The Church of Laodicea Pt. 2
Finally, I am getting around to writing the second part of John’s letter to the church in Laodicea found in Revelation 3: 14-22. Here is what the Apostle had to write:
14 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.
15 ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 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. 18 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. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so 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 eat with him, and he with me. 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. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
In part one, I addressed verses 15 and 16 and explained that being a luke warm Christian is not an option. In this part, I will focus on verse 17. So, let’s get into it.
Verse 17 starts by highlighting the mindset of the common Laodicean. John writes that the Laodiceans say they are rich, they have prospered, and they do not need anything. This mindset may have stemmed from their cities self-sufficiency. This is what the ESV Bible’s commentary had to say about this:
Damaged by an earthquake in a.d. 60, self-sufficient Laodicea, a commercial center and site of thriving medical and textile industries, declined imperial disaster relief. The city did not see itself as “poor, blind, and naked” (v. 17), nor did the complacent church within it.
When the earthquake hit, the city declined help from the empire. They didn’t see themselves as needing aid. They were a tough people and they got back on their feet on their own. This is one example of why John writes that they saw themselves as not needing anything. With that background in mind, we move to the later half of verse 17 where John writes this:
…not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
John strikes at the heart of the Laodicean’s problem with this statement. The church sees themselves as strong, but they fail to see their weakness. This is the root-cause for their lukewarmness. If you see yourself as self-sufficient and not needing anything then why do you need God? When you have a mindset like the Laodiceans, you make God just something that you can pick up or leave behind, instead of something that you need. When you don’t see the depth of your sin, you fail to see the depth of God’s love. When you fail to see that God provides for you, you fail to see that you are poor, blind, and naked. Just like the Laodiceans, this problem has plagued the western church.
We think that because we have technology, we have all the answers. We think because we have made amazing medical advances, we don’t need God’s sustaining power. So, the Laodicean problem still remains…we don’t realize that we are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
When we fail to recognize our sin, we fail to recognize our need for God’s grace.
Thanks for reading.
- The Church of Laodicea Pt. 1 (AnotherChristianBlog.org)
Posted on October 15, 2012, in Christianity, Culture, Life, Theology and tagged Christianity, Church Culture, Culture, God, john, Laodicean Church, life, reformed theology, Revelation 3:14-22, Sin, theology, truth. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.