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Lesson #12

RETURN TO SYLLABUS

REVELATION 3:14-22
LESSON #12
THE LUKEWARM CHURCH – LAODICEA

  • MEMORY VERSE: REV 3:11
  • READ REV 3:14-22 LAODICEA
    • BACKGROUND:
      • THE NAME, LAODICEA, MEANS = JUDGMENT OF THE PEOPLE
        • THE PEOPLE IN THIS CHURCH WANTED TO JUDGE THEMSELVES. THEY THOUGHT THEY KNEW WHAT WAS GOOD AND WHAT WAS BAD.
          • IN THIS CHURCH AGE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO JUDGE OURSELVES AND CORRECT OUR SINFUL BEHAVIOR (1COR 11:31 HEB 12:7). HOWEVER, WE ARE SUPPOSED TO USE GOD’S STANDARDS ON WHICH TO BASE OUR JUDGEMENTS AND GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.
        • HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:
          • LAODICEA WAS THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF THE PROVINCE OF PHRYGIA. IT WAS SURROUNDED BY MOUNTAINS THAT MADE IT AN EXCELLENT FORTRESS. THE CITY WAS DESTROYED BY AN EARTHQUAKE IN 60 AD, BUT THE PEOPLE BEING SO WEALTHY TOOK NO AID FROM THE ROMAN EMPEROR IN ORDER TO REBUILD
    • ECONOMIC SIGNIFICANCE:
      • LAODICEA WAS A PROSPEROUS COMMERCIAL CENTER. ALSO, IT WAS A LARGE BANKING CENTER KNOWN FOR THEIR MANUFACTURE OF QUALITY BLACK WOOL GARMENTS.
      • THE CITY WAS KNOWN FOR THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE THAT HAD DEVELOPED EAR AND EYE OINTMENTS.
    • RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE:
      • THE PHYSICIANS OF THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE WORSHIPPED ASKLEPIOS
        • ASKLEPIOS WAS THE GOD OF HEALING. THE IDOL OF ASKLEPIOS HAD THE FORM OF A SERPENT ON A POLE, A SYMBOL STILL USED FOR THE MEDICAL PROFESSION. (SAME AS PERGAMOS, LESSON #08)
      • BECAUSE THIS WAS A CAPITAL CITY THIS WAS A CENTER FOR EMPEROR WORSHIP.
    • THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH:
      • THE GOSPEL PROBABLY REACHED THIS CITY VERY EARLY DURING PAUL’S LIFETIME AS PAUL MENTIONS THE CHURCH THERE IN COL 2:1 AND COL 4:13-16. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO RECORD THAT PAUL EVER VISITED THE CHURCH.
        • EPAPHRAS WAS PERHAPS THE FOUNDER OF THE CHURCH HERE, OR PERHAPS HE WAS THE PASTOR ACCORDING TO COL 4:16.
        • THIS CHURCH HAD A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP TO THE CHURCH AT COLOSSAE AND ONE AT HIEROPOLIS.
      • TODAY:
        • THERE IS NO CITY IN THIS LOCATION NOW THOUGH THERE IS A CITY AT A HOTSPRINGS SOME DISTANCE AWAY. GOD REMOVED THE LAMPSTAND FROM THIS CITY.
    • THE PROPHETIC HISTORICAL PERIOD:
      • THE LUKEWARM CHURCH 1925-THE RAPTURE
        • THIS IS OUR CURRENT TIME PERIOD. IT IS THE AGE OF IDEOLOGIES: A PERIOD OF REASON.
          • IDEOLOGIES SUCH AS NAZISM, COMMUNISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMANISM, GLOBALISM, ETC.
        • THIS CHURCH DEPICTS THE FINAL APOSTASY BEFORE THE LORD COMES AGAIN
          • READ THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES:
            • 2THE 2:3 LUK 18:8 MAT 24:12
            • 1TIM 4:1,2 2TIM 3:1-5 2PET 3:3-4
    • CHRIST REVEALED: (14)
      • “THE AMEN”
        • THIS IS A TITLE FOR CHRIST. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
          • AMEN IS A VERBAL ASSENT OR AGREEMENT; A “SO BE IT”.
            • IT REFERS TO CHRIST BEING A WITNESS, SO THE AMEN INDICATES HE IS A RELIABLE WITNESS. HE HAS THE LAST WORD.
      • “THE FAITHFUL AND TRUE WITNESS”
        • IN REV 1:5 CHRIST IS CALLED THE FAITHFUL WITNESS
          • THIS TITLE INDICATES HE IS AN ACCURATE WITNESS AND WHAT HE SAYS IS TRUE.
      • “THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD”
        • WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
          • IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT CHRIST WAS THE FIRST TO BE CREATED. WHY DOES IT NOT MEAN THAT?
            • REMEMBER REV 1:8 SAYS CHRIST IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA.
              • COL 1:15-18 TELLS US THAT CHRIST DID THE CREATING.
          • THEREFORE, IT IS ANOTHER WAY OF INDICATING THAT HE IS THE CREATOR.
    • THE COMMENDATION (THE PRAISES FOR THIS CHURCH):
      • THERE IS NONE. THERE IS EVIDENTLY NOTHING GOOD ABOUT THIS CHURCH. HOW SAD, AND YET THIS IS THE PERIOD WE LIVE IN TODAY.
    • THE CORRECTION: (16,17)
      • “LUKEWARM”
        • THE TERM, LUKEWARM, IS AN INTERESTING REFERENCE TO THE CITY’S WATER SUPPLY. BECAUSE OF ITS LOCATION, THE CITY HAD NO PERMANENT WATER SUPPLY. THE PEOPLE HAD TO BRING THE WATER THROUGH PIPES FROM A HOT SPRINGS SOME DISTANCE AWAY. BY THE TIME THIS MINERAL WATER ARRIVED AT THE CITY, IT WAS LUKEWARM AND HAD A BAD TASTE. HIEROPOLIS HAD HOT HEALING WATERS WHILE COLOSSAE HAD COLD WATER THAT REFRESHED.
      • “SPEW THEE OUT OF MY MOUTH” = LITERALLY IT IS A STRONG WORD THAT MEANS TO VOMIT.
        • WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HOT? TO BE COLD? TO BE LUKEWARM?
          • INTERPRETATION #1:
            • HOT = BELIEVERS
            • COLD = NON-BELIEVERS
            • LUKEWARM = CARNAL BELIEVERS
          • INTERPRETATION #2 (I PREFER THIS INTERPRETATION):
            • HOT = BELIEVERS RESPONSIVE TO THE THINGS OF GOD.
            • COLD = BELIEVERS NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE THINGS OF GOD (CARNAL BELIEVERS).
            • LUKEWARM = THOSE WHO PROFESS TO BE BELIEVERS BUT REALLY ARE NOT (THE NON-BELIEVERS).
              • YOU COULD PROBABLY SIT IN THIS LAODICEAN CHURCH ON SUNDAY AND BE VERY COMFORTABLE, NEVER HEARING ABOUT HELL OR SIN OR CHANGE IN ONE’S LIFE. YOU WOULD NEVER HEAR THE GOSPEL OF REPENTANCE
                • THEY DO HAVE SOME WORKS (15) BUT THESE ARE PROBABLY SOCIAL ACTION TYPE GOOD WORKS RATHER THAN GOSPEL ACTION CENTERED.
              • LUKEWARM IS NOT BETTER THAN COLD BECAUSE IT DAMAGES THE REPUTATION OF CHRIST. SATAN USES IT TO HIDE THE GOSPEL AND PRODUCE APATHY.
      • “WRETCHED, MISERABLE, POOR, BLIND, NAKED” (17)
        • ALL THESE TERMS HAVE AN ANALOGY TO THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CITY.
          • WRETCHED, MISERABLE, POOR = THESE PEOPLE SAID THEY WERE RICH WHEN DEVASTATED BY THE EARTHQUAKE AND NEEDED NOTHING (SPIRIT OF PRIDE). THEY WERE POOR SPIRITUALLY.
          • BLIND = NOTED FOR THEIR EYE MEDICINE FOR PHYSICAL DISEASE, THEY WERE REALLY SPIRITUALLY BLIND.
          • NAKED = NOTED FOR THEIR BLACK WOOL GARMENTS, THEY WERE REALLY NAKED SPIRITUALLY (LIKE THE EMPEROR WITH NO CLOTHES. THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE CLOTHED SPIRITUALLY BUT WERE NOT. THEY WERE NOT CLOTHED WITH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST.)
        • THIS CHURCH WAS THEREFORE:
          • INDIFFERENT TO THE WORK OF THE LORD.
          • INSENSITIVE TO THEIR SPIRITUAL NEED SINCE THEY WERE SO SELF-RELIANT.
    • THE COUNSEL: (18,19)
      • THEY MUST RECOGNIZE THEIR SPIRITUAL NEED.
      • THEY MUST REALIZE WHY HE CORRECTS THEM.
      • THEY MUST RESPOND WITH REPENTANCE.
        • BE ZEALOUS AND REPENT (19)
      • THEY MUST BUY WHAT CAN’T BE BOUGHT WITH MONEY:
        • THEY SHOULD BUY GOLD TRIED IN FIRE (THE RICHES OF GOD THE FATHER)
          • 1PET 1:7 1COR 3:11-15
        • THEY SHOULD BUY PURIFIED FAITH, NOT JUST A PROFESSION OF IT.
        • THEY SHOULD BUY WHITE RAIMENT = (THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST THE SON)
          • CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS AS CONTRASTED WITH THE BLACK WOOL GARMENTS FOR WHICH THEY WERE FAMOUS.
        • THEY SHOULD ANOINT THEIR EYES WITH SALVE = (SPIRITUAL SIGHT REVEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT)
          • A HOLY SPIRIT ANOINTING IS NEEDED TO SEE THEIR TRUE SPIRITUAL CONDITION. (1JOH 2:20, 24-27)
    • THE CHALLENGE: (20)
      • “STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK”
        • WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
          • THIS IS THE SECOND DOOR MENTIONED IN REVELATION. THE FIRST ONE WE SAW IN REV 3:8–THE OPEN DOOR OF MISSIONS.
          • THIS DOOR IS THE DOOR OF THE HEART OF EACH PERSON INTO WHICH CHRIST WILL COME AT SALVATION TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM.
      • “GRANT TO SIT WITH CHRIST IN HIS THRONE”
        • THIS IS A POSITION OF POWER AND AUTHORITY–RULING AND REIGNING WITH CHRIST IN THE MILLENNIUM.
    • THE CHARACTER OF THIS CHURCH:
      • THE RICH, POOR CHURCH IN CONTRAST TO SMYRNA WHICH WAS THE POOR, RICH CHURCH.
    • A KINGDOM PARABLE IN RELATION TO THIS CHURCH:
      • PARABLE OF THE GOOD AND BAD FISH MAT 13:47-51
        • THIS PARABLE TEACHES THAT EVERYONE WHO HAS A HEART FOR GOD HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR THE GOSPEL. EACH HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE A GOOD FISH OR A BAD FISH. THE GOOD ARE SAVED FOR ETERNAL LIFE, AND THE BAD SPEND ETERNITY IN THE LAKE OF FIRE. IT IS THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE. THE EMPHASIS IS ON THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO USES THE WORD OF GOD TO BRING PEOPLE TO CHRIST.
          • IN THE PARABLE THERE ARE NO MIDDLE AREAS, EITHER YOU ARE SAVED OR YOU ARE NOT.
          • IN THE LAODICEAN CHURCH PERIOD PEOPLE THINK THERE ARE GREY AREAS. THEY THINK THEY CAN BE LUKEWARM AND BE SAVED. THE LUKEWARM IN THIS CHURCH ARE BLINDLY DECEIVED THINKING THEY ARE SAVED WHEN THEY ARE NOT.
    • DISCUSSION: HOW DO YOU THINK THE LAODICEAN CHURCH RELATES TO YOUR CHURCH?
  • APPLICATION:
    • HOW TO BE AN OVERCOMER: #7 BE ZEALOUS FOR THE LORD (19)

REVIEW: HOW TO BE AN OVERCOMER REV 2-3 1JOH 5:4

#1 BE FAITHFUL TO THE WORD OF GOD REV 2:1-7
#2 BE FAITHFUL TO CHRIST IN SPITE OF PERSECUTION REV 2:8-11
#3 STAND FAST ON TRUTH NO MATTER WHAT REV 2:12-17
#4 GROW SPIRITUALLY REV 2:18-29
#5 BE ALERT TO THE TACTICS OF THE ADVERSARY REV 3:1-6
#6 SHARE YOUR LOVE AND THE GOSPEL TO ALL PEOPLE REV 3:7-13
#7 BE ZEALOUS FOR CHRIST REV 3:14-22
    • THERE ARE QUESTIONS WE MUST ASK ABOUT OUR CHURCH:
      • IS THERE A BALANCE BETWEEN LOVE AND SOUND DOCTRINE?
        • EPHESUS
      • IS THERE AN EMPHASIS ON MATURING THE BELIEVERS?
        • EPHESUS
      • IS THERE AN EMPHASIS ON SPIRITUAL WEALTH IN CONTRAST TO MATERIAL WEALTH?
        • SMYRNA/LAODICEA
      • IS THE CHURCH CAREFUL NOT TO COMPROMISE DOCTRINE AND CUSTOMS WITH THE WORLD?
        • PERGAMUM
      • DOES THE CHURCH STAND FOR GOD IN AN IMMORAL SOCIETY?
        • PERGAMUM
      • DOES THE CHURCH NOT TOLERATE EVIL IN DOCTRINE, CUSTOMS, OR PERSONS?
        • THYATIRA
      • DO YOU SEE CHRIST CHANGE THE LIVES OF BELIEVERS?
        • SARDIS
      • DO THE PEOPLE LOVE ONE ANOTHER IN WORD AND DEED?
        • PHILADELPHIA
      • DO THE PEOPLE HAVE AN ENTHUSIASM FOR GOD SO THAT THEY SHARE THEIR FAITH WITH UNBELIEVERS?
        • LAODICEA
    • IF A CHURCH ANSWERS YES TO ALL THESE QUESTIONS, THEN THAT CHURCH WILL SURVIVE PERSECUTION AND MAINTAIN ITS LAMPSTAND.
    • SOME SAY THAT ONLY THE LAST 3 CHURCHES ARE REPRESENTED IN THE END TIMES BEFORE CHRIST COMES AGAIN, HOWEVER, BY EXPERIENCE I THINK WE CAN SEE ALL CHURCHES REPRESENTED TODAY.
  • HOMEWORK
  • SECOND COMING STUDY – SIGNS OF THE END TIMES
  • APPLICATION OF REV 2-3
    • THINK ABOUT YOUR OWN CHURCH AND DECIDE IF YOUR CHURCH FITS ANY OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ALL THE CHURCHES WE STUDIED IN CHAPTERS 2 AND 3. PRAY FOR YOUR CHURCH.
    • THINK ABOUT YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL WALK WITH THE LORD. DOES YOUR SPIRITUAL WALK FIT ANY OF THE CHARACTERISTICS STUDIED IN CHAPTERS 2 AND 3? IF SO, AND THOSE CHARACTERISTICS NEED CHANGING, WHAT CAN YOU DO TO CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE?
  • PREPARATION FOR “SIGNS OF THE END TIMES”:
    • READ THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES AND LIST THE END TIME SIGNS:
      • 1 THE 5:1-6
      • 1 JOH 4:3
      • MAT 23:37-24:51
      • LUK 21
  • MEMORY VERSE: MAT 24:14

 

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About Joyce

Joyce
I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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