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Harsh Words From Jesus  


In Revelation 3:19 Jesus says that He loves the people in the church at Laodicea.  Yet in Revelation 3:16   Jesus tells these very same people that because they are lukewarm towards Him, He is about to spit them out of His mouth.  The world asks us why and how can a loving Jesus do such a thing?  That may be the world's question, but it's not mine.  My question is, "do Christians have the Biblical answer to the world's question?"  Many of us don't have the answer, and with the post-modern influence in today's church, such questions are often ignored or treated as irrelevant.   


What was so wrong with these people that Jesus was that upset about?  They weren't wicked, committing all sorts of outrageous sins.  They were simply materialistic.  They got side-tracked by their wealth.   In their words they were "rich, wealthy, and in need of nothing."  In the words of Jesus they "were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, naked," and needed to come to Him in repentance. Clearly, Jesus and the Laodiceans weren't on the same page.     


I know of some parents who love their teenage children, but for one reason or another had to ask a rebellious teenager to leave the family home.  We call this "tough love."  Such actions taken by the parents aren't taken lightly.  Parents remember the child's birth, the first step, the first word, and all the other firsts that the child can't remember.  When the rebellious teenager leaves the home, he or she leaves in anger. After they are out the door, the parents sit and weep bitterly over the situation, something the teenager probably never sees and doesn't care to see.  


This is all a matter of justice from the parents perspective.  Certain standards must be lived up to in order to keep the family peace.  When these standards are continually challenged and ignored, sometimes drastic measures need to be taken.  At this point love is demonstrated through justice which requires actions that don't always appear to be loving on the surface.   


For the most part, the world understands such actions  when it comes to family and society.  My question to the world is, "why can't you expect the same kind of  justice from God that you expect from  society?"  People tend to see God as so loving that He tolerates any and all things, but does He? 


The simple fact is that God is just.  His sense of justice balances out His love.  At times love is demonstrated in acts of justice, and justice demands actions that may seem harsh.  This is why Jesus was ready to spit those in the church at Laodicea out of His mouth, even though He loved them dearly.


The words of Jesus found in Revelation 3:14 to 22  are important for today's world and today's church.  They answer the question, "why does a loving God do certain things that don't appear loving?"  His words also show us how Jesus feels when His people get side-tracked by their wealth and all the cares that go along with wealth. 


Jesus deals with the church as a loving parent would deal with his teenager.  If He called the Laodicean Christians to repent for their preoccupation with material wealth, He will call us to the same repentance.  We're not all that different from the Laodiceans in many respects.  And, if we fail to repent, Jesus will do to us what He said He'd do to the Laodiceans.  I'm sure of that.


I believe the words spoken to the church at Laodicea are relevant for us today.  If we ignore the warning of Jesus seen in this passage of Scripture, we can be assured that He won't ignore His warning. 


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