Summary: The Church in Laodicea is called Lukewarm by Christ . However he offers a wonderful
The letter to the Church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22)
This is the seventh and final letter written to the seven churches of the Apocalypse that we find in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3.
It is written to the Church at Laodicea.
This is the one church that Jesus has not one good word for.
The Catchphrase for this church is “a negative profit” in the bank of God.
We have been looking at the Churches of the Apocalypse during lockdown.
The seven churches of Revelation are
1.) Ephesus Rev 2:1-7
2.) Smyrna Rev. 2:8-11
3.) Pergamum Rev. 2:12-17
4.) Thyatira Rev. 2:18-29
5.) Sardis Rev. 3:1-6
6.) Philadelphia Rev.3:7-13
7.) Laodicea Rev. 3:14-22
I believe that The Angel of the Church is the Bishop or the leader of the Church in the particular place.
Seven weeks ago, we looked at the first Church of the Apocalypse - The Church of Ephesus and drew the lesson that we must come back to our first love.
It is good to have a Christian orthodoxy but in the end it the love of Christ that counts.
Six weeks ago, we looked at the Church of Smyrna and drew the lesson that loyalty to Christ is important - even if it means we die.
Five weeks ago, we looked at the third church of the Apocalypse, the Church at Pergamum
And the catchword there was
“Caesar or Christ
There is no compromise”
Three weeks ago, we looked at the fourth church of the Apocalypse the Church of Thyatira
And the catchword for Thyatira was
no compromise with false teaching within the church
Two weeks ago, we looked at the fifth church of the Apocalypse, the Church of Sardis and the catchword was
“Be alert and on your guard”
Last week we looked at the sixth Church of the Apocalypse the Church of Philadelphia
It was the only church that received no reproof.
The catchword for the Church in Philadelphia is Endurance in Adversity
And this week we are looking at the letter to the seventh church of the Apocalypse, the Church at Laodicea and in sharp contrast to the Church in Philadelphia, Jesus has nothing good to say about this church
And the catch phrase is the Church of Laodicea was in a “negative profit” in the bank of God.
1. Historical background
I am going to start as I did with all the other letters by setting out the historical background to the church in Laodicea.
I want to do this – because it will help us to understand more fully what Christ is saying about the church, in the light of the history of the city.
Barclay says that
“There are at least six cities called Laodicea, and this one was called Laodicea on the Lycus to distinguish it from the others.” (William Barclay The Daily Study Bible Revised Edition Vol 1 page 137)
Laodicea was founded in 250BC.
Although it was originally built as a fortress, Laodicea was not easily defendable.
It could not hold out long in a siege as the springs from which the city derived water were six miles away. An invading army could close them down.
What was amazing about the location of Laodicea was that it didn’t just have one significant trade route passing through the city, it had three significant trade routes passing through the city.
1. The first was the road from Ephesus to Syria.
2. The second was the road from Pergamum to Pisidia and Pamphylia and
3. The third trade route was the road from Caria to central and west Phrygia
Sir William Ramsey said” It only needed peace to make Laodicea and great commercial and financial centre”
And that is what the Romans brought to the party.
The Roman peace gave it the opportunity to become as Pliny put it” a most distinguished city”.
Laodicea became the centre for three important industries.
The first of these industries was banking. Laodicea was a great financial centre.
When, in AD 61, the city was devastated by an earthquake, its citizens were so wealthy that they refused any help from Rome to rebuild it
The second great industry was that Laodicea was a great clothing centre. They were very proud of the garments they produced
Laodicea had a very considerable medical centre, where they manufactured ointment for the ears and for the eyes.
Some of their doctors were so famous that their names appear on some Laodicean money.
When you consider the three major industries of Laodicea you can see now see how apt Jesus’ words when He said:
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (Rev 3:18).