Revelation 3:14-22 Jesus Addresses the Lukewarm Church at Laodicea

Persecuted for preaching the gospel, around A.D. 95, John was exiled to Patmos, an island on the Aegean Sea where he received a revelation from an angel of Christ.

Previously, Christ spoke to John through a vision that included seven candlesticks which represent the seven churches in Asia, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

The first church mentioned to John was Ephesus, which Jesus described as having become loveless, and He warned the Ephesians they should repent or face God’s wrath. Then, Christ praised the church at Smyrna and encouraged them on the dawn of suffering to come. The third church, Pergamos was also praised for their perseverance, and rebuked for allowing blasphemous teaching within the church and encouraging the doctrine of Balaam to be spread which led believers to unrepented sin including idolatry and fornication. The church at Thyatira, the fourth church was labeled by Jesus as a corrupt fellowship because it allowed the teachings of Jezebel, a woman who promoted sexual immorality and idolatry. The fifth church, at Sardis was called dead for their lack of sacrificial works, which prompted Jesus to warn those at Sardis to be watchful, and repent or pay the ultimate price. As for the sixth church, the fellowship at Philadelphia, Jesus had only praises for believers for their devotion to the fulfillment of the great commission, and their sacrificial obedience to God.

Now, through the pen of His apostle John, Jesus addresses the church at Laodicea.

“14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.” (Revelation 3:14-15)

Located in the valley of the Lycus, about 10 miles west of Colosse and 13 miles north of Hierapolis, Laodicea was a thriving city until it was eradicated by an earthquake in A.D. 60 as the fulfillment of God’s plan for the lukewarm church, whom He felt was a disgrace to Christianity and a transgression to the great commission to further the kingdom of God through the advancement of the gospel of the risen Christ.

Because those at Laodicea were neither deeply invested in the great commission nor strayed from the narrow path, the fellowship there became disgusting to Christ and rather than bring glory to God, their works, or the lack thereof were found offensive to God. Whereas other churches were praised for their works, because they were lukewarm, the Lord had no kind words for the Laodiceans.

“16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)

Jesus continues His rebuke of the fellowship at Laodicea by metaphorically expressing his loathing for them using regurgitation as the form of rejection He planned to use against them.

“17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Revelation 3:17-18)

Because Laodicea was a thriving city, those within the church became spiritually complacent and grew indifferent of the great commission. In spite of their worldly wealth, Jesus calls the Laodiceans poor, or lacking true riches which are at the root of Christianity. Further more, the Lord labeled the fellowship at Laodicea as wretched, since they abandoned their mission to serve their divine Master, miserable because they were without hope, blind by lust for the world and naked, as the garment of salvation would be stripped from them upon judgment day.

Jesus calls on true disciples at Laodicea to give up their worldly desire, instead strive to become rich in the things that delight God, and seek to glorify the heavenly Father to attain wisdom and eventually, at the end of the road that leads to new Jerusalem, be robbed in the garment of purity. And, to strengthen them, the Lord calls on the Laodiceans to dwell in the word and rely on the Holy Spirit to overcome temptation brought on by the lust of the eyes.

“19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)

Here, Jesus reminds the Laodiceans of the large number of disciples He rebukes, then punishes by casting their bad fruit into the fire. It would be the fate of the church at Laodicea to eventually be destroyed and blotted out of the book of life.

“20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’” (Revelation 3:20-22)

By His grace and mercy, Jesus extends a loving hand to those who repent and surrender to His will. To him and her who overcome evil, and walk in His footsteps, the Lord promises a seat in Heaven where God awaits those He created for His glory. Let’s pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant John,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through your revelation delivered by your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: danielstpierre@thrivethroughchrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.

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