Summary: The Church at Laodicea, a church, it seems, with no redeeming qualities. Luke warm, every church was commended for something, except the Laodicean church. Are we like the Laodicean church?

Revelation 3:14 - 22

I. Introduction

A. The city of Laodicea was almost due East of Ephesus about 120 miles or so on a major trade route in Asia

1. The city was a banking center and so a very wealthy city

a. The city was also the site of mineral springs which could only be tolerated if it was drank very hot or very cold otherwise it would cause nausea

b. Another thing was that the city was the center of the manufacture of a salve for the eyes

B. The name Laodicea comes from two Greek words

1. One means People

2. The other means to judge

3. So the meaning of the name of the city is the rule of the people or self rule

C. Church age

1. I believe that the age of the church at Laodicea began after World War II

a. Soldiers who fought in the East brought Eastern wives home

(1) Japanese

(2) Korean

(3) Chinese

(4) And other non-Christian women

(5) This goes along with the error of Balaam - these young soldiers became unequally yoked with non-Christians who lead them away from the church

b. This along with the advent of the great American Middle Class

(1) GI Bill educations

(2) GI Bill homes

(3) An Abundance of well paying jobs

c. All leading to the beginning of the general move away from the church

d. And to self-indulgence

(1) Which goes along very well with the name self-rule

2. J. Vernon Mc Gee believes that the church at Laodicea is the great religious prostitute of the tribulation period

3. Renald Showers in his article on Laodicea says that this church is made up of people who have been exposed to the gospel message; but do not have a personal relationship with Christ

4. But, the terminology does not allow for these two interpretations

a. In the Greek the word for church is Ecclassia, literally called out ones.

b. Christ would not have said, to the called out ones in Laodicea if they were not called out ones

c. The great religious prostitute of the tribulation will deny the very name of Christ, His deity, His sovereignty, and His very person

d. Those who may appear to be church members but have no relationship with Christ may fool you and me; but they would hardly fool the God of the universe

5. No I truly believe that the age of the Loadicean church is now!!!

D. This is the last church and the last church age. As we examine this church we shall see

1. The Condemnation

2. The Warning

3. And the promise

4. Let's turn to Revelation 3:14

II. Body

A. The preamble to Christ's message to the church at Laodicea also sheds some light on the character of the church's Lord and Master

Revelation 3:14

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.

Revelation 3:14

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

1. Christ calls Himself

a. The Amen

b. The faithful and the true witness

c. The beginning of the creation of God

2. The Amen

a. This is the only place in the Scriptures where Amen is a proper name

(1) Several commentators call this an enigmatic use of the word

(a) A mystery

(2) But, Dr. M.R. DeHaan and Harry Ironside both believe that this is a reference to keeping the covenants

(a) The Amen, the one who will fulfill all the promises made to God's people

b. Christ is the Amen, the promise keeper

3. Christ calls Himself the faithful and true witness

a. In the past, we could count on such men as Gabriel Heater and H.B. Carltonborn to broadcast the news with unbridled truth

b. Today, we get very little of the naked truth in the Media

c. Even our local news casters seem to have a hidden agenda

d. But, Christ will unveil everything

(1) faithfully - that is completely

(2) truthfully - that is without deceit

e. But, witness also speaks of His being able to see everything

(1) Turn to Hebrews 4:13

Hebrews 4:13

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

(2) This means that He knows our motives

(3) He knows our commitment

(4) He knows what we have done and what we haven't done

4. The faithful and true witness who sees and knows everything will one day judge each of us as He has already judged the church at Laodicea

a. Now turn to Revelation 3:15

B. The Condemnation

Revelation 3:15 - 17

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

1. In verse 14, the Lord says, to the called out ones of Laodicea

a. This has to be a true church

(1) If it was otherwise, Christ might well have called them a Synagogue of Satan

(2) But, in order to say, called out ones; they must be believers

b. But, this is a church characterized by gross indifference - lukewarmness

(1) When I was in fourth and fifth grade, as a Boy Scout, our troop often when camping at a park near San Jose. This was Alum Rock Park. In this park there were several mineral springs that many said were good for you. There were sulfur springs and soda springs. These were piped to places through out the park. If you were to try to drink that water when it was luke warm, you would leave your dinner there at the fountain. But, if you drank it very hot or very cold, it stayed down.

(2) And I can testify to the fact that these mineral springs stunk - bad.

2. Christ calls the Laodiceans lukewarm - nauseating

a. If the church were hot, they would be on fire for the Lord, doing His will

b. If the church were cold, they might have a chance of being set on fire

c. But, lukewarmness is, as I said, indifference

(1) Who cares, I'm OK, Your OK, we're all OK

3. This church was overcome by worldly wealth

a. This is an age today when the church has great worldly wealth

b. Many churches count on their money going to the mission field to take their place in the forefront of presenting the gospel message

c. But, they lack Spiritual wealth

(1) they are wretched

(2) they are pitiful

(3) they are poor

(4) they are blind

(5) they are naked

d. And they lack the ability to see their true state

4. Today, we have the many advantages of

a. Rapid communications

b. Fast world wide travel

c. Computers

d. Television

e. VCR's

f. We can postpone our enjoyment of any event that comes on TV

g. We can see talks, lectures, and world events at any time we wish

h. A while back, we were able to enjoy a prophecy conference, given in another location, at an earlier date, by Dr. Earl Rodmacher, and I said then, that we are going to be held accountable as no other church has ever been, because we have so much. And the Lord has told us, to whom much has been given, much shall be required. Luke 12:48

i. Now, let's look at Revelation 3:18 - 19

C. The Warning

Revelation 3:18-19

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (19) Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

1. Christ's warning is keyed to His condemnation and to the character of the city of Laodicea

a. They believed that they were wealthy

(1) But, Christ says that they are spiritually poor

(2) He says, buy from me gold refined in the fire, in order that you might become truly rich

(a) The gold that Jesus talks about is the treasure we lay up in heaven

(b) Recall if you will the 5 crowns

b. They believed that they were well dressed

(1) But, Christ says that they are spiritually naked

(2) He says, buy from me white clothing to wear

(a) The bride has adorned herself with fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteous acts of the saints

(b) They were naked, that means there were no righteous acts

(c) Do the will of Him who sent us into the world and we will earn the white robe to cover our nakedness

c. They thought they saw everything

(1) But, Christ says that they are spiritually blind

(2) And He warns them to buy salve for their eyes

(3) The salve is the Holy Spirit which reveals to the believer the deep things of God

2. Can't you hear Christ's weeping voice as He says, "You are wretched, poor, blind and naked

a. Buy from me what you need to remedy your pathetic condition

(1) Buy from me true riches, gold tried by fire

(2) Buy from me true raiment, the righteous acts of the saints

(3) Buy from me true medicine for your eyes, the Holy Spirit who will guide you into all things

3. Now look at verse 19 again,

Revelation 3:19

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

a. Turn to Hebrews 12:5 ff

Hebrews 12:5-8

And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, (6) because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." (7) Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (8) If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.

b. The Laodicean's were true sons, Christians

c. Other wise, Christ would never have said that He was rebuking and disciplining them

d. Christ's warning, be earnest and repent

(1) Be earnest about your religion

(2) Be earnest about your obedience

(3) Repent from your slothful ways

(4) Repent from your lukewarm adherence to the faith

(5) In latter part of Luke 18:8, Jesus asks a very probing question

(a) A question that He might well ask today

(b) Because, as I look around, I find that Christianity seems to be waning in our society

Luke 18:8

when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

(c) You and I can say today, yes, our faith; but, how much longer could we say that?

4. Today, as we look around our society, we can see Loadicean lukewarmness every where.

a. Let's look at verse 21

D. And the promise

Revelation 3:21

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

1. The overcomer is promised true exaltation with Christ

a. To rule with Him

b. To be with Him

c. To be a close to Christ as we would be if we were sitting in the same chair

(1) The last time I sat with another person in the same chair, it was a very loved child who sat on my lap

(2) Is this the kind of relationship we will have?

2. Now look back up to verse 20

a. This is the saddest verse in the Bible, if we truly understand it

b. This verse was never intended for personal evangelism

Revelation 3:20

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

c. Is Christ standing outside the church?

(1) How many institutions once honored Him, but now, He is not to be found in the hallways of those same institutions?

(a) It is obvious from names like "Baptist Hospital or Presbyterian or Saint Luke's"

(b) Colleges and Universities that were originally begun to train ministers, where the name of Christ is only used to curse

(2) How many Churches once preached the precious gospel of life, but now, preach another gospel which is no gospel?

d. Christ is still waiting to be allowed to come back into these institutions and churches - He promises to enter and fellowship with anyone who will open the door. He is willing to come in and take what is offered (eat with him)

e. Turn to Revelation 17

E. Every one of the churches we have examined from Ephesus to Laodicea have been represented by individual churches through out Christian history

1. But, the general character of the church at its power center through the ages has faithfully reproduced the character of the seven churches in their respective ages

a. The age of the church at Ephesus ended about 170 AD

b. The age of the church at Smyrna ended about 314 AD when Constintine began his reign

c. The age of the church at Pergamum ended about 590 AD

d. The age of the church at Thyatira ended with the reformation

e. The age of the church at Sardis ended about the 18th century

f. The age of the church at Philadelphia ended about the time of World War II

g. And the age of the church at Laodicea will end with Christ's second coming for His church

2. When the church, that is the believers, are gone, the world will be ripe for the great religious prostitute, mystery Babylon spoke of in Revelation 17:3 - 10

Revelation 17:3-10

Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. (4) The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. (5) This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (6) I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. (7) Then the angel said to me: "Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. (8) The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. (9) "This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. (10) They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while.

a. And so we have the character of the final religion

(1) The Purple, gold and scarlet of the priesthood of this religion

(2) The golden cup with which they take their communion

(3) Sitting upon the great city of Rome

b. And yet, filthy with vile acts and adulteries

(1) Drunk on the blood of true saints

c. I have been told that John Paul II has expressed great concern for the future of the Roman church because those left to rule the church when he is gone are extreme liberals

III. Summary

A. We have examined the character of the seven churches of the Revelation and have peeked at the character of the final religion of the world before Christ comes to rule this world with a rod of iron

1. I truly believe that we are in the age of the Laodicean church

a. A time of lukewarm Christianity

b. A time of worldly wealth

c. But, a time of Spiritual poverty

2. Every church was commended for something, except the Laodicean church

a. There was no commendation for them at all

b. And the saddest commentary in the Bible, Christ standing outside the institutions that once revered His name and honored His person, knocking and asking to be allowed to come back in

3. Christ's question to His disciples should hit us square in the eyes, when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?

a. He loves us and so He rebukes and chastises us and warns us to repent and be earnest

b. To repent of our lukewarm, self-satisfied, ways

c. To repent of our care less attitude

d. To become earnest in our faith

e. To become earnest in our obedience