Summary: A study of the 7 letters to the 7 churches of Revelation covering the last one to the Laodiceans
Revelation 3: 14 – 22
The Church That Makes Our Lord Sick
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”
Today we come to the last of the letters to the seven churches, the letter to the church at Laodicea, the church that made the Lord Jesus Christ sick...the lukewarm church. Do you think that there are some churches today that also make our Holy King and Master want to throw up? Sadly, I would say that there are quite a few in existences that fit this mold.
These letters, as you know, are directed at seven churches, actual churches, and historical churches in actual cities in Asia Minor. But they transcend their time and space and they become model letters to various kinds of churches that exist in all eras of church history. They illustrate for us the character of churches in our own day, in fact since Pentecost. And Laodicea, is the last, is the worst. Five churches with serious problems have already been addressed and they are on somewhat of a descending scale. As you move through the seven letters, remember two of them had no condemnation, that's Smyrna and Philadelphia. The other five progressively degenerate.
There was Ephesus, the church still strong doctrinally, but the church that left its first love. There was Pergamos which had not denied the faith but was tolerating sin. There was Thyatira where there was still some good things going on but full-blown compromise with evil had taken place and the majority seemed to have been involved. Then there was Sardis, a church with only a few genuine believers, a church which had a name but was actually dead.
Now at the bottom, if you will, is Laodicea. This is an unsaved church. In fact, if there were any believers in this church they aren't even referred to in the letter at all. It is a church that is characterized by a condition our Lord described as being lukewarm which a metaphor of having all non-saved people becomes. Laodicea has the grim distinction of being among all seven letters the only one in which our Precious Holy Lord Jesus Christ has nothing good to say. It is unmitigated condemnation. There is in this church apparently absolutely no redeeming feature. This is the unsaved, unregenerate false church. Because of the nature of the church this is the most threatening epistle. This is the most blistering rebuke. And it is sent to a proud church.
We have mentioned that in addition to these 7 churches actually existing but that these letters also represent church age history. Here is the breakdown;
Ephesus – 31 to 135 AD
Smyrna – 135 to 300 AD
Pergamos – 300 to 538 AD
Thyatira -538 to 1798 AD
Sardis – 1798 to 1929
Philadelphia – 1929 to 1999
Laodicea – 1999 to Return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Yes, folks we are now living in the last days. How long will it be till our Holy Lord and Savior returns we do not know.
The city of Laodicea was located in the Lycus River Valley, the southwest area of Phrygia. Of the seven cities in the letters, it is the most southeasterly. It is 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia and would be about directly east of Ephesus about 100 miles. Laodicea became a very important city. It had been founded by Antiochus II in the third century B.C. He named it for his wife.