Summary: Christ delivers a message to those who are Christian in name only. Being neither zealous for good works nor orthodox in their doctrine, they are lukewarm and sickening to Christ.
George Barna makes a living through surveys. What makes him unique is that his surveys are on exclusively Christian topics. Although he does poll populations at large, he also does polling on those who profess to be Christian. For millennia, there have been standard benchmarks of orthodoxy. Yet, as George Barna has discovered, many in western culture have no problem identifying as Christians yet reject almost all the biblical markers that define what a Christian is.
Sadly, there are many people in churches, even entire congregations, who are lost. They may be sincere, zealous, and outwardly religious, but they reject the gospel truth. They have all the rich New Covenant teaching about Christ’s life, death, and resurrection contained in Bibles they neither believe nor obey. Paul described them as those “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power,” and then wisely counseled believers to “avoid such people as these” (2 Tim. 3:5).
The church at Laodicea represents such apostate churches as have existed throughout history. It is the last and worst of the seven churches addressed by our Lord. (7 Churches slide)The downward spiral that began at Ephesus, and continued through Pergamum, Thyatira, and Sardis, reached the bottom at Laodicea. Even at Sardis there were some true believers left; as far as can be determined, the church at Laodicea was a totally unregenerate, false church. It has the grim distinction of being the only one of the seven for whom Christ has no positive word of commendation. Due to the drastic nature of the situation at Laodicea, this is also the most threatening of the seven letters. The state of the church in Laodicea was one of self-satisfaction and complacency. (Gregg, S. (1997). Revelation, four views: a parallel commentary (p. 78). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson Publishers.)
Christ delivers a message to those who are Christian in name only. Being neither zealous for good works nor orthodox in their doctrine, they are lukewarm and sickening to Christ. Presenting these characteristics with the Church in Laodicea, we see Christ’s rejection to lukewarm professed Christianity. He presents this condemnation through 1) The Church, City & Correspondent (Revelation 3:14), 2) The Concern (Revelation 3:15–17), 3) The Command, & the Counsel (Revelation 3:18–22).
Christ presents a condemnation to lukewarm professed Christianity through:
1) The Church, City & Correspondent (Revelation 3:14)
Revelation 3:14 14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. (ESV)
Like the previous 6 letters, Jesus directs His message to the angel, or messenger to the Church in Laodicea. The New Testament does not record anything about the founding of the Church at Laodicea. Like most of the other six churches, it was likely established during Paul’s ministry at Ephesus (Acts 19:10). Paul did not found it, since when he wrote Colossians some years later he still had not visited Laodicea (Col. 2:1). Since Paul’s coworker Epaphras founded the church in nearby Colossae (Col. 1:6–7), he may well have founded the Laodicean church as well. Some have suggested that Archippus, Philemon’s son (Philem. 2), was its pastor (cf. Col. 4:17), since the fourth-century Apostolic Constitutions names Archippus as the bishop of Laodicea (vii, 46).