2008-06-10 - Laodicea
Some theologians believe that the seven churches in Revelation represent seven ages in church history while others believe that these seven are indicative of seven main problems churches (or Christians as individuals). Either way it seems that we can learn from Jesus' words to the Church at Laodicea as recorded by John.
Revelation 3:14-22 (NKJV) And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'-and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked- 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 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 dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
In the Roman world there were many gods so Jesus contrasts himself against these by calling himself, the Amen - or in other words the real deal, the real truth. Jesus is still the Truth today. Do we live in a world that accepts many truths today? I believe we do; our age is one of relativism where what is truth more me may not be truth for you but thank God this is not true. There was and is and always will be one and only one Truth. That is not narrow-minded thinking but rather the vastness of God's love narrowly-focused on us through the person of one Savior.
There in Laodicea, I have read that they had aqueducts bringing cold water down past them and they also had hot springs nearby so they could understand the value of cold and hot water. Cold water can quench a thirst. Warm water can soothe aches and pains but room temperature, lukewarm water is useless. I'm not a coffee drinker but all the ones I know seem to agree that iced coffee is good and hot coffee is good but a cup that has been sitting out a few hours is terrible. And yet this was what had happened to the church at Laodicea. They had lost the fire that God had put in them. God was growing sick of them and was ready to spit them out.
What about you? Do you remember the zeal you had when Christ became real to you and you first received him as Savior into your life? Have you lost that vigor? Has your church lost that vigor? What can you do as an individual and as a congregation to regain that fire?
Think on these and we'll continue to look at this letter next week.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted