Whoa! A church that nauseates the Lord! That is a scary thought indeed. I don’t want to belong to that one. What church was it in the Bible that Jesus said nauseated Him? Laodicea! How do we know this? Because it was Jesus’ Words to the Church in Revelation 3:14-22. So let’s find out why Jesus said this.
What do we know about Laodicea first? It was a very wealthy church. It was (the city) rebuilt after it had very extensive earthquakes, and it refused Roman subsides. The city was a proud, and very business hug. It was a major trade route. It had a great banking center back then and it minded coins there. It was a great textile center of wool, and it had a great medical center. However, it didn’t have an adequate source of water. As we look at that list maybe we think it sounds good, but does it?
Christ didn’t have a single word of commendation for this church. This was the seventh and final letter to the churches of ancient Asia Minor, and it was to the church in the city of Laodicea. This last message is found in Revelation 3:14-22.
The message is from the Lord Jesus Christ to the angel of the church in Laodicea. (Revelation 3:14). It was the Lord’s message and not a letter from John to the church. Jesus identifies Himself thus: “The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” These titles emphasize the Lord’s faithfulness, sovereignty, and power to bring all things to their proper completion (the “Amen”).
In contrast to the other six churches, the Laodicean church has nothing to commend it. Jesus begins the message with condemnation: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17). Whoa!!! Jesus emphasizes their “lukewarm,” indifferent nature three times. As a result of their contradiction to spiritual things, Jesus would have nothing to do with them. He would “spit them out,” as the people of Laodicea would spit out the tepid water that flowed from the underground aqueducts to their city.
With their indifference and pride came spiritual blindness; they claimed to be rich, blessed, and self-sufficient. Perhaps they were rich in material things. But, spiritually, the Laodiceans were in a wretched, pitiful condition, made all the worse in that they could not see their need. This was a church filled with self-deceived hypocrites. Now, remember also that no matter how bad a condition of a church is….GOD always has a remnant.
Jesus calls the Laodicean church to repent of its sin: “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich, and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Revelation 3:18). Their material wealth had no eternal benefit, so Jesus commands them to come to Him for true, spiritual riches Only Christ can supply an everlasting inheritance, clothe us in righteousness, and heal our spiritual blindness. God has allowed them to change their destiny.
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:19-20). His rebuke is not born of hostility but of love. “The Lord disciplines those he loves” (Hebrews 12:6). The desired response to God is to have true repentance.
Christ didn’t want to destroy the church of Laodecia…Christ’s desire was for fellowship with His lukewarm church in Laodicea. He wanted them to repent/change. The church still had a remnant there but Jesus was being locked out of His church. Jesus didn’t just go to zap them, He went to tell them the truth and for them to decide if they wanted to change. For without change they would seal their destiny. He was at the door waiting for them to open it. He said to repent. He wanted His rightful place in that church. When Jesus said He would come to have a meal with them…in their culture having a meal with someone meant you had a relationship with them.
Jesus then makes a promise to the believers in Laodicea: “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21). The “overcomer” refers to any believer, and the promise is that he will share Christ’s future kingdom. This promise is as much to you and me now as it was to them in the church of Laodicea.
The church at Laodicea had become indifferent in its love for Christ. They were lukewarm. They were neither hot for the Lord nor cold. They were allowing “the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for stuff to come in their church and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Christ called them to repent and live zealously for Him, to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). The Lord Jesus issues the same call to those who say they follow Him today. Just because you are in a church doesn’t mean that the church you are at is following the true ways of Jesus. You need to know what you are being taught…is it true? Is it being compromised? Is Jesus the only one lifted up and worshipped there? If not…then you are not in God’s church. God doesn’t change for anyone. God doesn’t go by what is popular. God doesn’t go by your culture but Goes by every word He put in His book so we could follow it and be saved. If your church is not doing that then, of course, they need to repent, however, if they won’t…leave that church. You know in reading the Bible that this particular church was not living for the Lord. However, even in this church…the Lord said to repent. He would take them back. It was all up to them. That same choice is up to you as well. What is your choice?