Summary: A look at what we can get out of the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation.
In Luke 18:17 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” This refers to the fact that God desires us to have child-like attitudes of trust in Him. An attitude that shows our desire to trust Him even we don’t understand all the details. A desire and eagerness to learn from His word and to get to know Him better. Many times maturity as a Christian can be a great detriment. Reading God’s word is about us life changing for us as reading the ingredients on the back of a can of dog food. Christians today and perhaps the believers at Laodicea fell into the habit of using Scriptures only for information and as tools to prove the different theological ideas that we have developed over the years. Too often Scripture is longer the pattern to model our life after and path to becoming more like Jesus. The result? Being neither hot nor cold spiritually. Leaving us living a life that is respectfully mediocre. Inoffensive. Ho..hum. Or as the Lord puts it…lukewarm. They were useless to Christ because they were complacent, self satisfied, and indifferent to the real issues of faith in him and of discipleship. They were not all out on fire for Him and not ice cold against Him. They were somewhere in the middle. As we open this letter let’s discover the dangers of being in the middle.
I. Brief exploration of this ancient city and the surrounding area.
A. An extremely wealthy city that made the most of its most enviable location.
1. Laodicea was about forty-five miles southeast of Philadelphia and about one hundred miles due east of Ephesus.
2. Along with Colosse and Hierapolis, it was one of the cities in the fertile Lyous valley.
3. The great Roman road stretching to the inland of Asia from the coast at Ephesus ran straight through its center, making Laodicea an important center of trade and communication.
4. Several major trade routes converged in this fertile valley making it easy for the city to export its renowned agricultural products.
5. This region boasted glossy black sheep which produced high quality soft wool used in clothing and carpet.
6. Laodicea also boasted a famed banking center.
7. In fact Laodicea was so wealthy that when an earthquake
B. The city boasted a famous banking system.
1. That the city’s banking assets were noteworthy is evidenced by the fact that Cicero cashed huge bank drafts in Laodicea.
2. 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.
3. One other significant note from history was the world famous eye ointment that was developed by the city’s medical school.
C. Laodicea is difficult to describe because no one thing stands out. There were no excesses or notable achievements to distinguish it.
1. It was a city with a people who had learned to compromise and accommodate themselves to the needs and wishes of others.
2. A six-mile-long aqueduct brought Laodicea its supply of water from the south.
3. The water came either from hot springs and was cooled to lukewarm or came from a cooler source and warmed up in the aqueduct on the way.
4. For all its wealth, the city had poor water.
D. A brief look at Laodicea from a spiritual point of view.
1. Zeus, the supreme god, was also worshiped in the city.
2. A large and influential Jewish population resided there.
3. As for the church in Laodicea, it may have been founded by Epaphras.
4. The self sufficiency of the city has led the church to become self sufficient to the point they started to forget their need of pure love and faith in the Savior.
II. Using three titles Christ contrasts Himself to the lackadaisical church in Laodicea.
A. First, Christ says He is the amen.
1. The normal Hebrew adverb that is rendered by the Greek amen means the acknowledgment of that which is sure and valid.
2. It is a word of human response to the divine verity or action.
3. Jesus is the "Amen" in the sense that he is the perfect human, obedient response to the divine promises.
B. Second, Jesus is the faithful and true witness.
1. This title was probably added by Jesus to clarify the first one for the non-Hebrew reader.
2. Jesus response to God s will was the perfect response of obedience and suffering: he is the "faithful and true witness.” (2 Corinthians 1:20—NIV)
3. In one sense, all Christians are called to be "little amens" after the example of Christ.
C. Third, Jesus was the beginning of the creation of God.