We see powerful, Spirit-filled witnessing taking place in the early church. We read of thousands accepting Christ and becoming part of God’s church:
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. . . . However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand” (Acts 2:41; 4:4).
We also read of just how life-giving the church was to those who joined the church:
“And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. . . . And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed” (Acts 5:12, 14-16).
Why was the church such a powerful influence in the world? It was a direct result of Jesus living in it through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He was doing the works of ministry He did when on earth. The church truly became the “body of Christ” on earth as a result of receiving the Spirit’s infilling on the day of Pentecost.
The problem with Laodicean, last-day Christians is that we don’t realize our true condition. We think that everything is fine: “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17).
There is only one way for this self-deception to be broken. We must let Jesus come fully into our lives through the baptism of the Holy Spirit: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20).
When we seek and receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, our eyes will be opened and we will begin to see our true condition before God:
“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Rev. 3:18).
This verse gives the solution to the Laodicean church’s problem—Jesus counsels us to buy His gold. We accomplish this task by giving ourselves 100 percent to God. The gold refers to the character of faith and love of righteousness of Jesus that is to become an integral part of the Christian’s everyday life. This can happen only as the Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit and learns how to let Jesus live out His life in him/her. Christ wants to live out His righteous life of love and faith within the believer. Therefore, in this counsel to the Laodiceans, God is calling His church to experience the sanctification aspect of righteousness by faith; to experience Jesus as a sin-delivering Savior.
God also counsels the Laodicean Christians to buy the “white raiment,” which refers to the covering righteousness of Christ that is experienced when the Christian enters into the justified experience Christ offers. Only righteous individuals will be saved. Christians can become righteous before God only by acceptingJesus Christ as their Savior and being covered with His righteous obedience to God. Hence, through Christ the sinner is “clothed” with Christ’s “white raiment” of perfect righteousness. The only righteousness in this earth is Christ’s righteousness.
In God’s counsel to the Laodiceans, we see that only through understanding and experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit and righteousness by faith (justifying and sanctifying righteousness) will we come out of our Laodicean condition and experience revival.
Revelation describes a time when the earth will be lighted with God’s glory: “After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory” (Rev. 18:1). This will happen just before Jesus comes, and it describes a time when Christ’s character will be perfectly reflected through His people to all the earth. Spirit-filled believers will be reflecting God’s glory (character) to those around them. Just as Jesus’ character drew men and women to Himself when He walked this earth, so Jesus will draw men and women to Himself by living in and ministering through Spirit-filled believers. This will be the glorious result of the church experiencing the last great revival. God is calling us to this revival experience today.”
Personal Reflection and Discussion:
1. How did the revived church described in the first few chapters of Acts impact their community?
2. What is the Laodicean Christian’s problem today, according to God?
3. What is God’s solution for backslidden Laodicean Christians?
4. What do the following refer to that God counsels Laodicean Christians to buy from Him?
• Call your prayer partner and discuss this devotional with him/her.
• Pray with your prayer partner:
1. for God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit.
2. for God to give you the desire to commit 100 percent to Him.
3. for God to give you the gold, white raiment, and eye salve.
4. for God to revive you and His church.
5. for those on your prayer list.”
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.” iBooks.