By Michael Julian
Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church, Kenton
Focal Passage: Revelation 3:14-22
This passage brings back memories. In seminary, I had the daunting task of writing a 20-22 page paper on this letter to Laodicea. Where was I going to locate enough source material to fulfill the assignment? This venture haunted this procrastinator’s dreams. I digress. Let’s carry on!
When we look at Laodicea we discover a self-sufficient city. They were famous for their banking, their black wool, and their eye ointment. But for all their wealth and fame, they were beset with a water supply problem. Suffice it to say at this juncture, that their physical water supply problem was eclipsed by their spiritual water supply problem. Our sufficiency is found in Christ alone.
Revelation 3:14-17: The pattern holds form. The angel is addressed, followed by a pertinent description of Jesus, and then a statement of knowledge that will commend the church or chastise the church, or both. Laodicea receives the all-knowing gaze of the faithful and true Witness, without any words of commendation. In fact, the language utilized here speaks of being absolutely repulsed by the taste of their works.
I have often heard it said that God prefers me to be spiritually fervent, meaning hot, or spiritually dormant, meaning cold, because being lukewarm is worse than being totally turned off to God.
Understand that being lukewarm is beyond distasteful to Jesus. The word used here signifies being vomited out of one’s mouth. That is a violent expulsion. So, if that’s not the meaning, then what is the meaning?
Remember, we mentioned Laodicea had a water supply problem. They had to bring water in from neighboring cities to remedy this shortage. One location contained hot springs, and the other location had cool, refreshing water. By the time the water traveled through the aqueducts, it was neither hot nor cold. It had lost its soothing properties and its refreshment properties. Just like the water, Laodicea wasn’t suitable for its intended purpose. Why?
Jesus answers that question in verse 17. The Laodicean church had become self-sufficient. Like the city, they sensed they were without need because they had wealth, fine clothing, and good medicine. What they failed to see spiritually was the condition of their heart. This church was the very opposite of their self-perception.
Revelation 3:18-19: What Laodicea needed was a come to Jesus moment. They needed to see themselves through the eyes of the Amen, the faithful and true Witness. Once again, Jesus confronts His church with a call to repentance. They needed to submit to His loving rebuke and discipline. This was their greatest need, and Jesus stands as the only remedy. And He is your only remedy.
Revelation 3:20-22: This passage is so joyous. Christ promises to come in and dine with us, if we will open the door upon which He knocks. Jesus is speaking to the church here. This church was steeped in self-sufficiency. Jesus is their remedy. In addition to dining with Jesus, we are given the right to sit down with Jesus on His throne. We are joint-heirs with Christ, and we shall share in His reign, but we will not be equal to Him. What a blessing to His beloved church. Let’s be the church God desires. B&R