Coming Soon Part 8 – Is anyone there?
This is the last letter
– A church that was strong on theology but weak in heart
– A church that has suffered heavy persecution but stood in the face of it
– A church that needed to remember that their walk needed to reflect Jesus living a life answering the question WWJD – Balaam
– A church that had to make a choice make their jobs, futures, businesses, children and so many other things their God or make God their god – Jezebel
– A church that had once walked the walk and thought they were still but really were dead needing the Holy Spirit
– A church that church that felt defeated but really had overcome and were already victors
And now onto the final church..Laodicea
Laodicea was a wealthy and an independent city, when an earthquake hit there in the 62AD they did not need to appeal to Rome as many others had, the citizens of the community rebuilt the city themselves. They had a great deal of pride in themselves and their abilities
It was a city known for textiles, metals processing (gold and silver), and many other industries. It had one of the best medical schools in all of the Roman empire.
They were known for a particular breed of sheep that produced a black wool that was very soft and luxurious. It was used in carpeting and clothing.
The tri-city area of Hierapolis, Laodicea, and Colossae had hot springs that the aqueduct of these springs ran from Hierapolis to Colossae but as they traveled they cooled so in Laodicea they were lukewarm and in Colossae they were cool
Their medical school was known for an ophthalmic ointment that could ease many eye problems. It was so famous, Aristotle even mentioned it
All of this background is important as we get into the letter
14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation:
Amen means so be it, it is so, truth,…He is the faithful and true witness when everything else seems untrue He is the standard of what is true and right. He is the beginning of all things…before anything was created Jesus was
15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
Many have tried, myself included, in making this “hot or cold” thing work. Trying to define hot or cold Christians but what Jesus is simply saying here is that they were lukewarm…lukewarm water for some people is an emetic, something that makes people throw up…Jesus is telling us that salvation is not necessarily eternally secure and that this church had become so self sufficient, prideful that they made him gag…I believe it is a reflection of Isaiah 29:13, Ezekiel 33:31, Matthew 15:8…They all basically say the same thing
“…this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,”
The Lord is not as much interested in our work as He is our hearts and as we give our hearts totally to him then our work truly blesses him but going through the ritual means nothing without heart.
We need to remember always the simplicity of Proverbs 3:5,6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
If we become lukewarm, trying to please everyone, becoming carnal Christians we are really pleasing no one and we end up miserable rather than having the peace and love we crave that only comes by keeping God first
17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
One of the dangers of our American line of thinking is we don’t need anything, we don’t need others, we see it all the time and many will even come to the place of saying I don’t need church that is the danger of prosperity…in other nations around the world were they are not as prosperous they realize they need God and His people, every moment of every day.
18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.
Laodicea required a complete change of attitude to be used of the Lord, to live in His presence. They were independent, in need of nothing but Jesus was challenging them to buy gold from him, something they did not have, the true riches of spiritual wealth, the basis of real hope, joy, peace, and love…the cost of this gold…everything unless we are willing to take up His cross, die to ourselves and follow him we will never be able to acquire true riches of peace, love, joy hope.
Think about it, much of the pain we bear is because of things we are holding on to, we are controlling, sin, hurts, worries, fears, our future, our talents, gifts, passions…they are limited because we are holding them
They were known for their best products the dealing with gold, their precious black garments made from the fine wool, and the ophthalmic ointment all of their strengths and Jesus is saying these things are not going to get you to where you want to go, they are your best, I gave you these blessings and you have taken your focus off of me and onto your own best as Adam and eve did in the garden and Lucifer did in heaven…we see the disaster there but as they moved in that way they didn’t see the disaster coming until it was too late
19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.
When we see the correction come into our lives, we will rebuke the devil, kill off the flesh, when in reality it is God saying we need to deal with this, because I love you, I want you to be free, to feel my love, to know I am real and am here for you… this is a quote from Proverbs 3:12, and Hebrews 12:6 as well as a few other places…we grow through training and discipline…this is tough for the everyone gets a trophy type people there are winners and losers in the Kingdom and Laodicea was losing but if they accepted the discipline and love from the Lord they would win
20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
So many evangelists have used this verse as a great call for people to come to Christ and I believe it can be used effectively that way but what is the context here? Jesus is standing at the door of the church knocking…his sheep hear His voice, if they respond to him he will restore this church and bring the healing to bring them back to Christ but because of their pride and arrogance they have walked away from him….the sad part is they thought they had relationship with him but my question is, did they ever or had the idea of church just been a socially acceptable thing to do and they never really had received Christ…where is Christ? Standing outside knocking asking to come in. The knob is on the churches’ side, they decide if they recognize His voice and allow him in…it has gone beyond the church to the individual…”if you” hear my voice…Jesus is knocking on our hearts and asking the question, “is anyone there?”
21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.
22 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”
Jesus always gives hope, despite how bad their condition is he gives them hope, open your heart, if you do you will see how far you are from me, but I still have a throne for you..which we will talk about starting Wednesday the 23rd
Today where are you with the Lord?