A Christ Centered Church

Cornerstone Church,

A Christ Centered Church

Wedding crashers are a special kind of people. Uninvited “guests” sneak into the celebrations of a Groom and His bride and take what they can for themselves.  In the late 1970’s and since, there has been a movement among the church in America and abroad to shift the focus from Christ to the “consumer.” In an effort to “reach” more people, leaders have built designer churches for niche audiences trying to appeal to an ever changing and fickle crowd. The Church of Laodicea was one such church.

Revelation 3:14-17 (NKJV) 14 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—

The city of Laodicea was among the most wealthy in its day. It boasted mineral hot springs, a thriving textile industry and even a medical school associated with the Temple to the Greek god Asclepius. The name of the town translates to Laos – Populace, and Dicea – Rule. It was a place where the people ruled. The home of democracy.

Church is not a place where people should rule. Church is a place where God rules. His Word is our standard for what we believe and do. However, in modern church growth as well as this wretched church in Laodicea, the people were the focus. Rather than Christ and His Bride, these wedding crashers had come in to take over and use and abuse the services for their own glory.

Jesus rebukes this lukewarm church as neither hot, nor cold. They were completely useless. He threatens to vomit them out of His mouth. What they were doing was nauseating. They claimed to be fine though. They were self sufficient and rich,  they did not need anything from anybody, even God. Or so they thought. Jesus tells them that they are in fact wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.

He then prescribes a cure for their problems in verse 18.

Revelation 3:18 (NKJV) 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

They needed to make some changes. The first exchange was to trade their “Fools” gold for true gold that had been refined in the fire. Their values were mistaken. The things that they though held value were of no value at all. Jesus tells a similar story in the Sermon on the Mount. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth" "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven."

The second exchange they needed to make had to do with their garments. The fashion of the day was black wool. Laodicea was famous for it throughout the Roman Empire. Jesus uses this as a reminder that all of their righteousness was as filthy rags. Instead, they needed to be clothed with His white garments, to cover their nakedness. Just as God clothed Adam and Eve in the Garden, so we must lay aside the garments that are stained with sin and put on His righteousness.

Finally He calls on them to anoint their eyes with salve. Their focus was off, they had taken their eyes off of Christ and their view of God and His righteous glory was blinded. They had an “I” problem. Their view of self had gotten in the way of their view of God. He calls on them to apply salve, to bring healing to their eyes. Just as God caused the scales to fall from the eyes of the Apostle Paul, and just as Christ healed the blind man, so we must come to Him for healing and focus.

As we correct our vision, exchange our garments, and exchange our treasures, we begin to turn around, just as it was promised to this wayward church. Let us keep our eyes on Christ, let us find our righteousness in Him, and lay up our treasure in heaven!

- Pastor Joel Johns