Of the seven churches, none received a
more scathing condemnation than Laodicea.
Outwardly, the church in Laodicea appeared
strong and prosperous. Clearly the people who
worshiped there considered themselves happy
and blessed. They lived in a town others envied.
It seems that some of the church members
were from the wealthy families in Laodicea.
Unlike Smyrna, there seems to have been
no persecution, and, unlike Pergamum, no
false doctrine. We find nothing corresponding
to the gross immorality of Jezebel and her corrupt
legions in Thyatira. Laodicea was a comfortable
place to live and go to church. That
combination made Jesus sick to His stomach.
I. HIS IDENTITY
A. His Word is true (verse 14a). “Amen”
is usually the final word of a prayer. It means
much more than “I’m finished” or “Let’s eat.”
“Amen” is a sign of agreement. Jesus is the
final Amen to all that God has said. Because He
is the “faithful and true witness,” we can trust
Him completely. Jesus and Jesus alone is the
last Word in your life and mine. What He says
is true. It is true all the time.
For the church at Laodicea, it means that
when Christ issues His scathing denunciation,
the church members can’t escape it by saying,
“That’s just His opinion.” No, that’s the Word
of the Son of God who is faithful and true in all
that He says. My words don’t carry that weight
because I cannot claim to speak infallible truth.
But when Jesus speaks, the church must listen
because He speaks only the truth.
B. His Word is authoritative (verse 14b).
This phrase means that all creation comes
from God’s hand. He was there in the beginning;
before there was a beginning, He was
there. The whole universe owes its existence
to His mighty power.
Do you enjoy breathing? I hope so! You
breathe because Jesus gives you life and
breath. We owe everything to Him. When He
speaks, His word is true and absolutely authoritative.
II. HIS INDICTMENT
A. You are indifferent (verses 15, 16). I
puzzled over the meaning of these words because
I wondered why Jesus said, “I wish you
were either hot or cold.” Then a thought came
to me that made it plain. What’s another way to describe “lukewarm” water? Room temperature.
What do you need to do to make water
room temperature? Nothing. Leave water alone
and it will become room temperature. Suppose
you want hot water. You’ve got to do something
to make it hot. Suppose you want cold
water. You’ve got to do something to make it
cold. Under normal circumstances, water will
never become cold or hot by itself.
So here is the indictment: The Laodiceans
were not guilty of some intentional sin, such
as committing immorality, sleeping around,
promoting false doctrine, or welcoming false
prophets. To be guilty of those things, they
would have had to do something. They would
have had to make some sort of decision to
move in that direction.
A lukewarm Christian is nothing more than
a “room temperature” Christian who has become
just like his or her environment.
Why does Christ hate lukewarmness so
much? Mostly because a person in this condition
doesn’t even know it. A person slips into
a state of such total indifference that he or she
doesn’t care about his or her own spiritual
condition. Nothing matters. After all, “room
temperature” is comfortable by definition. It
feels right. A lukewarm person is the same as
everyone else around him or her
If you never tell anyone about your faith,
you are unlikely to be bothered. You’re not too
hot and not too cold. And Jesus will spit you
out of His mouth!
B. You are arrogant (verse 17). Here Christ
reveals that the heart of the problem is in the
heart. And until the heart is changed, nothing
can change. Note that little phrase “You say.” I
am rich! I am clothed! I can see! Arrogance had
blinded the Laodiceans to their true spiritual
condition. Money has a way of doing that to all
of us. Money is almost hypnotic. We can’t take
our eyes off it. Money is not the problem; it’s
the love of money that gets us into trouble. And
the worst of it was, the Laodiceans thought
they were doing just fine.
In our day, they would have a big church
with a nice building, a fine parking lot, a large
staff, a huge budget, many programs, and a
good reputation in the community. There’s
nothing wrong with any of those things, but
this passage should remind us that a “successful”
church is not always a church of
which God approves.
III. HIS INVITATION
A. Wake up! (verses 18, 19). Laodicea
was known as a city of banking, eye salve,
and beautiful wool garments. Jesus touched
the very points of their civic pride to reveal
their spiritual poverty
I am struck by the personal nature of
Christ’s appeal. If someone said to me, “You
make me want to vomit,” I would hardly expect
that same person to say, “I love you more
than you know.” But when you love someone,
you can hate what is destroying him or her and
love this person all the more. Parents do this
all the time.
B. Open up! (verse 20). “Here I am! I
stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
my voice and opens the door, I will come in
and eat with him, and he with me” (verse 20).
Here the appeal becomes extremely personal.
It’s as if Jesus turns from the church as
a whole and focuses on just one person. Jesus
is knocking, always knocking. I find great
encouragement in this thought. He wants to
come in. He waits to come in. Not only does
He wait to come in, He wants to dine with you.
There is no better picture of the Christian life
than this. We can have Jesus as our dinner
companion every single day! We never have
to dine alone. Jesus wants to share a meal
Isn’t it amazing that the worst church gets
the best invitation? Isn’t that just like Jesus?
After exposing their indifference, He offers
Then comes the grand conclusion of this
letter (verses 21, 22). Sometime we argue
about whether or not to use Revelation 3:20
when we lead people to Christ. I love the picture
of Christ coming again and again to the
human heart. He comes, He knocks, He calls
for us, and then He waits for our response.
The door must be opened from within. He
waits for you to open the door. Do not let your
sin and failure keep you away from Jesus.
Christ came for sinners, and it is sinners who
need a Savior.
I urge you to heed the voice of Jesus,
open the door, and say, “Lord Jesus, you are
welcome in my life today.”