Laodicea, the Rich/Poor Church and Neutral Church

Vol.4, No.35 – September 1, 2019

Countdown to the end . . . Laodicea -#21

And to the angel of the Church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God says this . . . He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  –Revelation 3:14, 22

Laodicea, a commercial and administrative center was the wealthiest city in Phrygia. Following the earthquake of 17 A.D. the city needed no help or funds to reconstruct, refusing every offer. The city is well-known for its banking, linen/wool (especially black wool), and medical schools.

An eye ointment was developed in Laodicea; the substance provided a powder for actually healing the eye.

There is no commendation provided by Christ to the Church at Laodicea, only condemnation. The Church at Laodicea is as poor a body as Philadelphia is good as a body. Yet, we see the offer of grace in Christ; holding out a promise if they should repent.

This is an outwardly impressive church; however, spiritually, the church is distressing. When a church impresses itself, it becomes indifferent to its own spiritual need. Can you say flashing spotlights and vapor; professional in its programs and music, impressive in its staff?

The Church at Laodicea came to doubt the absolute and unique authority of Christ and His Word; then imbibed in humanistic philosophy. Can you say, changing to get along with the culture? Can you say getting rid of the old teachings of Scripture?

Today, sadly, evangelical churches are ripe, in great numbers, to acquiesce in compromise, neutrality, and self-centeredness, just like the Church at Laodicea.

While the current Church is enamored with “Darwinist evolutional philosophy” in its broad approach to church life, the philosophy began much earlier. All false philosophies begin in the throes of “new” approaches to humanistic cultures. Sadly, too many churches follow along.

Not long ago a major church pastor of a “mega church” proclaimed that in the end, love wins. He would not preach on the judgment of hell, for he did not believe in hell in his philosophy. His preaching does not focus on God the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ as the provider of our salvation, or even the Holy Spirit as “another of the same kind.” He focuses upon what man thinks about God in a humanistic way.  Remember, how we think about God determines how we live under God.

We live in a culture that is forever attempting to be “politically correct.” The culture is in an identity crisis, so it announces it is only right that people are permitted to identify their sex based on their feelings, not how they were born – and that the church should be neutral. So the church changes biblical language. People are not homosexual, not perverts; they are “gay” and live an alternate lifestyle. The Scripture is not neutral, it is specific. The Church at Laodicea came to reject the Word in favor of its own politically correct language. Just to make behavior choices acceptable. Just change the word . . .

The Church at Laodicea has an identity crisis:

  1. She is neither hot nor cold, just tepid; lost in her identity with Christ
  2. She is beggarly poor; self-sufficient, worldly, having eye problems, wearing the kinds of garments that change what others think of them
  3. She is rich, but poor; in need of a refined gold that the world cannot give
  4. She is estranged from an intimacy with God
  5. She knows what it is like to be spit out; but in tepidness, they remain
  6. She has opportunity to reconcile, to repent; but she does not answer the door

The word tepid is used poignantly. Laodicea did not have wells for water supply. A viaduct system carried water from the mountain region into the city. By the time the water arrived in the city, the water was tepid. Most of us have a problem with tepid water. Here in Georgia, people use lots of ice to avoid tepid water.

Tepidity is a great illustration for being neutral – neither hot nor cold. Easily understood by the hearer.

Jesus introduces Himself with a deep significance; He gives the Laodicean believers the key to what they need:

  1. Jesus is the Amen – the so be it – the truly One
  2. Jesus is the faithful witness; He does not hold back. Jesus not only tells truth, He tells the hard truths. Jesus faithfully, plainly, clearly reveals to the Church everything that the Church needs to understand
  3. Jesus is the true witness, the verily, the Amen, Amen, the utterly true, the One through whom God speaks in these last days, the One with the last Word, the reliable One
  4. Jesus is the ruler of God’s creation; the beginning of God’s creation (John 1:1). Through Him, all things were made; without Him, nothing was made that has been made. Jesus is not only the ruler, he is the origin. The Greek word for creation does not simply express the earth, it expresses the entire universe.

So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth! Revelation 3:16

He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches! Revelation 2:7

Behold, Jesus is coming soon to take you home to Heaven; His words are faithful and true  Revelation 22:6

Life Application

Tepid water, tepid food, tepid love, tepid obedience, tepid witness, tepid doctrine, tepid church – which of these are a concern; or are you neutral?

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

September 1, 2019

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