Laodicea — The city was in the southwest of Phrygia, on the river Lycus, not far from Colosse, and lying between it and Philadelphia. It was destroyed by an earthquake, A.D. 62, and rebuilt by its wealthy citizens without the help of the state [Tacitus, Annals, 14.27]. This wealth (arising from the excellence of its wools) led to a self-satisfied, lukewarm state in spiritual things, as Rev. 3:17 describes. See on Col 4:16, on the Epistle which is thought to have been written to the Laodicean Church by Paul. The Church in latter times was apparently flourishing; for one of the councils at which the canon of Scripture was determined was held in Laodicea in A.D. 361. Hardly a Christian is now to be found on or near its site. JFB
10. Jesus is —
The Amen — We usually end a prayer with Amen, but Jesus began His statement with Amen. The word can be translated verily (King James) or amen. Figuratively, it can mean trustworthy. It can also mean so be it.
Jesus is no longer in human form, so He doesn’t need to pray. His statement formula, “as I live, saith Jehovah.”
The Faithful Witness — He is unchanging.
The True Witness — He not only speaks the truth, He is the Truth. What He speaks is in the Word, and He is the Word.
The Source or Ruler of God’s new creation.
11. Jesus “reads Laodicea’s mail” and reacts to it —
Jesus earnestly desires them to be one or the other.
Jesus said the Laodicean assembly was lukewarm (spiritually useless (AMP). “slightly warm : not enthusiastic : not having or showing energy or excitement : lacking conviction : halfhearted” From Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Jesus said, Because they are neither hot nor cold, he will spit (vomit) them out of His mouth.
12. A. What Jesus said versus their self-justification —
Each letter in this part of Revelation is addressed “To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in _______”
So on behalf of the assembly in Laodicea, the leader in charge says, “I am rich, and have prospered and grown wealthy, and have need of nothing.”
Jesus says “you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked [without hope and in great need]” AMP
Jesus is 100% faithful. His love and desire to be in a relationship with us doesn’t change. He means what He says. His actions back it up. Jesus is the source and giver of our life. God created us for a relationship with Him. He is the source and giver of our born-again spirit. He is the source of our 100% forgiveness. He is the source of 100% of our righteousness. He has made promise after promise to supply our needs, to never leave us,
His unchanging faithfulness as “the Amen” contrasts with Laodicea’s wavering of purpose, “neither hot nor cold” (Rev. 3:16). The angel of Laodicea has with some probability been conjectured to be Archippus, to whom, thirty years previously, Paul had already given a monition (warning, caution), as needing to be stirred up to diligence in his ministry. So the Apostolic Constitutions, [8.46], name him as the first bishop of Laodicea: supposed to be the son of Philemon (Philemon 1:2). JFB
B. They lack God’s heart.
They don’t value what God values.
Although individuals do become lukewarm, I think the primary accountability for this series of seven letters falls on the leadership. The letters are addressed to the overseers.
In this case, they consider themselves spiritually rich. Maybe their membership is growing. Maybe their bank account is full. Maybe they just started a live television broadcast.
But Jesus sees something completely different. Ezekiel 34:2-7 comes to mind:
“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them.
C. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 NLT
Please don’t let the tone of this question make you feel condemned.
All of these letters to leadership need to be read through the filter of God’s love. He is after a relationship with us. He abounds in grace and mercy.
The scenario described in this passage reminds me of a marriage relationship. One or both of the spouses feel unloved, taken for granted and neglected. They don’t do the little things they used to do.
Those little things used to let the other know “you are important to me.”
Maybe she notices his eyes linger when he sees someone younger, fitter, and more attractive.
In a marriage or other important relationship, the offended spouse could be mistaken. Maybe the long hours at work, lack of sleep due to a newborn, or other issue is to blame.
But Jesus sees and knows what’s in our hearts.
Thankfully, the Lord doesn’t expect instant maturity or instant sanctification. He tenderly leads us by the hand if we are willing.
Whenever the Holy Spirit makes me aware that I’m not as close to Him as I was, I should in humility ask Him to —
Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
If He shows me a hindrance such as,
- I didn’t set aside a particular distraction as He instructed,
- I blamed Him for something that went wrong in my life,
- I’m worried or fearful instead of trusting Him,
- Or whatever else I’m struggling with or focused on instead…
I will remember He is my Shepherd,
my beloved Redeemer, my Provider, my Deliverer, my Hiding Place —
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name. Psalm 23:2-3
My Dear Lord Jesus, Lead me into your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 27:11
Our God is infinite in grace and mercy. God even spared Ahab after he “did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him.” All because Ahab humbled himself when rebuked by Elijah. I Kings 21:27-29