Summary: A look at the last church of the 7, the lukewarm church, Laodecia
The Church at Laodecia
April 1, 2012
Today we’re looking at the final letter of the 7 letters Jesus wrote to the churches in the book of Revelation. Of the 7 churches, this was the most scathing and condemning. There were no positive words for the Laodecians. Laodecia was located 90 miles east of Ephesus and 45 miles south of Philadelphia. Laodicea was a very wealthy city. They were so prosperous, that when an earthquake destroyed Laodecia in 60 A.D. the people refused aid from the Roman government. They paid for and completed repairs on their own. That’s not only wealth, that also arrogance.
Outwardly the church in Laodicea appeared to be strong and prosperous. The people who worshiped there considered themselves happy and blessed. They lived in a town others envied. It seems that this church drew some of its members from the wealthy families in Laodicea. Unlike Smyrna, there was no persecution, and unlike Pergamum, no false doctrine. There was no Jezebel like in Thyatira.
Laodicea was a comfortable place to live and a comfortable place to go to church. That can be a lethal combination, which can make us comfy, but leave a terrible taste in Jesus’ mouth.
Jesus wrote, 14 These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
We usually say “Amen” when we’re done with our prayers, and it means “Let’s eat.” But amen means more than that, it literally means “it is true!” There are times when Jesus would start out a sentence by saying, “Amen, amen...” Meaning “Truly, truly.” So, when Jesus says these are the words of the Amen, Jesus is saying He is the truth, He is the only Word you need to hold onto.
We can say amen to all God has said, because Jesus is the final amen to all God. And because Jesus is the faithful and true witness, we can completely trust Him.
All Jesus said is true and it is true all of the time. It is not temporarily true, but true for all time. The Son of God is speaking and He is faithful to His people and He is who He says He is.
For the church at Laodicea it means that when Christ issues his scathing denunciation, they can’t escape it by saying, “That’s just his opinion.” No, that’s the word of the Son of God who is faithful and true in all He says. When Jesus speaks, the church must listen because He speaks the truth.
Jesus added, He is the ruler of God’s creation.
This means all creation comes from His hand. He was there in the beginning, and He was there before there was a creation. In fact, He’s always been there. It was through Jesus that the world was even created. He is sovereign over all of creation. Not only is Jesus sovereign, but He is the glue of the universe. If He stopped holding it together, the universe would fly apart.
Now comes the point of condemnation. Jesus exclaims ~
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
16 So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
What does it mean when Jesus said, you are neither hot nor cold? Think about it this way —
Isn’t lukewarm water also called — — room temperature water?
What do you need to do to make water room temperature? Nothing.
Leave water alone and it will become room temperature.
Suppose you want hot water. You have to do something to make it hot. You put it in a pot on the stove or put it in the microwave. Water never becomes hot on its own.
What if you want cold water? You have to do something to make it cold. Either you put it in the refrigerator or put ice cubes in the water. Water will never become hot or cold if left to itself.
So here’s the issue. The Laodiceans weren’t guilty of an intentional sin, such as immorality, worshiping other gods, believing in false doctrine, or welcoming false prophets. In order to be guilty of those things, you had to do something.
How do you become lukewarm? Just do nothing, and you become lukewarm. A lukewarm Christian is nothing more than a “room temperature” Christian who has become just like their environment. Rather than changing the world around them, they allow the world to be the change them.
Some churches take the middle road, believing the truth but unwilling to take a stand for it. They’re evangelical in name, but are not evangelistic. Ray Pritchard wrote, “While in India, a local pastor took us through a Muslim town where you could see the green flags flying indicating that Muslim families lived there. Because of ongoing tension, few Christians live in the city. But there was a church with a cross on it. The pastor said, “The Muslims leave the church alone because they never evangelize.” If you never tell anyone about your faith, you’re unlikely to be bothered.