Summary: This was a church by the people for the people and to the people! They had in-grown eyeballs!
Laodicea: The “You Make Me Sick” Church
A Celebrated Church 14a
“And to the church of the Laodiceans”
The church in Laodicea was a wealthy, self-indulgent church. Notice that it was the church of the Laodiceans not just in Laodicea. They were geographically situated in a strategic location. It appears they had it all.
First, they had a Reputation. Verse 17 indicates what they said about themselves. Other churches and people looking in from the outside would probably agree with their assessment. But not Jesus!
They also had Riches. They were the original 3M Church! They had Money (banking), Merchandise (black wool) and Medicine (eye salve). When Laodicea suffered a major earthquake in 60 A.D. they refused any help from the Roman government and funded their own rebuilding of the city.
They had Numbers. People were flocking to this church. It was THE church in Laodicea.
And finally, they had Success. Everyone wanted to be and know someone at the Laodicean church. What they did not have was an adequate water supply. They imported water in through underground aqueducts from Hierapolis and Colossae. We will examine the importance of this later.
A Confident Savior 14b-16
“These things says the Amen”
When Jesus speaks, people should listen. Notice the three things John records.
We see His Character revealed. He is the universal certainty (Amen), the ultimate reality (Truth), and the unmistakable creator (the Beginning).
But notice His Concern. Jesus knows their works. The works are pathetic. The people are neither on fire or frozen, they are simply lukewarm. As noted earlier, the city of Laodicea imported their water from Hierapolis and Colossae. The water left Hierapolis hot and Colossae cold. By the time it traveled the six or seven miles in the aqueduct system it had become lukewarm or tepid upon arrival.
And then we hear His Candor. The church of the Laodiceans has made Jesus nauseous and sick. He is repulsed by their attitude.
A Catastrophic Illusion 17
“Because you say, I am rich”
Jesus’ disgust is caused by three things. First are their Words. Their words emanate from their hearts. They are arrogant and believe they are beyond rebuke and repentance.
He is also repulsed by their Wealth. This church was shaped by their culture. They believed God had given them their wealth because they deserved it. But the problem was they had begun to rely upon what they had rather than their faith in Christ.
What Jesus actually saw and confronted them with was their Want. They were in miserable condition!
A Compassionate Counselor 18-19
“I counsel you to buy from Me”
But there is hope and Jesus gives them the counsel on what needs to be done in four areas!
First, they need to buy what is Valuable. They need to buy that which comes from Christ alone!
Second, he wants them to wear what is Eternal! The white garments are clothing of purity. The evidence of your life in Christ is a radically changed life. It is different when Christ takes over!
Third, Jesus wants them to see what is Spiritual. Heavenly eye salve is needed here. They had tried the rest and now they can have best!