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Revelation 3:14-22 Laodicea

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Letter to Laodicea

“Laodicea was one of three sister cities in the valley of the Lycus River. Colossae (with famous cold springs), Hierapolis (with hot medicinal springs), and Laodicea were in the region of Phrygia, some forty miles southeast of Philadelphia.” ( Easley, Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. [Nashville: B&H, 1998], 66)

See ( Map A ) for the location of Laodicea, used by permission from Free Bible Images

Follow in Revelation 3:14-22

Characteristic (Easley, 59)

14. “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

The angel is the pastor. It could include the elders, deacons, or other leaders.

Jesus “identified Himself using three divine titles”: (MacArthur, New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. [Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999], 133)

  1. The Amen
    1. Isaiah 65:16
    2. Completely trustworthy and truthful ( Easley, 59)
    3. 2 Corinthians 1:20
  2. The faithful and true Witness
    1. Jesus speaks truth
    2. Trustworthy
    3. Accurate
    4. Testimony is always reliable
    5. John 14:6
  3. Beginning of the creation of God
    1. Christ is the source or origin of creation (MacArthur, 134)
    2. Colossians 1:15-17      Colossians 4:16
    3. “I also shall make him My firstborn” Psalm 89:27
    4. “False teaching about Christ, specifically the denial of His deity, is a hallmark of modern cults as well.” (MacArthur, 134)

Compliment (Easley, 59)

Laodicea along with Sardis received no compliment.

Criticism (Easley, 59)

15. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.

“The Laodiceans built an aqueduct to bring that cold water down from the mountains. When it left the mountains, it was ice cold, but by the time it made that trip all the way down the mountains to Laodicea, it was lukewarm.” (McGee, Thru the Bible: Volume V. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 922)

“Hierapolis had hot medicinal waters; Colossae had cold, pure refreshing water. Both were wonderful. What was terrible was the useless water of Laodicea. We drink hot tea or ice tea, but tea at room temperature is disgusting.” (MacArthur, 59)

Personally, I agree, lukewarm coffee or tea is not good!!

Jesus telling them you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, they knew exactly what he meant. They only had to remember the taste of their water.

Cold Church

1. “Denied every cardinal doctrine of the faith” (McGee, 922)
2. Given over to formality  (McGee, 922)
3. “Active opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (McGee, 922)
4. Reject Jesus (MacArthur, 136)

Hot Church (McGee, 922)

1. Real spiritual fervor
2. Passion for Jesus Christ
3. Holy Spirit led them to their personal relation to Jesus

Many churches in different denominations have departed from faith in Jesus.

They try to remain neutral about faith in Jesus.

The lukewarm “are not genuinely saved, yet they do not reject the gospel”. (MacArthur, 136)

Matthew 7:22-23

16. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

I will spit you out of My mouth

Here I like the KJV “I will spue thee out of my mouth”.

Both spit or spue could be translate “vomit”.

Easley states this “means that he will judge and reject them for their self-righteousness or self-sufficiency (rather than for their lack of spiritual fervor”. (Easley, 59)

What would your friends tell you? Are you self-righteousness or self-sufficient?

Maybe you should ask someone who will tell you the truth!

17. Because you say

Three pictures of the church’s life

  1. I am rich
    1. Brag about being rich and not needing anything
  2. You are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked
    1. The church thought it had righteous character
    2. Instead “it was spiritually wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked”. (MacArthur, 60)
  3. The church thought they had spiritual insight
    1. But they were blind
    2. Laodicea had a medical school
      1. Produced eye salve
      2. Could not save their blind eyes (MacArthur, 60)

You do not know

The church did not realize (NIV) their spiritual condition. (Easley, 60)

When a church is self-righteousness, Christ will deny them.

Command (Easley, 60)

18. I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich.

Christ is offering the church in Laodicea true salvation.

Salvation costs nothing. Not a penny!

Christ was counseling them to buy from Him three things that represent being truly redeemed. No, one cannot buy salvation. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that salvation cannot be earned!

Isaiah 55:1 says:
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost. “

  1. Gold refined by fire so that you may become rich
    1. This gold was pure
    2. True salvation is priceless
    3. 1 Peter 1:7    1 Timothy 6:18-19
    4. This would bring everyone into a real relationship with Jesus.
  2. White garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed
    1. Their famous black wool represented the “filthy, sinful garments” (MacArthur, 139)
    2. Isaiah 64:6
    3. However, those truly saved are clothes with
    4. This stands for the righteousness that comes with true saving faith.
  3. Eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
    1. Spiritually they were blind.
    2. They did not understand spiritual truth
    3. They had to learn they were blind
    4. Matthew 15:14    Luke 6:39
    5. 1 John 2:11          Acts 26:18

19. Those whom I love

Jesus has an incomparable love for believers and those who do not believe.

Mark 10:21      John 3:16

Reprove means to expose and convict.” (MacArthur, 139)

John 16:8      Jude 15

Discipline refers to punishment (MacArthur, 139)

Used to convict unbelievers (MacArthur, 139)

2 Timothy 2:25      Ezekiel 18:30-32

Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11

Be zealous

  1. Be hot
  2. Get on fire for God (McGee, 925)
  3. Hunger and thirst for righteousness
    1. Matthew 4:4,6
  4. Turn from your sin and server God
    1. 1 Thessalonians 1:9

Repentance means that you realize that you are a guilty, vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, that you are hell-bound. It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, that you long to get rid of it, and that you turn your back on it in every shape and form. You renounce the world whatever the cost, the world is its mind and outlook as well as its practice, and you deny yourself, and take up the cross and go after Christ (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974, 2:248]  (MacArthur, 139)

“The message to this lost church, as it is to all the unsaved, is to zealously pursue the ‘repentance that leads to life’.” Acts 11:18

Jesus gave an invitation; a call to repentance in verse 20.

20. Behold, I stand at the door and knock

The Messiah, Christ is standing at the door to your heart, right now, and knocking.

If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Are you hearing the voice of Jesus? Will you open the door of your heart and accept Him as your Savior?

In this verse Jesus is knocking on the door to this “apostate church and wanted to come in”. (MacArthur, 140

The door could only be opened if someone repented and let Him in.

No one opened the door to Jesus! Will you?

Jesus will not enter your heart unless He is invited to enter.

To dine with Him means to have fellowship with Him.

Commitment (Easley, 61)

21. He who overcomes

Those who overcome are the believers. The ones who accept Him as their personal Savior.

I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne

Believers will sit with Jesus on His throne!

We will reign with Him.

“The Lord Jesus is preparing us for the next scene that will be coming up when He says, ‘sat down with My Father on His throne.’ [KJV] This is the picture that we are going to see in the chapters which follow”. (McGee, 925)

22. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Unbelievers need to repent, and open up to Christ


( Chart A ) is a Summary of the Churches in Revelation 2

( Chart B ) is a Summary of the Churches in Revelation 3

( Chart C ) Messages to the Seven Churches Revelation 2 and 3


Scripture quotations taken from the NASB1995. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.

Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. Nashville: B&H, 1998
MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983


Revelation 3:7-14  Philadelphia                                                               Throne in Heaven

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Chart B