Have you ever meditated on Jesus’ call to His followers, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me?” This is a tough call and has made me think through what it costs to be a disciple of Jesus or more particularly a Christian. To go by the name of Christ brings with it consequences and responsibilities. To be accepted as one of Jesus’ disciples requires denial of self, sacrifice and obedience. This is what Jesus is requiring of all His disciples both past and present.
As we come to this last letter to the seven churches we are confronted with the expectation of Jesus for His church to be ‘full on’ for Him. The letter to the church at Laodicea is a tough one. It is tough for me because ‘it is too close to home’! It touches at my heart because Jesus words are calling me to be ‘wholehearted’ in my walk with Him and in my service for Him. He is saying to me, “Steve, it is all or nothing!” Too often I have been content to give Him my second best! Too often I have been half-hearted in my commitment to Him! Too often I am content with just giving what is left over from my busy life!
This letter is stern wake up call to not only me but all Jesus’ followers! He challenges the Christians gathered at Laodicea and in the churches today, “You are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other. So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth!” Harsh words to say the least! Yet we see the true heart of Jesus. He requires our all. The ironical thing is that when we give this to Him we are greatly blessed! The promises He bestows on us are out of this world! Nothing the world can offer can come even close to this – wealth, pleasure, power, prestige – nothing comes close to the fact that when that Day of the Lord finally comes we will sit with Him on His throne! And for now, we enjoy the great privilege of having Him live within us!
Be blessed dear brothers and sisters as we remember the great lessons we have learned through our journey to the seven churches of Asia Minor. And remember that history records that these churches failed to implement Jesus’ counsel; their lampstands were removed and they all eventually died and no longer exist!