When examining the church of Laodicea, it is like looking in a mirror and seeing ourselves. The Laodicean church, in Revelation 3:14-22, strongly typifies the modern day churches of this country. Let’s take a brief look at this great city first.
Laodicea was located on a very important trade route in Roman Asia Minor (modern dayTurkey), and was thereby an important and flourishing commercial city. It had fertile soil for farming and handled large money transactions and extensive trade. It was famous for its large banking interests, textile industry, and its production of a special eye-salve. Even though it suffered from earthquakes, it was able to restore any damage by means of its own wealth. (They were so wealthy, they did not even accept assistance from Rome to rebuild.) The inhabitants themselves were wealthy and had a taste for the arts. The city boasted a great medical school and beautiful monuments. It minted its own money. The people worshipped several gods. It was titled a free city by Rome, a capital city of Rome (of 23 other cities), held court trials, had a large Jewish community, became a chief seat of Christianity. It proudly displayed stadiums, gymnasiums, theatres, aqueducts, and several temples. Extravagance and luxury were everywhere.
Finally, the water supply for Laodicea was calcareous and lukewarm. Six miles away,Hierapolis had hot springs, and nine miles away, Colossae had pure cold water. Laodiceapiped water from these two cities by aqueducts, but by the time the water arrived at its destination in Laodicea, it was lukewarm.
From the above short description, we can see that Laodicea excelled in the medical field, various religions, politics, finance, science, agriculture, trade, geography, sports, art, entertainment, beautiful buildings, justice centers, manufacturing, and freedom. Does this remind you of any place you know?
The city and its people had everything going for them. Life was a luxury. They lived on easy street. They had “pie in the sky” and lived their dream. So what was the problem? There was no major problem with the city or the general populace. The problem was in the church ofLaodicea that was supposed to be a light for Jesus Christ.
Jesus said of His church located in Laodicea, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit [vomit] you out of My mouth. 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, 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.” (NASB)
How could this church have been so pathetic when it had everything materially going for it? History has proven that a life of ease is most always detrimental to the growth of the church.
Let’s take a very brief look at the similarities between Laodicea and us. Are we alike in any of these areas?
In every single area, we are a mirror image of Laodicea. Anyone who cannot see this, has got to be spiritually blind. I believe it would be safe to say, that at least most of the other six churches Jesus describes, do clearly see the striking resemblance between Laodicea and many churches in America.
I repeat, history has proven that a life of ease is most always detrimental to the growth of a church. In other countries, where persecution is rampant, true Christianity is growing in leaps and bounds. They may be poor materially, but they are rich where it counts … spiritually.
Our country has received more blessings from God than probably any other country that has ever existed. In the last several years though, our unappreciative attitude has come full circle. We think we are rich, and have become very wealthy materially. We have need of nothing, particularly from God.
I do not know how Laodicea started out, but their spiritual condition is obvious at the time Jesus sent His letter to them by John. The church, as a whole today, is in exactly the same spiritual condition as Laodicea at the time of Jesus’ letter to them. We did not start out this way, but over the years, the more we were blessed, the further we strayed away from God. Now, many churches in America should just go ahead and have their names changed toLaodicea.
The church of Laodicea USA has definitely become wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.
This country has produced some great men and women of God, but today most of the production are those with “get rich quick” schemes. These churches exude an air of “it’s all about me”. They worship God with their lips, but not their hearts. It is very difficult to find a true Bible believing, Bible teaching group, whether it be in your local home town, or on the radio or television. In some home towns, it is at best improbable, if not impossible.
Jesus tells the Laodicean church that (1) they need to buy gold from Him, that is refined by fire, because they are actually poor, (2) they need to buy white garments from Him, because they are naked and their shame is being revealed, and (3) they need to buy eye salve from Him, because they cannot see the Truth.
The same message can be given to the church in America.
The Laodicean churches today meet in grandiose buildings, with plush carpets and pews. (Note: I am not implying that all churches with these physical characteristics are a Laodicean type. Many may be poor materially, but full of the world and full of themselves.) The furniture and other disposable assets alone are disgustingly expensive. Most every church has built a “play” area, each giving it a special name, such as “Activity Center”. The music is loud, and the sermons “inspiring”; urging us to reach out in faith, to satisfy the hunger for ease and comfort, that envelops our souls. The crocodile tears match the emptiness of our souls, while we contemplate our next adulteress affair with the world. By the time the show is over, our skin just crawls with goose bumps, and we can hardly wait to get home to write another check, to insure no rocking of our boat. We’re rich! We’re rich! We’ve got it all! “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Luke 12:20)
If you think the Pharisees died off, think again. The Laodicean “holier than thou” crowd is alive and well. These are the “special” people with special seating areas and special titles, revered by all. Don’t you dare sit in their spot, and if your community status falls short of theirs … well, too bad … nice to have you, but maybe you should go somewhere else. If they walked out in the rain, they would all drown. These are those the outsiders call “hypocrites”. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” (Luke 18:11-12) “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
Many in the Laodicean church of America, from the pulpit throughout the pews, can’t see past their noses. They are sinking in the quicksand of liberalism or legalism, and the mucky mire of egotism. Their minds are in neutral, as they coast down the road of life, thinking all is well. Everything is okie dokie between them and God, because they have something special worked out with God, since they are such special people.
Wake up Laodicea! Jesus says to you, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) If you are in a Laodicean church, get out! Find one that has gold, refined by the burning Word of God. Find one dressed in garments of righteousness provided by God. Find one with true vision, healed by the eye salve of the Great Physician.
The Laodicean church is like the people of Noah’s day just before the flood, frolicking along, totally unaware of their impending doom.
Jesus is coming soon! His last message was to the last church age, Laodicea, just prior to the Rapture depicted in Revelation 4:1. The church age that we are in right now is not just a hintof the Laodicean age. It is the Laodicean age … full blown … ripe and ready.
Notice that Jesus said they were neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, and that He will vomit them out of His mouth. Now I realize that this is disgusting, but just imagine yourself vomiting. Think about it for awhile……. For your body to get to this point, something must be going on badly enough in your stomach to cause it (your stomach) to throw the contents back out through your mouth. Quite literally, your stomach is saying, “What on earth have you dumped on me!? Here, you can have it back!” This is exactly what Jesus is saying to the Laodicean church, “You make me sick! What on earth have you dumped on me!? Here, you can have it back!” Folks, as disgusting as it is to think about it, this is what Jesus thinks of the Laodicean attitude. It is nothing more than vomit residue.
Laodicea, you are not rich. To the contrary, you are poor, blind and naked. Open the door, and let Him in. Time is running short.