrupt sinners may become children of God, heirs to life eternal, kings with the King of kings! If Christians respond to such a gospel with smug indifference or apathetic self-sufficiency, they cannot be surprised if the King of glory spits them out of his mouth as repulsive and offensive. The sheer wonder of the gospel necessarily requires enthusiasm in the Lord’s service, and thus repentance of lethargy.

It is tempting and easy for a church to assume that the Lord’s promises are fully for the membership, as the church in Laodicea did. The fact that Jesus disagreed strongly with their self-assessment indicates that every church in the course of the NT dispensation needs to engage in persistent self-examination: what is our spiritual temperature? Given human sinfulness, the church needs always to be ready to buy improved products from the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. This requires an attitude of humility.

Christ Jesus insists on his people acting responsibly. That’s why he presents himself to his churches as a salesman with goods for purchase (think of the regular preaching of the gospel). Yet for wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked Christians the goods Christ offers come at no price to them; what Christ has already acquired for them is free for the repentant. Note: this text cannot be used for evangelism or mission as if Christ knocks on the door of anyone’s heart and they have the wherewithal to open the door, or not. To use this text in that way would cut it out of its context and so abuse its intent.