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This letter sent by Jesus through the apostle John to the church at Laodicea is one of the most arresting proclamations that ever came from Christ lips.
One cannot read this passage without being stirred for its words are so gripping that it should startle us as much as the tornado sirens did last Tuesday evening!
Listen to this passage from the Message; – it says “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold; you’re not hot – far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit.”
There is an emotion used by Christ in these words that I believe is not used anywhere else in the entire word of God.
Oh yes there are times throughout scripture when Christ is represented as being grieved. There are even times when Christ is seen as being angry, but in this passage of scripture we see him as being genuinely disgusted.
He is not just a little upset but rather he is so upset that he becomes literally nauseated.
Just who is it that Jesus is addressing here in this passage of Scripture?
This is not some daring rude out and out sinner...this is not a decree to a murderer pr the town drunk, or even the prostitute down on the street corner…
No the alarming element of this passage is that we find him addressing the church.
He is writing to a group of people who have organized under the banner of being a force for God. No doubt at one time this was a group of Christ followers whose sole purpose was to see their town won to Christ…their mission was heart felt…they knew where they were headed…but tragically something has gone wrong….Christ is addressing this letter to people who call themselves “Christians”
If you study this church very long you will also find that they pride themselves on not just being Christians, but being a superior grade of Christians.
Yet sadly when Christ addresses them he has not one good word to say about them.
What was wrong do you suppose? Was it the town itself…was this another Sodom…? Had something gone wrong in the town that would disgrace the church?
I did some research on Laodicea this week and found that it was located about one hundred miles due east of Ephesus.
It was in a fertile valley along with Colosse and Hierapolis. And the great Roman road stretching to the inland of Asia from the coast at Ephesus ran straight through its center. This made Laodicea an important center of trade and communication.
Laodicea was actually known for 3 things.
1) It was known firstly for its wealth. It was the financial and banking center of the whole region and had money to burn. So wealthy was Laodicea that after the great earthquake of A.D. 17, which destroyed it, the people refused imperial help in rebuilding the city, choosing rather to do it entirely by themselves.
It would be like New Orleans refusing government aid after Katrina and replacing all the buildings and infrastructure itself. It was rich and had no need of any help.
2) Much of its wealth came from the production of a fine
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