Summary: The church in Laodicea lost their passion for Christ; did they also lack forgiveness?
Purpose: To show how the church in Laodicea was unknowingly lifeless.
Aim: I want the listener to feel their own need for a closer relationship with Christ.
INTRODUCTION: Today we are looking at the last of seven letters from Jesus Christ to seven churches in Asia Minor. These letters are in the order of how they would have been received. I don’t see any indication in the text why these letters are given to us in this order.
When you look at all seven letters you notice that three things are said in each letter: #1 “I know your works,” #2 “He that has an ear, let him hear,” and #3 “He who overcomes.”
We must never forget that God knows what we are really like, that we must listen to what He says, and that only overcomers go to heaven. If you are not in the process of overcoming sin in your life then you may have forgotten that God sees everything about you or you may be dull of hearing. The question we should ask in light of today’s text is this: Is it possible for faithful church members to go to hell?
The church in Laodicea lost their passion for Christ; did they also lack forgiveness?
1:1-20 I. John’s Vision of the Past “the things which you have seen”
2:1-5:14 II. Christ’s Vision of the Present “the things which are”
2:1-3:22 A. The testimony of the church on earth
2:1-7 1. Ephesus: the loveless church
2:8-11 2. Smyrna: the hurting church
2:12-17 3. Pergamum: the worldly church
2:18-29 4. Thyatira: the compromising church
3:1-6 5. Sardis: the dead church
3:7-13 6. Philadelphia: the faithful church
➽3:14-22 7. Laodicea: the lifeless church
We are going to see at least five reasons why this church had NO life in it.
#1 Jesus is about to SPIT them out of His mouth in verse 16
#2 Jesus calls them WRETCHED in verse 17
#3 Jesus also calls them BLIND and NAKED in verse 17
These are terms that are applied to unsaved people in the Bible. For example, Romans 11:8 “God gave them [unsaved Jews] a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not and ears to hear not, Down to this very day.” (NAU)
Jesus said that we must be properly covered in order to go to heaven. Matthew 22:12-13 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (NAU) The only covering that allows us to be with Christ is the righteousness of Christ.
#4 Jesus only uses the Greek word “phileo” (brotherly love) in verse 19 when He describes His affection for this church instead of “agape” (selfless love) like He did in verse 9 of Philadelphia.
#5 Jesus is pictured as outside the church in verse 20.
I hope that Jesus would NEVER feel left out in this church. The dangerous truth is that Jesus can be left outside of a church and the people in the church don’t even know it. The best way to keep this from happening is to focus on:
➽Vs.14 a. The character of Jesus Christ
The three aspects of Christ’s character that are mentioned here are critically important in order to avoid being a lifeless church that is POOR, BLIND, and NAKED as Jesus says in verse 17.
➽(1) Jesus guarantees His promises “The Amen”
AMEN “This Hebrew word means firm, and hence also faithful (Rev. 3:14). In Isa. 65:16, the Authorized Version has ‘the God of truth,’ which in Hebrew is ‘the God of Amen.’ It is frequently used by our Saviour to give emphasis to his words, where it is translated ‘verily.’ Sometimes, only, however, in John’s Gospel, it is repeated, ‘Verily, verily.’” [Easton. (.). Eastons (electronic ed.)]
Jesus has the wealth and the power to guarantee that He can supply what He promises. 2 Corinthians 1:20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. (NAU)
The church in Laodicea, on the other hand, was POOR because they did not rely on God’s promises.
➽(2) Jesus displays truth “the faithful and true witness”
Jesus said in John 3:31-34 31 “He who comes from above is above all, …. 32 “What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 “He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34 “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. (NAU)