We introduced the theme of self-deception yesterday because in a spiritual manner there was this invisible banner hanging over the front door of the Church at Laodicea that said: “The Church of the Deceived”. Maybe another invisible banner would be: “The Church in the Grey Zone”. I had a Church Council member for many years who is an auditor with his own practice. He was the Church Treasurer. An auditor’s function, apart from checking the books is to ensure the business is using its finances and recording it in such a manner that it complies with all government requirements. (Generally Accepted Practices). Should I or anyone else suggest (ignorant of GAP) using the finances incorrectly or recording its use incorrectly, John would say … “It’s either right or wrong, black or white. There are no grey areas.” This is absolutely true … though if John read the Letter to the Church at Laodicea, he would say … “hang on … there is a grey are!”
Rev 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold.
Within Gospel terminology there is a grey area … “lukewarm”. This Church was lukewarm. Apart from other things, they were deceived and lukewarm as a Church. The two words are like identical twins!
2) As this pastor receives the letter and reads it … he sees
Rev 3:14 … These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
All seven pastors are informed that the correspondence they receive is from Almighty God, the owner of both Creation and the Church. Look at how the Lord Jesus describes Himself …
(1) The Amen. Humorously I will joke about saying “amen” because we don’t say “awomen”. Yet seriously, the “Amen” here is our Lord assuming a Title attributed to God. In the NIV Bible we read
Isa 65:16 Whoever invokes a blessing in the land will do so by the God of truth; he who takes an oath in the land will swear by the God of truth.
The Phrase used twice … “the God of Truth” is translated in the NEB Bible as “the God whose name is Amen.” Apparently translations in the First Century depended on the vocalization of the Hebrew word. That is, the sounding of the word was important. The Septuagint translation read it as “omen” meaning “truth” … hence “the God of Truth”. The same word was also understood as “amen” … rendering “the God Amen”. A word study reveals that the basic meaning of “amen” from the Semitic root, from which it is derived is “firm,” “fixed,” or “sure,” and the related Hebrew verb also means “to be reliable” and “to be trusted.” The Greek Old Testament usually translates amen as “so be it”, yet in the English Bible it has frequently been rendered as “verily,” or “truly.” God is Truth, therefore Jesus is Truth. An interesting Scripture that shows Jesus is God and God is Jesus, is
Jn 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Jesus says He is the truth … the amen! Therefore, the message of the letter needs to be seen as Truth … trustworthy, reliable and guaranteed. This is followed by Jesus declaring Himself …
(2) The Faithful and True Witness. This clarifies Him saying He is the “Amen” (the “Truth”). The very concept of faithfulness and truth relates to Jesus’ faithful consistency and against the inconsistency of the Church at Laodicea. Later we read in Revelation
Rev 19:11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.
As you read further in this chapter you see it is speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ when referring to the “rider” who is Faithful and True. Everything He is, does and says is verifiable as consistently true to His nature, character and God-ness. He is the Truthful One and cannot be anything other than He is. So far we see the Lord Jesus stamping His authority with the intent that what He says to this Church is as “good as done”. He ends off speaking of whom He is by saying He is …
(3) The Ruler of God’s Creation. Let me be repetitive again with reference to the Godhead. God is One and within this Oneness there is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In no ways does the Bible teach there are three Gods. Previously in these Notes we have quoted many Scriptures showing that there are three persons within the Godhead, yet this is not saying three Gods. God is One. In reading the Bible cover to cover with an open mind to learn with understanding, you will see that the Bible is one book, with one message from the One, True, Living God. As an example, God tells us in Genesis 1 that He created everything.
Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
In John 1 we find
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Here we see that Jesus is God (verse 1) and through Him everything that exists was made by Him. In Hebrews 1 we read
Heb 1:1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Here we see Jesus as God, Creator and Sustainer of all Creation. Perhaps one last Scripture is
Ac 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
Here you see the Spirit, Father and Son (His own Blood) mentioned. These passages show us that we have One God, who is the Creator, Sustainer and Savior and He is revealed as the Lord Jesus Christ. He reigns as Lord and King. Because Jesus is God and King, He is faithful and true to Himself, what He says and stands for. As we conclude this Note there are two important take-a-ways:
(1) There is such comfort for the believer to know and be assured of the fact that God is faithful, true and consistent. What He says and promises He will do.
(2) There ought to be extreme fear for those who are self-deceived. Again, what He says and promises He will do.
Lord help me to listen to You. Amen.