The Word This Week

Revelation 3:14...

The final letter to the final church of the seven churches Jesus addresses should be disturbing to all of us.

As in the letter to the church in Sardis, Jesus sees their works and offers no commendation. He sees nothing good in this church. Nothing at all.

This may seem odd since this church in particular has such a high opinion of itself. Jesus here reminds us again we are prone to thinking incorrectly about ourselves and our church. Since Jesus’ opinion is the only one that matters, these letters should be precious to our understanding of what Jesus values above what we think.

This church thought itself wealthy, prosperous and in need of nothing. They could handle things on their own – thank you very much…

In contrast to the churches in Smyrna and in Philadelphia, which thought themselves “poor” and of “little strength,” respectively, this church in Laodicea thought itself in need of nothing. Let that settle in your hearts for a moment. I think Jesus wishes we would.

Jesus has a number of illustrations to offer this church which are meant to be as illuminating as possible. He says they are not wealthy – as they thought themselves to be – but rather poor and destitute. Materially, they had it all, but spiritually they were bereft. What good does it do a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?

He gets at the root of the problem when He says this church is lukewarm. Have their material riches made them lose their sense of total dependence upon Christ? (This can be a real danger for any church existing in a prosperous land such as the United States of America.)

And we must admit we do see ‘lukewarmness’ in the churches in our day, don’t we? Since our material needs are largely met, often to super-abundance, our dependence upon Jesus naturally wanes. Then we add in a veneer of ‘prosperity teaching’ to His church and we find ourselves in a very dangerous place.

These types of ‘Laodicean’ churches have brought their members to a place of demanding God maintain their wealth and their health, (ostensibly by faith,) instead of seeking God’s will for their lives. Those in this condition are not ‘unbelievers,’ (cold,) or ‘believers,’ (hot,) but ‘misbelievers’ – thinking they have all they need to gain eternal life in heaven because they are being told they do.

What is missing from this church is the abiding presence of Christ. He’s left the building because He was not needed any longer.

Fortunately, it is not too late – for those who will repent and answer His knock at the door.

Pastor Bill