The Church in Laodicea (Part 5)

Few people understand what “counselling” means or requires. Some think that counselling is them spending an hour or more in the company of the counsellor (normally the pastor, but it could be the youth leader or another Church Leader), offloading whatever is on their hearts, which at times is a one way dialogue. Others again think counselling is telling a story and getting immediate solutions to their problems. On the other hand, often counsellors themselves think they have the right answer to the problem or issue raised without much thought or consideration. Where the counsellor needs to listen attentively and where possible to take notes, the counselee needs to be honest, open and willing to achieve solutions, even those that might not please personally. Counselling is therefore not a hit and run … and problems are solved. I attended a conference at a very large Church overseas. The pastor in charge of counselling told us that should a couple come for marital counseling, they would be required to be counselled for at least six months and more often than not the waiting list for marital counseling was six months. I share this example to show you that any counseling is not a hit and run, all problems solved session. That is foolish proving that both counsellor and counselee have no clue what counselling’s purpose and intention is. The process is something like this…

(1) Observation. Fact offering as in self-disclosure from the counselee or fact gathering from the counsellor. This cannot be done in one session. The more meetings there are the more information arises to work with.

(2) Diagnosing the information gathered. This is where the hard work comes in for the counsellor as the facts need to be analyzed to find trends in both parties being counselled.

(3) Evaluation. Crafting a program to meet the needs of the people being counselled.

(4) Goal. To lead the person or persons into repentance and faith where they willing submit to a program where they become healthy, active members of Jesus’ Body for the benefit of the relationship, Church and Kingdom. When Jesus says

Rev 3:18 I counsel you

He has already followed all the steps mentioned above. He has observed the problem of the church gathering information. He diagnosed the relational trends of the church. He evaluated what counsel would be required and His goal is repentance, reformation and return to Biblical Christianity. Here are His findings and requirements

Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

5) Cease self-deception immediately. Having determined this pastor and his congregation’s deception about Gospel Truth, they needed to be exposed by the Divine Being.

(1) “I counsel” could be seen as “I command” … for at this level of counseling there must be instruction not suggestion. It’s not “try this” as an option towards a solution, but “do this” and save yourself!

(2) The counsel is that they, with immediate effect …

(a) Buy from Jesus gold refined in fire. Fire, gold and refining together are often used in the Bible as a symbol of cleansing. Gold ore mined is not gold in its final state. Depending on the mine and quality of gold, it takes between 2 to 90 tons of rock to produce one ounce of gold. Once the underground drilling and blasting have happened, the rock is hauled to the surface where it goes through a crusher eventually landing up in a furnace, melting the ore from the rock and other impurities into a boiling hot puddle of gold. The fiery heat refines the gold … purifies the gold. Backing up a little … Laodicea had wealthy banks. The citizens including the congregants enjoy more than enough cash … they had as it were gold! Now Jesus instructs them to exchange their earthly wealth (money – gold) for spiritual wealth (the riches of God’s love, provision and grace). What is Jesus saying? He is saying that with all their wealth they are poor, they are beggars and desperately need the wealth He can provide. His wealth has real value … eternal value. It starts with salvation through faith and repentance progressing to holy living, Christlikeness and heaven for all eternity. It cannot be bought with money from the bank because that money is worthless and valueless in the economy of eternity. May I ask you … have you secured this eternal wealth called “free grace” or “salvation by grace”?

(b) Buy from Jesus white clothes to wear. The reason for clothing is to cover up nakedness. Remember as soon as Adam sinned he became aware of his physical nakedness. These people thought their clothing factories fulfilled their clothing needs … but they were mistaken. This is the reason Jesus instructs them to buy “white clothes” from him to … cover your shameful nakedness. That nakedness was Adam’s nakedness. It is called sin and sin is the rejection of Jesus’ rule. Once salvation has been received one needs to focus on spiritual growth because that is real spiritual clothing. No Christian can remain illiterate about God’s Word and its application for life and morality. It is really what Paul speaks about when he says … “put on the new”.

Eph 4:22 put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Christians are being addressed! Take off those old garments of sin (v22) so that you experience a renewal in the mind and dress yourself in new clothing, clean clothing, God’s clothing … known as the clothing of true righteousness and holiness. The naked soul is the soul not covered in the garments of righteousness … the “dressed” soul is the one who through diligence in Scripture, shapes the soul in righteousness. Are you dressing yourself with righteousness?

(c) Buy from Jesus salve to put on your eyes. All of their medicine factories could not produce a product for spiritual sight. What they needed was a cure for spiritual blindness. We need to see this spiritual blindness in the context of not being the lack of salvation but the lack of spiritual insight and understanding. Buy gold relates to salvation. Buy clothing relates to spiritual growth in righteousness. But salve relates to spiritual perception … wisdom and discernment derived from the application of the Word of God in one’s heart.

Father, search our hearts and see where we lack. Convict us of our spiritual needs leading us into a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Yourself for Jesus sake. Amen.