Laodicea – “discernment” v14, originally this town was named after Laodice the wife of King Antiochus II in 261BC, and through the centuries it became the regions banking center with many wealthy people living there. It also had a well known school of medicine which made ointments, which Jesus most likely refers to in v18. This is the only congregation of the seven which has no commendations from Christ, only criticisms.
“spew you out of my mouth” v16, This is God’s way of saying that his disappointment with them was awful. But he still loved them, v19. Their “works” were “lukewarm” which means they were apathetic to the core, about living the gospel, laboring to share the gospel was something they didn’t “need” to do, but would do it if it fit into their “rich” lifestyle.
“buy from me gold….white garments…eye-salve” v18, If they are going to repent, it will involve a sacrificial investment because of their poverty, nakedness & blindness. They totally forgot the first beatitude, Mat. 5:3. The church as a whole in the USA today is physically the richest in the history of Christianity, but do we take our spiritual riches seriously? It seems like the Laodicean congregation were all foolish virgins who didn’t invest in what was most important, Matthew 25:9. Solomon said “buy truth, wisdom & instruction and sell it not!” Prov. 23:23. How much have we invested in physical collections, and how much have we invested in spiritual collections?
“if anyone hears…and opens” v20, This congregation seems to have shut Christ out of it’s heart and needed to let him back in! If they were to become overcomers, they must put Christ at the center of their affections, Luke 9:23, DAILY.
Summary of the Seven Congregations:
Ephesus, a hard-working congregation that had let their love for Jesus wane.
Smyrna, this congregation shined with perseverance and endured opposition.
Pergamum, most of the congregation endured temptation, but some were sexually immoral.
Thyatira, this congregation seemed to be tolerating false-teaching, but some remained loving & faithful.
Sardis, they had a few who lived in purity, but most of the congregation were lazy.
Philadelphia, a bright congregation, loving, obedient and steadfast facing persecution.
Laodicea, the only congregation Christ had nothing good to speak of, they suffered from hypocrisy.
Three Facts all the Churches have in Common.
- Christ wants them to know who He is & that He knows who they are. Knowing your Savior is essential to being saved! John 1:10 & 8:32 & 10:14-15 & 21:24, this also defeats gnosticism.
- Christ wants all Christians to know they can Overcome & be Rewarded, 2nd Peter 3:9.
- Each congregation is unique, but also an example for others. Individually a Christian is a living letter, and the congregation is a type of letter as well, 2nd Corinthians 3:1-4 & 1st Peter 4:8
Descriptions of Christ:
2:1, who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands
2:8, the first and the last, who died and came to life
2:12, him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
2:18, the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
3:1, who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
3:7, the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David
3:14, the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation
Christ speaking to the churches in Chapter 2-3 is the same Christ revealed to John in Chapter 1, with the addition of the “key”, in order to keep the church healthy enough to proclaim the Kingdom, you must have the one who possesses the Key, What is true for the apostleship, is true for the church, Matthew 16:9