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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Are you lukewarm? (Revelation 3)

The 7th church of Revelation, unlike the previous 6 received no commendation from Jesus. They received a reprimand and a warning to repent. But even to this church, Jesus clearly communicates that He loves them and does not want them to perish.

There is some thought that in addition to personal messages of encouragement, warning, and rebuke that these messages could also represent periods of church history. If that's the case, we are currently in the Laodicean Church Age.

The Laodicean age would be characterized as worldly, materialistic, complacent, and sleepy. So we want to ask three questions:

1) Does the description of this church match the state of our "Christian" churches today?

2) Does the description of this church match our own church?

3) Does the description of this church match our own faith?

To understand the message to Laodicea, we first need to know a little about this city:

  • In Roman times this city was known as the chief city of wealth.

  • It was also known for clothing and carpets made from black wool.

  • It had a medical school which produced an eye salve.

  • Laodicea lacked water. So they had an elaborate aqueduct system to pipe water in. But by the time it arrived in Laodicea, the water was lukewarm.

  • The church of Laodicea thought they were rich and wealthy. Actually, out of all the churches in Asia, Laodicea was the wealthiest, materially. But Jesus said to them you are poor and wretched. Why?

Let's look at Jesus' message to this church.

Revelation 3:15-19 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, I wish that you were cold or hot. [16] So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. [17] Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. [18] I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed, and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. [19] Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

I think this is my favorite message to the churches because there is so much application here.

First, it's so clear that if we spend a little time looking up Laodicea and what was going on in this city, the message Jesus spoke to them makes so much more sense. All of Scripture is like that. We just need to be willing to take the time to get the full understanding of the passage and then we can see clearly how it applies to our own lives.

Secondly, this church was not in gross sin. They were complacent, sleepy, lukewarm. They had a religion but they kept it to themselves. They gathered for church every now and then. They read God's Word once in a while. They worshiped now and then but not regularly. Does this sound familiar?

The church of Laodicea had a religion but not a relationship with Jesus. Jesus was an after thought, on the back burner of their lives rather than the Lord God of their lives front and center and before everything that they did.

Yet in their complacency, Jesus said "Repent, I love you, I don't want you to perish." But He also let them choose their eternal destiny with or without Him.

How many Laodiceans do we see today? It's the majority of the people we see isn't it?

But we can choose not to be Laodicean. We can choose to lean into Jesus with every fiber of our being, praising Him, worshiping Him, staying in His Word, and putting on His armor, daily. When we do, others around us will see His Light within us. So lean in, put your armor on, and then be ready to give an account for the hope that is within you.

Dear Lord, Thank you for the messages to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Thank you for the encouragement, warnings, instructions, rebukes, and promises. Thank you for loving each one of us enough that You don't want any of us to perish. Thank you for being long suffering, waiting and waiting for just one more person to choose to repent and follow you. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit so that Your Light shines through the darkness. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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