“To the angel of the church inLaodicea write…” The lukewarm church
The Letter to Laodicea “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithfuland true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: „I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold orhot. „So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit youout of My mouth. „Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretchedand miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. „Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. „Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. „He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelation 3:14–22)
Interesting Fact…Laodicea is the only church that receives no commendation from Jesus. All this church gets is rebuke. Many believe this church represents the modern day, Western church.
General Background on Laodicea• Named for the wife of Syria‟s Antiochus II, Laodice• Means “justice of the people”• Known for its banking, linen/wool industry, as well as its pharmaceutical skills• Very well to do populous• Tacitus wrote that, after an earthquake, they were able to build themselves back without Rome‟s help• Paul evidently wrote a letter to the church (cf. Col. 4:16)• Now a deserted locale and called by the Turks, “old castle”• Famous for its worship of Zeus, whose likeness was found on the city‟s coins
The Description of Christ“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this" (Revelation 3:14) Amen – “a strong affirmation of what is said; truly; let it be so”. Also in Hebrew is „amen‟, which means „truth‟ or „surely‟. Jesus is the Amen because He is true and certain. “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. " (2 Corinthians 1:20) . Paul means that all Gods promises and covenants are guaranteed and affirmed by the person and work of Christ.
The Description of Christ“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this" (Revelation 3:14) Witness (Martyr) is someone that testifies in legal matters and one that affirms or testifies. Jesus is both a faithful and trustworthy witness in what He says and the judgments He makes. Jesus is about to bring accusing testimony that contradicts what the Laodicean church thinks about itself.
The Description of Christ“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this" (Revelation 3:14) The word „beginning‟ is „arche‟, which is where we get the word for „architect‟. Some cults teach that this verse says Jesus was the first creation of God,however this is incorrect. Jesus is saying He is literally the origin or source of the creation itself. The Greek term also means „one with whom a process begins‟. This dovetails perfectly with John 1:3, which says: “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
The Condemnation„I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. „So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. " (Revelation 3:15–16)• Deeds are an indicator of a person‟s “temperature”• “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. " (Romans 2:5–8)
“So then, you will know them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to Me, „Lord, Lord,‟ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, „Lord,Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your namecast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?‟ “And then I will declare to them, „I never knew you; departfrom Me, you who practice lawlessness.‟ " (Matthew 7:20– 23)“For men will be . . . holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. " (2 Timothy 3:2–5)
The Condemnation„I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. „So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. " (Revelation 3:15–16) • Some have tried to say that the Laodicean church was an “in the middle” type church – not fully unsaved or saved • Why, however, wish that they were unsaved or cold?
The Condemnation “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. „So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth…”• Laodicea was between Hierapolis and Colossae.• Hierapolis was known for its hot mineral springs which produced healing properties• Colossae had a rare cold stream whose waters were very refreshing• Laodicea built aqueducts to pipe both the hot water from Hierapolis and cold water from Colossae into the city• However, the hot water cooled down and the cold water warmed up; they both became lukewarm• The water contained sludge that made it sickening to drink.
The Condemnation“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that youwere cold or hot. „So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth…” • Christ is telling the Laodiceans they are just like their water; they neither heal/comfort nor refresh and literally are of no value; they make Him sick just as their water does them.
“The Laodicean church was a half- hearted church. Perhaps none of the seven letters is more appropriate to the twentieth century church than this. It describes vividly the respectable, sentimental, nominal, skin-deep religiosity which is so wide spread among us today. Our Christianity is flabby and anemic, we appear to have taken a lukewarm bath.“ - John Stott
The Warning to Us“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that youwere cold or hot. „So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth…” • What about you? • Do material possessions weaken our zeal for us and blind us to our spiritual reality • Does you life provide help, comfort, encouragement, or other such things to others around you? • Christ knows your deeds, which tell what‟s in your heart • Think about yourself and take an honest inventory – are you lukewarm in what you do and how you interact with others?
“In the history of the church and in my experience, no one has been harder toreach for Christ than a false Christian.Satisfied with the measure of his goodworks, satisfied with his attitude toward God and they sit in churches across the world. It would be easier to win a harlot, it would be easier to win a criminal, it would be easier to win an agnostic or an atheist, its easier...Jesus certainly said...to reach the Publicans and the harlots than it is the Pharisees and the Sadducees.Theres more hope for the salvation of an atheist than a spoiled half-hearted conceited hypocrite who thinks he knows the truth and pretends to accept it.” - John MacArthur
The Second Condemnation“Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and haveneed of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked" (Revelation 3:17) • Rich materially or spiritually? • Some commentators say the latter • However, the city itself was quite wealthy because of its banking, retail, and medicinal businesses • It may be that the Laodiceans saw their material blessings as confirmation that they were in right standing with God • The old „health and wealth‟ gospel is refuted very plainly here
The Second Condemnation“Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and haveneed of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked" (Revelation 3:17) • Wealth has a way of blinding a person to their real need(s) • Persecuted churches in the near and far East actually pray for the Western churches persecution because they believe the West has grown fat and complacent due to the material prosperity it has experiences
And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, „What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?‟ “Then he said, „This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. „And I will say to my soul,“Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come;take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” ‟ “But God said to him, „You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?‟ “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” " (Luke 12:16–21)
The Second Condemnation“Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and haveneed of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked" (Revelation 3:17) • Their wealth had dulled the people in the church to the point where they were clueless about their true spiritual condition, which is what matters most • “For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes" (Matthew 13:15)
The world is sleeping in the darkThat the church just cant fightCause its asleep in the lightHow can you be so deadWhen youve been so well fedJesus rose from the graveAnd you, you cant even get out of bed- Keith Green, excerpt from Asleep in the Light
Who wants to be… Wretched – Miserable - Poor - Blind - Naked• “Miserable” – eleeinos – “deserving of sympathy for one‟s pathetic condition”• They think they‟re rich, but they‟re poor; they think they can see, but they‟re blind; they think their rich garments have them covered, but they‟re exposed. They‟re spiritually bankrupt
The Counsel “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you maybecome rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, andthat the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. " (Revelation 3:18)God‟s grace still reaches out to these people; it‟s not the end for them yet.
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat.Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. " (Isaiah 55:1–2)
“Gold refined by fire…”• Instead of their Laodicean banks, they needed real gold• What „gold‟ is Jesus referring to?• “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:6–7)
“But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the ironfurnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today." (Deuteronomy 4:20) “Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and say to them,„Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Cursed is the man who does not heed the words of this covenant which I commandedyour forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, „Listen to My voice, and do according to all which I command you; so you shall be My people, and I will be your God,‟ " (Jeremiah 11:2–4)
“White Garments…”• The Laodiceans prided themselves on the sleek, black wool that made them famous• “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. " (Isaiah 61:10)• “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands" (Revelation 7:9)
“shame of your nakedness will not be revealed …” The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. " (Genesis 3:21) “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. " (Galatians 3:27)“It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. " (Revelation 19:8)
“Eye Salve…”• The Laodiceans were well known for the school of medicine that offered a special salve to heal common eye troubles of the Middle East.• “But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.‟ " (Acts 26:16–18)
“And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” They began to discusswith one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this,said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they said to Him, “Seven.” And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?” And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of thevillage; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He askedhim, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I seethem like trees, walking around.” Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. " (Mark 8:15–25)
The Command“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent." (Revelation 3:19) • Those not targeted for salvation don‟t receive discipline from God as He is not their Father; a father only reproves his own children • “For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. " (Proverbs 3:12) • “Zealous” is the condition desired by Jesus, not lukewarmness
The Promise“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." (Revelation 3:20) • The door is not the door of the human heart as some commentators have said, but rather the door of the Laodicean church • The head of the church is waiting for His servants to open the door to Him • Eating with someone back in the first century represented intimate fellowship • The word “dine” refers to the evening meal • If they would open up to Him, they could have fellowship before the night of judgment fell
“Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and willcome up and wait on them. “Whether he comes in the second watch, oreven in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” (Luke 12:36–40)
The Promise “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelation 3:21)• “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33)• “Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? " (1 John 5:5)
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of Hisinheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raisedHim from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He putall things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. . . . But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alivetogether with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up withHim, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 1:18–23, 2:4-7)
The Repeated command to Hear“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:22) This phrase is repeated each time in Christ‟saddress to the seven churches of Revelation. In the gospels (it is never used in John), it is always used to highlight radical truths, great principles, and promises.Note that Jesus says it is the Spirit speakingto the churches, even though He is the actualone talking: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)
“Let me just remind you of a perspective that may help you get a grip on the nature of this letter. One of the most heart- moving passages in Scripture is found in the tenth chapter of Pauls letter to the Romans because it gets us in touch with Pauls own heart. In Romans 10:1 it says, "Brethren, my hearts desire and my prayer to God for them," that is for Israel, "is for their salvation. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge. . . . That great tragedy has a parallel today, another tragedy not unlike that one exists. It is a story of an equal kind of tragedy. It is a cause, I believe, for an equal kind of heartache, an equal kind of concern and an equal kind of prayer. And it is the lostness of the church...the lostness of the church. Today within the church there is a lost population of people. Religious, yes. Having in their hands the New Testament, having in their hands all the information they need about the New Covenant, holding in their hands in the very Scriptures the truth about Christ, the saving truth about Christ, His death, His resurrection. They have the understanding that God has given in the Scripture of saving faith andrepentance. They have the truth about sin and eternal destiny. Many of those churches have sincere people, very religious, zealous people but they are doomed just as Israel was." - John MacArthur
Ye call Me Master and obey Me not.Ye call Me Light and see Me not.Ye call Me Way and walk Me not.Ye call Me Life and choose Me not.Ye call Me Wise and follow Me not.Ye call Me Fair and love Me not.Ye call Me Rich and ask Me not.Ye call Me Eternal and seek Me not.Ye call Me Noble and serve Me not.Ye call Me Gracious and trust Me not.Ye call Me Might and honor Me not.Ye call Me Just and fear Me not.If I condemn you, blame Me not.- Inscription on cathedral in Lubeck, Germany
“To the angel of the church inLaodicea write…” The lukewarm church