Revelation 3:14-22
The Church at Laodicea
 
(Rev 3:14 KJV)
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Our focus now shifts to the seventh church which is Laodicea. We are given a description of the Lord Jesus Christ who is called “the Amen.” The word “amen” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “truly, surely, let it be.” So the Lord Jesus, the Amen, is sure and true in His character. He is also called “the faithful and true witness.” The church at Laodicea seemed to have lost their testimony because of the way the Lord Jesus describes this church. He calls Himself the faithful and true witness in contrast to the failed witness and the faithlessness of this church. He is also described as the beginning of the creation of God. This is not saying that Jesus was created but that He was involved in the creation of the world and the universe plus He was the creator of the church which means that He has the authority to discipline the churches as needed.

(Eph 3:9 KJV) And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

(Rev 4:11 KJV) Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.


(Rev 3:15 KJV)
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

Here the church is being told that the Lord Jesus is fully aware of their works but this church was not being commended for their works. Jesus describes this church as being neither cold nor hot. This description is taken from the waters which flowed around the city. There was a nearby place called Hierapolis which had hot springs of water and they had a medicinal effect. It was the hot springs in some health spas where the body can be healed of certain ailments when submerged in the water. In the same region of Laodicea was another cold spring which flowed from the area of Colossae and the water was very pure and had a healing effect on the body also. Then we come to Laodicea. This city had attempted to pipe the water into it but by time the water reached the city it was lukewarm and emetic. If you are not familiar with something being emetic, it is something which induces vomiting. The modern medical profession uses something today called the syrup of ipecac which induces vomiting. The Lord is telling them He would like them to be either like the hot springs or the pure cold spring water. The Lord is not telling this congregation that he would prefer them being cold with the meaning that cold would be totally askew of the true Gospel. Jesus wants His churches to have an impact for the Gospel and not to have a dead congregation.

(Rev 3:16 KJV)
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Since the water which came into Laodicea was lukewarm and of an emetic nature, it was not good for drinking as it only made people sick. It had no properties to heal the body. The true Gospel brings spiritual healing to an individual.
(1 Pet 2:24 KJV) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. Here the Lord Jesus is stating that the witness of the Laodicean church is just like that water. It does not possess the spiritual healing which the true Gospel possesses. The result of their compromising, weak testimony is that it is only good to be vomited out. Remember when the Lord was teaching His parables concerning the seed falling on good ground. The seed has to sprout and bring forth the fruit. (Mat 13:23 KJV) But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. If the message that is preached is only worthy of being vomited out, then it can never germinate in the good soil, which is the Elect of God. Since the message of Laodicea was of this level, the Lord Jesus stated that He would spue them out of His mouth.

(Rev 3:17 KJV)
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Here are the reasons that the testimony and message of the Laodicean church was so lukewarm. In general, they did not see their true spiritual condition. First they thought that because they were a wealthy church and had much material wealth, they needed nothing. This is the great mistake that many mega-churches make today. They believe because they have a dome and have an attendance of 25,000 or more that they somehow have the blessing of God upon them because of their increase in wealth. However, when one analyzes the Gospel messages coming from these prosperity domes, you will find a man-centered philosophy normally centered around the chief religious thief known as the Pastor, who drives around in a $75,000 car and has made millions in the ministry. Poor people send in their dollars and these religious criminals just get rich by promising the people anything.

Jesus uses five descriptive words to express the true condition of this church which can be applied faithfully to all mega-churches with false messages.

Wretched - It carries with it the meaning of being devastated. In 2005 we saw two hurricanes, Katrina and Rita devastate the coasts along the Gulf of Mexico. To be devastated is to lay in waste or ruin.

Miserable - It carries with it the meaning of “pitiable.” It was church which needed pity because of their deceit.

Poor - It carries with it the meaning of “beggarly or destitute.” This church, while being rich in material wealth was really a church of spiritual beggars. They based their spirituality upon what they physically saw in their material wealth.
(Prov 13:7 KJV) There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

Blind - The word means exactly as translated. This church was blind to its own spiritual deficiencies. When someone equates material wealth with being spiritually rich, they are blind to their own deception. The condition of blindness creates a total inability to see. Spiritual blindness is the most devastating of all.

Naked - This word is also translated as is. To be spiritually naked is to be without a Gospel covering. Each true Christian wears the robe of Christ’s righteousness.
(Isa 61:10 KJV) I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. Those who appear naked before the throne are those who are without a Savior. This church was naked because they had no true Gospel coming from their assembly.

(Rev 3:18 KJV)
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

In this verse the Lord Jesus is not condemning this church but He is giving them the antidote to their situation. There was still hope for this church as there is for all churches which have voided themselves of the true Gospel. The first bit of counsel they receive was to buy gold which was tried in the fire so they could be truly rich. The gold which is tried in the fire is the true gold of faith.
(1 Pet 1:7 KJV) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: The other churches were facing persecution because of the faith in Christ which they possessed and propagated. The Lord Jesus is telling this church that they need to exchange their material wealth for the wealth of the true spiritual gold which is precious gift of faith or the true Gospel.

Then they are to buy white raiment from the Lord Jesus. Laodicea became famous for its product of black wool fabric. The white raiment would be in contrast to the black fabric they would have been familiar with. The church at Sardis was promised white raiment or garments to those that overcome. Christ was telling the Laodiceans that if they stop placing their faith in the material wealth and place it in Him, then they too will walk in victory in Christ.
(Rev 3:4-5 KJV) Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. {5} He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. That white raiment or the true Gospel will clothe them with the robe of Christ’s righteousness and they no longer will be naked.

Then they are to buy eyesalve from the Lord Jesus so they will be able to see. In Laodicea there was school of medicine and they used something called Phrygian powder which was placed on the eyes in the form of a salve. The Laodiceans had thought that their spiritual sight was very good because they based their level of spirituality on their level of material wealth. The Lord is telling them that they are spiritually blind and they need a spiritual eyesalve, which would be a return to the true Gospel, and then they will see how spiritually blind they really were. When a person comes out of a false church or a cult, and then after a period of time they look back and spiritually assess where they were, their eyes become opened ten times wider to the fact that they were deluded. It is like receiving eyesight from being blind all your life.

(Rev 3:19 KJV)
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

The Lord Jesus is stating here that just because He rebukes and chastens someone or a church does not mean that He has lost His love for them. The entire Bible was given as a guidebook for the churches plus it is also the manual for true doctrine. Whenever a church or a Christian departs from the truth, the Bible is there to bring us back to pure doctrine. The word “chasten” carries with it the meaning of “discipline.”
(2 Tim 3:16 KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: The Lord is commanding this church to repent of their compromising ways. The words “be zealous” and “repent” are in the imperative mood which means they are commands and not suggestions. The word “be zealous” carries with it the meaning of “strive or fervently desire.” The love of Jesus is qualified as He loves His Elect and when they get off the straight and narrow, He has the right to discipline His own children. He is commanding this church to repent or to change their ways completely and grasp on to the true Gospel which will give a true testimony to the outside world and will be conducive for spiritual growth of its own people.

(Rev 3:20 KJV)
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

This verse has been used by those who hold to free will doctrine that Jesus is knocking at the door and the person inside must open it to let Him in. The key phrase in this verse is “if any man hear my voice.” In this section on the churches the Lord closes each one as follows:

(Rev 3:22 KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Only the true believer is truly qualified to hear the Lord Jesus Christ because they have been regenerated unto salvation and are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives the child of God spiritual ears to discern spiritual truth. The disciples on the road to Emmaus did not understand the Scriptures until Christ Himself opened up their spiritual ears.

(Luke 24:44-45 KJV) And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. {45} Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

So in Rev. 3:20 Christ is teaching us that only those who are already saved will hear His voice and open the door. The warning is to the church that those who understand these spiritual truths which are being taught are not to reject them. Once a church repents of their evil teachings and comes back to the Bible as their source book, then it is like Christ coming back into the church and having fellowship with the true believers once again. This is symbolized as Christ having supper with them and they with Him.
(1 John 1:3 KJV) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. True fellowship is with the Father and the Son. Rev. 3:20 has nothing to do with a free will gospel, it has to do with a biblically qualified response to the warnings which are given to the church and the principle carries over to individual Christians. When a Christian forsakes a sin they have been partaking in, it is like Christ once again coming to intimately fellowship with that believer again.

(Rev 3:21 KJV)
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Those who are the true believers have overcome the world and Satan through the Lord Jesus Christ and He grants us to sit with Him in His throne.
(Rev 1:6 KJV) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. When we read about the believer sitting down it means a position of finality in that whatever work was in view is now completed and it also means that we are ruling. The Lord Jesus overcame on the cross as He completed God’s salvation program for the Elect and now sits on His throne as ruler and completer of God’s salvation plan for the Elect. The Lord Jesus shares the throne of heaven with His Father and in like manner we rule as we partake of the throne of the Lord Jesus.

(Rev 3:22 KJV)
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The last letter to the churches ends in like manner as the other six. Those who have the spiritual ears, the truly saved, must heed the warnings written herein. For it is only the truly saved who can hear the spiritual teachings and implement them to bring about a repentance in the churches and in individual lives. It must be noted that these warnings are from the Holy Spirit and not the Apostle John, which means they are of divine origin and must not be treated as if it is just a commentary or a human dissertation.
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