Affluence Without Influence: The Laodicean Church In Revelation 3:14-22 -- By: Joseph Lombardi
JOTGES 26:51 (Autumn 2013) p. 97
Affluence Without Influence:
The Laodicean Church In Revelation 3:14-22
New Hope Bible Church
Most people are aware that certain lukewarm fluids (such as water) can be emetic, resulting in vomiting. However, as far as our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned, a lukewarm faith can be just as nauseating.
Indeed, that is precisely the kind of faith He found in the church at Laodicea. His spiritual diagnosis and prognosis are recorded for us in Rev 3:14-22.
This passage contains the seventh and final letter recorded in Revelation 2-3, all of which were written to local churches that actually did exist near the end of the first century AD Combined, these letters contain, in essence, the very last (recorded) words of Christ to His Church. It is through these letters that we are able to gain a clear understanding of what our Lord really thinks of His Bride, the Church.
Taken together as one unit, these seven letters present for us a composite picture of the Church. I believe that it was our Lord’s intent that we see in each of these seven churches certain characteristics (both good and bad) that have existed, and will continue to exist, in various congregations in the world throughout the entire church age, which will culminate with the rapture of the Church. Therefore, it is very important that the message to each church back then be applied by every church today.1
JOTGES 26:51 (Autumn 2013) p. 98
What we will soon discover in our study of this seventh and final letter, is that this Laodicean church (like so many churches today in the western world in particular) enjoyed lots of affluence, but little influence. It was self-sufficient, but spiritually deficient. It was financially prosperous, but missionally, it was nauseous. Essentially, the members of the church at Laodicea were lukewarm with respect to their faith. They were neither hot nor cold. Therefore, I believe that our Lord’s message to us today is that we must not allow ourselves to become lukewarm in our faith. Because a lukewarm church—even though it might be financially, numerically, materially and outwardly prosperous—can also be spiritually nauseous.2
A. Evaluation Of The Church (VV 14-17)
This seventh letter begins in the 14th verse much like the previous six, “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write...”
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