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As we open to Colossians 3 we begin with four verses that declare the wonder of our salvation. Baptism is a look back at what Christ did to us, Communion is a look back at what Christ did for us on the Cross.
Follow along as we read the first four verses:
Colossians 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
One of the greatest works of God in salvation was opening our blind eyes to see.
Protecting spiritual sight is the final of the three elements we are to deliberately pursue, according to Christ’s Last Words. Jesus counsels His Church in life-long, spiritual vision-care, promoting healthy eyes.
Christ Desires Us
To See Clearly
Please open with me to Rev. 3, and listen again to Jesus, telling the church at Laodicea what they needed to have lives that pleased Him. Please give attention to the public reading of Scripture.
One of the things I love about the Lord is that He always saves the best for last. Unlike the world whose joys run out and fade, God’s path that shines brighter each day we walk it (Pr. 4:18).
Just like when Jesus turned the water into wine, all the guests said that the best had been saved for the last. Just like the promise to those who stay close to the Lord in Psalm 92, our God is the God who gives better and better joys so that those at the end surpass all others. As we turn to Rev. 3:21-22 we find that once again, our God has saved the best for last.
This morning we are looking back at where we’ve been. Much like getting home from a trip and spending time looking at the pictures that you took while traveling.
We have invested the past year, looking at the only part of God’s Word dictated by Christ, for the express purpose of: being sent to His Church, being read by His Church, and being obeyed by His Church.
There is no part of the Bible so clear, so personal, and so direct: as these three chapters. What exactly did we find in Revelation? We found that:
Posted a Picture
This morning, as we open to II Corinthians 6, let me remind you that: each of us, are creatures of habit.
Habits shape our lives; and little by little, our habits are cementing us into a form that will someday be finished, revealing us for who we really were.
William James (1842-1910), in his classic Principles of Psychology (1890), put it this way:
Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke or virtue or vice leaves its ever so little scar.
There’s only one portion of God’s Word, specifically written to the Church, by Jesus Christ: Rev. 2&3. Join me there as we to continue systematically exame Christ’s challenges to this, the seventh and final of the churches.
If you had traveled to visited friends or family in Laodicea, three things would have stood out to you in the First Century. These three unique features to this city, are the framework of Christ’s words we are examining today in Revelation 3:18. These could be called:
Laodicea’s Three Key Industries
Today, and every day of our lives, the Cross of Christ is the source of our power to live in this world of sin.
Living a life that glorifies God is called sanctified living.
Sanctification means that God is leading and controlling our lives.
As we return to Christ’s Last Words to His Church, we find that His Church at:
Laodicea was not Living in the Shadow of Christ’s Cross
For two generations, all the local churches around Laodicea had savored the truths about the Cross of Christ. Today as Christ’s Church we gather to hear again for our generation His warning to: Never stop living in the shadow of the Cross.
As we open to Christ’s last words, we have come to the last church He addresses in Revelation 3:19. Here in the last words to the last church we find a grand summary of the entire life of the believer, reflecting the theme of most of the New Testament epistles.
In other words, Jesus ends His words to His church asking us to live a life of constant repentence, we are to avoid getting lax about sin. V. 19 brings us to:
Challenge Seven: Jesus wants us to Repent of any Spiritual Laxity
v. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Jesus changes the tone of His Voice as we open to Revelation 3:20. After seven rebukes to the most disobedient church of the seven, Laodicea is hearing something amazing. Jesus makes them an offer that is unbelievable. Jesus invites anyone who wants to spend time with Him, face-to-face and one-on-one, to join Him for the most refreshing meal of the day: the unhurried evening meal that every laboring person longed for after a hard day’s work, and every rich person looked forward to as the best time of the day.
As we open to Revelation 2:18-29, we come to the letter to the Church at Thyatira.
That term, Thyatira, is usually a bit foreign to us outside of this chapter. To get our bearings we could also say, we are opening to the geographic area that received more of the books (epistles) of the New Testament than any other geographic area of the ancient world.
Have you ever thought about where these letters we hold were first sent?
God Sent More New Testament Letters Here than Anywhere Else
Here’s the lineup if you haven’t stopped to do the math.
As we open to Revelation 2:12-17, remember that Revelation 1-3 is all about:
Seeing Jesus Gathering with His Local Churches
Jesus wants us to know He is walking among us and watching our lives.
The simple message Jesus Christ gives us is that His Highest Priority right now is gathering with His local church. Remember where John first saw Jesus in Revelation 1:12? He was walking around His local churches (that is what v. 20 says that those lampstands represent: Christ’s local churches).
As we open to Revelation 1:14 this is the second set of twin descriptions of Christ: His head and hair are white, like wool and snow; His eyes are like burning flames of fire.
When John turned to see who it was that spoke to him, he turned and saw the Ancient of Days Himself, in all His power, in all His holiness, and with those eyes ablaze with an inescapable and penetrating gaze. That is how Jesus Christ the Risen Lord appears at this moment, as we gather before Him. Let that sight get imprinted upon your heart:
Christ’s Flaming Eyes of Penetrating Holiness
As we open to Colossians 3 we begin with four verses that declare the wonder of our salvation.
Baptism is a look back at what Christ did to us.
Communion is a look back at what Christ did for us on the Cross.
Follow along as we read the first four verses:
Colossians 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
The first observation a student studying God’s Word would make in Psalm 32 is that David is so thankful for his sin being forgiven, that he uses four different Hebrew words to describe the depths God had to go to accomplish his forgiveness in just the first two verses. Note those with me as we open to Psalm 32:
Psalm 32:1-2 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. NKJV
That is one happy man to declare the amazing depth of his forgiveness in every way possible.
As we open to First Thessalonians 5:23 we are going to read the plan God gave to Paul to start a recovery program is a rough, tough, vice-filled, seaport city named Thessalonica.
In AD 50 or 51, the Gospel had arrived in this thriving commercial transportation hub where intercontinental caravans met at the docks of a huge seaport. In less than three weeks, a group of drunkards, sex-addicts, greedy and dishonest business people, as well as normal well-adjusted lost pagans and Jews had come to Christ.