A Letter to the Seventh Church in Revelation
When the book of Revelation was written in approximately 95 A.D., there were seven Christian churches in Asia Minor. Jesus Christ in His glorified body appeared before John and told him to write letters to each of His seven churches. Jesus’ gives seven messages to the seven churches along with many visions, and John faithfully copies all of this down. The visions concerned what would happen during the end times, along with a glorious vision of the final consummation of human history at the end! The letters and the visions make up the book of Revelation.
In a vision, John sees Jesus in His majesty standing before him, with a double-edged sword coming out of His mouth. His eyes are like blazing fire and his feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace and His voice is like the sound of rushing water. Jesus is standing among seven candlesticks, with seven stars in His hand.
Jesus tells John that the seven stars are the seven angels of each of His seven churches. And the candlesticks that He is standing among are His seven churches. Jesus is always with His churches. The double-edged sword coming out of His mouth is the sword of judgment.
We have reviewed the letters Jesus sent to the first six churches already and today we will review the letter to the last church, the Church of Laodicea. Here is what Jesus had to say to the Church of Laodicea. “To the angel of the Church in Laodicea write; These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 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 spew 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. 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.
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. 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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22)
Here in the letter to the church in Laodicea our Lord Jesus Christ introduces Himself as the “Amen” We use the word “Amen” at the end of a prayer. The “Amen” that we use at the end of our prayers means “Let it be”. We say it to give in to God’s will. Many Bible scholars believe that Jesus is called the “Amen” of God because through Jesus “the purposes (or will) of God are established.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) We cannot begin to understand the mystery of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior and all that He is and does.
Jesus also introduces Himself in this letter as the “ruler of God’s creation”. Scripture says this about Jesus Christ: “All things were made through Him (Jesus) and without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of humankind…” (John 1:3) One of Jesus’ Names is the “Word.” Scripture tells us that Jesus is part of the God Head. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1) “The Word became flesh (became a person) and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:9)
Jesus tells the church in Laodicea that they have a luke-warm faith! They are neither hot or cold! If our faith in Christ is worth anything, it is worth everything. Christ expects us to love Him all the way – or not at all. All or nothing. There is no room for being on the fence! No place for a watered- down belief. If we offer Him a boring half-hearted love, He may “spew us out of His mouth!” Is Jesus only speaking to the church in Laodicea two thousand years ago, or is He speaking to some of us in His church today?
Jesus warns the church in Laodicea that even though they think of themselves as being rich and having it all, the real truth is that they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked! “ (Revelation 3:7) These Laodicean Christians are blind. They can’t see themselves for what they really are!
Perhaps their physical needs are well provided for. And perhaps they wear fancy clothes, costly jewelry and keep themselves constantly entertained with games, wine and good food. Perhaps all their money gives them power over others. Perhaps they turn their backs on gross injustices and take bribes from wealthy donors to keep justice from being served. But they say the right words, brag that they have “principles” and go to church every Sunday!
Whatever this Laodicean church did, Jesus is not impressed! Their souls are starving in the midst of all of their worldly abundance! He bids them come to Him for spiritual riches. – “gold refined in the fire”. Perhaps the fire refers to persecution and trouble. When we follow Christ our precious faith will be “refined” through discipline. Jesus tells them: “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline.” (Revelation 3:19)
Jesus goes on to encourage the church in Laodicea to “buy white clothes from Him to cover their shameful nakedness” (Revelation 3:18) The white clothes refer to Jesus covering us with His righteousness. White refers to purity. When Jesus washes us then we are clean in Him. Our sin is exchanged for His righteousness. And He also calls the Laodicean church to buy “eye salve” from Him so that they can see. – spiritually see. They are to give up their own wisdom and reason and resign themselves to His Word and Spirit, and their eyes will be opened.
How does this Laodicean Church “buy” these gifts of gold, white clothes, and eye salve from our Lord Jesus? Jesus tells them the answer, and that is to “Repent” (Revelation 3:19b) To turn from their worldly ways and come back to Him. He calls us to “buy” these gifts from Him also!
And Jesus also tells the Laodicean Church that He stands at the door and knocks. If they will just open the door and let Him in, He will dine and fellowship with them and they with Him. (Revelation 3:20) And He will give them all that they need. Our Lord Jesus Christ extends this same invitation to us too. Oh, that we would open the door and let Him in.
Jesus closes His letter to the church in Laodicea with the call to “Overcome”. He gives that same call to all of His churches. And He gives that call to us today. To repent and come back to Him. We will be overcomers through Him. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:22)