Laodicea - The Request of Jesus
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.16 “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.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.19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.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.” " ”
Meet the Assembly
Laodicea has the grim distinction that the Lord of the Church found nothing good He could say-
-This is the seventh historic church.
-This is the seventh type of Christian
-This is the final age of Christ’s church.
-This is perhaps the church that is most prevalent today.
Let’s look again at the facts:
The book of Revelation is divided into three parts by the author in (1:19) :
1) The vision of Christ - chapter 1
2) The vision of Christ’s church - chapter 2, 3
3) The vision of Christ’s conquest of the world - chapter 4-22
In chapters 2-3 we see Christ writing to seven churches. A select group in a circular loop. One Bible teacher has described them thusly:
1. Ephesus=Careless church that left its first love.
2. Smyrna=Crowned church that suffered persecution.
3. Pergamus=Compromising church that tolerated evil.
4. Thyatira=Corrupted church that joined the world.
5. Sardis=Feeble church that wasn’t on guard.
6. Philadelphia=Faithful church that was pleasing God.
7. Today Laodicea=Foolish church that needed nothing.
Again, the sixfold division:
Part One : Meet the Assembly
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
These are some powerful insights we can draw from this ancient city. Laodicea was:
- They were WEALTHY: A very wealthy banking and commercial center. AD 17 devastated by a quake. Needed help. AD 60 devastated by a quake. Needed no help. Tacitus wrote, “One of the most famous cities in Asia, was overthrown by an earthquake in AD 60 and in that same year recovered itself with no outside assistance.” Look at verse 17. Because of great wealth Laodicea boasted of no needs...not even God was needed!
Beware of Trusting in Riches lest it be God that is neglected! Remember the Kings of Israel trusted their armies and neglected to call on God and were sadly defeated.
- They were FASHIONABLE: Laodicea was secondly a renowned center for clothing. A glossy jet black wool was produced into garments called trimita. These were much in demand and a source of great income. Look again at verse 17. “You are naked” - they were so proud of their clothes they were like the king in Hans Christian Andersen's tale, they didn’t know they were naked before God.
Beware of Focusing on Externals lest it be God that is forgotten.
- They were insecure: Laodicea was truly indefensible and vulnerable because it did not have its own water supply thus it sought to never offend anyone just keep the peace. Look at verse 15-16. Not hot (zestos, zeo boiling) or cold, just ok.
Beware of seeking for peace to the point of compromise. Lest it be God that is offended.
- They were HEALTH CONSCIOUS: Lastly, Laodicea was a center for medical discoveries and advancements, especially in the temple of Carian. A special eye salve called kollurion had been developed that could heal infections and was sought far and wide. Look at verse 17. “Blind” - They were so trusting in their medicine, they felt perfectly able to care for their sight.
Beware of depending on human progress lest it be God’s hand that is ignored.
So, a wealthy, commercial, peace seeking, medically advanced city called Laodicea was the home of this assembly.
Part Two : Meet the Author Jesus Christ
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
Jesus Christ reveals himself as:
Jesus is God's last word to the universe: The Amen - a word put at the end of a solemn statement affirming its truth. Listen to Hebrews 1: 1-3. Jesus is God’s last word to man. Therefore, listen to him.
Jesus is the only way to God: The faithful and true witness. Listen to John 1:18. Only Jesus explains God. Therefore, believe in him.
Jesus is the creator: The beginning of creation of God. Listen to John 1:3. All things came who being by him, without him nothing. Col. 1:15-16 All things by him and for him. Jesus is the source of creation all things find their beginnings in and for him.
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