Message to the church: “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says 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 could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked – counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘ ” (Revelation 3:14-22)
Description: Of all the letters to the churches, the final message to Laodicea is the harshest. The people of the church are lukewarm, and because of this, they will be “vomited out.” What is so bad about Laodicea? The members of Laodicea are people who vacillate between doing whatever they happen to feel like, and following God. Why is this even more harmful than being “cold” all the time (i.e. never turning to God?) Because someone who has been only “cold” still has the potential of being eventually reached by the Word. Someone who occasionally embraces the Word and at other times does not, on the other hand, gradually makes it impossible for the Word to have any effect on their lives. This isn’t to say that God expects perfection. People in Laodicea aren’t Christians who try and fail to be faithful to the Lord; they are people who sometimes try and sometimes do not. It takes hard and honest self-awareness to admit you’re in Laodicea.
Call to action: Laodicea is called to “be zealous and repent.” They are called to “buy gold refined in the fire.” Those images of zeal and fire show the way back if you find yourself in Laodicea: a burning commitment to acquire steadfast love by faithfully, constantly, passionately putting the Lord’s truth into action.
Promise: Despite the dire warning for Laodicea, there is hope even if you find yourself here. If you allow yourself to be “rebuked and chastened” – i.e. experience the discomfort that comes from forcing yourself to change your habits – you can “dine with the Lord” and even sit with Him on His throne. Instead of being spat out, you can become one with Him.