“O Wretched man that I am”
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 wretchedness of Laodicea spills over into it’s miserableness, poverty, blindness and nakedness.
The Lord says we are wretched….which means deplorable or deserving disapproval…….for we are not zealous (boiling hot) for God’s Will (Rev.3:19)….but lukewarm.
We are ‘warm’ enough that we think we are alright….and cool enough to save ourselves from the “shame” of the gospel-way.
Wanting God’s blessing,…..but, along with friendship with the world. (1 John 2:15)
Paul writes Timothy, a young preacher, who had been a companion of his, before Paul was imprisoned:
2 Timothy 1:8 “Be thou not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”
Yet,…..God does not require at our hand, what He does not supply grace for:
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Paul writes of his testimony a lot in Romans (remember he was a persecutor of this gospel….till God spoke to him)…..and he begins with:
Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
And he proved this,….after he was converted…by…
Acts 9:20, 22 “And straightway he (Saul/Paul) preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.”
But what does Paul, the mighty Apostle, have to do with “wretchedness”?
Surely he could never be accused of this!
Well, Paul said he was wretched….giving his testimony to the Romans:
Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
What does this mean?
(Under Roman law, if you killed a relative, the judge could chain that dead body on to you…..and send you away from the city. You could not remove it, till it fell off itself, after decaying.
Well, Paul felt that way….he was carrying the body of his old self, which he had “killed” when he was born again.
But he felt it’s weight, it’s noxious influence when he tried to do God’s Will….he wanted freedom from it.)
Paul describes his experience, in vibrant colors:
Romans 7:7 “…Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
He had discovered that this brilliant Pharisee, full of desires to fulfill the will of God…..good in all points….except coveting. He coveted….and that “slew” him.
He realized that even in religious things, his attitude of coveting was there.
(We think of certain sins as “bad”…..and others….well, to be overlooked. And worse, we think…..God thinks that way.
No….sin is sin. No matter how large or small…sin is rebellion against a Holy God and His Way.)
“Thou shalt not covet”, knocked him down with all the other “sinners”. He realized, if he was going to live a life to God….he needed help.
He really wanted to do God’s will…”for to will is present with me: but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Verse 18)
(Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh lusteth (fights) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other; so that ye can not do the things that ye would.”
Even after we are saved, our natural life [“old man”, “flesh”, “self”] fights against us being in subjection to God.
That is why we are given a new nature….the Holy Spirit. For our new nature helps us to yield to God, and the Holy Spirit gives us the power as we yield.
Sometimes, our battles against sin and self are relatively short….others long and hard.)
So Paul confessed and cried out: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Paul knew to continue in sin is death to fellowship with Christ….so he looked again to his Lord and Savior.
And the answer came,……Paul, you are already “dead” in Christ’s crucifixion. (Romans 6:6-7, 11)
You have to “reckon” it…….believe Me, and rely on the Holy Spirit within as the power to prove it, by living above the world, and out of sin.
Yield and obey the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:16 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”
Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Romans 8:14-15 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
And again, in Rome, “sons” have authority, for they represent the family they are from.
Paul is saying that God gives us freedom, and authority in our new life with Him…..and it is all given in love; for “Abba, Father” means “Daddy”.
An affectionate, personal Name for our Father God.
That was Paul’s testimony…..he knew he was wretched…he knew he coveted, he saw the lust within himself;…..and wanted deliverance.
And got it.
What about us? Are we lukewarm…just getting by?
Do we want to get zealous? Well, it requires:
Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.”
But the rewards are great:
Revelation 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.”
The Lord promises those that overcome every obstacle in their lives, in the power of the Spirit,….throne authority.
To represent our King, here…..not by command or demand….but by power—real power of His Life,….in us, by us and through us.