Revelation 3:14-21 – 2024 Apr 04 – Laodicea

Scripture records the sad decline of the Old Testament people of God, the nation of Israel several times.  The book of Judges is about the first period of its decline, and the final fall of the city of Jerusalem into Babylonian exile and all of the cautionary tales in between those things in all of the historical writings and prophets.  The church at Laodicea reminds me of a passage in 1 Peter 4:17, which says, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”  This was clearly about to come on Laodicea.  We will go with the English pronunciation because it is easiest to remember for me.  The pronunciation of the Latin is La-o-dích-ee’-ay and the Greek is La-o-dí’-kea.  That’s just to let you know that I did actually check the pronunciationI get very weary of people trying to correct my pronunciation because they think they know better.  I was not a linguistics major in university, and I know a couple if I need that kind of help.  However, we will continue.

Laodicea represents the same degenerative pattern in the church.  Before I say a lot more, I need to clarify that this is not God’s doing.  He knows and has always known those who are His own.  He knew them from before the dawn of time, and He will carry them all through to completion in Christ.  However, this is the last step of that downward pattern which we have been recognizing for the last few studies now.  It started in Ephesus where the leadership left their first love, simply going through the motions, though it was still a very people- and ministry-driven place.  Smyrna kind of got a by if you can put up with my sports analogy, because they were busy being faithful in persecution, but then we saw how in Pergamum that going-through-the-motions attitude gave way to compromise on some of the core doctrines of the faith.  The focus began to shift from the people and the teaching to the pulpit and the form of ministry while beginning to tolerate those with wrong teachings.  Then in Thyatira, we saw that lead to an actual tolerance for sin, and real sin in sexual form among other things.  This, in our pattern, would have caused a mass exodus of faithful believers, though a few patient ones stayed and walked with Christ.  The church was filled with false converts, perhaps descendants of the real believers minus the faith they did not inherit nor take up from their forebears.  Again, faithful Philadelphia gets a pass for getting it right, and that brings us to the last step in our process of decay, Laodicea.  We will say more about this specifically in a few minutes.

First, we always want to take a brief look at the historical and geographical settings of the city, because as always, this has some bearing on our text this evening.  Laodicea was founded by the kingdom of the Seleucids probably a little before 253 BC and named for the wife (Laodice) of its first ruler, Antiochus II.  We know it was before that because 253 BC was the year he divorced her.  It was one of a triad of cities (the other cities being Hierapolis and Colossae) in the Lycus Valley.  To help you locate it, it was about 100 miles east of Ephesus, and about 40 miles from Philadelphia to the south on the Roman Post Road that we have been following.  A triad means it was one of three cities in the area, and it was about 10 miles west of Colossae and 6 miles south of Hierapolis.  The city itself was built on a plateau about 100 feet high, making the city itself impregnable to attackers geographically.  The pointy of vulnerability it had was that it had to pipe or otherwise transport its water through Roman aqueducts that could be blocked or diverted by besieging forces.

Most of the people in the city when it was first founded were of Syrian extraction, but a large population of Jews also settled into the city.  Through various math calculations that resulted from records of a seized Temple gold shipment by a local governor, it was estimated that approximately 7500 Jewish men lived there, and many more when women and children were estimated into that number.  It was apparently an easier kind of life there, according to the Talmud, which heaped scorn on the Jews in Laodicea for a lax life of ease.

As the Pax Romana took effect, Laodicea became very prosperous because of its key location on two major trade routes.  It was on the east-west road from Ephesus to the interior, and it was on the north-south road from Pergamum to the Mediterranean.  It was prosperous in its financial industry.  The great Roman philosopher and statesman Cicero cashed in his letters of credit there, and this means it was an important banking center.  It became so wealthy that at that great earthquake in AD 60, it was able to refuse aid from outside and was able to rebuild with its own finances.  It was also famous for the black wool it produced that could be made into cloth and carpets, both of which were very much in demand in the world at that time.  An important medical school was there as well, and it was famous for an eye salve that could clear up infections and even minor astigmatisms from reports.  I don’t know about that, but it was an important remedy and was exported all over the Roman world.  Interestingly, all three of these things will become important in this letter to the Laodiceans.

With all that going for it, one might be tempted to think that things went well for Laodicea.  Those of you who have read the text before already know otherwise.  With that all in our minds, let’s look at what the text says.  I broke the text into the following thought units:

KV20:  The Sovereign Call of the Faithful Creator

20:  Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

14:  The Faithful and True Creator Examines you

15-17:  To The Unsaved “Church:”  “You make me sick.”

18-20:  Repent of your Sin and Turn to Me

21-22:  The Promise to the Overcomer

Our process tonight ends in what could be considered a tragedy in Christian circles, however, the Lord Jesus does not give up on this clearly mostly unsaved gathering.  How do we know it was unsaved?  Look at our key text.  Our Lord is outside the door politely knocking and awaiting an invitation to come in.  The church is there, but perhaps in name only.  As servants of God are called away by His providence or are taken home to be faithful, the only ones that come now are unbelievers looking for a path to happiness and fulfilment apart from Christ, and this place is not able to tell them about Christ very well.  Yet, for as sick as this kind of gathering makes the Lord Jesus, He will not give up on those who are His who have not yet responded to His divine call.  He goes to the church and extends that invitation in our key verse to the individuals in the place and makes a personal call to each one there.  This is the lengths to which the Saviour will go to call those who are His, and when they hear the call, if they are truly His, they will open the door, and He will justify them before the Father.  I know a fair bit about this because my experience of salvation was much like this if I think about it in these terms.  In fact, this verse is the verse that God used to call me into His kingdom.  Before that call, I was as lost as lost could be.  I was functioning, but I was barely holding myself together.  About a month before, I was standing on a footbridge over the trainyard, waiting for a train, so I could throw myself off the 40-foot bridge in front of it.  I was 18.  I didn’t think then I had a lot to live for.  My dad beat me (though he hadn’t since our last fight, in my thinking it was only a matter of time and one of us wasn’t walking away).  My mom did nothing but scream at me.  My little sisters all loved me, but they still thought it was funny to get me in trouble with my dad and did if I gave them half a chance.  My girlfriend broke up with me.  Everyone hated me.  Nobody loved me.  I had eaten about all the worms I could take!  Then a thought occurred to me.  Okay, do it…but what then?  I knew I was a bad lad on the inside where it mattered.  I knew there was a God, and that he wasn’t particularly pleased with me.  I may have externally looked like a good person, but I knew the truth.  I knew where I was going if I died, and it wasn’t heaven.  I gave my head a shake and kept going about my business. 

About a month or so later, I was at work and I saw a guy reading a Bible.  In “famous questions” style, I walked up to him and asked him if that was a Bible he was reading.  He was on his lunch break, but he took the time to share the gospel with me.  I had already thought I was a Christian, but he drew my attention to my 18-year-old foul language.  “You may need to do this again,” he said with a gentle smile.  After about a week of this kind of conversation, he loaned me a tract and told me it was his last one, so I had to bring it back.  I took it back to the front gate checkpoint and sat in the security shack and read it.  It was the straight-up gospel.  It explained what I already knew, that I was a sinner, broken beyond my own ability to repair myself.  It laid out the remedy for sin, and then it told me the response using this gospel verse, my key verse this evening. [read verse]  I wanted that.  So read that prayer in the tract word for word, and although I can now explain what happened next, I’m still not sure I can describe it properly.  I was filled with a joy I had never known.  I felt like the weight of the world had just fallen off my shoulders.  When an opportunity to sin that I would have taken in a heartbeat came up less than 5 minutes later, I turned it down cold.  I didn’t want that anymore.  I wanted to get to know the man who came into me and was now bringing me everything I needed to be truly satisfied.  But that’s me.  Let’s see what the Lord has to say to Laodicea through John.

KV20:  The Sovereign Call of the Faithful Creator

20:  Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

When I was about 8 years old or so, I went to a vacation bible school at the home of a friend who went to one of the local Baptist churches.  They were faithful to share the gospel in a meaningful way with an 8-year-old, and I remember praying a very honest prayer of salvation then.  I don’t think that’s where the Lord saved me, but I do think it probably kept me out of a lot of trouble as I grew up, the Lord preserving me as I grew.  When I was really ready, God called me, and I did not want to resist that call any longer.  I opened the door of my heart and He came in.  I know that sounds kind of Charismatic, but hey, that was what Greg, the man who preached to me, was, and he took me to a Pentecostal church.  It turned out that the son of the Pastor there was my age, and I had been on the junior basketball team with him.  I was the manager.  My sport was wrestling, so…different skill set.  Evan ended up being the Valedictorian of my graduating class.  His father Bruce was my first Pastor.

God had called me out of darkness and into His marvellous light.  He was the only one who could, and I could only hear His call to me because He made it to me.  We sometimes miss this, but the idea of Sovereign Election is here.  No man comes to God the Father except through Jesus Christ.  See John 14:6b.  Let’s just get into the text before I wax rhapsodic.  It was an amazing time.

14:  The Faithful and True Creator Examines you

The church at Laodicea was an unsaved church.  I didn’t even think such a thing could exist, but here it is.  This has the ignoble distinction of being the only church that the Lord was actually outside and calling.  Can you imagine being the pastor of such a place?  Many pastors today ARE the pastor of a place like this.  Many people have many reasons other than Christ for attending such a gathering.  Some like the social club aspect.  Some like the business opportunities it may provide.  I remember when I was being interviewed to become a financial planner the guy asked me if I belonged to any service organizations or religious groups.  When I told him I was a Christian and attended a Baptist church, he smiled because he wanted to push me to sell financial products to people I fellowshipped with.  I did too, but only with their permission, and it didn’t ever work out the way I would have liked.  My point here is that this is the wrong reason to join the body of Christ.  Some people are just religious and come to satisfy that deep itch that really needs to be scratched.  There are a number of reasons.  The problem is that they cannot really “come to church” because the church is not the building, it is the gathering of believers in the building, and only God can truly add people to that number by invitation.  And beloved, our Creator is the Amen, the Faithful and True.  Let’s see what that means.

14:  To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:  The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

  • The address of the Lord is always to the “angel,” which we have determined in our past studies to be a human messenger of the church, probably an elder, maybe the pastor, or at least the one who would read the letter in open assembly to the people present.  In this case, it is to the church at Laodicea.  We need to discuss that word because it is frighteningly similar to what we see in many churches today.
  • The name Laodicea is the name of the city, and although it was named after Queen Laodice, it is still a compound word with similar meanings, part of which we have seen before.  Laos in Greek means “the people.”  The word dike means “to say,” and we get our English word diocese from it.  In other words, “the People say.”  This can mean several things.  The first thing it can mean is that the people say how worship is conducted.  The people say what songs are sung.  The people say what the church spends its money on.  The people say what they want.  Not the Lord.  Do you see the problem here?  This can give rise to seeker-sensitive nonsense, the tyranny of the majority vote of the people in the congregation, or straight-up Charismania and all of its perverse doctrine.  People say what we do, what we pay for, how we worship, what we say, and what we believe by vote.  Does that sound like the operation of the Holy Spirit to you?  It doesn’t to me either.
  • The Amen.  This is a transliteration from the Hebrew omain and is pronounced in similar fashion.  It is a derivation of the word that means truth, but in this case, speaks of affirmation, or phrases like, “let it be so” or “so be it.”  If you want the gravitas of older and more poetic English, try “so mote it be.”  I always get a chuckle out of that one.
  • The faithful and true witness.  The adjective “faithful” is translated from the adjectival form pistós, meaning one who performs what is promised (faithful), and “true” is translated from alethinós, the adjectival form of alethia, the Greek word for truth.  This is a case where the Lord is describing Himself accurately as the one who tells the truth, and the one who delivers everything He says He will, and I might add whether that be reward or condemnation.
  • The beginning of the creation of God.  This is a phrase that needs care.  Many cults and false teachers take this phrase to try to prooftext that Jesus is a created being from this, but that is not what is reflected in the Greek.  The use of e arche in the Greek is not so much a beginning in terms of a starting point but rather like the English word “originator,” as in the one who originated, not the one being brought into being.  That “of” in the English text is a subjective insertion, a choice of the translator.  I’m not educated enough here to say whether that was warranted or not, but if you drop the “of” out, you have a phrase that sounds like this:  “the Originator, the One who forms, the God.”  At least that’s where I’m at in my Greek knowledge, and with an assist from Dr. MacArthur on this in his commentary on this verse.  So let’s see what the Affirmation, the Faithful and True, the Originator, the One who Forms, the God has to say in the next section.

15-17:  To The Unsaved “Church:”  “You make me sick.”

What a thing for a faithful pastor to have to read to the church.  Here is a letter that the last living Apostle, John, has dictated from the Lord of the Church Himself, and it starts with a greeting that may be précised like this:  I am the one who Affirms everything, I am Faithfulness and Truth personified, I am the Originator, I am the One who made it all, I am God Almighty, and YOU make me SICK.  Wow.

I read an article a week or so ago about the rise of secular “churches” being on the rise.  These individuals are unbelieving atheists, gathering as a religious organization without any of the power or grace of real religion to bring light to their lives.  We have in brief spoken of it earlier this evening, but the Lord Jesus Himself is saying that this makes him ill!  What a thing to say!  And worse for them barring repentance, He explains why here.  Let’s see what this says.

15:  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.

  • There again, the Lord KNOWS.  Remember, oida, the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ‘yada is the word here, and it means He knows us intimately and completely like Adam knew Eve in the garden when Yahweh brought them together.  He knows who are His and who are not His people.  He likens them here to food or drink (I suggest water for the analogy of geography here, but that isn’t the only analogy possible, and I will explain).  That water is neither hot nor cold, and the Lord wishes it was otherwise.  There is a geological phenomenon in the area that illustrates the point.  Recall that Laodicea is part of a triad of cities.  Hierapolis was known for its curative hot springs. They were volcanic in nature, and soaking in those waters, located in hot springs coming out of the ground, had a sort of curative medical efficacy.  Colossae was known for its cold springs, cold, fresh, drinking water right out of the ground.  Laodicea, roughly in the middle, had lukewarm springs, that were tepid.  This becomes important in the next verse because the Lord here says He wishes that they were cold or hot.

16:  So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

  • Warm mineral water has what is called in medical practice an emetic effect.  That is something that makes you vomit, Beloved.  The Greek word for it is emesai, a form of emeō, which literally means to vomit.  In fact, it is the word from which we derive the English word “emetic.”  This is used figuratively here of the abhorrence with which the Lord regards Laodicea.  The church literally makes Him want to vomit, hence my section title. 
  • Now that is not the only way to understand the words translated as “cold” and “hot” here.  The respective Greek words are “suchros” and “zestros.”  We get our words sucrose (sugar or sweet) and zesty (spicy or savoury) from those Greek words.  The option that is neither of those is bland, and I have known people who cannot eat bland food without feeling nauseated.  However, the hot and cold analogy works, and we should stick with it.  This is the Lord Jesus LITERALLY saying that Laodicea makes Him sick.  Oh boy.

17:  Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

  • Here is where all the geography, history, and polity we looked at near the beginning this evening becomes important.  I am rich.  Laodicea was a major financial center of high economics.  Cicero was a rich man, cashing in credit notes for gold.  The fact that he was even able to do so speaks to the wealth in the banks of Laodicea.  It is easy in times of plenty like this to feel (something you should never walk by) that you are okay, and you have more than enough.  You don’t need God’s help, you say, you’re doing just fine on your own! 
  • The Lord Jesus assesses that a bit differently.  He says, “You do not know.”  That too is a form of the Greek oida.  You do not have intimate and complete knowledge of your situation.  We really don’t.  We don’t know if we will survive longer than bedtime this evening.  But He does.  He tells the Laodiceans that they are in fact “wretched,” and that they are “miserable,” both conditions that draw pity from others, and at the moment, the Lord Himself.  They are poor [crouching and cowardly, therefore a beggar, one who hides himself], and blind [literal blindness, used either figuratively or literally it means the same], and naked [it can mean bare or poorly clothed, either way, it expresses need].  And they are deceiving themselves into this condition.

Beloved, these are all ways that we describe those who do not know Christ as their Saviour!  This is a tragic, pitiable, and desperate condition!  And they don’t even know it!!!  Probably because they think they are Christians but in reality are not.  We call those false converts, beloved, and false converts need to be saved.  Fortunately, the Lord is about to tell us all how to fix the problem if that is where we find ourselves.

18-20:  Repent of your Sin and Turn to Me

Sin has one solution.  It is the only one.  Acts 4:12 says it like this–“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  This is of course speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we get from Acts 4:10 in context.  We are all those wretches who need His “amazing grace” to come and save us.  I’m sorry if you don’t like being called a wretch or think that’s true, but John Newton, author of the words of the hymn by the same name, saw that and had to share it with you.  This is a part of that blindness that the Lord informs the Laodiceans of.  You do not wish to know you are blind?  That you are miserable?  That you are pitiable?  Believe me, when you learn that about yourself, you cannot “unknow” it.  There is only one way of fixing that situation you find yourself in, and that is precisely the thing that the Lord here informs Laodicea.  Let’s see.

18:  I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.

  • Again, this is a longer verse, so we will break it into phrases to make it easier to see.  “I advise you to buy from me…”  the Lord is saying that He is the only place you can get the price of redemption here, Beloved.  You might think your money will get you out of trouble, but what happens when your currency is devalued?  You have nothing of value to trade!  And for those of you who think that you own actual gold and that never loses its value, you need to learn what happened in the former Yugoslavia when the Croatian people were kicking the Serbians out of Croatia.  The Serbs thought they could survive by using gold to buy food and supplies.  No Croat would do business with them.  They had to go to Serbia to do business.  Why?  Because you cannot eat Gold.  It may never lose its value, but if no one will do business with you, you’re finished.  Alternatively, the kind of Gold you buy from our Lord Jesus is figurative, and it will keep you in whatever circumstance you will find yourself in.  This speaks of yourself, and how He will make your spirit ALIVE from the dead.
  • White garments to clothe yourself.  It is interesting that the black fabric and wool were not good, but that the Lord has good white clothing for you.  Black here is a colour that symbolizes sin and darkness, death if you will see the analogy.  The Lord Jesus has white clothing, which we know from other passages speaks of the righteous acts of the saints because of the new nature He Himself gives us through the Holy Spirit.  We don’t have to be naked or poorly clothed anymore, we no longer have to walk in our sins, which will only cause us sorrow.  He can clothe us in a way that we are warm and clean and walking with Him.
  • Eye salve to anoint your eyes so we can see.  Did you know the reason that you don’t like being called a wretch or having that you are in fact a sinner is because of your spiritual blindness?  The eye salve that Christ has is representative of how He will cause us to see the truth about ourselves and our sinful nature.  And also we will then see His will for us, and with those clean white clothes, be able to and unashamed to walk the path He chooses for us. 
  • I find it interesting that Laodicea was known for its wealth, its textile industry, and its medical eye salve.  The Lord uses the familiar things to the Laodiceans to explain their own needs to them, and it gets even better.

19:  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

  • If you are listening or watching, or if you are hear this evening, and this is starting to make sense to you, that is nothing else other than the Lord telling you He loves YOU.  That love isn’t always easy.  If He loves you, He will show you your sin.  That is what the word “reprove” means in English and Greek.  He will allow you to suffer the consequences of that sin so that you turn to Him for His mercy and grace.  Therefore, be zealous, that is make a commitment from which you will not waiver, and repent!  Turn from your sin!  Have the intention to never do it again!  Stop doing it!  I know, it’s hard!  You love your sin!  We all do, even as believers.  But we must if we are really His because He loves us and wants us to go the best way to Him.

20:  Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

  • As I said before, this is the verse that reached out to me and pulled me personally out of death and into life everlasting.  I once had a brother point out in a sermon that this letter was written to the church, and he was correct.  The problem was that I took him (probably incorrectly) to mean that we shouldn’t use it as a gospel verse.  Beloved, given that Laodicea was the unbelieving church that Jesus was outside of and having to knock for an individual to come and open the door, this is most definitely a gospel verse.  Feel free to use it as such!  This is how it reached out to me.
  • The King of kings and Lord of lords is standing at the door.  What door?  The door of your life, the door of your heart, the door to your church, the door to your house, the door to your business, wherever you are.  If you are hearing His voice in what I am saying, then open the door!  Tell HIM you’re opening the door!  When that door opens, He will enter!  Even better than Him coming in, He brings all the provision for you that you will ever need.  And He will dine with us.  He will share that provision with you.  And YOU will also share all of your needs, wants, and desires, with Him.  He will become your best friend, your older brother, your Everlasting Father, your Saviour, and your Lord.  And You will not only know it happened, but you will desire it with all your heart!  Can you hear Him knocking on YOUR door?  If you can, open the door for Him.  You will not ever be sorry.  He will come in and dine with you, and He brings the feast.  And you will dine with Him.  Those are the actions of close friends, Beloved.  Forgive my metaphorical talk here, but it absolutely makes the point perfectly.

You see, the way you fix the problem that the Lord is confronting Laodicea about is that you need to be saved.  If you will turn to Him, that is if you will open the allegorical door to Him, He will not disappoint.

21-22:  The Promise to the Overcomer

To be honest, this isn’t a new promise, but the Lord Jesus turns it into a promise to anyone who will turn to Him in repentance and faith.  What do I mean?  Let’s see Ephesians 2:4-7, which reads, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  The Lord raised us from our spiritual state of death for the purpose of sitting with Him on His throne.  Paul and John were on the same wavelength it would seem.  Let’s see the text.

21:  He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

  • Who is the one that overcomes?  Again, it is the one who opens the door to Christ so that He may come in directly from the context of v.20 in our text.  These, again from the greater context and from what it says in that verse, it is those who will be saved by our Lord as they open up themselves to Him in truth.  In this, by His power, His strength, and even His faith, they overcome the world and His Spirit comes to live inside them, giving them a new nature, His own nature, for them to learn to walk in.  Who are the overcomers?  All those He will save.  Who are they?  All those that turn to Him.  Have we said these things before?  Every chance we got, and we will continue to say it!  The SAVED are those who overcome, beloved.  There is no need to invent a special class of believers.  That smacks of Gnosticism.
  • What is the promise?  That we will sit on His throne with Him.  He will rule the universe.  We will rule it with Him.  I have no idea how that will work, but it is nonetheless true.  How do we know?  He did it first.  See the verse again.  “…as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne.”  What is the throne?  It is the very seat of power and authority of all of creation!  And all of those that He chose from before this whole world and its systems began will be participants with the Lord Jesus.  John 17:22-24 says, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”  Yes, the Lord Jesus says it all in the past tense here, but that is to signify that it is something that is already completed in eternity, not necessarily a present reality as many Charismatics believe.  You cannot make that kind of leap because this was a common writing style, particularly in the Gospel of John, but also in other places in Scripture.
  • Who is on the Throne?  None other than the Lord our God, King of the Universe and His Son, the Lord our God, the King of the Universe.  We get to share His throne, Beloved!  We will not in the here and now ever be more than sinners saved by His grace, but in the Resurrection, who knows what we will be?  I certainly don’t, and neither did John, but he did say that we would be like Him.  What that means is anyone’s speculation, and we won’t do that.

21:  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

  • Again, we close the letter with the encouragement that for those that have ears, we are to hear what the Holy Spirit, God Himself, says to the churches named as one of the seven churches.  This wasn’t what some of us would even call a church anymore, but the Lord did because they were still meeting in His name.  He extended a personal invitation to each person in that gathering to turn to Him by repenting of their sins and believing the proof of His rising from the dead as the evidence that He overcame death itself and redeemed them from their sins.  For those that did, He saved them.  He won them from the enemy’s captivity and led that captivity captive to heaven with great joy.

That was them.  What about you?  The Lord has constantly been giving those who will turn that invitation, just like he did in Laodicea, and just like He did to me personally.  Friends, that kind of love DEMANDS a response, even if the answer is no.  Of course, I want everyone to say yes to Christ because I know the rich fellowship that God brings into your life when you turn to Him.  However, the Lord shows Himself a gentleman.  He knocks and waits for you to answer.  He will not force you to do anything you are not willing to do.  In that sense, the choice is yours.  If you are truly His, you will not want to refuse Him in His offer of salvation.  If you do not, perhaps you are not yet ready, and we ask you to humbly consider His offer to you.

Who would have thought that there could be such a thing where most of the congregation was dead in trespasses and sins?  We saw something like it on the way here in Sardis, and here we are now in Laodicea.  Sadly, as the songwriter says, “We have turned from the Lord to try to find a better way.  Each man does today what is right in his own eyes.  Oh, We will pay the price for our sinning!  We can never know true living, since we’ve exchanged His truth for lies.  While we’re livin’ in Laodicea.  The fire that once burned bright, we’ve let it grow dim.  The holy One we swore that we would die for, oh, has been forgotten, and the world’s become a friend.”  Do you find yourself in those surroundings?  Then take comfort.  He is knocking on your door. 

More from the same song:  “It is no small of a thing that He’s done for you – by shutting the gates of hell upon the cross.  We were sentenced once but now we are pardoned, and He chooses to use us as we are…while we’re living in Laodicea.”

Beloved, Jesus paid it all.  All to Him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain – He washed it white as snow.  If you find yourself living in Laodicea, figuratively speaking, then turn to Him and remember to shine like a beacon on a hill.  Those lost people sit in the same pews that we do.  They sing the same songs we sing.  They hear the same sermons we hear.  Christ also died for them.  Be a witness (Gk., martus, where we get our word martyr) to them, knowing what it could cost.  Be like Jesus and love your enemies, because maybe, just maybe, they will become closer than friends and be your brothers and sisters in Christ!

That’s what I saw in the text. 

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