CHAPTER 13 – Revelation 3:14-20 今日教會的需要 THE NEEDS OF TODAY’S CHURCH


老底嘉教會代表末世的教會。看起來,七教會中,老底嘉教會是最可憐的,主耶穌沒有一句稱讚她的話。但是否她就是最壞的教會呢?也不見得,她比上不足,比下有馀。她固然比不上非拉鐵非、示每拿、以弗所等教會,但比起撒狄、推雅推喇、別迦摩等,還算不錯。

The Church in Laodicea represents the Church of the end times. When looking at the seven churches, it seems that the Church in Laodicea is the most pitiful one. No words of commendations where uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ. But, was this the worst church? Not really, this church was better than some and worse than others. This church was certainly not as good as the Church in Philadelphia, Smyrna or Ephesus; but compared to the Church in Sardis, Thyatira or Pergamum, this church was pretty good .

七個教會的長處或短處,從主的自稱可以看見。祂對非拉鐵非說:祂是掌大衛鑰匙的,指出他們有傳福音的機會;對撒狄說「神的七靈」,表示他們沒有聖靈的工作;對別迦摩說「兩刃劍」,因為他們沒有真理的教導;對示每拿說「死過又活、直活到永遠」,是給受苦教會的鼓勵。

The strengths and weaknesses of the seven churches can be observed by looking at the Lord’s self-description. To the Church in Philadelphia he said: “These are the words of him who holds the key of David,” pointing out their opportunity to spread the Gospel. To Sardis, He said: “These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God.” This showed that they did not have the work of the Holy Spirit. To Pergamum, He said: “These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword ,”because they were not teaching the truth of the Word of God. To Smyrna, He said: “These are the words of him who died and came to life again and lives forever .” This was an encouragement for the suffering church.

這七教會中,老底嘉跟我們最有切身關係。到底現代的教會問題在哪?從基督對這教會的責備、鼓勵、教導、應許,我們可以知道自己的需要。藉著她的情況來檢討我們自己,願我們知道問題所在,從而做該做的事,使我們都能蒙主喜悅,得主稱讚,一同得到天國冠冕與獎賞。

From the seven churches, the Church in Laodicea is the one that most closely relates to us. Exactly, what are the problems of the modern church? By studying Christ’s words of rebuke, encouragement, teaching and promises to this church, we can find out what our needs are. Through their circumstances to examine ourselves so that we can know where the problem is, so we can do what we are supposed to do in order be commended by the Lord, and receive a reward and a crown in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

主的自稱

THE LORD’S SELF-DESCRIPTION

14 要寫信給老底嘉說,那為阿們的,為誠信真實見證的,神所有受造物之元首,說。

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.

主的自稱,在告訴這教會祂的本質是甚麽,任務是甚麽,針對該教會之長處或軟弱而發。非拉鐵非只有稱讚,所以是針對她的長處,老底嘉只有責備,所以是針對她的軟弱。根據主的自稱,她有叁大缺欠。

The self-description of the Lord tells this Church of His nature and His mission, and it is directed against the strengths and weaknesses of this church. The Church in Philadelphia only received commendations; therefore the self-description was directed towards her strengths. The Church in Laodicea only received rebukes; therefore the self-description was directed towards her weakness. According to the Lord’s self-description, this Church had three major deficiencies.

( 一) 不認識可靠的主。「阿們」,是實在可靠之意,希伯來文前面加了一個M ,變了瑪門,就翻作「財利」,就是可靠之物的意思。世人看錢財為可靠之物,看主是不可靠的,所以寧願相信錢在口袋裡,勝過信靠神在內心中。他們就變了事奉瑪門的人。信主的人,應該信靠神,放心把一切交託給主。這是現代信徒所缺乏的,沒有把主看為可靠的主。

(1) They did not know the trustworthy Lord. “Amen”, means truly reliable. In Hebrew, when an “M” is added in front of the word “amen”, it becomes “Mammon” which means “material wealth”, something reliable. People look at money as something reliable, yet they look at the Lord as not reliable. They prefer to have money in their pockets than to have the God in their hearts. They became servants of Mammon. Those who believe in the Lord rest assure that everything will go well in God’s hands. That is something that believers do not have nowadays. They do not look at the Lord as being trustworthy.

( 二) 不認識主也是忠信、真實的見證人。新約聖經所說的「信」字,沒有別的語言有相同的字。在其他語言,「信」,只是頭腦的活動,頭腦的認同。其實「信」與「忠」有同一字根,有信心的人必定是有忠心的人,主已經把忠信、真實,用行動表達,讓人可以看見。祂活出最豐盛的生活,是忠信與真實的見證人,是活生生的見證人。

(2) Do not know that the Lord is also the faithful and true witness. The word “faith” in the New Testament, no other language has a similar word for it. In other languages the word “faith” is an activity of the mind. It is identified with the mind. Actually “faith” and “faithful” has the same root. In order to have faith you have to be faithful. The Lord used actions to express faith and truth. He lived an abundant life, He is a faithful and true witness, and He is a living witness.

( 叁) 沒有以主為元首君王。祂是所有受造物的元首,祂應該作主,是我們的王。但現代教會流行的是民主,讓民意來做決定。當然,如果所有神的子民,都以神的國為念,所有民意,都跟隨聖靈引導,那就是好事。但如果信徒所重視的是經濟力量、知識權威,教會只成了另外一個社團而已。神的子民必須以主為君王。

(3) Did not recognize the Lord as King of kings. He is the Head of all creation; He should be the Lord, our King. But nowadays democracy in the church is trendy; decisions are made by popular opinion. Of course, if all God’s people have in mind the things of the Kingdom of God and their opinions follow the leading of the Holy Spirit that is a good thing. But if believers are only interested in economic strength, authority of intellectual knowledge, the church will become just like another social organization. God’s people must look upon God as the Sovereign King.

主的責備

THE LORD’S REBUKE

15 我知道你所做的事,你不冷不熱,16 如溫水,所以你令我想嘔吐。17 你說你已經富足,發了財,一樣都不缺。卻不知你是那困苦、可憐、貧窮、瞎眼、赤身的。

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

他們的叁大缺欠,在現實生活中所見就是這樣。是半桶水的教會,信徒之靈命,好像隻長了一半,雖然以祂為救主,但沒有以祂為主。半冷不熱,半生不死,半心愛主,半窮不富。

Their three major deficiencies are what we see in modern society. They are a half-grown church. The spiritual life of the believer has only grown half way. Even though they consider Him to be their Savior, they do not consider Him to be their Lord; half cold, half hot, half alive, half dead, loving the lord half way, half poor, and half rich.

老底嘉城沒有水源,靠六哩外的溫泉供應。泉水有高量的礦物質,也是熱水,能治病。但泉水湧流六哩之後,水溫變得不冷不熱,礦物質的氣味太濃,喝下去令人作嘔,泡在水里又不夠熱,也不能治病。既不是能使人精神振奮的水,又不能治病,兩種功效都沒有。說是溫泉的好水,名稱上是好聽,卻看不見實效。

The city of Laodicea did not have a water source and depended on the supply of water from a hot spring located six miles away. The waters of the spring contained a high level of minerals, the water was hot and had healing properties. After the water ran for six miles, it became lukewarm, the smell of the minerals were too strong, it was undrinkable and made people nauseated, it was not hot enough to bathe in it, and no longer useful for medicinal purposes. The water was not refreshing and could not cure diseases any more ; both of these effects were lost. It was said to be water from a hot spring, the name sounded good, but it had lost its effect.

末世教會就是這種情況。不是完全的冷,看來也有熱心的事奉,也參加聚會、樂意奉獻,但只在有多馀時間參與服事,有多馀的金錢時纔會奉獻。如果自己有節目,就會忘記教會事工。教會需要人手之時,也來幫忙,但要背十架,要受苦犧牲的話,就會退出。

That is the situation of the church during the end times. It is not completely cold, it appears to have an enthusiastic ministry, it has many meetings, are willing to serve, but they only serve when they have extra time and offer only when they have extra money. If they have something top do, they will forget the ministry of the church. When the church needs help, they will come to help out, but when the time comes for them to have to bear the cross, suffer or sacrifice some things for the Lord, they would just step back.

他們自以為富裕,有商業專才來管理教會,他們知道用甚麽方式有豐富的收入,藉著調查、藉著課程、藉專業知識,能找到答案。我們有很多的神學博士、碩士、學士,但教會需要的卻是烈士、勇士,是忠於主,貧賤不移、威武不屈、至死不變的堅貞之士。

They thought they were rich, they use business experts to take care of the matters of the church, they know ways to earn a lot of money, through surveys, through courses and professional knowledge, to find answers. We have many people with Ph.D.’s, Masters and Bachelors degrees in Theology, but what we need are martyrs who are brave and strong, humble but with high ideals, firm and unyielding, believers who are faithful to the Lord until the end.

老底嘉在當時是金融中心,就像今天的紐約一樣。第一世紀曾有大地震,整個城變成廢墟,國家想幫助他們重建,他們卻拒絕了國家的幫助,自己就有能力重建起來,是非常富有的城。

The city of Laodicea was a commercial and administrative center, kind of like New York City. When the city was destroyed by an earthquake in 60 AD, Laodicea refused help from the Roman government to rebuild the city. They sufficient means, they were a very wealthy city.

現代教會也真的富有,有許多神學教授,有數不完的書籍、聲帶、影碟,有最豪華的教堂,最先進傳媒工具。有種種傳福音的方法,可以開辦上千上萬人的大型佈道會,自以為豐富,實在是貧窮。因我們是要作主的「見證人」,不是作見證。見證人是用生命、用經歷來見證主,不只是用嘴巴的宣傳技巧。大胖子宣傳減肥方法,沒有人會相信;禿頭者宣傳生髮水,是沒有人會買這產品的。困苦、可憐、貧窮、瞎眼、赤身的信徒傳福音,是沒有人會相信的。

The church nowadays is very wealthy; they have many professors of Theology, innumerable books, tapes, CD’s, the most luxurious church buildings, the most advanced media tools, many methods of spreading the Gospel and evangelistic meetings with thousands of people. They think they are rich but in reality they are poor. We have to be “witnesses” for the Lord, not just be a witness. To witness for the Lord we have to use our lives and our experiences, not just our mouths skills. No one will want to follow a diet program advertised by an obese person or buy a product that makes your hair grow when advertised by a bald person. In the same way, no one will believe a Gospel preached by a believer who is wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

主的鼓勵

THE LORD ‘ S ENCOURAGEMENT

18 我勸你向我買火煉金子,叫你富足;又買白衣穿上,叫你赤身的羞恥不露出來;又買眼藥擦你眼睛,使你能看見。

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.

主吩咐有叁件事要做:買火煉金子;買白衣穿上;買眼藥擦眼睛。

The Lord counsels them to do three things: Buy gold refined in the fire; buy white clothes to wear; buy salve to put on their eyes.

很多人對「買」字有意見。主的恩典救恩都是白白得的,不需要買。為甚麽這裡說要買?但要明白,這裡不是講救恩,也不是論恩典。真誠愛主的人是要付代價、肯犧牲、肯背十字架的。買,就是要付出代價。老底嘉是商業的城,末世的教會也是經濟掛帥。主用他們慣用的話來溝通,要買,就是要付代價纔能得到。

Many people have objections regarding the word “buy”. God’s grace and salvation is free, it does not need to be bought. Why does it say here “buy”? We have to understand that here it is not talking about salvation or grace. People who really love the Lord have to pay a price; they have to be willing to sacrifice some things and bear the cross. To buy means to pray a price. Laodicea was a business city. The Church of the end times is a leader in financial matters. The Lord is using words that they are used to hearing in order to communicate with them. To buy means to pay a price in order to obtain something.

( 一) 買火煉的金子:他們作買賣,不是用真金,是紙幣、股票、泡沫經濟,虛有其表,是經不起考驗的。他們缺乏屬靈經歷。很多傳道人審核受洗的資格,重知識到可怕的地步,要能回答標準答案。有人以為這是真理在前,經歷在後。好像是純正的教導。

(1) Buy gold refined in the fire: When they do business, they do not use real gold but paper money, stocks; a bubble economy without real substance that cannot stand the test. They lack spiritual experience. Many preachers use strict scrutiny to test the qualifications of persons who want to be baptized, they emphasize knowledge to the point that it is kind of scary. The baptizing candidate has to answer most of the questions perfectly. Some people think that the truth should be first, followed by experience; as if this was the correct way of teaching.

因為經歷各人不同,奇型怪狀。有人見異象、有人作異夢,難作標準。所以以真理第一。其實有理論有知識的人,是否真的信靠主?我們並不知道。他可能充滿憂慮、緊張暴燥、失眠要吃藥,他的信心有多少分?肯定不是火煉金子,是經不起考驗的信心。我們需要真實信心。

Because people have different experiences, some of them might seem odd and strange. Some see visions, some dream dreams, it is very hard to set a standard. Therefore, they put the truth first. Actually, the people who have theoretical knowledge, do they really trust in the Lord? We have no way of knowing that. Maybe they are full of worries, they might be stressed out and violet, they might have insomnia and need to take sleeping pills. What kind of faith do they have? Definitely , not the kind that is like gold refined in the fire. It will not stand the test of faith. We need true faith.

( 二) 買白衣穿上:老底嘉攪時裝、名貴服飾,特別有名的是黑毛絨布衣。但主說:「要買白衣穿上」,就是聖徒的義( 19:8 ) 。作主門徒必須有門徒的生活。

(2) Buy white clothes to wear: Laodicea was a well-known textile-producing city, especially famous for material produced from black wool, very expensive clothing. But the Lord said: “Buy white clothes to wear”, which are the righteous acts of God’s holy people (19:8). In order to be a disciple of the Lord, we need to have the lifestyle of a disciple.

在每一封信上面,主都說:「我知道你的行為。」主留心我們的生活為人。白衣,是信徒的義,是潔淨的行為,是新生命的表現。末世很多信徒被教壞了,以為不用行真理,只要信主得救,無論多壞主都愛。錯了,有新生命的人,必活出新生活,纔沒有赤身羞恥,纔是主見證人。

In every letter, the Lord says: “I know your deeds.” The Lord cares very deeply about our actions. White clothes are the righteous acts of the believer. Our clean deeds are the expressions of our new life. During these end times, many believers are taught the wrong things, they think they do not need to walk according to the truth and as long as they have believed in the Lord, they will be saved. They are told that no matter how bad they behave, the Lord will love them regardless. This is totally wrong. The believers with a new life should have a new lifestyle; that way, they will not be naked or ashamed and that is being a true witness for the Lord.

( 叁) 買眼藥擦眼:老底嘉也是有名出眼藥的地方,是個重視健康的城市。他們自以為靠近溫礦泉水,尋求健康的人都會來這城,希望病能治好。現代人有屬靈眼病,不能分貴賤,價值觀混亂。

(3) Buy salve to put on your eyes: Laodicea was also famous for producing ointments for the eyes. It was a city where health was very important. They believed their mineral springs and medicinal baths would heal their ailments and many would come to their city looking to be cured of their diseases. Today, people’s spiritual eyes are ill; they cannot see the difference between what is valuable and what is not. Their values are messed up.

一個球員懂得丟球,可以賺百萬、千萬,一個宣教士醫生救人身體靈魂,只得微薄的薪水。這是屬靈眼光的問題,並沒有以主為君王,不重視王的帶領,只跟隨世界人的眼光手法,學霸權推銷法,要賺大錢。結果很多人都在事奉瑪門。

A ball player who knows how to throw a ball can earn millions of dollars; a missionary doctor that can save a person’s body and soul gets a miserable salary. The problem is the lack of spiritual vision, the Lord is not their King, they pay no attention to His guidance and they follow the vision and practices of the world, they learn methods to control the business and make lots of money. As a result, many people are also serving Mammon.

主的應許

THE LORD ‘ S PROMISE

19 我所疼愛就責備管教,所以要發熱心,也要悔改。20 看哪,我站在門外叩門,若有聽見我聲音就開門的,我要進到他那裡去,我與他,他與我一同坐席。21 得勝的,我要賜他在我寶座上與我同坐,就如我得了勝,在我父寶座與祂同坐一般。

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

主的應許,就是要幫助他們,解決上面所說的問題。

The Lord promises to help them solve the problems mentioned above.

( 一) 受管教:要受一點苦,受主鞭打就能進步。如果不想受責罰,就要主動熱心悔改,學習每天認罪,纔有真實生命的經歷,能經歷主改變性情的大能,經歷主醫治疾病的權柄,讓人與人之間關係能夠甜美和諧,有真實生命見證,使人看見基督生命的實在。受管教,纔能進步。

(1) Discipline: Suffer a little; receive lashes from the Lord to make progress. If unwilling to receive the punishment, earnest repentance is necessary, learn to confess sins every day, in order to have a true life experience, experience the great power of the Lord as He changes people’s temperament, experience the authority that the Lord has to heal diseases, so that the relationship between you and other people be sweet and harmonious, have true life witness, so people can really see the life of Christ in you . Receive discipline in order to make progress.

( 二) 與主實際相連:要進入主約中。這時代信徒,把主擋於門外。主耶穌說:「我要進來與你坐席,與你立約,使你真正成為我的人。」與主有盟約的人,纔能有使人羨慕的生命。

(2) Be truly connected with the Lord: Enter into the covenant of the Lord. Nowadays, believers leave the Lord outside of their doors. The Lord Jesus said: “I want to come in and sit with you at the banquet table, make a covenant with you, so you will truly become my people.” Only those who have a covenant with the Lord will have lives that people will admire.

( 叁) 與主同坐寶座:「寶座」是單數字,不是各坐自己的寶座,是與主同坐一個寶座。我們心靈的至聖所有一個寶座,自己坐,就是自己做決策的人生,是肯定會失敗的。與主同坐,一同掌權,就能過得勝的生活。

(3) Sit with the Lord on His throne: “Throne” is a singular word. It is not that each person sits on individual thrones; it is sitting with the Lord on one throne. There is a throne in the Holy of Holies of our hearts, if we sit on it ourselves and we make all our decisions by ourselves; then we will definitely be a failure. When we sit together with the Lord and reign together with Him, then we will be able to live a victorious life.