Summary: We as God’s community will only know full satisfaction when our wealth is in Christ, when our vision is His vision, when our self-concept is bound up in our identity in Christ, and when our clothing is His righteousness.
v. 14 To the angel of the church of Laodicea write;
These things says the Amen (True), the witness (martyr), the faithful and true, the overarching one of the creation of God.
v. 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot, I wish you were either cold or hot.
v. 16 Therefore because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
v. 17 For you say “I am rich, and have no need”, and you don’t know that you are wretched, and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
v. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you can be rich, and white clothes, so you can be clothed, and not show the shame of your nakedness,
And eye salve to put in your eyes so you can see.
v. 19 As many as I love I reprove and discipline. Be exuberant, therefore and repent.
v. 20 Look, I stand at the door and knock
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him, and share a meal with him, and he with me.
v. 21 The overcomer I will give to sit with me on my throne, who also overcame, and sat down with my Father, on His throne
The one having an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
v 14 Laodicea “The rights of the People” is modern Eski Hisar. It was the wealthiest city in Lycia, and needed no assistance to rebuild after the earthquake in AD 60. overarching arche “preeminent one” see Colossians 1:15-18. Amen see Isaiah 65:16.
v 15 Lukewarm Hieropolis, a few miles from Laodicea, had mineral springs. The cliffs were covered with calcium carbonate made by the waters which had cooled to lukewarm. These deposits looked like a kind of vomitus slime. Spew, or Vomit. The cold waters of Colossi, and hot waters of Hieropolis, one for refreshment, the other for healing. Laodicea was between, and had neither refreshment, nor healing.
v 18 Gold See Exodus 32:24, Zechariah 134:8-9; and I peter 1:3-9. White see Rev. 3:5. This city was famous for its black wool. Naked See Isaiah 2:1-4 Purchase see Isaiah 55:1 Eye salve Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1-=2; Mark 8:18-26. Laodicea was famous for its eye salve, “Phrygian powder”, at its medical school for the healing of blindness (John 9:39)
v. 20 Jesus will come in-see John 14 & 15.
The Last Church
It seems appropriate that the last church in Jesus’ correspondence list is the church of ‘the rights of the people’. We live in an age of entitlement, of democracy-rule of the people. People feel they are the government, and if I am the government, I can demand of my government certain provisions. When our family lived in California, we knew it was an earthquake prone area. I typically kept about two or three weeks of basic provisions in the house, just in case a big earthquake hit and we had to get by till normalcy was restored. People living in areas currently devastated by hurricanes knew they lived in a hurricane corridor, yet tens of thousands failed to store sufficient food and water for such a disaster. So now, we see on news reports their complaints that the government isn’t supplying them with food and water quickly enough. I think compassion and support are required in such circumstances. Yet the complaint is telling.
What if there is an emergency of such scale in your life. How will you survive? What are your first thoughts? Do you think of your wealth, or intellect or provisions, or your ability to see trouble coming and to prepare for and avoid it? If these are your first thoughts you may be like the Church of Laodicea. They thought they were visionaries, but Jesus said they were blind. They thought they were fashion experts but Jesus said they were naked. They thought themselves wealthy and well supplied. Jesus said they were poor. They thought themselves something special. Jesus saw them as wretched. They had become spiritually blind and naked and poor precisely because they were so focused on their earthly qualifications and appearances. We think, sometimes, because we live in a Democratic age, and age of science and industry and information and intelligence, we can find the solutions to all human problems.
We sometimes bring this attitude into the church. I know of some churches that view themselves as a democracy-ruled by the people. They have annual meetings where the members vote. I suppose there may be a place for such church government, but the structure still disturbs me. It seems to me the Kingdom of God is not a democracy. He is sovereign, and His rule is absolute. He is a dictator who has given His people free will. One might wonder why an all-powerful all-knowing LORD would do such a thing, but that is a subject for another discussion. The point here is that He gives us free will so we can freely seek His will. This is the only government structure that makes any sense in God’s kingdom. Obviously, there are characters in the church who love power and may seek to set themselves up as Prophets or Teachers so they can be the ones everyone looks to as the authority. But this, too, is not right. We as God’s community will only know full satisfaction when our wealth is in Christ, when our vision is His vision, when our self-concept is bound up in our identity in Christ, and when our clothing is His righteousness.