The Church at Laodicea

Lesson we can all use, from Beth Moore’s Bible study: “Beloved Disciple: The Life and Ministry of John”

Revelation 3:17 “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.'”

Beth tells us that the church at Laodicea was three things:
1) the church was indifferent – it was lukewarm. (Revelation 3:15).

2) the church was independent – “They filled their gaping need to matter with possessions, then gauged their usefulness by their wealth.” (Revelation 3:17).

3) the church was self-deceived – “Its worth was so ingrained in its wealth that the people honestly saw themselves utterly independent. We “do not need a thing.'” (Revelation 3:17).

“How grateful I am that Christ had a remedy for the Laodiceans! Their self-deceived indifference had not deemed them castaways. Christ wrote the Laodiceans a three-part prescription.

His first prescription was gold refined in fire. (check 1Peter 1:6-7 for help on understanding this one).
His second prescription was ‘white clothes to wear’ (Rev. 3:18) The black wool fabric for which Laodicea was famous was the fashion rage all over that part of the world. Jesus suggested that they trade their fashions for purity. Ouch!
His final prescription was salve to put on their eyes. Not only was the city a marketing center and financial capital, but it also housed a well-known medical center best known for Phrygian powder, which was used to make salve for eye conditions. All the while, they were blind as bats and poor as beggars. I’ve been both. One thing I’ve learned about God is that He is faithful in every way. He is faithful to forgive, redeem, bless, and provide. He is also faithful to chastise when His child won’t readily turn from sin. Yes, the Laodiceans had a prescription, but Christ had no intention of letting them wait a month of Sundays to get it filled without consequences.”

This lesson from Beth’s Bible Study has really opened my eyes to many new things. I hope you will read and study with us to see what the Church at Laodicea may be speaking to you about. Like to hear your understanding on these issues.

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25 thoughts on “The Church at Laodicea

  1. I understand the final prescription, ‘rub eye salve into your eyes’ to mean when we fill our minds with the Word of God to a level that none other than the Word of God can edge in then our spiritual blindness will be healed. When we read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it with discipline we will see and see with perfect vision and wisdom will ensue.

    Oh, how often I need to call The Great Physician to remind me of the discipline and obedience mixture that keeps my eyes in good health.

  2. Sara wrote a SONG a while ago that seems to describe the opening phrases of that chapter in Rev. Here it is

    JESUS IS WAITING THERE (c) sara mullennex

    There are so many that have crossed the road
    They’ve crossed the road to their wealth or so they say
    But they have missed the path
    The path the Savior walked to endure, to endure to the last

    Oh I hear the cry of the Savior say
    Comeback, come back to Me, My wandering child
    Oh hear My voice that pleads to your soul of woe
    Oh lay aside those weights and come home to Me

    For the Master waits for you hand to raise
    And join the hand of Your Hope
    For it’s His hand that will cross the foes
    Of all your dark, of all your dark and gloomy days.

    So hear Your Master say My light never dims
    My peace within will be a stronghold for your soul
    Oh let Me in, oh let Me in, I cry today!
    For you will find Me there, you’ll find Me waiting there.

    I’m waiting there at the door of your soul
    To release the chains of your pain
    So hear Me when I say, Come back to Me , My child
    Come back to Me, to the place of My rest.

    Look up, look up past the days of gloom
    And let My Mourning Dove arise in your heart
    You’ll find I’m there and waiting for your call
    Saying, O Jesus, saying O Jesus, saying O Jesus, I want to come home!

    The lyrics to this song are anointed and evangelical and prophetic. The understanding of these words opens the eyes of the heart which is the beginning of “sight”.
    None are so blind as those who REFUSE to see.

  3. Needles, you asked us to check I Peter 1:6-7 for the first prescription/remedy. I think the Message is pretty straight forward about it:
    “Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.”
    Seems it is not what we have but who we are.

  4. Love the song, MG. I love that Jesus is waiting at the door or our soul and He, Peace, is a stronghold for our soul. I am experiencing His Peace even now as I read and sing knowing that His Word is life to our all.

    Debi, looks like you hit the jack pot with your words, “it’s your faith, not your gold…”

  5. Sounds like we have some attentive pupils in class, for this lesson! From the comments above, it sounds like we have some help for the church at Laodicea and the church today, doesn’t it? Beth offers some more scripture about “another wealth-related issue in Matthew 13:22 that is readily recognizable in Laodicea.” Read with me: “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” Beth states that “somehow it (Laodicea church) didn’t grasp the principle ‘Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.'” (Luke 12:48 KJV)

    Oh, lets keep this lesson going, so we can learn and apply how to avoid “indifference, independence, and self-deception”, in our lives and our churches.

  6. Indifference makes us forget our obligations. Independence blinds us to our responsibilities and diverts our attention elsewhere.
    I read another translation of Luke 12:47-48 that addresses the repurcussions of not grasping the principle.
    “The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed. But if he does a poor job through ignorance, he’ll get off with a slap on the hand. Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!

  7. “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your (classy) garments are moth-eaten. Your gold (earrings) and silver (bracelets) have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.” (Our closets overstuffed and our cabinets crammed full to overflow)__Jas. 5:1
    “A man cannot serve two masters. Either he will love one and despise the other or he will favor one and resent the other. You cannot serve God and money.__ Mat. 6:24.
    Oh the wonderful, unspeakable things i have been reading about godly people who visited Heaven and the glorious things they saw…not a moment that wasn’t fulfilling, exciting, adventurous, miraculous. The riches, the beauty, the glory, the joy and fun and happiness. And JESUS! Oh thank God for JESUS! He IS WAITING THERE.

  8. In my morning devotions I read about our waiting. As we are at times waiting upon the Lord for his hand to move, our hearts are being refined as gold. We are not dependent upon anyone but God. Joseph did this when he was in the dungeon. He waited until one day the king needed an interpretation of a dream. Abraham waited until when he was old a son of promise was born to him. Being refined both grew closer and closer to God. May we in the waiting times grow closer to HIM.

  9. Footnotes for verses 15 and 18, of Revelation 3. Read with me: (verse 15) “Laodicea was the wealthiest of the seven cities, known for its banking industry, manufacture of wool, and a medical school that produced eye ointment. But the city had always had a problem with its water supply. At one time an aqueduct was built to bring water to the city from hot springs. But by the time the water reached the city, it was neither hot nor refreshingly cool–only lukewarm. The church had become as bland as the tepid water that came into the city. (verse 18)”Laodicea was known for its great wealth; Christ told the Laodieceans to buy their gold from him (real spiritual treasures). The city was proud of its cloth and dyeing industries; Christ told them to buy white garments from him (his righteousness). Laodicea prided itself on its precious eye ointment that healed many eye problems; Christ told them to buy ointment for their eyes so they could see the truth (John 9:39). Christ was showing the Laodiceans that true value was not in material possessions but in a right relationship with God. Their possessions and achievements were valueless compared with the everlasting future of Christ’s Kingdom.”

  10. “His second prescription was ‘white clothes to wear’ (Rev. 3:18) The black wool fabric for which Laodicea was famous was the fashion rage all over that part of the world. Jesus suggested that they trade their fashions for purity. Ouch!”. This medication is sour to the taste.

  11. True. And the expensive and really costly fashions become moth eaten…James 5. For Christ has prepared and provided for us the ‘wedding garment” of purity…white linen. Much more flattering, fashionable and famous than moth eaten duds.

  12. Hey, MG, that is a good way to look at my more than need-able wearables!!!! With each and every blog and comment I get insight of just how important God’s Wisdom is. The Book of James Chapter 1, verse 5, says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, ask of God, who gives to all liberally…” Sure need it when you have eye problems and can’t see.

  13. Thinking about Beth’s prescription prompted me to take comfort from the writer of Hebrews….

    Hebrews 12 NKJ ” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 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 spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order 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.”

  14. Hebrews 13 NLT “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have…” Now these are fighting words, wouldn’t you say?

  15. Yes, I would say so. Sometimes I think we are so blinded by the “indifference, independence and self-deception” that Needles writes about that we can’t see, won’t see and won’t let someone show us the harm in the love of money. It is a passionate root that runs deep and may take some digging to uncover and see that it leads to evil.

    “But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” I Tim 6:9-10

  16. Yes, item 3 does say….. and looking at it in another way.. WE REALLY DO NOT NEED A THING! Paul said he had learned to be content in whatever state he was in (I wonder if that includes Virginia 🙂 ) Anyway. When I think back about the things I thought I couldn’t live without, I can hardly think of what they were. They got moth eaten and corroded and rusty, dusty, dingy and dank. Paul wrote to Timothy,” So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” It sounds to me like Paul is giving us godly counsel. The Word he writes from the Holy Spirit endeavors to save us from the moral conflicts and devastating results of striving and straining for acquisition after acquisition….one more thing and one more thing.
    I think of the humorous story about the guy who finally talked St. Peter into letting him bring his sack of gold bricks, that he had worked himself sill to acquire and had hoarded and protected them while on earth, into Heaven with him. But Peter’s last shot was great…..’OK, you can bring them but we already have lots and lots of pavement up here.’

  17. Sara, don’t you just love the wisdom of our great God!! I have read about Heaven and those who have had near-death and/or out-of-body experiences there. The garb described is almost always the same. WHITE LINEN…crisp and unearthly white and pure.
    Sometimes I;ve read that they change their sashes according to what festivity is going on in Heaven but it is always the glorious white linen garment. And ONE SIZE FITS ALL! YAY!!!

  18. Yes, Sara, we did just talk about self-desception on another blog (http://www.thedailylily.org/?p=1657#more-1657) and its worth re-reading the definitions you posted and the article by Tozer you referenced where he said “He enjoys being deceived.”

    Regarding the prescription above for purchasing eye salve from the Lord, I found it interesting that in John 9:6 Jesus made eye salve from His own spit and some mud and put it in a blind man’s eyes. This may not be the salve prescription we counted on buying from the Lord. His prescription may be too humiliating or unappealing to us so maybe that is why we like the deception better. His prescription worked, though, and the man was healed. And when people kept questioning him about this method of healing, he finally said to them in vs 27 (NIV), ““I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

  19. Debi, In that lesson about the blind man,it shows that The Spit Of God is healing. Maybe, and this is just conjecture, but maybe that is how HE created the first man, Adam, out of Clay which HE mixed with the Breath and the Spit/Spirit of God. Just a conjecture……

  20. Needles, thanks for posting Beth’s study. So needful to reflect on this study. O, to have our eyes healing and receive from Our Heavenly Father the loving kindness that He offers to us.

  21. Like it was said in the sermon this morning – when we walk in and with self we have chosen to let go of the hand of Jesus. In doing so we fumble and fall through life, looking to fill our desires our way, emotionally attaching to things/thoughts not of God – never satisfied, empty, trying to fill with materialism. A void which is like a black hole which is insatiable and never full. The only way to be satisfied is to hold on to Jesus.

    Like a women said this week. When facing yourself. You think that’s not me. Then God begins to shed light and you find you have an eye problem. (A spiritual eye problem). You discover you lost sight and are stumbling as if blind. You are the one who needs others to hold the mirror of wisdom words so you can see how out of wack you are. What you see, once you realize it, can bring you to your knees and you wonder how did I get messed up so badly. We realize with clarity what the bible says in Romans 3 is true! and we weep for we know its true-

    9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:
    “There is no one righteous, not even one;
    11 there is no one who understands;
    there is 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.”[b]
    13 “Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”[c]
    “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]
    14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
    15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
    17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]
    18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]

    Then God’s love is shown – his grace is extended to us and apply Sara’s verse above in Hebrews.
    Endure discipline – walk through it – be changed step by step – God’s character building class is in session and you must
    hold on to the hand of JESUS! No Laodicea!

  22. Yes, the Lord is merciful to us to help us when we cooperate with Him to make the changes.

    “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.” Lamentations 3:22 NKJ

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