POOR, BLIND AND NAKED
By W. G. Guy
America is in a serious spiritual and moral decline as a result of the godless influences directed against us coming from several different directions at the same time: education, entertainment, media and our government’s laws going contrary to God’s Word.
Psalm 119:126 – It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.
Many calls are going out from God’s watchmen to pray for our nation to come to wake up to truth and repent and turn, or return, to Him. We need a national revival; however, before that occurs we need to get the church in order before we can effectively deal with the lost and spiritually dead. Much of the church is already in a depraved condition itself and needs to be revived before we bring the converted into it and possibly mess up new believers. I say this because there is so much in many of our churches that is not of God, yet those in such churches cannot recognize their own need.
1 Peter 4:17 – For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Therefore we need to get the church right and deal with its spiritual condition before we can adequately deal with our national spiritual condition. This article focuses on the condition of the of Laodicea of Revelation 3 which is representative of the modern day church . We see that the Book of Revelation was written to the seven churches of Asia Minor, (which is now the nation of Turkey). None of those seven churches exist anymore; in fact they have not existed for nearly 1200 years since Islam (the religion of the False Prophet) took over the entire region.
Nevertheless the Lord’s message to these churches contains major prophetic events that would occur from that time until Christ’s personal return. Therefore this message has been preserved and needs to be considered by all Christianity up to the time of the end of the age and the return of our Lord for the final judgment.
So why are we given details of the situations, conditions and status of each of these seven churches when they wouldn’t even be around for the rest of the church age? Scholars have presented three possible theories as to why the specific messages to each of these churches is recorded and preserved for us.
One theory is that each of the seven churches is representative of various churches or church groups that will exist throughout the church age. Theory two is that each of the seven churches is, in general, a chronological representation of the progression of the church throughout the church age. Thus the Ephesus type church represented the church at the beginning of the church age and the Laodicean type church represents the conditions of the church at the end of the church age. Theory three is a combination of the two which takes into consideration national differences and cultural trends that influence people in respective church groups in different societies.
It is painfully obvious that the Laodicean type church is representative of much of the church in America today, especially as seen on TV and some mega-churches. It is very important to bring attention to the condition of this style church and refresh the call of Jesus, as mentioned is Revelation 3:20 to “let him in” so an intimate relationship and fellowship with Him can be established or restored before the end comes.
Revelation 3:15-17 – I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
These people felt they were ‘RICH, INCREASED WITH GOODS AND HAD NEED OF NOTHING”. They were very well off, prosperous and wealthy; they were in an enviable position. However, they seemed to only be concerned with material possessions and position. Jesus had something to say about this:
Luke 12:15 – And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
This church must have had a good beginning, after all, it was listed among one of Christ’s seven churches in this region of the world. However, after time, (less than forty years since its inception) this church lost its spiritual vision and purpose. It appears to have fallen prey to the “success and prosperity” doctrines, the same way the enemy has used to infiltrate much of the church in America today.
By definition from the Greek this church’s entire focus was on material prosperity.
Rich = wealthy; abounding; material resources and substance.
Increased with goods = abundance of possessions
Have need of nothing = no experience of lacking or being destitute of anything, or having any necessities
Their focus and dependence on material things, wealth and position brought them to the place where Christ was no longer a part of that church; He was left standing outside and asking access to get in and restore an intimate relationship and fellowship with them.
Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Jesus said how he felt about the condition of this church:
Revelation 3:15 – I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth
He said this church was “lukewarm”, which means it was tepid, not refreshing or satisfying, lacking spiritual quality. It actually made him so sick so as to spue them out, which means to vomit. This church was repugnant to him, it sickened him with extreme disgust so as to make him throw up. Even though these people thought they were so blessed He saw them as they really were: wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (verse 17).
Let’s define those words from the Greek as they were translated from:
Wretched = suffering lack, afflicted
Miserable = pitiable, in need of necessities
Poor = a beggar, a pauper, absolutely impoverished, helpless and powerless to accomplish an end,
a goal or a task
Blind = opaque, (not able to discern or recognize), blind, physically, mentally or spiritually
Naked = nude, unclothed, uncovered, bare, unprotected.
Yet because of His grace and mercy He was knocking and desiring access to bring His presence and glory back into this church. Jesus’ concern for this type of church is such that he even lays out the means to be restored in order to be the church that is His representation on earth. His solution to the church in Laodicea can also be applied to much of the church in America today:
Revelation 3:18 – I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As previously mentioned, the Church of Laodicea lost its spiritual quality and evolved into a purely materialist church leaving Christ and all spiritual quality outside. Jesus gave them, and us, instructions how to regain that essential spiritual quality so necessary to stand in these last days. First requirement is to “let Him in” and have a close fellowship with Him. By this we are able to acquire the means for true spiritual growth and development.
“Buy of me Gold tried in the fire”: this refers to faith and faithfulness that has been tested and proven in and by fiery trials. People whose focus is on material things care not for spiritual things and cave in when testing and the trials of life regarding material things occur. It’s like Jesus said to his disciples when he taught them about false prophets, teachers, and ministers in Matthew 7; he said they build the house on sand and when the storms of life hit then their house crumbles – (the house he referred to is HIS house, the temple in which HE abides – the church).
Matthew 7:15, 16 & 27 – Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
God’s servants, who have the Fruit of the Spirit (His character and nature), teach truth and are motivated by the Spirit and not by material prosperity. They build the church (saints) properly so when the storms of life hit, also known as fiery trials (and they will hit each of us), they are able to withstand those storms.
Matthew 7:24-25 – Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
It is important to recognize that as we draw nearer to the return of Christ that the storms of life and various trials are likely to increase, thus testing and trying people’s faith.
Luke 18: 8 – …….. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Notice that Jesus said “buy of me gold….”; the word “buy” tells us there is a price we have to pay to obtain the spiritual quality He is talking about. It also indicates that your life must be submitted to Him and allow Him to lead you into and through situations and circumstances as He directs your life. He wants you to learn to fully trust in Him and not doubt His love and care for you. This is only developed and proven by going through experiences that we would prefer to avoid because they disturb and threaten our material life and comfort zone. Faith that is tested and proven brings about the true riches that are eternal:
Ephesians 1:18 – The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Next is the instruction to buy “white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear”. White raiment is referred to in scripture as garments of righteousness; such righteousness which can only come from intimacy with, and conformity to, Jesus Christ – when Christ is seen in us.
Revelation 19:8 – And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
His righteousness in the saints is a spiritual covering. This is the same covering that Adam and Eve lost due to the sin of disobedience in the Garden in Eden and they tried to hide their nakedness – which was their newly discovered unrighteousness condition. His righteousness is given to all believers, but it is incumbent on us to abide in and cultivate it by our fellowship, intimacy and obedience to Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The shame of nakedness is the carnal or fleshly nature that sins. Selfishness, pride and lust for material things, is the result of yielding to the carnal nature.
Romans 8:7-8 – Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
When that behavior is evident then carnal nakedness is showing as was seen in the church of Laodicea. That church acts like and behaves just like the rest of the world. Therefore we are told to set our priorities in order:
Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Finally comes the instruction to “anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see”. This refers to focusing our attention on the kingdom of God not the kingdom of man which is governed by Satan, the god of this world. The apostle Paul spoke of this in Ephesians 1:18 listed previously, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened”. Paul also gave similar instructions to the church at Colosse:
Colossians 3:1-2 – If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
This refers to the need to have spiritual understanding, insight and most importantly, DISCERNMENT. Discernment appears to be greatly lacking in much of America’s churches today as they can’t seem to differentiate truth from error; what is of God and what is not of God. Too many Christians today cannot recognize the working of the enemy, or the many false doctrines and traditions that have infiltrated the church and are commonly practiced today. They are not able to recognize Satan’s counterfeit “gifts of the spirit” and the spirit of antichrist that the apostle John warned about that was already operating IN the church in his day.
1 John 2:18 – Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
1 John 4:1-3 – Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Believers need to have their eyes opened so they can recognize the deceptions that Jesus and the apostles foretold would be prevalent just before his return.
Matthew 24:4-5, 24 – And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Colossians 2:8 – Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Surely the modern type of church of Laodicea will fall prey to the tactics of the enemy’s deception.
2 Corinthains 11:14-15 – And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
They will not be able to detect those who minister false doctrines that bring people back into bondage – especially those doctrines that focus on material things. This is what Jesus is warning about and telling us how to avoid. Many of America’s Christians, just as the Laodiceans, need to admit that our spiritual condition is in shambles due to our focus on material things. Then we need to heed Christ’s instructions and purge our selves and apply His corrective actions so we are thoroughly equipped to stand in the evil day and be faithful representations of Him and His Kingdom – His Church.
Ephesians 6:10-15 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
(Note: each piece of spiritual armour is an acceptance and application of the Word of God.)
After we get the church in America on the right tract then we can work more effectively on changing our nation which is in great of need of repentance and to come to God through Jesus Christ. (It is this writer’s opinion that the condition of our nation today can be attributed to the diminished spiritual condition of the church. If we were truly the salt of the earth and the light as Jesus commanded, then most likely our country would not have the godless immorality and corruption we now experience.)
Proverbs 14:34 – Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
It is time for the church to awaken from its slumber and recognize our spiritual condition and REPENT!
Romans 13:11-14 –And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.