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Don't let worldly wealth shield you from spiritual need; 'Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.' Revelation 3:17.

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - Chris CookstonThese are the words of Jesus Christ to the church of Laodicea, which was self-sufficiently affluent. History tells us that after an earthquake damaged their town, the Roman government offered them funds to rebuild. They were so rich they declined. Although they possessed a veneer of success, inwardly they were dead and dying. The Laodiceans could not see themselves as they truly were: "wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked." They stupidly left their first love. They loved their precious wealth instead of the gospel. They served the wrong master, and they rested on the delusion that financial affluence insulated them from any need.

Thank God that it was not too late for them. Jesus called them away from their idolatry of money and earthly possessions to "buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself" (Rev 3:18). He's calling them to Himself by echoing Isaiah: "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost" (Isa 55:11). And He offers His bright white garment to cover their nakedness, a total covering for and purification of sin.

Furthermore, He says, "I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me" (Rev 3:20). This is not an invitation for the unconverted to be converted, but this is a call for believers to be renewed in their relationship with Christ. Sometimes followers of Christ leave Jesus Christ for other things. The Laodiceans were similar to the Ephesians, who had left their first love (Rev 2:4). They had a robust theology, corrected doctrinal error and fake preachers. They were intolerant of evil and persevered for Jesus' glory (Rev 2:2-3). But Jesus rebukes them for forsaking their first love. By forsaking the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ for anything else, nothing is ever gained.

If you're thirsty and hungry, give yourself daily to study Christ Jesus and His gospel in the Bible. Run to Him in prayer, obedience and righteously pure living. Love everyone in humility, pour yourself into other Christ followers in one of our local churches. And remember, if we are not careful to keep our focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ we will not be able to "overcome" (Rev 3:21). And we know that all of God's children will persevere until the end of their lives. Christ is making His genuine followers into His golden children, clothed in His white garment. And His genuine followers will be in that golden city, the New Jerusalem (Rev 21). And He will refashion our world into the New Heavens and New Earth, and all the elect children of Christ will be there worshipping Him in His presence for all eternity. Amen!

Chris Cookston is the pastor at Prineville Community Church. He can be reached at 541-447-6315.


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