The Seven Churches of Revelation: Laodicea
Before we begin looking at the spiritual condition of Laodicea, let us first look at the city’s physical and material characteristics.
The city was founded by Anitochus II in 261-246 BC. It was located in a beautiful valley, but with one major issue that lasted from its founding until its destruction: There was no decent water source to supply the city. To the south were the Phrygian mountains, snow capped and a good source of water. The city had to construct an aqueduct to bring water to the city. The problem was that the distance was so far that by the time the ice cold water reached the city it was no longer cold, but tepid, or lukewarm.
Down the valley there were two rivers that met there were natural hot springs, water so hot you could see the steam rising from them. By the time they brought this hot water into Laodicea it too had cooled off and was also lukewarm.
Cold water is refreshing, and hot water is beneficial as well, but lukewarm water is a breeding ground for bacteria and to drink it would certainly make you sick to your stomach.
Another point to make about the history of Laodicea is that it was a city known for its wealth, it was a banking city where many would come and exchange their currency for gold. In this city also was a thriving textile industry where garments of fine linen were made and sold all over the known world. One more fact to point out is that this city boasted of a state of the art medical center. The clay in the mountains was dried out to powder, the powder then was packaged and sent all over the world to be formed into a slave to be applied to they eyes. It was believed there were healing properties in the clay.
Many Christians would look at this city and declare, “The blessing of God is on this place”. There are pastors today that would say, “The fact that they had sooooo much wealth, so much influence is proof that God’s hand was on them.”
Church it does not matter how this world views you or how others view you, what matters is how Jesus views you!
When Jesus looks on Parks Crossroads, when Jesus looks on your life, what does he see? What does He say?
To the false church of Laodicea, Jesus makes some startling proclamations, first he proclaims His...
Credentials to This Church v. 14
Credentials to This Church v. 14
As an employee of FCS I have an account with Microsoft 365. This means I can go to any computer in the world and enter my username and password and gain access from anywhere to the materials saved on my account. No one else can access this. No one else can alter this material, just me. Why? Because I have been given “credentials” from Microsoft to us this tool. Those credentials give me sole authority over the material, it belongs to me.
To this false church, Jesus presents His credentials Revelation 3:14
14 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;
Let me share some facts about Jesus’ credentials:
He is the Amen.
Amen does not mean “the end”
This is the way we end our prayers, but the meaning of the word is not “the end”, it is trustworthy!
That is the reason when the preacher makes a point and the Spirit of God moves you and you say, “Amen” you are saying, “What was just said is true and trust worthy.
The Amen in this verse is the only time it is used as a proper name.
The idea is that Jesus is trustworthy
The usage of Amen as a proper name plays right into the next credential Jesus had over this false church...
He is the faithful and true witness
Contrast this with Laodicea
They were unfaithful to Him
There was a church in Laodicea
Paul mentioned them five times in the book of Colossians, although he never went there himself, there was a church there
How far they had fallen!
They were a false witness
Their lie then was the same lie as today
The only way to prove God’s blessing is by how much you have!
Compare their message with Christ!:
He taught of His own poverty - Matthew 8:20 “20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
He taught of the poverty of His followers as well - Matthew 5:3 “3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
He taught of the challenges to be faced in this world - John 16:33 “33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
He taught of the foolishness of trusting in riches - Luke 18:22-23 “22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.” (THE RICH YOUNG RULER)
There is even a message in the word “witness”
Witness = Martus, from which we get our word martyr
The point? If you are truly going to serve Jesus, you are going to suffer as Jesus did!
The Laodicean believer does not want any part of the suffering.
The Laodicean gospel is one of wealth, prosperity, of positive thinking and happiness, never suffering and shame.
Someone said that “if you’re going to live a godly life, you’re going to get nailed!” Non only is He the faithful witness, but He is...
The beginning of the creation of God
Jesus is proclaiming that He is responsible for all of creation.
Let that sink in.
He created the Water that they had trouble getting
He created the gold that they boasted of
He created the fibers that they wove into clothing
He created the mud that they sold everywhere as a eye salve.
All that they bragged about, He was responsible for, and not once did they give Him the credit for it.
These were His credentials over this false church, and these are His credentials over His church today! He is still trust worthy, He is still faithful and true, He is still the Creator!
Aren’t you glad today that if you have a need, you can go to the Creator of the universe!
He proclaimed first His credentials to the church, next He proclaims...
Condemnation on This Church v. 15-17
Condemnation on This Church v. 15-17
There are similarities in these letters to the seven churches. Every church but one received condemnation, and every church but one recieved commendation. Here to the Laodiceans, there is no word to commend them for anything, only condemnation.
Instead Jesus dealt with them right where they were, lukewarm, good for nothing. They knew exactly what He was talking about. Jesus had a preference that they church would be either hot or cold, but they were neither.
Hot water is useful, cold water is refreshing. Had they been hot they could have been used, had they been cold they could have been dealt with. But because they viewed themselves as self-sufficient, having need of nothing, they did not even see that without Jesus, they had nothing! The Laodicean church is representative of churches today that do not preach on:
The reality of sin - it’s just a problem that you need to overcome!
Sin is a problem that you cannot overcome!
The only hope for the sinner is in Jesus Christ!
The need to repent - your thriving materially is PROOF of God’s blessing
God wouldn’t bless you with money, things, health, and happiness if He didn’t approve of you
Really? Somebody show me where in the Bible Jesus promised that?
The cross of Jesus - there is too much bloodshed in traditional churches
Thank God for the blood!
Heb. 9:22 “22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Matt. 26:28 “28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
For their failure to preach these basic truths, Jesus condemned this church. This church that thought that materialism could bring happiness, was wretched = miserable. The word poor had the idea of “pitiable”. Instead of envying those who have everything this world offers but don’t Jesus we should pity them.
This church that thought it was rich was poor = the word means to beg on the street. Without Jesus you have nothing.
This church that boasted of a cure for blindness could not even see their spiritual need.
This church that lived in the fashion capital of Asia was naked in the sight of Jesus
Why? Becasue for all they had, they did not have the one thing that mattered most: Jesus!
To this church that did not know Him, did not preach Him did not want Him Jesus, the Son of God presented His credentials, proclaimed His condemnation, and, when He could have written them off completely, turned His back on them and condemned them to Hell, He instead persisted to show His...
Concern for This Church v. 18-22
Concern for This Church v. 18-22
His concern for those lukewarm Christians in Laodicea is noted in the following ways...
His Counsel v. 18 to buy of Him
Gold - In order to purify gold it must first be heated up!
The Christians in Laodicea preferred complacency over the heat of service
Jesus was saying to them, your gold is substandard.
It will not get you to heaven
It will not satisfy your needs
It will not last
Their true need, the true need of many today is this: Spiritual wealth! Matthew 6:20
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Garments - worldly clothing cannot cover your spiritual need
Adam and Eve tried this in the garden, sowing fig leaves together
God had to show them that because of their sin, they needed a blood sacrifice to even begin coming close to what they had before their sin.
The clothing industry of Laodicea could not compare with the white garments of Jesus’ righteousness.
Vision - they could not cure their spiritual need by their own means
This church believed they had God’s blessing based on what they could see, touch, experience.
Many today fall into this same trap of believing the only to prove God’s blessing is on you is if you have many “things” by which He has “blessed you”
The word “Blessed” in Scripture means happy.
Let me just say there is nothing wrong with having nice things, but if having nice things is what it takes to make you happy....you are looking in the wrong place!
They needed their spiritual eyes opened as only Jesus could do!
So many churches today are preaching this false prosperity gospel
The true gospel is so foreign to them that if the Holy Spirit actually showed up, they would not know what to do!
This church, and many today needed to heed His counsel and they need to rise to His...
His Challenge v. 19 - Let me tell you today that if you are seeing yourself reflected in Jesus’ rebuke to the Laodicean church, if you feel that you are wretched, and poor, and blind and naked, then understand this to be Holy Ghost conviction. Rise to the challenge and repent of your sin! Heed His counsel, rise to His challenge, and respond to...
His Calling v. 20 - Revelation 3:20
20 Behold, 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.
Remember, this call was issued specifically to the church at Laodicea. What a sad statement that Jesus was standing on the outside of the church for which He died, unwelcome, unknown, and asking to be let in.
How gracious the promise however, extended on an individual basis, that if anyone would respond, open the door of their heart, Jesus would come in and have sweet, eternal fellowship with them.
Conclusion: Church, we are living in the Laodicean portion of the church age today.
Today if you find yourself in a lukewarm condition there is hope! You can heed the counsel of Jesus and admit your condition and accept your need, you can rise to the challenge and repent of your sin, and you can right here, right now respond to His call, open the door of your heart, and let Him in.
As we bow our heads to pray and as our musicians make their way forward, I ask you to pray with me.
Today, if you know beyond doubt that you are saved, would you raise you hand?
Today, I wonder if you raised your hand that you are saved, but the Spirit of God dealt with you that you are in a lukewarm condition, would you raise your hand today by way of confession of this sin and as a pledge to God that you repent of your lukewarmness and will beginning today strive to be a faithful believer.
Today if you are not sure if you are saved, then listen closely to me. If right here, right now you will admit to God you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died for you, call on Him to save you, you can be saved. Is there one here today that would say, “Pastor, that’s me. I’m not sure that I’m saved, but I’m positive I don’t want to go to hell.” Would you raise your hand today?