Summary: Seven Letters to Seven Churches (7th in series).
LAODICEA: APATHY AND UNCONCERN
INTRO: There was in Laodicea, the spirit of indifference, apathy, and unconcern. Reading this letter is like looking into a mirror and seeing our own face–our own time. We are moving into the spirit of the Laodicean age. The word Laodicea means “the rule of the people” or “the rights of the people.” It speaks of a time when the church will become in love with its own strength, power, and the rights of the people. It is a time when the authority of God and the authority of the Word of God are ignored and the rights of the individual are magnified. We are seeing much of that happen today.
JESUS HAD NOTHING GOOD TO SAY ABOUT THIS CHURCH. Even when He speaks of those whom He loves, the word love is not agape. This church has been so rebellious against God that His rebuke and His message are given out of a love that means affection rather than a deep love.
In speaking to the church, He first identified himself as “the Amen.” Amen is the last word one can say. When everything else has been said, the only thing left to say is Amen. It is a word of finality, certainty, and authority. He is the final word, the absolute truth from God.
I. INDIFFERENCE (vv. 15-16).
Lukewarm is the worst possible condition anyone could be in. It is the condition of apathy or indifference. In examining it more closely, we find that lukewarm means “without enthusiasm.” It means “criticism without compassion.”
This is typical of the indifferent. They are more concerned for their own comfort and ideas. From such persons criticism flows freely without compassion. It describes one who is without conviction of sin.
They can hear sermon after sermon and attend worship service after worship service, and there is no sense of sin–no conviction of their need of God in their hearts.
For those at Laodicea, they were self-centered, self-occupied, self-satisfied, self-sufficient, and self-confident. They were proud and boastful.
They had no zeal for the Word of God, but they did not deny it. They completely compromised the things of God. They were lukewarm.
The people at Laodicea could understand Jesus’ words clearly. There were mineral springs in Laodicea where people would come to bathe for health purposes. Those springs had the taste of mineral content. The water was lukewarm and was nauseating.
That is how Jesus described these people. They were nauseating to God. A lukewarm Christian is a contradiction of terms. Like dry water, or cold heat, or clean dirt. It doesn’t make sense.
They didn’t deny the gospel; they were just indifferent to it. They knew that sinners were lost; they just made no attempt to win them. Isn’t that just like many people today? Verse 16 clearly tells us that Jesus cannot stand that condition. He will remove the opportunity for the church to be a light bearer.
II. INDEPENDENCE (v. 17).
This church was independent and arrogant. Laodicea was known for its wealth. The whole attitude of Laodicea was that they had everything they needed. They did not need anything or anybody, including God. Isn’t that the attitude of America today? We do not need God. We have it made.
When was the last time you read about someone starving to death in America? We are an affluent people. We do not need anything.
Whenever we find a church that feels it does not need revival, that is the very one that needs it.
The same is true for a Christian.
The word wretched means “pressed with a burden.” It is not the burden of poverty but the burden of wealth.
The word miserable means “pitiable.” Blind means “nearsighted.” They could not see beyond themselves; their vision was opaque. They lack light and vision. Here was a church that had nothing. III. INSTRUCTION (vv. 18-19).
If we are conscious of our nakedness, He has clothing for us. White raiment speaks of the righteousness required to enter God’s presence.
If we are conscious of our blindness, God has a cure: spiritual illumination and understanding.
IV. INVITATION (vv. 20-22).
Here He gives an invitation. When we started these seven letters, Jesus was seen walking among the churches. He was among the people, in fellowship with them and they with Him. When we come to the end, He is on the outside. He has been excluded. He is outside the church, knocking. They do not have need of Him anymore.
He did not say He was going to wait for the church to vote in business meeting whether or not they wanted Him to come in. He did not say He was waiting for all the deacons to get together and decide if they wanted Him to come in.