CHAPTER XIII – Revelation 启示录 3:14-20 – 今日教会的需要 THE NEEDS OF TODAY’S CHURCH

启示录的信息 The Message of the Book of Revelation by Rev. Carpus Yip 葉華牧師/Bilingual Edition  ( 简体中文 Simplified Chinese  and English).

 

CHAPTER XIII

今日教会的需要 (启示录3:14-20)
THE NEEDS OF TODAY’S CHURCH — REVELATION 3:14-20

老底嘉教会代表末世的教会。看起来,七教会中,老底嘉教会是最 可怜的,主耶稣没有一句称讚她的话。但是否她就是最坏的教会呢?也 不见得,她比上不足,比下有馀。她固然比不上非拉铁非、示每拿、以 弗所等教会,但比起撒狄、推雅推喇、别迦摩等,还算不错。
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.

七个教会的长处或短处,从主的自称可以看见。祂对非拉铁非说: 祂是掌大卫钥匙的,指出他们有传福音的机会;对撒狄说「神的七灵」, 表示他们没有圣灵的工作;对别迦摩说「两刃剑」,因为他们没有真理的 教导;对示每拿说「死过又活、直活到永远」,是给受苦教会的鼓励。
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.

这七教会中,老底嘉跟我们最有切身关係。到底现代的教会问题在 哪?从基督对这教会的责备、鼓励、教导、应许,我们可以知道自己的 需要。藉著她的情况来检讨我们自己,愿我们知道问题所在,从而做该 做的事,使我们都能蒙主喜悦,得主称讚,一同得到天国冠冕与奖赏。
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.

主的自称
THE LORD’S SELF-DESCRIPTION

14要写信给老底嘉说,那为阿们的,为诚信真实见證的, 神所有受造物之元首,说。
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.

主的自称,在告诉这教会祂的本质是甚麽,任务是甚麽,针对该教 会之长处或软弱而发。非拉铁非只有称讚,所以是针对她的长处,老底 嘉只有责备,所以是针对她的软弱。根据主的自称,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)不认识可靠的主。「阿们」,是实在可靠之意,希伯来文前面加 了一个M,变了玛门,就翻作「财利」,就是可靠之物的意思。世人看 钱财为可靠之物,看主是不可靠的,所以宁愿相信钱在口袋里,胜过信 靠神在内心中。他们就变了事奉玛门的人。信主的人,应该信靠神,放 心把一切交託给主。这是现代信徒所缺乏的,没有把主看为可靠的主。
(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)不认识主也是忠信、真实的见證人。新约圣经所说的「信」字, 没有别的语言有相同的字。在其他语言,「信」,只是头脑的活动,头脑 的认同。其实「信」与「忠」有同一字根,有信心的人必定是有忠心的人, 主已经把忠信、真实,用行动表达,让人可以看见。祂活出最丰盛的生 活,是忠信与真实的见證人,是活生生的见證人。
(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)没有以主为元首君王。祂是所有受造物的元首,祂应该作主, 是我们的王。但现代教会流行的是民主,让民意来做决定。当然,如果 所有神的子民,都以神的国为念,所有民意,都跟随圣灵引导,那就是 好事。但如果信徒所重视的是经济力量、知识权威,教会只成了另外一 个社团而已。神的子民必须以主为君王。
(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.

主的责备
THE LORD’S REBUKE

15我知道你所做的事,你不冷不热,16如温水,所以你令 我想呕吐。17你说你已经富足,发了财,一样都不缺。却不知 你是那困苦、可怜、贫穷、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.

他们的叁大缺欠,在现实生活中所见就是这样。是半桶水的教会, 信徒之灵命,好像只长了一半,虽然以祂为救主,但没有以祂为主。半 冷不热,半生不死,半心爱主,半穷不富。
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.

老底嘉城没有水源,靠六哩外的温泉供应。泉水有高量的矿物质, 也是热水,能治病。但泉水湧流六哩之後,水温变得不冷不热,矿物质 的气味太浓,喝下去令人作呕,泡在水里又不够热,也不能治病。既不 是能使人精神振奋的水,又不能治病,两种功效都没有。说是温泉的好 水,名称上是好听,却看不见实效。
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.

末世教会就是这种情况。不是完全的冷,看来也有热心的事奉,也 参加聚会、乐意奉献,但只在有多馀时间参与服事,有多馀的金钱时纔 会奉献。如果自己有节目,就会忘记教会事工。教会需要人手之时,也 来帮忙,但要背十架,要受苦牺牲的话,就会退出。
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.

他们自以为富裕,有商业专才来管理教会,他们知道用甚麽方式有 丰富的收入,藉著调查、藉著课程、藉专业知识,能找到答案。我们有 很多的神学博士、硕士、学士,但教会需要的却是烈士、勇士,是忠於 主,贫贱不移、威武不屈、至死不变的坚贞之士。
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.

老底嘉在当时是金融中心,就像今天的纽约一样。第一世纪曾有大 地震,整个城变成废墟,国家想帮助他们重建,他们却拒绝了国家的帮 助,自己就有能力重建起来,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 A.D., Laodicea refused help from the Roman government to rebuild the city. They sufficient means, they were a very wealthy city.

现代教会也真的富有,有许多神学教授,有数不完的书籍、声带、 影碟,有最豪华的教堂,最先进传媒工具。有种种传福音的方法,可以 开办上千上万人的大型佈道会,自以为丰富,实在是贫穷。因我们是要 作主的「见證人」,不是作见證。见證人是用生命、用经历来见證主,不 只是用嘴巴的宣传技巧。大胖子宣传减肥方法,没有人会相信;秃头者 宣传生髮水,是没有人会买这产品的。困苦、可怜、贫穷、瞎眼、赤身 的信徒传福音,是没有人会相信的。
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.

主的鼓励
THE LORD’S ENCOURAGEMENT

18我劝你向我买火炼金子,叫你富足;又买白衣穿上,叫 你赤身的羞耻不露出来;又买眼药擦你眼睛,使你能看见。
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:买火炼金子;买白衣穿上;买眼药擦眼睛。
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.

很多人对「买」字有意见。主的恩典救恩都是白白得的,不需要买。 为甚麽这里说要买?但要明白,这里不是讲救恩,也不是论恩典。真诚 爱主的人是要付代价、肯牺牲、肯背十字架的。买,就是要付出代价。 老底嘉是商业的城,末世的教会也是经济掛帅。主用他们惯用的话来沟 通,要买,就是要付代价纔能得到。
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)买火炼的金子:他们作买卖,不是用真金,是纸币、股票、泡 沫经济,虚有其表,是经不起考验的。他们缺乏属灵经历。很多传道人 审核受洗的资格,重知识到可怕的地步,要能回答标準答案。有人以为 这是真理在前,经历在後。好像是纯正的教导。
(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.

因为经历各人不同,奇型怪状。有人见异象、有人作异梦,难作标 準。所以以真理第一。其实有理论有知识的人,是否真的信靠主?我们 并不知道。他可能充满忧虑、紧张暴燥、失眠要吃药,他的信心有多少 分?肯定不是火炼金子,是经不起考验的信心。我们需要真实信心。
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)买白衣穿上:老底嘉搅时装、名贵服饰,特别有名的是黑毛绒 布衣。但主说:「要买白衣穿上」,就是圣徒的义(19:8 )。作主门徒必须 有门徒的生活。
(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,主都说:「我知道你的行为。」主留心我们的生活 为人。白衣,是信徒的义,是洁净的行为,是新生命的表现。末世很多 信徒被教坏了,以为不用行真理,只要信主得救,无论多坏主都爱。错 了,有新生命的人,必活出新生活,纔没有赤身羞耻,纔是主见證人。
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)买眼药擦眼:老底嘉也是有名出眼药的地方,是个重视健康的 城市。他们自以为靠近温矿泉水,寻求健康的人都会来这城,希望病能 治好。现代人有属灵眼病,不能分贵贱,价值观混乱。
(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.

一个球员懂得丢球,可以赚百万、千万,一个宣教士医生救人身体 灵魂,只得微薄的薪水。这是属灵眼光的问题,并没有以主为君王,不 重视王的带领,只跟随世界人的眼光手法,学霸权推销法,要赚大钱。 结果很多人都在事奉玛门。
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.

主的应许
THE LORD’S PROMISE

19我所疼爱就责备管教,所以要发热心,也要悔改。20看 哪,我站在门外叩门,若有听见我声音就开门的,我要进到他 那里去,我与他,他与我一同坐席。21得胜的,我要赐他在我 宝座上与我同坐,就如我得了胜,在我父宝座与祂同坐一般。
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.

主的应许,就是要帮助他们,解决上面所说的问题。
The Lord promises to help them solve the problems mentioned above.

(一)受管教:要受一点苦,受主鞭打就能进步。如果不想受责罚, 就要主动热心悔改,学习每天认罪,纔有真实生命的经历,能经历主改 变性情的大能,经历主医治疾病的权柄,让人与人之间关係能够甜美和 谐,有真实生命见證,使人看见基督生命的实在。受管教,纔能进步。
(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)与主实际相连:要进入主约中。这时代信徒,把主挡於门外。 主耶稣说:「我要进来与你坐席,与你立约,使你真正成为我的人。」与 主有盟约的人,纔能有使人羡慕的生命。
(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)与主同坐宝座:「宝座」 是单数字,不是各坐自己的宝座,是与 主同坐一个宝座。我们心灵的至圣所有一个宝座,自己坐,就是自己做 决策的人生,是肯定会失败的。与主同坐,一同掌权,就能过得胜的生 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.