Sounds Like Life in the U.S.A.
Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
-1 Corinthians 10:12, emphasis added
When you step back and look at where the church of Laodicea was geographically, culturally, and historically, it sounds ominously like American life in the twenty-first century. There are some powerful insights we can draw from this ancient city. As you read through each of the following points, think about the similarities to our society, and perhaps even to your own life.
The Laodiceans were wealthy. Laodicea was the wealthiest of all the cities-a very rich banking and commercial center located thirty miles southeast of Philadelphia. Her great wealth produced an independent spirit; even Christ's church boasted of having no needs, not even for God. Jesus therefore said that He would vomit them out of His mouth "Because [they] say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.' " (Revelation 3:17a). Christians always get drawn into the culture around them, yet Jesus wants us to be separate from it. We are to be in the world, but not of it. We must not allow ourselves to be squashed into the world's mold. Because the Laodicean church was conformed to the world, they felt they did not need God. Beware of the subtle dangers of wealth.
The Laodiceans were self-sufficient- like the kings of Israel who trusted in their armies, neglected to call on God, and were sadly defeated. God stirred up enemies from all directions to march on Jerusalem; then He would wait to see what Israel would do. God does not want us to neglect coming to Him for our needs. In less wealthy parts of the world, the Christians pray that God will move in their lives, and do great and mighty things. However, in more affluent areas, some believers get conformed by the world to plan everything themselves. Beware of trusting in riches-lest it be God that is neglected.
The Laodiceans were fashionable. The city was a renowned center for clothing. They raised sheep that produced glossy jet-black wool that was woven into a garment called a "trimita." These garments were much in demand, and a source of great income. They were so proud of their clothing! But Jesus said, "[You] do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked." (Revelation 3:17b). For that reason Jesus said to them, "I counsel you that you are so proud of your clothes, but you need to come to Me and get real clothing." Beware of staying in step with everyone but God.
The Laodiceans were worldly. By following the fashion trends of this world, many Christians have forgotten that God's primary calling is for us to be a walking temple of God. When entering a shrine or a temple in the Middle East, visitors are required to wear the proper covering. You see, even the pagans, the apostates, and the godless realize that a temple is to be kept reverently holy. Yet the walking temples of the infinite God of the universe, whose name is holy, are often defiled-all in the name of what is "fashionable."
Women, especially, need to be aware that the eyes of men are never satisfied. In 2 Peter 2:14 men are described as "having eyes full of adultery." Ladies, you should never want to be in any man's adulterous imagination. Beware of focusing on externals and keeping up with the culture-lest you forget God.
So then, a wealthy, commercial, peace-seeking, medically advanced city called Laodicea was the home of the assembly that received Christ's seventh letter to the churches. Did its lack of character remind you of what is happening in America in the twenty-first century? How about in your own life? Is all well between you and the Lord? If you are a born-again Christian, and you can't see something of value in God's Word, then you need to look at what is ruining your eyesight. If that is your situation, I exhort you to get right with Him today!
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