Summit in General
Pastor Aaron Preaching Church Dedication
Whoever’s Preaching at Summit
Heather in Texas
David going to California
Tyler and Sarah Going to China
Text - Revelation 3:14-22
The more I look at the progression view the more I think I believe it. There is a very real chance with the proliferation of television, materialism, and democracy that the whole world will be Laodicea within a few generations.
Philadelphia, the super-on-fire church can turn into this church pretty easy, I thought there needed to be a transition between the two, but really Philadelphia starts out at a sprint, and when they pass the baton to the next generation, if the next generation doesn’t run: boom, you’ve got Laodicea.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
What happens to the fastest runner if he stops running before he gets to the finish line and goes home? No prize, no glory, he gets disqualified. That is Laodicea, in the region where Christianity was thriving, but something happened and they stopped trusting in Christ, and so this has become by far the worst church. All of the other churches Christ at least said something nice about, this church gets NOTHING nice said to them at all.
This is the second letter we know of that was sent to Laodicea, which is the first? The name is kind of misleading. It’s Colossians.
Colossians 4:16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.
Unrelated to this study, but important, is that we are not in possession of this letter that Paul wrote directly to Laodicea. Just like if all of the words of Christ were written down they would fill all of the libraries of the world, so is it with Paul that the words that he wrote that God wants us to know about are in the Bible.
So, the letter to Colossae was important to Laodicea, we learn a lot from that, what was Colossians written for? A lot of reasons, but the big one was to prove that Christ is God; false teachers had snuck in and were denying his deity, as well as trying to get the church to worship and call on angels, and to work for their salvation. So, lets read the letter and see what it says.
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.'
Listen to how Christ describes himself to a church that previously wasn’t sure if he was God, “The words of the Amen…” What does Amen mean? Truth. “The faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.” A better translation of this is the Originator of God’s creation. (HCSB) Christ is once again reminding the church at Laodicea that he is totally God, the beginning and the end, that all things were created by him and for him.
In the end days many false prophets will arise, Christ here calls himself the Faithful and True witness…where should we be looking for answers about who God is and what he wants from us?
Our dreams and yoga-meditation?
Preachers, no matter how good they sound?
None of these, we should listen to the Word of God.
v. 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot.
So, this relates directly to who Laodicea was. They had no natural water source of their own. They had two ways of getting water.
The city above them, Hierapolis had and still has hot springs. This is heavily laden with minerals and people come from miles around to soak in these hot-springs. It’s like a hot-tub.
On the other side, the city below them, Colossae, had beautiful streams coming out of the mountains, this water was just above freezing. Laodicea had two options, they could drink the water from the hot-springs, which by the time it reached them was not hot at all and was merely room-temperature gross tasting water, or they could bring in cold water from Colossae, which by the time it reached them it was no longer cold, but at least it tasted better. Christ is saying here, your works are just like your water…gross.
Jesus wishes they were either hot or cold. Either he wanted them to either follow him totally, or not at all. By being pretend Christians they are blaspheming his name, and they’re going to go to Hell. It’s a lose lose situation. If they were totally cold, they could live the utmost of humanistic lives, eat drink and be merry, and then go to Hell, but not unexpectedly. With their lukewarmness they are thinking that they are going to go to Heaven even though they’re living reprobate lives.
I often wonder who will have the worst time in Hell, the Muslim who wonders how much he missed Heaven by, the Catholic who thinks he’s in Purgatory, or the Christian who doesn’t know why he’s there.
Here is Paul’s description of Laodicean life,
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
If they were on fire for Christ, his name would be proclaimed, and they would go to Heaven, it’s a win win situation.
v. 16 Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.
Because they are not true Christians but just going through the motions, Christ promises to do with them just what they do with the water from Hierapolis; that is, spit it out.
From here he gets really insulting with what is wrong with the church.
v. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Laodicea comes from two Greek words, Lao, which means people, and dicea, which means judge. This is the church that men were in charge of, not God, and this is part of where their indictment comes from. This was one of the richest cities in Asia. They had everything you could want in a city, good banking, high class living, an excellent justice system, an eye medicine that was supposed to heal all sorts of eye ailments, and a wool industry specializing almost exclusively in black sheep.
This church was trusting in their money, in their medical professionals, in their stylists, in their judges, in themselves…sound like anybody you know? America…yes.
What does democracy mean? The people are in control.
What is the best form of government?
1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.
Christ’s eternal reign will be in a kingdom, as the King of kings…therefore the kingdom must be the best.
So this church thinks it has everything it could possibly need, but Christ sees them for how they are. They think they are healthy, he thinks they are wretched, they think they are superior, he thinks they are much to be pitied, they think they’re rich, he thinks they’re poor, they think they can see, he thinks they’re blind, they think they’re clothed in the latest styles, he thinks they’re naked in their sins. The self-sufficient church that can operate from God is one of the worst things that can happen to a church.
Watchman Nee tells a story of a Chinese Christian who visited America in the early part of the 20th century. He asks, “What impressed you the most about America?” and the answer, “How much they’ve been able to accomplish without God.”
v.18-19 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.
Here is what we ought to do, seek the riches of Christ, his sufficiency, his righteousness, we and all ought to repent. Look at how far Heaven is disconnected from the world today. We want money money money, but check out Heaven.
Revelation 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.
If we need a better indication of how much Christ esteems wealth than this, in Heaven it is trampled underfoot.
Luke 12:19-21 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything else you need will be added unto you.
v.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 eat with him, and he with me.
This is reminiscent to the progression view of the churches, that at the end of this church age, Christ is right at the door. Laodicea will be the last church before Chapter 4 of Revelation in Heaven.
No verse in the Bible is more misquoted and misapplied than this one. Who is Christ talking to here? Is he talking to an individual? No, he’s talking to a church. He’s not knocking at someone’s heart, he is knocking on the door of a dead church and there are no Christians inside to hear his voice.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Verse 20, along with verse 21,
v.21 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.
Remind us that even if we find ourselves in this church, Christ knows his saints and promises that they will share in his inheritance in Heaven.
So the church at Laodicea is the church where people are in charge instead of God, where the congregation makes decisions instead of the pastor. Johnny Hunt, who is the senior pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, decided to build a new bigger church in Woodstock a few years ago, as he announced this to the congregation, someone asked, “What do the deacons think about this?” Johnny Hunt replied, “Deacons wait tables, this is my church.” And his church has done very well and is one of very few mega-churches that remains faithful to the Bible.
Jesus Christ hates Laodicea, they make him sick. He says that those he loves, he reproves and disciplines. The worst sign for a church is that they go astray and Christ makes no effort to bring them back.
Even though the United States and Europe are this church, that doesn’t mean we have to be, we can hear his voice and open the door and he will fellowship in a tiny little church like Summit. So lets be zealous, preaching Christ and his sufficiency, and the glory of kingdom come.