The Lukewarm Church

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.” ’ ”

Message to the church in Laodicea – Revelation 3:14-22.

To the church in Laodicea, Jesus presents himself as “the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God” (3:14), signifying that all God’s promises are confirmed in Christ (cf. 2 Cor.1:20), all that He says are faithful and true since it is impossible for Him to lie (Heb.6:18), and He is the Being from whom the creation begins, the Word that made all things (John 1:3).

At the outset Jesus says: “I know.” He always knows what each church and individual Christian is thinking, saying, feeling, and doing. He lets the Christians in Laodicea know (3:15) that He is aware “Of their works”: That they are lukewarm.

He “could wish” they “were cold or hot,” one extreme or the other. Since they are just lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, our Lord says that He “will vomit” them out of His mouth. They are tasteless [disgusting] to Him! Just why were they tasteless or insipid to Jesus? Because they said, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” They were spiritually blind. Their materialism had blinded them to the fact that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (3:17). They were spiritually destitute.

Our Lord counsels them to acquire their real needs from Him! He says, “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” (3:18). True riches or treasures are in Christ (Colossians 2:3). He counsels them to acquire these from Him.

“Gold refined in the fire” expresses faith tested by fiery trials; “white raiment,” represents justification, God counts us righteous which is the successful outcome of a tried faith. The eye is here the conscience or inner light of the mind.

Our Lord assures them: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” He calls upon them to “be zealous and repent” (3:20). He further says, “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” (3:21). This He says to the erring Christians of the church in Laodicea implying that He is near. If they hear and obey Him by opening the door of their hearts and minds through repentance, He will enter and they shall partake together of the richness of the feast.

Jesus concludes His message to the church in Laodicea with this promise: “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” (Rev 3:21).

Lesson: Our Lord dislikes lukewarm Christians who are tasteless to Him. He loves us and so He rebukes and chastens to correct us so that we may be in a right relationship with Him. He calls upon us to be zealous for Him. He promises to grant overcoming and faithful Christians to sit with Him on His throne even as He also overcame and sat down with Him Father on His throne. “As he was exalted, so he will exalt all his brethren who win the victory over sin and temptation” [PNT].


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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