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Archive for May 30th, 2019

A wise man (who I happen to live with) has said that the most important question for any of us is the question that Jesus asked (Matthew 16:15) of Simon Peter:

“But what about you?” he asked. 
“Who do you say I am?”

I have been thinking of this question this week after helping a student through Revelation 3.

Revelation 3 contains letters to three (of seven) churches in Asia (modern Turkey): Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

I admit that I often avoid Revelation … more out of it’s complex mysteries, metaphors and multiple interpretations of experts. Quite simply I just struggle to understand this book.

The letters to these three churches make sense to me, both as letters to churches (then and now) as well as letters to followers of Christ.

To Sardis the author (possibly the apostle John) says, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” (v. 1) This church did all the stuff that was expected of an early church and they probably did it bigger and better than everyone else, but there was little substance in who they were in Christ. He referred to their style of Christ-following, to them as “dead”. They were cold to Christ.

To Laodicea he says, ‘you say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing’ (v.17). This church didn’t have a care in the world, for every worldly need was met, and more. This church chose just enough religion. You know, prayed before a meal, gave money to good causes, but never really made a life with Christ a priority. They were lukewarm to Christ.

Then to Philadelphia he praises, “I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (v. 8). Though this church has little, is under threat (or will be), and has gone through great struggles … they have not denied the name of Christ. They are holding firm to their faith. Their faith in Christ was hot.

In verse 16, to the church at Laodicea, he say, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

We cannot hear what the Spirit says when we our faith in him is lukewarm, our hearing is most clear when our faith is hot, fully given to him … no matter our circumstances. Faith is not about how others see us, but how we answer the question:

“But what about you?” he asked. 
“Who do you say I am?”


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