Revelation 3: 14-22

“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.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Understanding And Applying the Text

This is the last church addressed in Revelation. It is the church at Laodicea.

The introduction refers back to the first chapter. In this case, it is Revelation 1:5.

Laodicea was near two other towns. Hierapolis was to the north. Colossae was to the east. Each town had its own water source. Hierapolis had a natural hot spring. It was often used for medicinal purposes. Colossae had cold pure water. Laodicea had no permanent supply of good water. It piped from nearby springs. As a result, it has lukewarm. Christ used this as a metaphor for the church’s spiritual fervor. If Laodicea were either spiritually cold or hot Christ would commend them. Instead, Christ condemned Laodicea. It neither provided spiritual healing (being hot) nor spiritual refreshment (being cold). Christ condemned them for their lack of both works and witness.

This was a result of indifference. They attended worship services. But it was unimportant. They may or may not do good works or deeds. That was unimportant. They could take it or leave it. If you wanted to believe that was fine. you could believe whatever you wanted. What was important is you believed something. What you believed was unimportant. It did not matter in the end. After all, God is a God of love and He will redeem everyone anyway.

Does any of this sound familiar? That is the church we live in today. Its worship style does not matter. God will look past that. Getting our doctrine right is unimportant God will overlook that. We don’t want our witness to offend. God understands. Because after it isn’t that important in the broader scope.

That is where we live today. Most of our churches today are neither hot nor cold. They are lukewarm. That is they are indifferent. Very little is important. Except, of course, paying your tithe.

Laodicea thought they were well off. They believed they had already received the riches of Christ. They had not. They were still in their sin. They claimed the promises of Christ without claiming Christ.

Christ counseled them to come to Him. These gifts come from Him. Christ is the one who clothes and heals. We do not receive the promises by seeking the promises. We receive rewards by receiving Christ.

Christ loved the Laodiceans. That is why He was disciplining them. That is why He warned them.

Christ was at the door knocking. It was He who there. It was not the gifts. It was the promise of great wealth. It was Christ. If they came to Him He would commune with them. He was and is the great reward. These other things are mere by-products. They are not the things to seek. Like the Laodiceans, we so often confuse the true reward. The real reward is Christ. All other good things are a by-product of our communing with Him.

Christ comes to the door of the heart of sinners. He draws near to them as an act of mercy. He is ready to visit. We shut the door to Him. It is our nature to shut Christ out. But because He is merciful he does not withdraw for us He waits. Only after He awaken sinners do they open the door to him. He calls by His word. All who open the door to him enjoy his presence.

Christ concluded this address as before with a promise. Those who persevere will sit with Christ on His throne. And He sits with the Father on His throne. Wow!

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