Summary: The deceitfulness of riches and the feeling of self-sufficiency are threats to Christian faith and life. Jesus warns against worldliness and the lukewarm attitude of Christians in Laodicea. Christians must return to their first love of Christ to avoid
Revelation 3__4-22 the Lukewarm Church
"Blessed are the Lukewarm." Jesus never said that, but from the lackadaisical attitude of many of his followers, you would think that was one of his beatitudes. That is the attitude of our Western Civilization and cultural Christians. That was the attitude of the church of Laodicea. They wore the name Christian without actually practicing the faith; didn’t actually believe it; didn’t get excited about it. "Blessed are the Lukewarm."
"Blessed are the Lukewarm." The world wants our religion and faith to be lukewarm because then we don’t create problems. Then we don’t take a stand against abortion or sexual immorality or homosexual practice, or government that wastes our nations resources and represses righteous teaching and practice.
At the time this letter was written – the Lukeward church didn’t take a stand against emperor worship or participation in pagan feasts or theological heresies. In our own time when by government decree and peer pressure political correctness the Lukewarm church doesn’t object when we are muzzled by the law, not allowed to tell the truths that Jesus Christ taught us. The lukewarm won’t take a stand for the authority of Scripture.
Most of us here were raised in the faith and surrounded by the faith. We have Bibles, we attend church on Sunday. We have been baptized and catechized in Church and Sunday School but spiritually euthanized in the culture rendering us impotent to pass on the faith to others around us. We are so used to being hemmed in that our faith doesn’t stir us and excite us and move us.
"Blessed are the Lukewarm." Notice that is not what Jesus says.
The letter was addressed to the Bishop or Evangelist at the Church in Laodicea.
This letter starts with "to the angel of the church ..." and ends with "... what the Spirit says to the churches." It was written for a local church in Asia Minor, it is meant for all the churches of Asia Minor, and it is meant for all churches of all times and all places.
Note of two features of the city. First, Laodicea was a rich and prosperous city. In A.D. 60 an earthquake virtually destroyed the city. Laodicea wanted no financial aid from Rome. Instead, the wealthy citizens rebuilt their city. Laodicea had three sources of wealth: it was a banking center; it was known for its soft, raven-black wool, and it had a famous school of medicine that developed a cream for curing eye diseases.
The second feature of the city of Laodicea was its lack of a water supply. From hot springs six miles away they had to pipe in water that was neither hot nor cold but lukewarm when it arrived in the city.
Jesus is the author of this letter. He identifies Himself as "the Amen" (Rev 3:14). He spoke with the authority of God and as the messenger of God. He is the "Amen" so the church had best pay careful attention to what He is saying.
Jesus also spoke as "the faithful and true witness" (Rev 3:14). In the church of Pergamum, Antipas is called "my faithful witness" (Rev 2:13) because he was put to death for his faith. Likewise, Jesus is the faithful witness to the Father because He is the Lamb Who was slain. Jesus is the true witness. "True" means He is faithful and true to His promises; He is dependable and trustworthy; He is genuine and real.
In the Greek these are three separate terms: the faithful, the true, the witness. What a message to the church of Laodicea. Jesus is everything the church in Laodicea is not. This church was not faithful to Christ. She was not true to Christ. And her witness to Christ was almost nonexistent.
Finally, Jesus speaks as "the ruler of God’s creation" (Rev 3:14). This title should be well-known to the church in Laodicea because of the letter Paul wrote to their sister church in Colosse:
(Col 1:15-16) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (16) For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
Jesus is the ruler and the beginning of God’s creation. Again, this is a message to the church of Laodicea. In their wealth and prosperity they thought of themselves as in control; Jesus is telling them that He alone controls creation; in fact, He is the source of their wealth and prosperity.
Jesus said in His evaluation of this church: "I know your deeds" (Rev 3:15). . Nothing is hidden from the sight of Him Whose “eyes are like blazing fire” (Rev 1:14).
What does Jesus know and see about Laodicea? "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot" (Rev 3:15). The church of Laodicea is like the water of Laodicea – lukewarm. She is lukewarm about faith and religion. The church is not cold or hostile to the Gospel; she does not reject the faith. But neither is the church hot and enthusiastic about the Gospel; she is not excited and on fire about the faith.