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”….it is “To be deserving strong condemnation in condition or circumstances.”
(This is the Bible’s definition…..the world has added “pitiful”…..but that is not what God thinks. We are wretched because we choose to be….for everyone there is a way of being saved from it.)
And we, Laodiceans are wretched….for we could be different.
First, we are sinners, and as such, all our righteousness is as filthy rags ( Isaiah 64:6).
True, we are saved sinners, if we are born again; but are we acting like it?
We are also the Church, but living among a world that thinks the Bible is out of date, and that Christ’s words can be ignored.
Do we agree?
Aren’t we 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.
Self examinations are for the most part useless; because it is calls upon self to examine self! What?!
“How could I ever do such a thing?”
“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.
It is not a “better” I, that I need…..it is to lose all the “I’s” in my life and exchange them for “Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20)
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 to be saved from ourselves.
Romans 7:15, 22-23 “For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
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 us?
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 finding 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”: it was the sin of covetousness.
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, now.”
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 of Christ’s deliverance from ourselves, have we sought after?
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.
Maybe we think…….”We don’t really count for much; God does not really care about my obedience.”
This is lukewarmness in our Spiritual Life. We are sick….and we do not even know it.
And Jesus Christ, the Faithful and True Witness, says we make Him sick because of this. (I will spue thee out of My mouth.)
So what do we need to do?
We need 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?
Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
This is how we repent:
We turn from our ways, our thoughts and our feelings…..and yield….give in to the Holy Spirit….in all our ways, thoughts, and feelings.
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.”
Being lukewarm, and wretchedness…….or repentance, and being boiling hot towards God, and getting His life.
Which will we do?