Out of all the churches that Jesus directed letters to, the Church of Laodicea was the one you didn't want to be like. As a Christian believer, we have learned that not only are these letters written from Jesus to the seven regional churches in Asia Minor, modern day Turkey now, but also in the chronological pattern of the church age as well. The one take away for any believer in this study into the letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, these letters are also relevant to us today because they point to the life we, as Christians, find ourselves at in our current walk. My hope is that you are NOT like this church.
The most tragic thing about this church, Jesus is on the outside, knocking on their door. He was on the outside. It is this church in particular that winds up last, because chronologically, this is our church age, the Laodicean age of the church and one we can see evidence of all around us today. May God help us to take heed to the words Jesus directs in His letter to this church and more applicably to us, as believers.
It is a compromised, watered-down church, it does not have a passion for doctrine from the Bible. It was a pathetic and dangerous church. It has many activities it sponsored but they left Jesus out of the process. It had a cross on it but other than that, it was simply just a building. It is so much like the world you can't see any manifestation of Jesus in it. It's just the like world it is in. The teaching and worship was carnal. No one was getting saved, there is no spiritual growth or holiness there. It was not alive, it was asleep and it was without Jesus in it. How can you be a church and not have Christ in it. It was spiritually void of the Holy Spirit. They neglected their walk with God. They were a recreational church. They were more concerned with what the community thought about them. It existed under a pretense. Living out a lie. Rather than being a salty church, they were a poisonous church.
The city of Laodicea was a very prosperous and affluent church. It was very influential in the ways of the world and the Roman Empire. But Jesus when he says He wishes that they were either hot or cold, That is interesting because the heat brought therapeutic pleasure and the cold brought refreshment. Colossee was known for cold water and Heiropolis was known for its thermal or hot waters, and between those two cities was the city of Laodicea. It is where those two water streams came together and not only created tepid water but it was poisonous water. Jesus said, He was going to vomit them out of his mouth.
Revelation 3:14-22 ~ " To the angel of the church of Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold not hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 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. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes for you to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 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 him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I 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."
Now for the background. We study the background, because we can understand the meaning behind Jesus' letter. In this world a Christian church will be hated for two reasons, (1) their salt, or (2) because of their poison. The church at Laodicea was poisoned. Laodicea was located 40 miles southwest of Philadelphia, about a 100 miles due east of Ephesus. It was referred to as one of the "three cities," Colossae, (the book of Colossians) Hierapolis, and nestled between the two was the city of Laodicea. Founded by Antiochus II in 253 BC, it was named after his wife, Leeodice. As a Roman city, Laodicea has become a very wealthy, (everytime we come to a wealthy city, we see a church falls into apathy) and industrialized city, with banking and textiles, the highest quality of black wool in the world (its due to the mineral content of the waters there that cause the sheep's wool to turn black. There has never been such a quality of wool to this day) and medical products (a pharmaceutical masterpiece) . Earthquake? We can handle it! Everytime they had earthquakes, they didn't need any help or assistance from any of the cities or from the Roman Empire.
It's geographical location is key to understand why Jesus said what He said. It's physical location to Colossae and Hierapolis regarding the water. The hot pools of Heirapolis (think Old Faithful and even that would pale in comparison to what this city had), and the cold springs of Colossae. Keep this very solemn thought in mind, this is the only church that Jesus didn't have anything good to say about, nothing at all. As we come to the last of the letters, it is understood in the chronology of the church age, it is the Spirit of the Church of Laodicea. that will be the prevailing witness of the church at the time of Jesus Christs' return.We are living in a liberal compromising church age even today.
So what kind of church are you, as we near the end of the age. This is the whole thing behind this last letter. We need to stop playing games with God and get serious in our Christian walk.
Revelation 3:14-15 ~ " To the angel of the church of Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold not hot. I wish you were either one or the other!"
As we near the end of the age, we need to get serious about the things of God.
Revelation 3:14 ~ " To the angel of the church of Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation."
We know as this letter unfolds that Laodicea had a pastor ( or angel of the church) that was given to compromise. (1) He wouldn't take a stand for Christ. It was unpopular to do so. (2) He didn't give out the Word of God.(3) He led others down the path he had taken. They liked to keep things veiled so they could blend in. (4) Leaders are called leaders because they take people in a direction. The zeal was lost as a church! Because of this calling as a pastor or leader of a church, God has given an influence, it will either be used for His glory, or for the glory of others.
As we near the end of an age, we need to focus on what is reality.
Revelation 3:14 ~ " These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation."
Because the pastor had so erred, so erred the church. Jesus tries to get the man and his ministry back online. (1) The Amen, The word "Amen" means "Let it be so, It is true." (2) The Faithful , Jesus said it because the pastor and the ministry had not been faithful. To get back into the Bible and know what it says. How can you say you're a Christian if you don't know what the Bible says. (3) and True Witness and (4) the "starter" of the Creation of God.
Jesus is writing a letter today to the pastors and the churches they reside over. The gold standard is to be like Jesus. The church will become like it's leader. God has created the local church and will take on the personality of the pastor. We want people to mistake our words and actions like Jesus. The Christian needs to be aware of a church that does not fill a great commission. Punching in a time card. Not simply checking off time, and fulfilling our obligation. Is your Christianity boring or complacent? That is the question you need to be asking. If it is, you can't grow in a church like that.
We will continue working on our study into the Church of Laodicea on Monday!