I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be manifested; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 3:18-22)
Here is grace offered to hypocrites. It’s not surprising, is it, that the Lord would offer grace to hypocrites?
Jesus says, “You think you can buy anything you want. What you really need only comes from Me. Come. If you want riches, come to Me. If you want clothing, come to Me. If you want sight, come to Me. Come to Me, and I’ll give you gold refined by fire. All spiritual blessings in the heavenlies come from Me.
“Come to Me and buy the true and tested gold so you will not be poor anymore. And then come to Me to receive a white garment that you may clothe yourself, and the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed. Get rid of your black robe, and come and get a white robe.
“And then, since you’re blind, come and take the eye salve that I have, and I’ll anoint your eyes so that you can see.”
Salvation is that gold which makes us spiritually rich in faith. It is that white robe that covers our sinful nakedness with the righteousness of God through Christ. It is that eye salve which gives us the knowledge of God, illuminating grace, and an understanding of God’s truth. This is a call to salvation in a three-fold description, and it is a magnificent picture.
Jesus says, “Come. The price has been paid. Buy without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).
And then in verse 19 He says something interesting: “Those whom I love I reprove and discipline; therefore, be zealous and repent.”
That first statement has caused some people to think He’s talking to Christians here, but the context doesn’t allow that. This is just an axiomatic statement about God and about Christ. It’s no different from this: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”
God loves unbelievers. He loves sinners. That’s why we have ceased to be sinners and been given salvation. And that love is demonstrated with reproof. It starts with unmasking our wretchedness. It starts with punishment.
So He says, “Therefore, be zealous and repent.” That’s a call to salvation.
The message to the unsaved church is, “Repent and do it fast. Pursue repentance with zeal.”
And then Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”
He’s outside this church. There are thousands of churches like this. And in compassion He knocks, shut out of a church that bears His name. Christ is in the name of the church, but He’s not in the church.
The knocking in this letter is Christ saying, “I will come in if someone, anyone, hears My voice. If someone will open the door and be saved, I’ll come into that church.”
And that’s all it takes, folks: one true Christian in a church and Christ is there. He will enter the church: “And I’ll dine with that person” — meaning fellowship, communion, shared life, shared joy, closeness, affection, and intimacy.
So our Lord stands knocking on the door of Laodicea. He’s still there outside these churches — still there in the cold, in the dark, knocking on the door of sickening, unsaved churches, seeking entrance before eternal night falls and it is everlastingly too late.
And then there is a final promise: “If you will believe, I will not only come in and sit down with you and fellowship with you now. I will also grant to that person who comes in faith to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. I’ll take you all the way to glory and sit you on My throne.”
The throne of God and the throne of Christ becomes the throne of the penitent believer. This is the supreme elevation to humanity, to have the dignity of sitting on the throne of God and the throne of Christ. We don’t receive a kind of minimal salvation.
He knocks on the door of the church that is not church. He calls for the people who are not Christians to repent. “And if they do,” He says, “I’ll come in and I’ll linger with you, and I’ll be present with you and will commune and have fellowship. And someday, I will take you and seat you on My throne.”
That’s the message to the apostates, to the liberals, to the Christ-deniers and Bible-deniers: “You don’t know your condition. You are poor and blind. You are wretched, miserable, and naked.” But Christ, in grace, offers salvation.
And again, as all the letters close, He says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Are you listening?
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 2015, titled “The Lord’s Word to His Church: Laodicea.” In addition to serving as the pastor of Grace Community Church and the voice of Grace to You, Dr. MacArthur is the chancellor of The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, Calif. You can learn more about TMU at masters.edu.
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