THE CHURCH AT LAODICEA


Before we examine the last of the seven letters, let’s look back to Revelation, chapter one. While John was exiled on the Island of Patmos, he had an astonishing encounter with the Living Lord Jesus! In a voice as loud as a trumpet, Jesus commanded John to write these seven letters. Jesus was the author. John was the scribe (Revelation 1:9-11).

Before Jesus began to dictate the letters, John gazed upon the glorified Carpenter, the itinerant Rabbi that had been crucified, buried, and resurrected. Once He had been the Humble Servant that had washed John’s feet. Now He was the Conquering King! He was regal, royal, magnificent, majestic! (Revelation 1:12-18). Vocabulary falls short.

The King of kings stood among golden seven lampstands and held in the palm of His hand seven stars (Revelation 1:12-13, 16). “Write what you have seen, what is, and what will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches” (Revelation 1:19-20 CSB).

Jesus stands among the seven lampstands... the seven churches. He holds seven stars... seven angels.

Seven letters. Each begins, “Write to the angel of the church in...” (Revelation 2:1, 2:8, 2:12, 2:18, 3:1, 3:7 and 3:14). Maybe the “angel” is heaven’s representative, the guardian angel specifically assigned to a congregation. But why would Jesus ask John to write a letter to an angel? Maybe, since the word angel simply means messenger, the “angel” is the pastor or leader commissioned to serve as God’s ambassador and spokesman. Regardless, the letter is ultimately a message to the body of believers... the church... to us.

As He began His last letter, the Lord reminded the congregation at Laodicea that He is the Amen. The Greek word “amen” was transliterated from Hebrew. It means trustworthy or truth! He, Jesus is the Truth! (John 14:6). What He writes to every church is true. Listen up!

Laodicea was famous for three things. It was a wealthy banking center. It was famous for a particular eye ointment. And the beautiful black wool harvested from the area’s sheep made costly capes and coats. Laodicea was rich, had healthy eyes, and beautiful apparel. Jesus says of the church, “you don’t realize that you are ... poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17, CSB). Ouch!

Indeed, Jesus said, the church at Laodicea was like tepid, stagnant, lukewarm water. Nasty! “I am going to vomit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16, CSB).

Why? There’s a simple answer. It’s obvious, isn’t it?

Jesus was outside in the cold! Like a gentleman, Jesus was outside, knocking on the door (Revelation 3:20). Laodicea was doing church without Jesus!

Without Jesus, any and every church is poor, blind and naked! Thankfully, Jesus is willing to enter, to have fellowship with His children, and to crown us as conquerors.

The decision is ours. Shouldn’t we open the door?

© 2020