To The Church At Laodicea (Revelation 3)

 

  1. Revelation
  2. Letters to churches
    1. Ephesus: no love
    2. Smyrna: suffering, no rebuke
    3. Pergamos: too-tolerant
    4. Thyatira: compromise
    5. Sardis: too comfortable
    6. Philadelphia: no rebuke; trust strength

 

Now Laodicea (complacent and self-reliant)…

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

  1. To Laodicea
    1. Rich commercial center
    2. Known for medical school
    3. Church felt wealthy (problem)
  2. From the Amen / faithful and true
    1. Amen = “true, so be it” (Hebrew)
    2. Faithful and true witness
      1. Witness with integrity / fully committed to cause
      2. Important / relevant because the church is lukewarm
  3. Also from one who is the “beginning of the creation of God”
    1. Not created
    2. The one who rules / preeminent
      1. The Alpha and Omega, beginning (same Greek word) and end (1:8)
      2. The author and sustainer of creation; originator
      3. In him we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
  4. What follows is from one who faithfully fulfilled his own mission and can rightfully command the same from them

 

He’s familiar with them…

15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

  1. Knows works
    1. As we’ve seen: can be comfort or rebuke
    2. Key is to remember faith produces works
    3. Their works say something about their faith…
  2. Neither cold nor hot / lukewarm
    1. Gets misused (passion, fervor)
      1. Cold = no feeling / relationship
      2. Hot = spiritual intensity
      3. So, you need to feel more
    2. Instead, think hypocrisy
      1. Not cold or hot; just in the middle
      2. Both sides of the fence
      3. What I mean by “empty religion”
      4. Jesus is Lord-ish
      5. Probably related to great wealth
        1. Hard for rich to enter
        2. Can’t serve two gods
  3. Spew out of mouth
    1. As he had done with Jews (honor with lips but not heart)
    2. Strong word picture / illustration
    3. Cold is better than lukewarm
      1. Point being it’s better to outright deny than sit on the fence
      2. It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” (2 Pt. 2:21)
      3. More hope for opponent than for hypocrite

 

What made them lukewarm?

17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

  1. No needs / self-reliant
    1. Often good in material things
    2. But never good in spiritual
  2. Because they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked
    1. Felt content but spiritually distressed and miserable (wretched)
    2. Materially rich but spiritually beggars without so much as basic clothing
      1. Righteous acts are like filthy rags
      2. They have nothing to trade / offer
    3. Thought healthy but can’t even see
      1. Blind to spiritual condition / danger
      2. Blind leading blind into a ditch
    4. So, exact opposite of what they thought
  3. Counsel = “buy of me”
    1. Idea being this “good” is only obtained through him
    2. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Is. 55:1)
    3. Here: refined gold, white clothes, and salve for eyes
      1. Refined gold = pure (true); treasure in heaven
      2. White robes = righteousness (19:8)
      3. Salve = see true spiritual condition / reality
        1. Many are blinded by the god of this age

 

Said for their good…

19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

  1. Motivation is love
    1. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Heb. 12:6-8)
    2. He rebukes (exposes guilt) and chastens (disciplines, trains)
    3. For their good
  2. So be zealous and repent
    1. Zeal = not emotion; earnest; deeply committed
      1. Pick a side and stand with it
      2. Love with all mind, heart, strength
    2. Repent = similar to Ephesus (return to love)
  3. Look, stand at door (present tense)
    1. Often misquoted in “evangelism”
      1. Speaking to church / not unbelievers
      2. Not evangelistic
      3. Think of servants who should be watchful (Lk. 12:35-40)
    2. Fits context / warnings to all churches
      1. Overcome and receive symbols of salvation
      2. Or refuse and lose your place as local church
    3. Those who open to him (obey his voice) enter fellowship / intimacy

 

21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

  1. Overcome = sit with him on throne
    1. Pattern: as he also did / does
    2. Rule together as “family”
    3. Comfort for what’s about to be said (judgment)
  2. Hear

 

Application and gospel

  1. Christians shouldn’t be overly concerned with wealth / comfort
    1. Not a good way to measure spiritual condition
      1. Perceived needs aren’t always right
      2. Heart is deceptive
    2. Can cause spiritual poverty
      1. Money can’t meet deepest needs
      2. Easier for a camel
    3. Worldly wealth no comparison
      1. The whole world for your soul
    4. Speaks to health and wellness teaching
  2. Faith alone prevents hypocrisy
  3. Christians should accept God’s rebuke as training for a loved son
    1. Open rebuke is better than secret love. 6Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Prov. 27:5-6)
    2. Not hammer / judge
    3. To give wisdom / repentance
    4. Like a doctor who must give hard news before cure

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