Saturday, July 15, 2023

A Tale of Two Brides - Part 2

Bobservations' Column

Titled - A Tale of Two Brides - Part 2
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The Lord declared that five of the seven Churches in Asia are in trouble. Only two were commended and encouraged in their faith. In this seventh letter that the Apostle John was to write, we discover who the Laodiceans really were. They were a combination of four of the other six Churches. They were surrounded by Greek philosophies, and Roman laws. This last church had advanced to acceptance in a wicked world, and allowed false doctrines to be taught by false teachers and prophets. Unlike Sardis who had only a few that had not defiled their garments with the world, Laodicea had gained acceptance in the culture because they did not teach against sin. True Christians bend their thoughts and hearts to Christ view, not to the world’s! If this church existed in our modern day (and perhaps it does), Christ’s sacrifice would be left at the curb, and a politically correct social gospel would be preached, and all manner of sinners would be welcomed in, then left to die in their sin.

It is noteworthy that only Smyrna and Philadelphia did not receive a rebuke from the Lord in their letters, because they stayed close to the Word Himself, exalting Jesus, condemning sin and exposing it along with the fakes and flakes. While Laodicea looked like a successful church from the outside, their faith was severely lacking and like Sardis they were a dead church.

John writes in his opening line to them that they were The Church of the Laodiceans. All the others were churches in, or of a city, but this was The Church of the Laodiceans, not the Church of Jesus Christ. It reflected the society around them, not Christ their presumed Savior.

This is the Church we have today; wealthy and in need of nothing. They have everything under control, and they are “The Church!” Jesus says they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. They don’t even see their daily need of Christ in their lives. This is the church’s final state in the church age. They read the words of scripture. But they don’t hear the words that they read.

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Matthew 15:8

Sunday Morning's Audio Sermon
Revelation 3:14-22 - "A Tale of Two Brides" - Part 2


Laodicea is the final church of the seven churches addressed in the book of Revelation.  It is the last letter, and it is the worst! It addresses the apostates, the liberals, the Christ-deniers, the Bible-deniers; all those who have elevated themselves above God's Word with a false gospel message producing false converts. 

It is the worst of all possible representations of a church. A church full of people who have a wrong view of Christ, a wrong view of themselves, a wrong view of the church.  

Laodicea was an immensely wealthy city, and extremely self-sufficient city. Not only did the church find its identity in material wealth, but also spiritual wealth. They had money, riches and spiritual pride to go along with material pride. This is the ultimate apostate condition. They know about Christ but have created a false Christ. They know about God but have created a false god and are smugly self-confident in that. This certainly characterizes entire denominations throughout the world, and particularly in today's western culture - including Christian universities and seminaries.

To give you an idea of the attitude of the people of Laodicea, after the earthquake of 60 A.D. which leveled this city along with others in the area, the people of Laodicea prided themselves on rejecting an offer of financial help from Rome because they had enough money of their own to completely rebuild a beautiful city without any help.  Tacitus (a Roman historian) wrote: "Laodicea arose from the ruins by the strength of her own resources with no help from us."

Along with its wealth, banking enterprises, wool industry, the city was known for its medical school which developed a highly valued salve for eye ailments. 

Of these seven churches represented in the book of Revelation, the first six letters begin with, "the church in."  This is not true of the last letter, it is written to, "the church of" which explains a lot.  John 17:14-16 tells us that we are in the world, but not of this world.  A church that is of this world does not belong to Christ.

We know the Lord is writing this letter, and He introduces Himself by referencing His deity.  He is the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, and the Beginning of the creation of God. 

Why is this so important to establish in a letter to Laodicea? Referencing the deity of Christ?  In Colossians 4:16 Paul says this: "Read this letter in the church of the Laodiceans, and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea."    It's interesting that Laodicea was only about ten miles away from Colossae.  It is very likely that what had plagued the church in Colossae found its way to Laodicea, the denial of Christ's deity.  

He is the Amen - This is a unique title, see Isaiah 65:16.  Amen is used in Scripture to affirm the truthfulness of a statement. The Lord is the firm, fixed, certain, faithful, unchangeable Amen, because He is the truth.  What He says is true, His promises are true, His covenants are true.  2 Corinthians 1:20, "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us."  All of God's promises are validated and made certain in Christ.

He is the faithful and true Witness - Not only does whatever He says is true, He is completely trustworthy, perfectly accurate, reliable.  All testimony which He bears to God, His purposes, plans, promises are faithful and true.  "He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true" John 3:31-33

He is the Beginning of the creation of God - He is the first cause of creation, the Creator and governor of it, He is also the Creator of the Church, the Head of the body, the first born from the dead.  See Colossians 1:18.

After identifying Himself, Jesus says, "I know thy works" He knows everything, nothing is hidden from Him. "...that thou art neither cold nor hot... because thou art lukewarm... I will spue thee out of my mouth."  Laodicea's water supply derived from an artificial pipeline bringing water from the hot springs of Hierapolis.  By the time it reached Laodicea, it was lukewarm.  It was also dirty, foul, tepid water...absolutely nauseating.  It wasn't cool enough to quench, it made people sick.  That's what the Lord is saying about this church, "You make Me sick!"

Why?  Because they are self-deceived.  They are spiritually deceived.  They are self-sufficient.  They don't need anything.  Non-believers cannot assess their own spiritual condition.  They don't know that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind and naked.  They are not Christians.  How do we know?  Because Christians are not wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.  The Laodiceans see themselves as spiritually rich, but they are bankrupt.  They have not the riches of God.  They are not clothed in righteousness; they don't know Christ. 

The Lord does not hold back His condemnation of them. There is in this church, apparently, absolutely no redeeming feature. This is the unsaved, unregenerate false church system. 

The Laodicean church is a church that Christ is not in.  How many dead, liberal churches bear the name of Christ in the name of their church.  Yet they deny His deity.  They deny His Word.  They deny Him as Creator.  They deny His Authority.  They create a false Christ in their own image.  They don't need a Savior.  They deny Him as Lord. 

"Therefore, be zealous and repent" - God in His mercy calls us to salvation.  He says Repent!  This is a decisive, zealous, eager act.  Repent and do it fast!  That is the message to the unsaved church. 

Jesus is standing at the door and knocking.  Individually, it is the door of our hearts.  Corporately, it is the door of our church.  "
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" Revelation 3:20-22.

Anyone who hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in and abide with you and you with him.  

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