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Turn you Bibles to Revelation chapter three, beginning with verse 14. We are going to study a church that was like a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off. Why? Because they didn’t know they were dead yet! If my illustration made you sick at your stomach, well I guess it accomplished it’s purpose for this church made Jesus sick at His.
Before we look at our text, we need to develop a better understanding of the overall context of the first three chapters of Revelation and more particular, we need a better understanding of the city known then as Laodicea. Let’s deal with the overall context of chapters one through three of Revelation first, then we will look closer at Laodicea.
Revelation – A Brief Introduction
For those of you who studied Revelation with me in our auditorium class, I trust, at a minimum, you learned that the bulk of Revelation is prophecy surrounding events that will soon transpire in relation to the church and the Roman Empire. Before revealing to John these prophecies in a series of visions, Jesus asks John to: write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea (Rev. 1:11). Now, I believe these churches represented a central core, a circle if you will, by which the entire book of Revelation would be delivered to, read, copied, and then distributed to other churches throughout the Roman Empire. Likewise, I think, given this distribution strategy, Jesus decided to address specific issues (good and bad) within each of these individual congregations. We are fortunate today to have these letters because their contents can certainly apply to us as well!
Laodicea was a very, very wealthy city, founded by Antiochus II and named after his wife Laodice. The city was strategically located where three highways converged, thus it was highly commercial. It was well known for its banking industry, its manufacture of black wool and a medical school that produced eye ointment. The wealth in the city had been used to build theaters, a huge stadium, lavish public baths and fabulous shopping centers. Sound familiar? Sounds like any typical American city. So wealthy was this city that when an earthquake almost entirely
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