18 “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.”
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich
The word “counsel” means to take counsel together, give advice, deliberate. There is only one market from which you can buy the goods Jesus offers –“from Me.” The Laodiceans do not have to run to the malls of wealth in Laodicea to obtain satisfaction.
Jesus wants to do business with the Laodiceans. First, He counsels them “to buy” a certain kind of “gold,” a “refined” gold of character that comes from the fires of testing. This is not a monetary transaction but a spiritual transaction, a spiritual transaction in exchange for a quality of life.
and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed
Secondly, Jesus not only wants the Laodiceans to buy gold but He wants them to purchase “white garments” from Him. If they do this, their nakedness they will not expose their nakedness to others and they will not be ashamed. Laodiceans were famous for their glossy black goat’s wool. Ignominy always comes from sin. We will not disgrace ourselves with our sin if we enter into transaction with the Lord Jesus. With clothes that Jesus gives them, they will carry a sense of modesty. This will save us a lot of pain from our disgraceful acts, from exposure while sinning. Jesus saves from behavior that brings embarrassment. These Christians will not hide their face in shame.
and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see
The third thing that Jesus wants the church to buy is an “eye salve” that allows us to see spiritually. There was a famous medical school at Laodicea. This “eye salve” was a Phygian powder used by oculists at the temple of Asclepius. They did not need to go to occultists; they only need to go to Jesus. If we use Jesus’ salve, we will acquire true knowledge of our spiritual condition and we will see the claims of Christ to correct that condition. We need to open our eyes to spiritual truth.
Jesus gives true riches as over against illusory wealth.
Jesus gives counsel to those who previously rejected His counsel. His counsel to sinful people is that they drop their illusion that wealth satisfies and accept His true wealth. Our sinful condition, no matter how desperate, has a remedy.
There is only one market for this remedy, the Lord Jesus Himself (“from Me”). We get His goods by purchasing them from Him. The true gold of character comes from Him. How do we get it from Him? “Without money and without price.”
Is 55: 1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.”
Sin is the only commodity that we must part with. When we do this, we make room for true riches. Our eyes will open to eternal and terminal values found only in Jesus’ market place.
The church today needs to repent of the mentality of tolerance and compromise. Churches today are neither cold nor hot. We like moderation and comfort. “Don’t disturb me. Don’t ask me to move out of my comfort zone.” We love moderate temperatures. We want to be the most comfortable possible. Comfort drives our values. This is very much like the value “peace at all costs.” It is possible to attend churches like this for years with a sense of pleasure but without any serious confrontation of sin. Compromise lies at the core value of these churches.
Jesus vomits when He thinks of churches like this. They are repulsive to Him. People love these churches but Jesus rejects them. They are religious Country Clubs that exist only for the benefit of their members. Smug complacency does more damage than these churches imagine. These churches may please their community but do they please their Lord? Public approval drives many values of churches today. This is their standard of how well they are doing as a church.
Jesus’ mall has anything that anyone could possibly want. What we need, we can only find in Jesus.