Lesson 9 Rev 3:14-22 Laodicea - The Church of the People 8/3/09

Uploaded by ALSWTLPC22 on 13.01.2012

Welcome to Lesson 9, the Book of Revelation. This is the last of the seven churches. I
will complete Chapter 3 and this section. Many of you may know that the number seven
in the Bible represents completion. This lesson should be the easiest to identify with and
understand. The seventh church represents what we are living in today. I admit from
the start that this lesson may offend some who listen. But remember that this description
or warning comes from Jesus Christ.
It helped me understand the current trend in churches today and that this is the last
stage, and Jesus knew that this would happen. Jesus described it as a lukewarm church. Many
churches today are focused on meeting the needs of what people want. Making people feel
comfortable becomes a priority over seeking Jesus Christ. As I'll describe Laodicea, see
if you can identify today's world especially in the United States.
The city of Laodicea was a center for banking in the area. It was very wealthy and rich.
There was a huge 30,000 capacity theater that was filled almost every day, maybe like shows
in Las Vegas or sports arenas. It was a place where people came to visit and have a good
time. But most interestingly that will come up it was also known for a center to work
on eyes or ophthalmology. What would be talked about more is where and how they got their
They got it from a small city called Hierapolis six miles away, which had hot springs, and
they tried to build a system to transport the hot water from these springs probably
for hot tubs and they sold it for rejuvenation. Things like that are still sold today. There
was no hot water heaters back then. You had to boil water and this was the way to get
it. But they miscalculated the distance, and by the time that the water got to Laodicea,
it was not hot, it wasn't cold, but it was lukewarm. And this is the description Jesus
will use for the city. They are not intimate with the Lord, neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm.
Now, all the other churches were addressed in the first statement. For instance, "To
the angel of the church in Ephesus write.", "To the angel of the church in Pergamum",
"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write." There's a very subtle difference when
it comes to the church in Laodicea. It says, "And on to the angel of the church of the
Laodicean." That's in the King James Version. Jesus is saying, "It's your church. It's of
you. It has a little bit of me but the way I want it to be." Laodicea means – "Laos"
means "people" and "dicea" – which comes the word "democracy" – "rule". So, the name
literally means "people rule".
In a church, if the people are in control, it's not being led by the Spirit. Or they
may take some of what the Bible says but just the parts they like or choose to share. Now,
we saw this already in previous churches before. And heard a pretty extreme example, as people
will come up with their own philosophies.
Actor Jim Carrey during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she asked him, "What's your
motto for living?" And he said, "I am heaven." And she looked at him and said, "Did you just
make that up?" "No," he said. "I believe heaven is not a place we're waiting for or where
we go, but it's here and now, and when I get off center I remember I am heaven." And Oprah
Winfrey responded, "Well, that's deep. I like that." And we know that Oprah Winfrey has
her own opinions as well.
You see that both these people take sections of the Bible they like and apply it and use
it, choosing parts of the Bible they like and coming up with the own religion, philosophy
and excluding everything else the Bible says.
14b: "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation
of God." The Amen – so be it – means finality. It's not fickle or flip-flopping back and
forth. And you see the city of Laodicea was put in a place that was militarily indefensible,
so they could not protect themselves from other people coming in. They were always compromising
with their enemies. Just like today, people in church, they're fickle and flip-floppy.
They hear something they don't like and they leave. Someone gives them counsel or identifies
sin in their life, they're gone. They didn't like what they heard. Or they depend on a
person, and they do something or they don't do something, and they let you down, and then
you get mad at them.
Well, people are going to let you down. People are not the answer. Jesus is the answer. You
must seek the Lord, for the Lord is our strength, our song, and our salvation. People could
not carry you on their back, but Jesus can. Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to me, all of you
who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." If they keep going to, depending
on people. They can help you, but you're going to wear them out.
14c: "The faithful and true witness." Witness means martyr. He wants your life to be so
much like Him. The people, they see such a difference in you they want to know why.
"The beginning of the creation of God." John Chapter 1: "In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and was God in the beginning. Through
Him, all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made." He's saying,
"I'm the Amen. I'm the true witness. I was there at the beginning of the earth. And I
know everything that was made, so listen up!"
Verse 15: "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either
one or the other." Just like the water that came down from the other city, it was neither
hot nor cold. He's saying, "If you're cold I can convict you." If you're hot He can use
you. If you're lukewarm, going back and forth, this is what He wants to do – Verse 16:
"So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of
my mouth." He says, "I can't stand it or swallow it."
You may compare it to a cup of coffee or hot tea. And you pick it up thinking it's hot
and you start to drink it and you just – you spit it out of your mouth because it's lukewarm.
You just can't swallow it. But Jesus is saying here, Verse 17: "You say, 'I am rich; I have
acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched,
pitiful, poor, blind and naked." He's saying you're blinded to your own true condition,
and that's how many people walk around today. They're self-sufficient. They're taking care
of – and they think they're okay.
Verse 18: "I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become
rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to
put on your eyes, so you can see." In Verse 18, He is speaking to those in the church
that do not see these things. "I counsel you to buy me gold, refined in fire, so you may
become rich." He's saying get into the fire, jump into trials, to battles, struggles. Think
of the examples in the last study – William Carey – his greatest ability was his availability
and he went to India to share the Gospel. You say, "Well, what do I do?" Well, just
– you got to jump into battle because we are in a spiritual war.
In Ephesians 6:11 and 12, it says, "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take
your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers and against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." You got to stay in the fight
because the less people that are in the fight, the harder it is for the others.
18b: "And white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful –." We have to get back
to grace and realize that our works are nothing. In Isaiah 64, it says, "All of us become like
one who is unclean, and all righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like
a leaf, and like the wind our sins are swept away." We have to realize we're nothing without
Jesus, and we have to worship Him, but He does say in Isaiah 61:10, "I delight greatly
in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and a bride adorns herself with jewels."
18c: "And salve to put on your yes, so you can see." He's saying get help from the doctor,
and this is a place in Laodicea where they went to get their eyes worked on. Whatever
they did I'm not sure. But Jesus, in John Chapter 9, uses the most unusual eye salve
ever used. There is a blind man who was born blind from birth. They asked Him why this
man was blind. Did his parents sin or did he sin? Jesus says neither. And then after
He said it, He spit on the ground, made some mud with his saliva. He put it on the man's
eyes. He said, "Go," He told him. "Wash him in the pool of Siloam," which means "sent
one". So the man went and washed and came home seeing!
It must have been a rough journey. Hopefully, someone helped him. But Jesus heals our blindness
in the same way. Mud is the irritant, and He will put people in situations and trials
in our life that irritate us, and we want to get it out. Sometimes, we just say, "Well,
forget it. I'm not going there anymore. I'm not talking to that person anymore." We have
to be cleansed like going to the "sent one", just like this blind man, Jesus Christ, and
be washed by the living water and where we could pour out our heart to Him and confess
our sins and talk and speak and seek answers and hear from Him. There are too many times
we go to others with our problems. And Jesus wants us to go to Him first.
Verse 19: "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent." He's
saying to this church, "You still got time. You can come back, and the reason I'm talking
so direct is I love you."
I remember back in my high school days. Coach Wilson, my basketball coach, my freshman year
I was a very intense player. Many times, he would say, "Lamp, Lamp, Lamp, just relax.
Come here. Shoot the ball. Make the shot. If you can make this shot you can score twenty
points a game." And he will be after me all the time. In the first season, I started,
I was team captain, and I heard my name a lot. In my sophomore year, I made J.V., and
I heard my name a lot until I got sick and I was out five games. And when I came back,
I would sit on the bench and I'd just wait for hearing my name called. And in my junior
year, during tryouts, I heard my name, but it was, "You're off the team. You got no value."
To you guys and gals, the coaches are always pushing you because they know your potential,
and they want the best for you. When you go to church and you hear a message that pierces
your soul and you feel challenged, it's good because you're in the game. If you weren't,
maybe you're on the bench, or worse, you're not even on the team.
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." We use this to people who
don't know Christ. But here, He's talking about a church, and Jesus will say, "I'm on
the outside of this church, and I'm knocking, and I'm knocking. Could I please come in?"
Remember what we talked about the last twenty-five years. There's been a movement to make the
church more seeker-sensitive or people seeker-sensitive. Let's make it comfortable for people. Let's
make them feel welcome and copy what the world is doing.
The TV show "Cheers" where you want to go where everyone knows your name – [theme
from Cheers] – and will only sing a few songs and not get too excited and will make
church entertaining. In our physical or flesh, we like that, but after a while, it's not
so much about seeking Jesus, but it promotes dependency on people. And it puts more pressure
on pastors and leaders.
Bill Hybels at Willow Creek Association admitted that this was a mistake, and when they did
a poll of their 25,000 congregation, they realized that people's lives were not changing.
A big verse for them was in 1 Corinthians 9. It says, "I've become all things to all
men so that by all possible means I might save someone." But how far do you go?
Now, I commend Bill Hybels for making this statement. This is exactly what Jesus had
warned about. And many of the efforts that he put together were good, trying to reach
people, and I understand. Like I said, I attended two of those types of church, and it is time
for them to change things around and the trend, and this is the exact warning Jesus is giving.
He's recognized it, and they got time to change. And so it's a good thing.
Jesus said in John 4:23, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when true worshipers will
worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father
seeks." You see, the seeker that we must be concerned with is Jesus. We have to go to
church and seek Him, and in the Book of Acts, the apostles were up in the upper room, and
he started worshipping the Lord, and they heard what was going on. They said, "What's
going on?" And that day, Peter spoke to the crowd, and three thousand people were saved.
And by being different and true worshipers is how we affect people. If you're lukewarm
or too much like them, what's the difference?
Many churches use their own model, and they have systems to grow a church Acts Chapter
2:42 through 47. But there's also in Acts Chapter 6:3 where they were having problems
when the church got too big and there were too many needs so they said in Acts 6:3, "Brothers,
choose seven men from among you who are known to be full with the Spirit and wisdom. We
will turn this responsibility over to them, and we will give our attention to prayer and
the ministry of the Word." So they knew that the most important thing was the Word of God
and preaching of it. They needed to get themselves free to do that. And in Verse 7, "So the Word
of God spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large
number of priests became obedient to the faith." So it's the preaching of the Word that people
Verse 21: "To him who overcomes I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just
as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He, who has an ear, let him
hear what the Spirit says to the churches." What a day that will be and an honor where
we can sit with Him on His throne, not like in the audience watching Him. He's saying,
"You still have time. Don't get drowsy in your faith." We can't get sidetracked. We
get caught up in possessions. We get enslaved by debt with other things, and it all keeps
us from spending time with Jesus. And that is where we get our strength. Fellowship is
great, and we do get some strength from people.
Proverbs 27:17: "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
Ecclesiastes 4:12: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three
strands is not quickly broken."
1 Samuel 23:16: "And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength
in God when he was down."
But ultimately, our strength must come from trusting the Lord.
Exodus 15:2: "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is
my God. I will praise him, my father's God, I will exalt him."
2 Samuel 22:33: "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."
Psalms 46:1: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
And I can keep reading on and on the scriptures that talk about that.
And that brings us to the four applications of this church of Laodicea. Historically,
it begins around 1900, but continues through the tribulation. Many people will be left
behind, but like every church, there are those that are changed and truly saved. Laodicea
positive comment – there is none because Jesus is on the outside trying to get in.
The corrective statement is saying, "This is when the church had grown wealthy and self-sufficient,
not needing Christ, rejecting some of His doctrines." Christ is outside this church.
This church feels they're wealthy but they are actually poor, wretched, and naked. The
eternal motivation is to stay close to Jesus and seek Him and we get to sit with Him on
His throne in heaven.
And how does it apply to you personally? Don't get spiritually drowsy or sloppy or overweight
or hang on to the fact that "Once saved, always saved, and I can do whatever I want. I'm not
under the law and I can do all things." Don't be in that place. Jesus wants you hot for
Him. And remember, our strength is in the Lord.
So that completes the seven churches. We're in the seventh epic right now. In Chapter
4, we're going to be caught up in heaven. And Chapters 4 and 5 describe heaven. In the
next lesson, I will give some reasons why I believe we will be raptured before the tribulation.
But here is a very simple one. Chapter 4 and 5 describe heaven and the church being in
heaven. In Chapter 6, the tribulation starts. Well, 4 and 5 always come before 6, so just
follow the book. I have an operation on July 17th. I'm getting a diaphragm simulator put
in. I'm going to try my best to get Lesson 10 in before that, but I've hoped you've been
blessed by these messages.