Revelation 3:17 “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:”
The Faithful and True Witness calls us this.
So let us consider the facts of the accusation:
First, to understand the term “Wretched”: To be wretched is to be deplorably unfortunate, in condition or circumstances.
And we are.
We are sinners, and as such, all our righteousness is as filthy rags ( Isaiah 64:6)
We are also the Church, but living with the world that thinks the Bible is out of date, and that Christ’s words can be ignored.
Are we not just what He says we are?
Now the only other place that this term wretched is used in the New Testament, is:
Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Now just what is it that Paul wants here?
He wants to be saved from himself. For he sees that he is wretched, which is better than not seeing, for then he can seek the deliverance he needs.
Self examinations are for the most part useless; because it is all of Self! Self! Self!
“How could I ever do such a thing?”
“The great me; how could I ever be that way?”
“How can I change to be a better I?”
But when you begin to see you are wretched, in the same way Paul saw, by the power of the Holy Spirit, then you also see that Christ Jesus is the only hope for deliverance.
Woe is me! Paul said. And so does everyone who realizes that they can not deliver themselves, from themselves.
And when this happens, then we turn to the Lord for salvation from ourselves.
Romans 7:15-23 “For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Now then it is no more I that do it , but sin that dwelleth in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Paul saw his natural man (flesh), fighting against his spiritual man; and winning a lot of times.
This is the wretchedness Paul saw in himself; does any of it ring true to you?
Do you know anything about this, personally?
Wanting to do the will of God; but finding that root of bitterness (Hebrews 12:15), or that anger turn to hatred, or that you are willing to do anything, but that…all the things which deal with covetness (the desire for something we do not have). Whether it is prestige, riches, other people in our life, different circumstances, or great ability.
This was the sin in Paul’s life which showed to him his “wretchedness”. (Romans 7:7)
Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
Paul is saying, “I do not have the reality of His power working in my life. I am miserable.”
Paul later wrote concerning some who stayed in this position:
2 Timothy 3:7 “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Because that is the crux of the matter.
Will you stay in the same position, when you see your wretchedness?
James 1:23-24 “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”
God in Christ has offered us so much; how much have we obtained?
How much have sought Christ’s deliverance from ourselves?
We are as Christ says:
Revelation 3:16 “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”
Our lukewarmness, is our lack of zeal.
We set so little store by the things God has given us; the things we are called to do.
They are just not that important. We don’t really count for much; God does not really care about my obedience.
This is indifference in our Spiritual Life. And Jesus Christ, the Faithful and True Witness, says we make Him sick because of this.
The real need of us in Laodicea, is to see in honesty, our condition before the Lord; like Paul did.
We are what He testifies to: wretched. Sad, but true.
But what are we going to do about it?
1 Corinthians 11:31 “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”
This is not self examination; but self judgement…accepting God’s judgement of us and doing what He tells us about it.
This judging ourselves is coming before the Lord, and honestly seeing ourselves for what we are; and seeking His deliverance.
Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Romans 8:13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
Indifference and wretchedness; or getting boiling hot towards God, and life.
Which will we do?