Revelation 3:14–22 (NKJV)
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”
The Lord once again opens this letter by describing himself with the true authority only He holds. Faithful, True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God. All of these characteristics show that He rightfully holds all authority.
I think of all seven churches that we have studied, this one holds the greatest reminder. He once again explains to us that He sees everything we do, good and bad. He examines this church and finds them to be neither cold nor hot. They are not rejecting God’s Word in coldness, but they are not hot for it either, they are in a very bad position, they are stuck right in the middle. They know His Word, but do not adhere to it.
As we uncover why it is they have become lukewarm, it may have a lot to do with what we are strive for… success. Whatever we do, we want to be successful in. This city was extremely successful by worldly standards, but they had lost that zeal for the Lord because of it. We may look at a church like this with condemnation, but can we not find ourselves in the same place.
I remember being a young coach, I would go out and buy every coaching book and video I could possibly find. I would read and study and truly depend on those books to bring me the success I was striving for. Season after season I depended upon those books less and less, until I got to the point where I did not use them at all. I knew where the plays and success were coming from, but I did not need those tools any longer. Do we not get to the same place with the Lord sometimes? I know anything good that comes out of my life is because of the Lord, yet I still struggle from time to time with self. If we are not completely dependent upon the Lord, we can fall for the lies our flesh sells us. We can start to think that we are responsible for our success, instead of placing the glory where we belongs.
The Lord proclaims that He will vomit them out of His mouth because of the displeasure He has for them. They think they are wealthy and no longer need the Lord’s strength and wisdom. While they feel they are rich, He calls them wretched, miserable, poor, blind and, naked. What a terrible place to be.
Once again the Lord ends with a great promise, He asks them to be zealous and repent and He will stand at our door and knock. If we open that door with faith, He will come in and dine with us. He is searching us out, He is making himself known to us, He is begging us to come to Him in faith, that we may receive His heavenly riches.
We have seen a lot of commonalities with each of the churches. It is time to reflect upon our relationship with the Lord. Are we lukewarm? Have we turned away from Him? Are we zealous for Him? Look back on chapters two and three often, avoid the things the churches are being rebuked for and strive for the things they are being commended for. It really is quite simple!
Galatians 6:3 (NKJV)
3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.