Lessons from Revelation: The church at Laodicea

The last of the seven churches that Jesus mentions in Revelation is in Laodicea, and it’s fitting that it should be last because it’s the one most like most congregations today.  In Revelation 3:15-21, Jesus tells the Laodiceans:

15′ I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.  16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.  17’Because you say, ” I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.  19 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.  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 will dine with him, and he with Me.

Like the other four troubled churches that Jesus speaks to in Revelation, He gives both warning and encouragement.  But the warning is one of the sternest given in the 2nd and 3rd chapters.  This is a congregation that can’t decide if it wants to be for or against Jesus.  He calls them lukewarm – they’re not hot or cold.

And isn’t that the way many Christians today are?  They attend services on Sunday morning and maybe even Bible Study on Wednesday night, but outside of those two hours, they’re just kind of meh.  They want the benefits of being in the club without paying its dues.

But Jesus is also very clear in Mark 9:40 when He says

40 “For he who is not against us is for us.

And in Matthew 25:31-34, Jesus discusses the result of being on God’s side or working against Him:

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats ;  33 and He will put the sheep  on His right, and the goats  on the left.  34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

The Laodiceans were in danger of becoming goats, but Jesus tells them something encouraging as well:  they can change their path and Jesus will accept them back!

What a glorious and wonderful Father we serve, who loved us enough to send His Son to die when we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8), and loves us enough to reprove and rebuke us so we work towards perfection (Hebrews 12:1-6), and still sees fit to accept us when we repent, despite those imperfections (1 John 1:9).

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