Summary: Are you poor, wretched, and blind? Then you have some shopping to do.
Title: Laodicea: For the Man who has everything
Text: Rev 3:14-22 (The Church @ Laodicea)
FCF: Eternal things are not purchased with gold and silver, but rather with the tribulation that is the gift of God.
SO: Ideally, my congregation would come to realize that relying on Christ isn’t something you do just in times of trouble – it’s the very manner of life Christ expects.
Text MP: Don’t be deceived into thinking that your own power and wealth mean anything. Complacency and self-sufficiency are incompatible with a Christ-like life.
Only the eternal things are worth anything. If you are complacent, focus on acquiring these things.
Forgive me for saying this in July, but every year around Christmas time, it’s always the same deal. There’s always one guy – one guy you know who has everything. So, what could you possibly get him? That question haunts our Christmas shopping, but it’s also the same question Jesus is asking in this, the last of his messages to his churches. Only, here in Laodicea, things aren’t exactly as they appear.
You see Laodicea was a rich, prosperous town. They were situated at the crossroads of three major highways, and they had made their money in financing, black wool, and the supposed healing qualities of their mud.
Just up the road was the Hot Springs of their day, and they had set up an aqueduct in the hopes of bringing some of that soothing water into town. Unfortunately, however, for them, they were able to bring the water, but not really the heat. And so, the water that flowed into Laodicea wasn’t really hot enough for the Jacuzzi, but it wasn’t cold enough to drink. Instead, it was this putrid, lukewarm water that wasn’t really good for anything. And so, when it came time to send a message to Laodicea, John knew exactly what to say – You guys think you have it all, but really you’re just worthless.
Indeed, Jesus says here – I would that you were either cold or hot. But as it, well, I’m going to spew. And yes, that is a valid translation.
You see, Laodicea is the exact opposite of Philadelphia. You’ll remember last week – Philly was a small little town. It didn’t have much, but the Christians there knew one simple fact – Christ was enough for them. Operating in his power, they were doing fine.
Contrast this with Laodicea. Here was a prosperous town. They had money, they had power. But they had grown so rich, that they began listening to the lie – “Do you really need Jesus?” You know, the American dream is often epitomized by the “self-made man.” It’s really a very subtle thing to think – oh, I’m rich, I’m powerful, I’m content with who and what I am. What more do I need?
Sadly, the truth is, that’s when you need Christ – more than ever.
You know, in 1971, Muhammed Ali was preparing for a fight with Joe Frazier. At the press conference, this is what he said:
There seems to be some confusion. We’re gonna clear this confusion up on March 8. We’re gonna decide once and for all who is king! There’s not a man alive who can whup me. (He jabs the air half a dozen blinding lefts.)