THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA — THE WORST FOR LAST?
The church of Laodicea was fifty miles SE of Philadelphia and was close to the city of Hierapolis and Colossae. These cities lived in an area of the world that was prone to earthquakes, and often these cities were destroyed by the same. On occasion these cities would need to be rebuilt, and often they asked for help to rebuild from Rome and other cities near them. The city of Laodicea, however, was able to rebuild without any outside help. We see that they had become self-reliant and needed no help from anyone. Often, when people feel they need no one, they trust only in themselves.
Does the church sometimes feel that we need no one else? That we do not need that Father, Jesus, or the Spirit? Do we feel we do not need any help from anyone?
As with all the churches, Jesus describes himself in words that they needed to hear. We have made the point that the church is Jesus’ body, paid for by his blood. We have been washed in the blood when we are baptized into Christ, and thus cleansed from our sin. He adds us to his church because he knows our hearts and whether we are sincere and penitent or not. WE NEED TO BE REMINDED CONSTANTLY OF THESE THINGS!
Jesus describes himself as the Amen – the true one! He is the final word – the word of truth.
He is the faithful and true witness. This description amplifies the idea of AMEN — he is faithful to the mission God gave him in saving man. He is faithful to those who are faithful to him. He is true in that he lived according to the Father’s will, and he always spoke truth. Jesus is real, and complete. He is competent to relate God’s will to us, because of the closeness he has with the Father.
He is the Beginning of the creation of God. Some take this to mean that Jesus was first created by the Father; yet John 1:1 (In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God) argues against this. The view here is that Jesus is the Beginner, the Author, the moving force, the principle upon which this world stands. In other words, Jesus made the world. The self-reliant Laodiceans NEEDED TO PUT THEIR TRUST IN THE LORD. This should cause us to think — do we put to much trust in preachers, elders or in other Christians, when we should always trust the Lord. In Whom do we trust?
Jesus tells the church at Laodicea that “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.” Beloved, as we have mentioned before, he knows all our works. Their works were not what they should be – this was a warning spurned by love. “Active opposition to a course of conduct is less deadly than not caring.”
They thought they didn’t need anything – they could carry on, and go through the motions, yet they could not be what they needed to be without Jesus. Beloved, we may function as a church, but if we don’t have Jesus, we are “miserable, wretched, poor, blind and naked.”
They had no excuse – they had known the way of righteousness but turned from the holy commandment given to them. Hence, Jesus advises them to . . .
“Buy from me (Jesus) the gold refined by fire.” Was Jesus wanting them to buy real gold? No! he was desiring that they go through the purifying fire that cleanses all from dross. Get rid of the sins and be purified by suffering and struggling in your walk with God. It will make you stronger. “White garments, that you may be clothed” — garments purified by the blood of Jesus. “Anoint your eyes with salve, that you may see,” sometimes we cannot even see honestly the sins and problems that we have — we need the Lord’s vision to see us as he sees us.
Jesus loves us, thus he rebukes and chastens. We are given new chances every day. Our response should be zealousness and repentance.
As I studied this church again, the idea that I could make the Lord sick by being lukewarm really hit home to me. Have I given the Lord my all? Have I been lukewarm? I honestly believe that there are times in the hearts of all Christians when we fail to give our best to the Lord. In worship, in evangelism, in our work for the Lord, in our walk with Christ . . . we sometimes slack off in our zeal and fervor. We don’t give the Lord our best.
The motive for better service? Keeping always before our minds the loving sacrifice of our Lord. Keeping in our mind the love that God has for all of us in sending Jesus. Be honest with ourselves – have we (I) become lukewarm? Am I as zealous for the Lord as I was the week after my baptism?
What would the Lord say about you RIGHT NOW? THINK ON THESE THINGS!