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Laodicea

Laodicea

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY ALEXANDER MACLAREN


'I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot ... be zealons there-
fore, and repent.'— Rev. iii. 15, 19.
BY ALEXANDER MACLAREN


'I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot ... be zealons there-
fore, and repent.'— Rev. iii. 15, 19.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 15, 2014
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LAODICEA BY ALEXADER MACLARE'I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot ... be zealons there- fore, and repent.'— Rev. iii. 15, 19. Wb learn from Paul's Epistle to the Colossians that there was a very close connection between that Church and this at Laodicea. It is a probable conjecture that a certain Archippus, who is spoken of in the former Epistle, was the bishop or pastor of the Laodicean 284 REVELATIO [ch. hi. Church. And if, as seems not unlikely, the * angels ' of these Asiatic churches were the presiding officers of the same, then it is at least within the limits of possi- bility that the * angel of the Church at Laodicea,' who received the letter, was Archippus. The message that was sent to Archippus by Paul was this : * Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received of the Lord, that thou fulfil it.' And if thirty years had passed, and then Archippus got this message : ' Thou art neither cold nor hot,' you have an example of how a little negligence in manifest duty on the part of a Christian man may gradually grow and spread, like a malignant cancer, until it has eaten all the life out of him, and left him a mere shell. The lesson is for us all. But whether we see an individual application in these words or no, certainly the ' angel of the church ' is spoken of in his character of a representative of the whole Church. So, then, this Laodicean community
 
had no works. So far had declension gone that even Christ's eye could see no sign of the operation of the religious principle in it; and all that He could say about it was, ' thou art neither cold nor hot.' It is very remarkable that the first and the last letters to the seven Churches deal with the same phase of religious declension, only that the one is in the germ and the other is fully developed. The Church of Ephesus had still works abundant, receiving and de- serving the warm-hearted commendation of the Master, but they had 'left their first love.' The Church at Laodicea had no works, and in it the disease had sadly, and all but universally, spread. ow then, dear friends, I intend, not in the way of rebuke, God knows, but in the way of earnest remon- vs. 15, 19] LAODICEA 285 strance and appeal to you professing Christians, to draw some lessons from these solemn words. I. I pray you to look at that loving rebuke of the faithful Witness : ' Thou art neither cold nor hot.' "We are manifestly there in the region of emotion. The metaphor applies to feeling. We talk, for instance, about warmth of feeling, ardour of affection, fervour of love, and the like. And the opposite, cold, expresses obviously the absence of any glow of a true living emotion. So, then, the persons thus described are Christian people (for their Christianity is presupposed), with very little, though a little, warmth of affection and
 
glow of Christian love and consecration. r / Further, this defectiveness of Christian feeling is ;' accompanied with a large amount of self-complacency : ! I — 'Thou sayest I am rich, and increased with goods, 1 \ and have need of nothing ; and knowest not that thou 1 \ art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and \ I naked.' Of course it is so. A numbed limb feels no pain. As cold increases the sensation of cold, and of everything else, goes away. And a sure mark of defec- A ^ tive religious emotion is absolute unconsciousness on I the man's part that there is anything the matter with / him. All of you that have no sense that the indict- '' ment applies to you, by the very fact show that it applies most especially and most tragically to you. Self-complacency diagnoses spiritual cold, and is an inevitable and a constantly accompanying symptom of a deficiency of religious emotion. Then again, this deficiency of warmth is worse than absolute zero. * I would thou wert cold or hot.' That is no spurt of impatience on the part of the ' true Witness.' It is for their sake that He would they were

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