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Bible Studies in the Book of Revelation Study 6

   Revelation 3.14-21     Churches I know        Pt 4

This week’s study moves to the last of the reviews of the seven churches and deals with the church at Laodicea. It is a city in Asia about 10 miles west of Colosse. A very prosperous city and centre of communications, but it had a major problem; there was no nearby water supply. So the water had to be piped from hot springs to the city and it arrived lukewarm! It also had a medical centre for eye treatment. [Keep these two things in mind]

Paul did not visit the city, Epaphras preached the gospel to it, but however Paul’s letter to the Colossians was also to be read in Laodicea. [Col 4.16, this verse also indicates a letter had been written to Laodicea, but this has been lost.] They also had not kept the faith, as Paul writes to Timothy in 2Tim 1.15 that, ‘all they which are in Asia are turned away from me’; this may have included the Laodicea as well as other churches.

If we apply the message to the seven churches as an indication in a prophetic sense, showing the various church ages, then this church is the last in the sequence and represents the church in the last days of Christendom, though the messages to all the churches are relevant today. 

The opening again refers back to the initial vision in Ch 1 and the Lord is seen as the Creator and a faithful and true witness. This gives a sense of foreboding to the coming message, were they faithful and true? Did they recognise the Almighty and powerful God who was the creator and sustainer of all things? There was no escape, God knew all about them and their deeds. Their water state was thrown back straight at them, ‘you are lukewarm!’

  • They were not hot – on fire and active for the Lord
  • They were not cold – indifferent and ignoring the Lord
  • They were lukewarm, they were useless and about to be discarded

Their defence against the charge was dismissed,

  • They claim to be rich
  • They claim to need nothing- did they consider their wealth was a sign of God affirming the churches actions?
  • They had wealth that was sufficient

The Lord turns this against them and values their response as being worthless,

  • Wretched – they had knowledge of the truth, but were ignoring its message
  • Poor – they were valuing their faith in worldly terms
  • Blind – their vision was totally impaired, they saw what they wanted to see, not what God saw
  • Naked – in God’s terms they were coming to the wedding without the wedding clothes, they were naked in their sin, so much so they did not recognise it as such!

The Lord then turns to the remedy for their state; in his mercy he is about to give them some hope for the future, a way forward from their current state, which was very urgent:

  • Buy from the Lord – not from man – realise the value of a relationship with God was more important than activity with the world
  • Gold refined in fire – the perfect metal, without any impurities, their current wealth was impure to the extent it was worthless, more impurity than gold, replace this with God’s help and they will become rich.
  • They were purchase white robes, the covering of the righteous, the saved church of Christ.
  • The clothes would cover their sin, nakedness was seen in Genesis as the outward expression of a sinful rebellion against God. Salvation with forgiveness would give the covering, and remove the nakedness.
  • They were also to sort out their eyesight, get their eyes treated so they could see clearly and know the real state they were in and the remedy that was needed.


The Lord reminds them of his eternal love for the sinner, but for the child of his family, as they had become, there was the need for a father’s role, in stopping them going the wrong way and also disciplining them for their actions. God was constantly available and willing, the knock on the door, the call for admission and the replying invitation to come in, would be positively responded to and entry would be made. [Holman Hunt’s Picture] When inside there would be a restored relationship, a family reunion, and a meal of reconciliation. The renewal of the relationship was two-way, God with man and man with God.

The new situation was seen as a victory over the old ways that they had drifted into, there was a total reinstatement of their position to be with the Lord in eternity, sitting with him on the throne, returning to the promised role for the church of ruling for the Lord the nations. It is compared with Jesus and his position with the Father and the throne. He reminds them of the consequence of his victory over sin and their victory in him by faith. He concludes as with all the churches with an exhortation to hear and listen and act on the message of the Spirit to the churches.

This is the final church in these two chapters, we have seen the whole picture of the seven churches and their different situations, we can sum them us as follows, including a specific promise to each church:

  • Ephesus – faithful and discerning but had lost the power of their initial faith
    • Promise – right to eat from the tree of life
  • Smyrna – a suffering church with a love for the truth but would face persecution in the future
    • Promise – the crown of life
  • Pergamos – they were compromising their faith to be seen as acceptable to the community yet with a faithful remnant
    • Promise – white stone with a new name
  • Thyatira – a church split with some faithful and others allowing false teaching
    • Promise – the morning star
  • Sardis – nominally alive, but their faith was in the past, repentance was needed to revitalise the witness
    • Promise – acknowledge his name before the Father
  • Philadelphia – a true believing evangelical active church denouncing false teaching
    • Promise – pillar in the Temple of my God
  • Laodicea – a failed and useless witness but with hope if they let the Lord into their lives
    • Promise – sit with the Lord on the throne

What is the Lord looking for in a church?

He is looking for faithfulness in:

  • Trusting Jesus only for salvation
  • Depending on the word of God for truth
  • Being receptive to the leading of the Holy Spirit
  • Proclaiming in all ways the promise of forgiveness to anyone who accepts the finished work of Calvary, and acceptance by God into his family
  •  Looking for the return of Christ in glory for his church and eternity with Christ.
Page last updated: Saturday 16th April 2016 4:40 PM
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