Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Revelation 3:18-22
Pastor Steve Schell
Revelation 3:18
Verse 18 (continued): The third item Jesus counsels the Laodicean church to buy from Him explains why their terrible spiritual condition went unnoticed by them: they are spiritually blind. To have eyes that can see God’s truth requires the willingness to see the negative condition they are in and to repent. Undoubtedly, the Holy Spirit has been constantly warning them about the conditions Jesus lists, but they have ignored Him while stubbornly insisting they are “wealthy and… need nothing” (v 17). So the first step in their restoration is to humble themselves by asking Jesus to put His “eye salve” on their spiritual eyes until at last they too can see they are “miserable, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.”

Revelation 3:18
Verse 18 (continued): The second step will be to clothe themselves in white garments by placing their faith in the righteousness of Christ. And the third step will be to produce true spiritual riches which become possible only after they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and have surrendered to His leadership. First the “eye salve,” then the “white garments,” and then the “gold refined by fire.” It seems odd Jesus would have to say such things to a church, but Laodicea serves as a warning to believers in every generation that it’s possible for people to assume they are great Christians, but not be born-again.

Revelation 3:19, 20
Verse 19: Though Jesus has just exposed gross hypocrisy in Laodicea and has implied that many don’t know Him, His reason for saying such things is not because He hates them for falling into such a state but because He deeply loves them and wants to come into their lives. He reminds them that He is impartial and consistent when it comes to confronting and disciplining. This is the way He treats everyone He loves when they stray onto the wrong path (Pr 3:11, 12; Heb 12:5-11). So His harsh assessment shouldn’t drive them away from Him but rather serve to alarm them they must be zealous (lit: “hot”; note: v 16) and repent. Verse 20: What a telling image it is that Jesus pictures Himself as standing outside the door of their hearts. So often this famous verse is used to invite unbelievers to welcome the Savior into their lives. And indeed that is the message of the verse. Jesus is outside and wants to come inside. But the fact that He needs to ask to be let into the hearts of supposed Christians in Laodicea is an awful assessment of their condition. They, like the unbelievers around them, need to repent and welcome Him to come in and take control of their lives.

Revelation 3:20, 21
Verse 20 (continued): And what will happen if they do? Jesus and the Father will join themselves to each believer by indwelling them in the Person of the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:23; 17:20-23; Ro 8:10; Gal 2:20; Eph 3:17; Col 1:27). In New Testament times, even more than now, the concept of dining with someone spoke of intimate communication—a degree of fellowship which takes place at the level of the heart in which true feelings and beliefs are exchanged. And Jesus says this heart-level fellowship will go two ways: He will share His heart with us and we will share ours with Him. His words invite us to a remarkable level of intimacy. By the Spirit He will dwell within us (Jn 14:15-20) and by faith we will live before the Father clothed with Him (Gal 3:27), and the fruit of this will be true friendship (Jn 15:14,15). Verse 21: As He has to each of the seven churches, Jesus makes specific promises to “the one who overcomes” in Laodicea. His promises explain the rewards that will be given to those who remain faithful. He told believers in Ephesus they would be allowed to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God, meaning the tree whose fruit insured a person would live forever (Ge 3:22; Rev 22:2, 14).

Revelation 3:21
Verse 21 (continued): He told Smyrna they would not be hurt by the second death, meaning they would not spend eternity in torment. He told Pergamum they would receive three rewards: First, the hidden manna which was a portion of the miracle-bread of the Exodus kept in a jar in the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 16:31-34). It symbolizes here true spiritual bread which is Jesus Christ (Jn 6:32-35) who can fill the hunger in our hearts for God. Second, they would receive a white stone referring to the white or clear stone called the “Urim” (“lights”) kept in the pouch behind the breastpiece on the front of the high priest’s robes (Ex 28:30). When drawn, this stone indicated God’s acceptance or answer of “yes” to a question, and when these believers stand before God at the judgment they can be confident He will draw the white stone that welcomes them into His kingdom (Neh 7:64,65). And third, a new name will be written on that stone which no one knows but he who receives it, meaning their acceptance into God’s kingdom will never be revoked because their name is permanently inscribed there, and the fact that it is a new name known only to the recipient points to the personal transformation and healing God will work in each believer’s life (Isa 62:2-5, 12).

Revelation 3:21
Verse 21 (continued): He told the church in Thyatira they would be deputies for His authority in governing the nations during the 1000-year reign of Jesus on earth called the Millennium (Rev 20:1-6). He told Sardis they would receive three gifts: First, they would be clothed in white garments, meaning they would be justified before the Father because of their faith in Jesus. Second, their names would not be removed from the registry of the citizens of God’s kingdom. And third, at the judgment Jesus will confess their names before the Father to affirm they remained faithful to Him over their lifetime. He told Philadelphia they would find a permanent place in God’s heavenly temple and city, meaning they will live in intimate fellowship with Him and His people forever.

Revelation 3:21, 22
Verse 21 (continued): And finally, we now hear Him tell the church in Laodicea they will sit down with Him on His throne as He sat down on His Father’s throne. The point of this statement is that He intends to share His authority as God’s Son with believers. Such a step could only be taken if our hearts have become as unified with His as His heart is unified with His Father’s. He’s not giving away His authority, He is extending it through us. So the message for the troubled church in Laodicea is that if they will repent He can make their hearts become perfectly aligned with His, untainted by sin or rebellion. Such a miraculous transformation will make it possible for Him to extend His authority and power through them in eternity. Jesus models this principle Himself. Because His heart was and is perfectly aligned with the Father’s, the Father is pleased to rule all things through His Son, and this is why the Son will be pleased to rule all things through us. Verse 22: One final observation on the challenge which closes each letter. Jesus warns “He who has an ear” to listen to what is said to the “churches” (plural). His use of the plural for churches means the messages in these letters are intended for a wider audience than just that church. He expects each of the seven churches to read the letters written to the others, and beyond that the lessons sent to these seven churches and His call to listen are addressed to us as well. 

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