Revelation Episode 3

Beth's Notes

1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:  These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.  4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars--I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.  11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 14 “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. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 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. 18 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. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 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. 21 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. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:1-22 

Prayer: Open our eyes Lord enabling us to see wonderful Truth’s in Your Law, empty us of us and empower us through the Holy Spirit to walk in a manner worthy of Your Gospel.

Today we will be continuing on with the second major division in Revelation of – “What is now” – what is presently happening - which are the messages given by Jesus to the seven churches (and to us as well). Last week we studied four of these churches and this week we will be studying the last three. As a reminder, as stated last week, while the churches all differ, the letters have some similarities. In each letter there is a particular description of Christ that related to the message that would follow. Also, in each letter He declared that He knew their works. Every letter includes a promise to those who overcome. Each one also gives an exhortation to those hearing. And each letter includes a commendation (except the letter to Laodicea), a rebuke (except the letters to Smyrna and Philadelphia), an exhortation, and an encouraging promise to those hearing and heeding its message. In general these letters to the seven churches address the problems inherent in churches throughout all church history and are an incisive and comprehensive revelation of how Christ evaluates the local churches throughout all times. Remember, He desires wholehearted devotion and a wiling mind from His saints and there remains  nothing new under the sun. Amen?

The three churches represented in Chapter Three which we will be discussing today are: Sardis – the Dead Church; Philadelphia – The Faithful Church; and Laodicea – The Lukewarm, Useless Church.

The Letter To Sardis
If you saw a house on fire, and you knew someone you loved and cared for was sleeping away soundly in it, would you not, out of love and concern, do everything in your power to rescue that person – even if it meant they would more than likely get burned in the exit yet their lives would be saved? This is exactly what Jesus is doing here to the Church at Sardis. Remember what Scripture tells us in Proverbs 27:6:
6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.  
An enemy - literally, “one who hates” - may seem to be our friend by his multiplied kisses and affirmations, yet a true friend - literally “one who loves” - may seem to be an enemy by the wounds he inflicts from being rebuked or criticized. As I have stated before, do not be afraid to hear the hard. Weigh it against God’s Word and your life and if it fits, wear it. If it does not, disregard it.  Some of the hardest criticisms I have received have turned out to be the greatest blessings for me. Also, until we realize our own poverty, our dire need, we will never see Christ’s full value – poverty of spirit makes Christ super sweet to the soul, Amen? There is no idol like self either.  It is an insidious monster. And we can be so self-deluded – swelled with conceit like balloons all blown up with pride. Admiring our own moralities and self-righteousness and on these placing our hope for salvation. There is not a more dangerous precipice than that of self-righteousness. Until we come face to face with our depravity, we cannot fully appreciate our need for a Savior. None of us are perfect – not even one. Remember, Paul tells us in Romans 3:23:
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  

And again in Romans 3:10-12:
10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 

In His loving rebuke Christ is crying out to the Church at Sardis, “Wake Up!” which denotes the attention given to God’s revelation or to the knowledge of salvation. Mark records Jesus’ words regarding this in Mark 13:32-37:
32 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.  35 Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” 

Catch Verse 37 in the above passage.  Jesus tells us His Words are for everyone – that would include us.  Paul echoes this in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6:
1 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 

Our Lord demands constant watching and preparation for the decisive day of His appearing. This is a mindfulness of threatening dangers which with conscious earnestness and an alert mind, keeps us from all drowsiness and all slackening in the energy of faith and conduct. The Lord demands this constant watching and preparation for the decisive day of His appearing.  

The commercial city of Sardis located in West Asia Minor was about 50 miles east of Smyrna and 30 miles southeast of Thyatira, on an important trade route that ran east and west through the kingdom of Lydia.  Sardis was the capital.  It was a place where gold and silver coins were first struck.  Much of Sardis’s wealth came from its important industries located there including jewelry, dye, and textiles, which had made the city affluent. From a religious standpoint, it was a center of pagan worship which including many mystery cults or secret religious societies. The magnificent Temple of Artemis dating from the fourth century B. C. was one of its points of interests, which its ruins still remain. Presently, only a small village called Sart is located on the site of this once-all important city.  Archeologists have located the remains of a Christian church building immediately adjacent to the temple. This testifies of there being post-apostolic Christian witness to this evil, pagan city noted for its loose living. As I have noted before, it matters greatly how we live our lives.  Indeed, that is what these warnings and commendations from Christ to the churches are all about. We were never meant to remain the same.  Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:15-17:
15 Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 

The church to which this letter was addressed continued its existence until the fourteenth century but it was never prominent.  

In addressing this message to the church Christ described Himself as the One who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, similar to the description in Revelation 1:4 where the seven spirits are before the Father’s throne. Here, Christ is described as having or possessing “the seven spirits of God”. This is an apparent allusion to the sevenfold character of the Holy Spirit. Of this the Prophet Isaiah states in regard to the coming Christ in Isaiah 11:2-5:
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD-- 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.   

Thus Christ is introduced to the Church at Sardis as the Possessor of the Sevenfold Spirit of God, insuring His righteous judgment of the wicked.  The seven stars in the description represent the pastors or messengers of the churches, who were also in His hands. They are all His possession – everything is His - making the message being delivered all the more authoritative. This makes it clear that the leaders of the church are responsible to no human representative of Christ but must give an account to Him directly. Jesus can judge righteously because nothing is hidden from His all-seeing gaze. While human beings are limited, Christ sees the heart and even the motivation behind the action is not hidden from His sight therefore He judges rightly. Nothing escapes His piercing gaze.

The only word of approval or commendation for the Church at Sardis is in actuality a word of rebuke as Christ declared that they had a reputation for being alive but they were dead. Apparently they were regarded by their contemporaries as being an effective church but Christ regarded them as just the opposite – they were dead in His eyes. Be careful if we find ourselves depending too much on what other people think. We are to live our lives for an audience of One – pleasing Him - and just like Sardis, we are each individually accountable to Christ. Like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, the outward appearances and actions of those at Sardis was merely a façade, hiding their lack of life and love. They were fake.  Hypocrisy in the faith is detestable in God’s sight. Therefore, Christ’s condemnation of the Church at Sardis was that they were dead even though they possessed the reputation of being alive by outsiders. What lies hidden in our hearts never goes unnoticed by our Lord Jesus.  Everything is laid bare before the eyes of Him Whom we must give an account, Scripture tells us.  
Again, Sardis was considered to be a spiritual church with an effective ministry and testimony for God. But from the divine standpoint it was actually dead as far as their spiritual life and power were concerned. This speaks to the present day church as well who is perhaps full of activity but possesses little that speak of Christ’s spiritual life and equipping power.  
The Church at Sardis was dead in the sight of God yet it is obvious from verse two that there were some in the church who still had true life and spirituality. Albeit, what remained appeared to be weak as it needed to be strengthened before it died. Jesus’ indictment could be literally translated: “not any of your works have I found complete before God”.  They were exhorted to wake up from their spiritual slumber and strengthen the few evidences of life they still had – to be watchful against a further invasion of spiritual deadness. “Be strong and do the work through my power” was His call to them. It matters greatly how we live our lives. He exhorted them to remember... obey... and repent. They were to guard their hearts.  As “heart” in Scripture is “the inclusive term used to communicate our unified and rich nature within,” as Craig Troxel states.  Proverbs 4:23b tells us:
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 

Again, Troxel writes: “God tests our hearts, and we get to see – in small measure – what He saw all along.  It is sobering, grieving, and humbling.  But this humility  purifies our hearts by making us more dependent on God for strength amid temptations.”    

The heart should be guarded for out of it flows one’s actions because as goes the heart so too the man. Here the word “heart” means more than mere mental or emotional capacity; it also encompasses one’s values. To trust in the Lord wholeheartedly means one should not rely on his own understanding, for human insights are never enough. God’s ways are incomprehensible; yet He is trustworthy. All the wisdom a person may acquire can never replace the need for full trust in God’s superior ways. 
Jesus calls this Church to remember what they had received and heard, obey it and repent telling them He would come as a thief at a time they would not know. These words would have been familiar to the Church at Sardis as twice they were invaded unexpectedly and successfully by their enemies at night, even though they maintained their fortress impenetrable. Jesus is returning – we do not know when but we are to be in a constant state of readiness so as not to take us unawares.

Jesus states there were however a few people who had not soiled their clothes with sin among the dead and the dying. He recognized a godly remnant remaining. The fewer they are, the more precious they are in His sight. Christ always has a faithful remnant and to these Christ makes a very gracious promise - they will walk with Christ and what delightful conversation there will be between Christ and them as they walk together in this way. Not too dissimilar to the two on the road to Emmaus, whose hearts burned as they walked and talked with the Savior. Jesus tells them they would be dressed in white (robed in the righteousness of Christ) as they were worthy. And their names will remain in the book of life forever. That is the promise for every true believer in Jesus. He will acknowledge them as His own before His Father and His angels. A person who is truly born again remains regenerate forever.  Nothing can snatch us out of His Hands. While this passage may seem to imply that a name could be erased from the book of life, in actuality it only gives a positive affirmation that their names will not be erased. Jesus tells us in John 10:27-30:
27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” 

This is one of the clearest statements in the Bible that one who believes in Jesus for salvation will never be lost. Believers will sin and stumble, but Jesus as the perfect Shepherd loses none of His flock. The beloved can rest secure in Him.

Jesus ends His letter to Sardis with “He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The letter to Sardis is a searching message to our churches today (and our own hearts as well) that are full of activity and housed in beautiful buildings but inside are “dead man’s bones” and so often lacking in evidences of eternal life and the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s word to us is to “remember,” “repent,” and “obey,” just as it was to the church in Sardis.

The Letter To Philadelphia
Jesus here describes Himself as the One that is Holy and True and Who holds the key of David. What He opens no one can shut and what He shuts no one can open. He tells them He knows their deeds and that He has placed before them an open door that no one can shut. He acknowledges that they had little strength yet they had kept His word and had not denied His Name. They receive no condemnation from His lips. His counsel to them is that He is coming soon therefore hold on to what they have so that no one will take their crown. His promise is he that overcomes, He will make a pillar in the temple of His God.
The name Philadelphia literally means “Brotherly Love”. It is located in Lydia twenty-eight miles southeast of Sardis.  It had a long history of earthquakes and several times was almost completely destroyed by them.  
The most recent rebuilding of the city was in A.D. 17.  The message to Philadelphia has the unusual characteristic of being almost entirely one of praise standing in sharp contrast to the messages to Sardis and Laodicea.
Christ as the preeminently Holy One is qualified to call the Christians of Philadelphia to a life in Him and a corresponding life of holiness. God calls His children to be holy because He is holy. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:13-16:
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

As the One who is true Truth, Christ is the Author of Truth and is the Author and Perfecter of our faith as well. This stands in bright contrast to all error and false doctrine. And right doctrine and right living go hand in hand, Amen?  There can be no holiness apart from truth. The Philadelphian Church was also commended for guarding the Truth of God as committed to them.

Christ is also presented as the One Who has the key of David and with it absolute authority to open and shut. Christ has the key to Truth and Holiness as well as to opportunity, service, and testimony. The Philadelphia Church, surrounded by paganism and wickedness, needed the assurance Christ gives that He has the power to bring about His Sovereign will. All authority has been given to Him. He both calls and equips us through the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about His will. Remember His Words to us in Matthew 28:18-20:
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

We are to go forth on the basis of His Authority and our field includes all nations. Further, He tell us that He would be with us – always - as He is a “with us” God. Christ assures His church that He knows their works – that is, He was aware of the entire picture of the church’s spiritual condition and service. Their works lay open before the One Who sees all. The church’s faithfulness is rewarded with the promise of an open door of ministry that no one can shut. The open-door image is used by Paul to describe opportunities for gospel witness and missionary activity. Christ is commending the church’s faithful testimony. The Church’s witness was divinely ordained by God and assured by His power and sovereignty. Christ recognizes in the Philadelphian Church a degree of spiritual power that comes from God and that assured them that their testimony would continue. Only what is done for Christ will last.

Another commendable quality of the Church at Philadelphia was their loyalty to the name of Christ in their public confession of faith in Him. As a result of their faithfulness in witnessing, Christ promises that their adversaries, described as “the synagogue of Satan”, will be forced to acknowledge that the Philadelphians were true servants of God. This reference to the synagogue of Satan is to unbelieving Jews who were opposing the witness of the Gospel in Philadelphia and making it difficult for the Christians to bear a good testimony before the pagan world. The church of Jesus Christ will always encounter Satanic opposition when it attempts to faithfully declare the gospel and take a stand for Christ. Believers today who are experiencing such afflictions and persecutions can also be assured that however violent the opposition and however direct the efforts to thwart the work of God, in the end there will be victory for the cause of Christ, Amen?

The church in Philadelphia received no rebuke from our Lord Jesus.  Instead, they were commended and given a promise because they had been willing to endure patiently – just as He had endured. The promise was, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. This is an explicit promise that the Philadelphia church will not endure the hour of trial which is unfolded, beginning in Revelation Chapter 6. Christ was saying that the Philadelphia church would not enter the future time of trouble; He could not have stated it more explicitly. If Christ had meant to say that they would be preserved through a time of trouble, or would be taken out from within the Tribulation, a different verb and a different preposition would have been required. It is difficult to see how Christ could have made this promise to this local church if it were God’s intention for the entire church to go through the Tribulation that will come on the entire world. Even though the church at Philadelphia would go to glory via death long before the time of trouble would come, if the church here is taken to be typical of the body of Christ standing true to the faith, the promise seems to go beyond the Philadelphia church to all those who are believers in Christ. Praise Him! The Rapture will come unexpectedly and we do not want to be caught unawares. He warned them (and us) that He would come like a thief, that is, suddenly and unexpectedly. Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18: 
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words. 

Jesus ends the Letter to the Church at Philadelphia that He was coming soon and to hold on to what they have so that no one could take away their crown. This is to be our constant expectation and it is a message for all churches throughout all time who bear a true witness for Jesus even down to this present day. He desires His saints to walk steadfast, sure footed and sealed in victory.
Interestingly, God knows how we are wired and that we work best for rewards, Amen? Our actions are to be motivated by our love for Him – not done slavishly but out of love and appreciation. Yet, He commands us to store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven and He is joyfully anticipating seeing us receive, open and rejoice in these treasures kept safe in heaven for His saints. Much akin to the joy we have as we watch our children open up their gifts we give them at Christmas. While we certainly enjoy all the blessings His Hand presently bestows, they are merely the appetizer, the prelude to the music and to the great feast, the exuberant joy, and the treasures of the coming kingdom that will most assuredly and eternally bless His saints. It will be as a wave of blessing giving way to a wave of blessing giving way to a wave of blessing. The things of this earth will grow strangely dim in light of His glory and grace. We can be assured if we focus more and more on our heavenly treasures our fleshly earthly desires would become less important and perhaps even diminishing. Joy in our present mercies are certainly not prohibited but a higher joy is preferred. Our hearts are where our treasure is. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19-21: 
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Lastly, The Church at Philadelphia was given additional promises. Christ states, “I am coming soon”, a concept repeated often in the Book of Revelation. The thought is not simply that of coming soon but coming suddenly or quickly. They were exhorted in the light of His coming to continue to hold on to what they have. We are to keep on keeping on – consistently doing the next right thing through the Holy Spirit for His glory and for our good. Everyone who is an overcomer will become a pillar in the temple of... God. This is of course symbolic of the permanent place in heaven for believers, referred to here as the temple of God. The entire New Jerusalem will be the ultimate temple. In contrast to earthly temples and earthly pillars which fall and are defaced,  believers will continue forever in the temple. Christ specified that He was referring to the city of My God, that is, the New Jerusalem – there will be a new heaven and a new earth – the old order will pass away. He repeated His promise: I will also write on him My new name. Because believers have identified with Christ by faith, He will identify Himself with them.

The Letter To Laodicea
The Church at Laodicea’s attitude was that they needed nothing. Sounds like a familiar song and dance in our own generation as well, does it not?  The, self-sufficient, “I did it my way” mentality, as if we were our own god, has caused countless to be damned. It is an attitude straight from the pit of hell, Amen? We are not our own Savior – Jesus is. Since Adam, we are all born broken. Our sins separate us from a Holy God – and there is nothing we could do about it in and of ourselves. Needy is the word that comes to mind here – and many blithely sit flittering their lives away not realizing their soul need is a chasm that is deeper than the ocean. The Church at Laodicea basked in this unconscious need.  

Laodicea was founded in the middle of the third century B.C. by Antiochus II.  It was 40 miles SE of Philadelphia on the road to Colossae.  Under Roman rule, this city was wealthy and had a profitable business in the production of wool cloth.  It was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 60 and in their self-reliance rejected an offer from Rome to help build it back and instead built it back without any outside help.  Its economic sufficiency had tended to lull the church to sleep spiritually.  Nothing like ease to make us not look up, Amen?  Though there is mention of the church as late as the fourteenth century, the city as well as the church now lies in ruins.  In any event, the Church at Laodicea had had a long history and at the time of this letter by Christ it was a well-established church. 

Jesus begins with His description that He is the eternal faithful and true Witness. Every Word of God is perfect and profitable – living and active and sharper than any double–edged sword, penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; and judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, as the writer of Hebrews tells us. This indicates Christ’s sovereignty and the certainty of the fulfillment of His promises. All His promises. Paul states in 2 Corinthians 1:20:
20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
Christ is called the faithful and true Witness in contrast to the Church in Laodicea, which was neither faithful nor true adding special solemnity to His Words that were about to follow.

First off, the message contained no commendation from the Lord Jesus whatsoever. None. Further, He begins with the most scathing rebuke to be found in any of the other seven letters. The sad state of the church was described by our Lord as being “lukewarm” – used only here in the New Testament. While they thought they needed nothing they were sorely wanting. The word chosen for His indictment would have been a familiar one to them as Laodicea, while wealthy, they lacked a water supply which meant they had to bring water from a far distance. While the water was cool to begin with, by the time they received it, it was no longer that way rather lukewarm. Nothing is less appetizing than lukewarm water, Amen? It makes you want to spit it out of your mouth.

Lukewarm is one of the three spiritual states that Jesus refers to here.  The others are cold, describing the unbelieving world’s reaction to the gospel of Christ, or hot, as those who show genuine spiritual fervor and leave no question as to their faith in Jesus. The normal transition is from a state of coldness to a state of warmth or on fire which is the experience of many believers. But the Church at Laodicea makes it clear that this progression is certainly not a guarantee. They had been touched with the Gospel but their attitude and actions raise questions regarding the reality of their spiritual life.It is not clear whether they belong to Christ. Such was the case at Laodicea. Our good works and words do not save us but they do demonstrate that we are saved. We are to be a new creation.  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 
This was the reason for Christ’s strong rebuke. The Church could not be classified with the worldly as “cold” or totally unconcerned about the things of Christ. And it most definitely could not be confused with those classified as “on fire” in their testimony for the Lord.  The state of lukewarm is the reason Christ could not bear the taste in His mouth. There is something utterly obnoxious to God about lukewarm. The person who is untouched by the gospel and makes no pretense of putting his trust in Christ is actually a more hopeful case for true repentance than the one who makes some profession but by his life illustrates he does not know or trust in Christ’s work on the cross. There is no one further from the Truth in Christ than the one who makes an idle profession without real faith. The Church at Laodicea is a sad picture of much of the professing church in the world throughout history and serves as an illustration of those who participate in outward religious worship without the inner reality. There is an outward conformation without an inward transformation. Meaning no new birth, no heart change, no conforming into the image of Jesus through His power. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:  
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 

It is wise to note that if a church’s shepherds never make clear the necessity of the new birth, and do not proclaim accurately the depravity and sin of the human heart and the divine remedy provided alone in the salvation offered by Christ, one can hardly expect the church itself to be better than those who lead it.   

And our Lord Jesus states it like this in Luke 6:46-49:
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” 

Outward expression is not nearly so important as obedience.  It is not enough to call Jesus “Lord, Lord”. A believer must do what He says. Those who hear His words and act on them are secure—like a man building a house... on rock, and those who hear His words and do not act on them are destroyed—like a man who built a house... without a foundation. The disciples had already acted on His words to some extent by following Him. 

A lukewarm attitude toward God and the things of God is often accompanied by the exaltation of material wealth in contrast to true spiritual riches. The Laodiceans were guilty on this point. They even boasted that “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing” – not realizing that they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Their lack of economic need had blinded their eyes to their deep spiritual needs. They had been lulled into a false sense of contentment.  Status, Riches, Power, Position – all things the world lauds never fully satisfy and keep you wanting for more. Never content, always striving.     
Jon Bloom writes:
“To encounter the living God is to get a glimpse of the Source of all joy and pleasure - Psalms 16:11:
11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

He is the Source of all hope - Romans 15:13:
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

He is the Source of all power demonstrated in- Job 42:1-2:  
1 Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.” 

He is the Source of all power demonstrated in Luke 1:37:  
37 “For nothing is impossible with God.” 

He is the Source of all power demonstrated in Revelation 1:8:
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” 

He is the Source of an indestructible life demonstrated in Hebrews 7:16:
16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 

He is the Source of an indestructible life in John 3:16:
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

To get a glimpse of the Source of all joy and pleasure, in the words of C.S. Lewis, of ‘the place where all the beauty came from’. And to get such a glimpse, a taste, an apprehension of this magnitude of glory can’t help but leave us longing for more.” Jon Bloom

The sense of self-sufficiency lulled the Church at Laodicea into a false sense of contentment. The Laodiceans are typical of the modern world, which revels in that which the natural eye can see but is untouched by the Gospel and does not see beyond the material world to the unseen and real eternal spiritual riches. To anyone in the Laodicean Church who will listen, Christ warns of the need for repentance. God is not seeking to discipline those who make no pretense of following Him, but rather deals with those who claim to be His children. The fact that they are reproved and disciplined is evidence that they are true children of God. The writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 12:1-3:
3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
What is true of the local church is true for the human heart. No one is saved against his will. No one is compelled to obedience who wants to be rebellious. The gracious invitation is extended, however, that is if one opens the door of his heart and Christ will enter and close fellowship will result. Christ does not force Himself on anyone, but awaits our invitation to be admitted. What amazing condescension by Christ! Not only does He graciously await an invitation, but He graciously promises that those who display true devotion to Him will share in His glory. What a Savior! What a Friend!

In the church at Laodicea there was so much that was obnoxious to God and so little that was commendable. Yet Christ extended His personal invitation to them even as He extends to all who will receive it today. This invitation involves recognizing Him as Savior and Lord and entering fully into the blessings of the Christian life. A loving God wants people to hear and believe, turn from their idols of sin and self and look in faith to the Son of God, who loved them and gave Himself for them. 

These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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