Lesson 11

Too Rich to Hope?

(Revelation 3)
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Introduction: When your life is going just fine, do you long for Jesus to return and take you to heaven? Or, do you find that you only get the impulse for Jesus to come(soon)when something bad is happening in your life? If you are young, maybe you have something you want to accomplish before Jesus comes again. Is a little delay just fine with you? Is your life fine without heaven? Are these attitudes typical? Understandable? Dangerous? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. The Problem of Laodicea

    1. Read Revelation 1:17-20. John, the writer of Revelation, is told to record what he has seen. Who told John to write? (The first verses of Revelation tell us that an angel brought to John a revelation from Jesus. The verses we just read make clear that Jesus (see especially v.18) is the source of this revelation.)

      1. What is John asked to write about? (What will take place later to several churches.)

    2. Read Revelation 3:14. Does this message have anything to do with us? (These seven churches actually existed. However, a generally accepted understanding of these messages is that they also refer to time periods in the history of the Christian church. That is why Revelation 1:19 refers to these messages dealing with "what will take place later." The message to Laodicea is a message to the end-time church, a message to believers who live in the last days before Jesus comes again.)

    3. Read Revelation 3:15-16. What can "cold" and "hot" deeds mean? Is this a reference to indoor versus outdoor work?

      1. Why would you refer to "deeds" in terms of temperature? (Actually, the text is not describing the temperature of the deeds, it is describing the temperature of the Christian.)

      2. Except for drinking, what is so bad about "luke-warm?"

    4. Read Revelation 3:17. What does being "rich" have to do with being "luke-warm?" (Before you read verse 17, it is very difficult to understand what is being said in the previous two verses. It seems that Jesus calls "hot" Christians those who are on fire for God. The "cold" Christians are those whose love for the gospel has gone cold.)

      1. Why is a Christian whose love has gone cold preferable to one who is luke-warm? (This is where verse 17 is so critical. The "luke-warm" Christian does not need a thing. If you are cold, you know you need something.)

        1. If you feel your life is going well, and you are not, as mentioned in the introduction, particularly looking forward to the Second Coming, are you luke-warm?

      2. Don't we spend most of our effort on "cold" Christians or non-Christians? Why not spend our time where the need is the greatest - on the luke-warm?

    5. If you agree, "We need to spend more time with the luke-warm," how would you know who was luke-warm?

      1. Is it a simple test: Ask if the person is looking forward to the Second Coming of Jesus?
      2. What do you think about Jesus, in verse 15, telling us that He knows the temperature of our heart by our "deeds?"

        1. Are deeds the test of whether we are luke-warm? If deeds are the "test" of your temperature, how do you rate?

        2. Our lesson (Sunday) quotes 7 SDA Bible Commentary 761 as saying, about the Ladocean, "it is almost impossible to convince him of his great need and of how far he is from the goal of perfection."

          1. Is perfection of deeds our goal?

          2. If our deeds are not perfect, do we flunk the luke-warm test?

        3. How can you reconcile the words of Jesus about deeds with the idea of righteousness by faith?

        4. How can you reconcile the "goal of perfection" with righteousness by faith?

      3. What about a more simple test of your temperature. If you are "rich" then you are luke-warm! Would you prefer that "test?"

        1. Would that be a more accurate "test" than examining your deeds? (Bill Gates may not want the "rich test," but the rest of us might. However, the text is certainly not saying that the size of your bank account is the problem. (Indeed, if the text were about money, it seems to condemn being poor.) The real problem is not the degree of your wealth, but thinking you need nothing when you need everything.)

      4. I don't want to keep asking the same question in a different way, but consider the contrast between verse 15 and verse 17. Jesus says (v.15) there is something lacking in our deeds, but when He gets around to describing it (v.17) it is that we are "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." How can Jesus start out talking about deeds, and end up talking about our state of being? (The Bible teaches this concept in many ways: what we do reveals who we are.)

  2. The Cure to Laodicea

    1. Read Revelation 3:18. How can you buy gold, new clothes and eye medication if you are poor? (This logical impossibility shows that Jesus is talking about spiritual matters and not financial matters.)

      1. What do you think Jesus is asking us to do when He says "Buy from Me gold refined in the fire?"(Remember last week we discussed the meaning of 1 Peter 1:6-7? We learned from that text that problems that we suffer here give us a faith that is more valuable than refined gold. When Jesus tells us to "buy gold" from Him, I think He is asking us to depend upon Him in times of difficulty.)

      2. What do you think Jesus is asking us to do when He says "Buy white clothes to wear?" (The parable of Matthew 22 suggests that the garment that Jesus gives us is the robe of His righteousness.)

      3. What do you think Jesus is asking us to do when He says "Buy salve to put on your eyes so you can see?" (Compare Ephesians 1:18. Jesus is offering to help us see our world in the proper light.)

      4. Considering what we just discussed about gold, clothes and eye medication, how would you go about seeking "perfection?" (The way to "perfection" is not by concentrating on our deeds. The way to perfection is turning to Jesus. We do this by turning to Him when we have trials, by turning to Him for our (robe) of righteousness, by turning to Him to properly see and understand the world.)

  3. The Ease of Exiting Laodicea

    1. Read Revelation 3:19-20. One of the things I love about the Internet is the ease of finding just about anything. How difficult is it to find Jesus to acquire our gold, our clothes and our eye medication? (He is a "door to door salesman!" He comes to you and He even knocks on your door. That is easier than the Internet.)

      1. What do you think it means to "hear" the "voice" of Jesus and "open" the "door?" (The key is the last part of verse 19: "be earnest and repent." To be earnest means to pay attention to the Word of Jesus. To repent means to make a decision to follow Jesus. You pay attention to the call of Jesus, and you open your heart to Him. Sometimes, verse 19 reminds us, it takes rebuke and discipline to cause us to pay attention to Jesus.)

      2. What do you think it means to "eat" with Jesus? (Friend, this is fellowship with the great God of Heaven. What could be better?)

    2. If I told you to pursue perfection, and then told you the way to pursue it would be to open the door to your house and let it in, would you think I was kidding?

      1. Is that the message of these verses?

    3. Read Revelation 3:21. Friend, is this what you want? Jesus comes to you and asks you to enter into fellowship with Him now and forever. If you pay attention, and chose Him, you will soon see that the world does not satisfy you. If you are satisfied with your life here, you are in great danger because you do not realize your need of that relationship with Jesus. Open the door of your heart to Him today.

  4. Next week: Called to One Hope

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