Church of Laodicea
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The nature of the People of Laodicea.
After an earthquake devastated the region in a.d. 60 Laodicea refused Imperial help to rebuild the city, successfully relying on their own resources. They didn’t need outside help, they didn’t ask for it, and they didn’t want it. “Laodicea was too rich to accept help from anyone. Tacitus, the Roman historian, tells us: ‘Laodicea arose from the ruins by the strength of her own resources, and with no help from us.’ ” (Barclay)
David Guzik, Revelation, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Re 3:14a.
Hot or Cold??
The city was a popular retirement area for the wealthy. Because these people had retired, they concluded they had served their purpose and had reached their goal. As a result, they were indifferent to social issues. One historian, Ramsay, describes Laodicea as a city of no extremes; a city that had no peculiar characteristics unless this lack of character was its character.
The water supply for the city came from hot mineral springs about five miles from the city. The warm, sulphur water was nauseating to the taste and smell.
What you ended up with was a city of people that were not beneficial for their soothing warmth nor were they refreshingly cold.
Jesus, in Revelation, was not pleased with the tepid Christians in Laodicea and he compares them to their lukewarm water supply. He also insults them by calling them poor, blind, and naked -- the exact opposite of what they were known for in the world. See Laodicea from the Revelation study for details about this passage.
The Jesus who addresses them.
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;
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
He is all the way to one side he picked a side and he is that side. He is all in on the glory of God, and he expects us to be all in on him.
Faithful and True Witness: This is Jesus, and this was a contrast to the Laodiceans, who will be shown to be neither faithful nor true.
Beginning of the creation of God: The idea behind the word for beginning [the ancient Greek word arche] is that of a “ruler, source, or origin,” not of first in a sequential order. This verse does not teach that Jesus was the first being created, but that He is the ruler, source, and origin of all creation. It has the idea of first in prominence more than first in sequence.
In other words get fiery about something and that something should be me.
Application: In January of this last year Jessie Synan gave
Seven Signs of Being a Lukewarm Christian
1. You’re content without Jesus. A lukewarm Christian doesn’t have any desire to spend time with Him in prayer, worship, in the Bible, or to serve alongside Him.
2. You ignore teaching and conviction. You don’t allow others, Holy Spirit, or even the Bible to counsel you.
3. You welcome and value teachings of philosophers and thought leaders over the full counsel of God. A lukewarm Christian allows philosophies and ideologies to be the foundations of their choices. They expect God’s grace to uphold them even when they oppose Him with their choices.
4. You would rather remain neutral than live “set apart.” A lukewarm Christian will not pick sides. They’ll run from the responsibility of choosing between righteousness and worldliness and will fight to create a middle ground. They remain neutral in an attempt to gain the best of both worlds.
5. You use your voice to advocate for your preferences even when those preferences cause you to oppose God’s moral standards.
6. Your confidence lies in your possessions, connections, and influence instead of in the Lord.
7. You expect God to conform to the will of people instead of encouraging people to conform to the will of God. What God has spelled out clearly, a lukewarm Christian will allow society to alter and redefine. A few examples, the definition of marriage, gender identity, social justice and reformation.
I counsel of thee to buy...
This is not the first time Jesus has encouraged someone to take what they have and exchange it for something Greater.
The rich young ruler was in this same predicament when he came to Jesus to request eternal life. The religious leader had several things going for him.
Remember his Urgency - "running"
Remember his Desire - "kneeled before him"
Remember his Responsibility - "what must I do"
Remember his Mental Assent - "To have eternal Life"
Jesus pointed to the law, and he preemptively checked the box. So Jesus gave simple instruction.
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
There is was the thing that ruler couldn’t do give away everything for Jesus.
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
The problem is that he was Cold toward Jesus but hot toward eternal life...
Jesus could see through the church of Laodicea.
They were hot about a lot of good things but cold toward Jesus himself.
Family all go there
And we can be about everything but Jesus himself.
They became cold because they were simply adding Jesus to every other good thing they had going one. They thought they were rich and couldn’t see the rags.
Because 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:
Christ’s Hopeful Invitation (18-19)
Pursue real riches - Jesus
Pursue real righteousness - Forgiveness
Pursue real healing - Truth
Where the church in Philadelphia wasn’t listening to Jesus, Laodicea had excused Jesus altogether. To do anything less that pick Jesus completely is to abandon him wholly.
So turn to Christ as your all in all. Let him lead this life. Give him your time, talent, your treasure for he is the only pursuit worth having.
Consider Jessie Synan’s prescription for lukewarm Christianity
Below are 7 steps that will help you answer the question, how to stop being a lukewarm Christian. I’ll list them individually first, and you can keep reading to get the full break down.
1. Acknowledge your need for Jesus.
2. Delight in sound biblical teaching.
3. Value the wisdom and counsel of the Lord.
4. Prioritize choices that protect and honor your relationship with Jesus.
5. Choose Jesus over and over again.
6 Treasure the giver over the gift.
7. Model righteousness. Model love. Encourage both.
Ear to hear...
Ruling with Christ is not about the position or money you amass here on earth. Jesus is unimpressed with this. Jesus wants to draw those close to him in eternity that could be satisfied with nothing less than him here.