Laodicea is one of the seven churches of Asia, the Lukewarm Church. It was located in Asia Minor known to us today as Turkey, near Colossae, about 40 miles from Ephesus and situated on the river Lycus. Laodicea was a wealthy city and head of the circuit of the seven churches. Originally called Diospolis and then Rhoas, the city was changed to Laodicea in honor of Laodice, the wife of Antiochus II about 261-246 BC. The Greek words laos and dice taken separately translates either as customs of people or the righteous judgment of the people. The word dice can mean either custom or a judicial court verdict. Either way, this apocalyptic congregation represents the judgment of the type of churches that exist today substituting religious formality for spiritual substance, the traditions of men for the truth and fostering a materialistic lifestyle.

Laodicea lay on one of the great Asian trade routes, insuring its great commercial prosperity. The city was a notable banking center, no doubt it was one of the rich banking firms which in AD 60 financed the reconstruction of the city after the great earthquake which nearly destroyed it. Laodicea refused the Senate's earthquake relief and rebuilt at its own expense. Laodicea was proud of its wealth and very beautiful with its magnificent temples and theaters. Happily located and particularly prosperous, Laodicea was a tourist center with hot mineral baths. The sheep on the hillsides of the Lycus valley were glossy, raven-colored beauties, virtually unmatched anywhere and produced a glossy black wool, the source of black cloaks and carpets, for which the city was famous. Laodicea was also the home of a medical school, and the manufacture of collyrium, a Phrygian powder famous for eye-salve used to treat eye diseases and was widely sought. Under Diocletian, Laodicea, still prosperous, was made the chief city of the Province of Phrygia.

The Lord describes Himself as the "amen", there is a certain finality in this. He is the end, nothing can be added or taken away from him. He is the "true witness." It is the Son who speaks to Laodicea. Evidently the Christian community shared in the prosperity. They think of themselves as rich and altogether to be envied. Proud of their pursuit of gain as godliness that they think they so richly deserve, their smug contentment that they had counted as treasure that which was not treasure only made them deserving of judgment and misery.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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 overcomes 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 has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.

Laodicea represents a period of judgment, and is the last stage of the church as the Bride gets herself ready. Its lukewarmness is expressed by the nauseating effects of tepid water where God will spit them out, literally vomit. This denotes a final rejection, an utter separation from His Church.

Jesus advises the church to buy gold tried in the fire, the real wealth of Jesus cleansing the heart and thus giving the "white raiment" of a truly regenerated and sanctified life, and the "eye salve" of faith granting true spiritual insight and knowledge. Gold is the one precious metal that comprehensively represents worldly wealth and riches but here is used to denote that which constitutes spiritual riches. The Lord said to the church of Smyrna that he knew their poverty, but they were rich, God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom.

The aim of religious dogmatism always has been, and always will be, to regard its narrowest opinions as matters of faith, and to exclude or excommunicate all those who try reject or modify them. This is the traditions of men and the doctrines of demons that will identify the apostate Christian church. The exclusive denominating opinions are founded upon interpretations of Scripture and since scripture is infallible, they think that their interpretation is also infallible. Since opinions and inferences differ, it must be the other persons that are wrong and must be guilty of heresy and since heretics are wicked men, the division occurs.

Barriers to unity come from those that seem to have it all and don't need the rest. They add nothing so go off on their own apart from us. The Laodicean Church is alive and well today. Jesus will love us whether we are hot or cold. Many churches are cold as far as the Holy Spirit is concerned. They might not have correct doctrine or charismatic presence but even those that dwell among satan's seat have held the faith and are included among God's people. The weak are much more attractive to Jesus than those who think that they are strong. Love covers a multitude of sins. Those on the hot side of the church have radical faith, walking in the spirit has led them to love their weaker brothers and embrace them in spite of their faults.

The lukewarm church will not exhibit the love necessary to bring about the unity that Jesus has prayed for. Compassion, faith, love, charity, liberality and graces, all suffer with conservative action and luke-warm spirituality. This apostate church of contention and division will be spewed out of the mouth of God and will no longer be part of the body.

Chastening is promised for those in Laodicea who are Christ's. They are to repent of the compromising disloyalty of their unbelief much in the way the church is admonished to come out of Babylon. Groups or individuals who really care, as opposed to those who have lukewarm feelings, deserve special attention for their intensity or commitment but will be thought of as not being worthy of fellowship.

But look, Jesus is standing at the door and knocks. Do you hear His voice? He is inviting us all to come in to sup with Him. He invites us to sit with Him on His throne but remember to walk worthy and be among the overcomers in these last days for we are in a wicked and perverse generation. He is very willing to come through that door and dwell with you. Are you willing to enter into Him? Judgment begins with us but we have the example and advice of Jesus to examine ourselves and allow ourselves to be purified through the spiritual riches that have tested through the fire. Have we been so increased with material goods that we have neglected the spiritual? Repent.
[Revelation 3, 294, 298, James, 330, 338, 339, 353, 359, Colossians, 343, 399]

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