Revelation 3:14–22. Laodicea Was Lukewarm.
Key Notes: Material wealth deceived them. Why was Jesus knocking? Why were they lukewarm?
This text lends itself to a question-and-and-answer approach.
Q. How did this church see itself?
A. Rich, prosperous,and independent.
Q. How did its Supervisor saw it?
Q. When a person or group sees itself in one way and the supervisor sees it quite differently, what would a neutral observer say about the group's grasp of reality?
A. They are deceived.
Q .What caused Laodicea to be deceived?
A. Money and the things it buys.
Q. How does material wealth deceive people and warp their values?
A. Jesus has much to say about materialism in Luke's Gospel.
*The rich fool was financially secure. He did not take his span of life into account. Lk.12:13–21
*God knows that you need food, clothes and shelter although you think that is your life's work. Lk.12:30
*The rich man and Lazarus. The rich despise and ignore the poor. Lk.16:19–25
*The rich young ruler. The rich cannot give up their way of life in exchange for eternal life. Lk.18:18
*The parable of the rebellious tenants. The "haves" are always greedy for more, even at the Owner's expense. Lk.20:9–18
*The widow's mite. The rich are stingy givers. The poor give generously because they have so little to lose. Lk.21:1–4
*Money leads people to be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness, and the cares of this life. Lk.21:34
In Revelation, He is so disgusted with this church that He would spit it out.
Q. What is Jesus' remedy for their spiritual disorder?
A. Buy gold, white garments and eye salve.
Q. Buy? Can one buy from God?
"Come buy wine and milk without money and without price." (Isa.55:1)
God says we should come to His storehouse and He will supply what we need. Everyone comes prepared to buy, but when we get there it is free.
Q. But Laodicea already had gold, beautiful garments (a beautiful black fabric), and eye-salve ("Phrygian powder" made in their medical school).
A. These are materials, not solutions to spiritual needs.
Q. It sounds like the church was rather like its city.
A. Predictably so. It is hard to resist the culture.
Q. What are their spiritual needs?
A. Gold tried in the fire.
"...your faith more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire." (IPet.1:7)
"If anyone builds on the foundation with gold...."(ICor.3:12)
Q. So faith and godly works are the gold they need.
A. White garments are "the righteous deeds of the saints." ( Rev.19:8).
Eye salve is spiritual medicine to help them see their real condition.
Q. Jesus stands at the door of the church people of Laodicea, knocking, seeking to enter and eat supper with them. What is the significance of eating together?
A. It bonds people together in fellowship.
Q. Why then is Jesus standing outside?
A. He is not in fellowship with this church.
Q. If He is not in fellowship, why not?
A. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money". (Matt.6:24)
Q. Back to the "lukewarm". What would "hot" be. What would "cold" be?
A. "Hot" is loving God. "Cold" is loving money. Lukewarm is trying to love them both. Jesus would rather have them cold--just loving money--because the issue is clear-cut and easier for the person to understand as it was in the case of the Rich Young Ruler. The Laodiceans were holding onto God with one hand and onto their money with the other.
Q. Jesus must despise these people.
A. Even though he is disgusted with them, He loves them enough to rebuke and chasten.
Q. What should such a rich church do?
A. Be zealous (get fired up for God) repent of materialism and renounce it.
Q. What should we do?
A. Are we any different? It is hard to judge ourselves and we may be deluded as they were. We have to ask the Supervisor for his evaluation and instruction.
Lord, teach me to know Your will regarding my material goods. Help me to love You alone.