‘And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation:
‘I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.” You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.’ –Revelation 3: 14-22
John’s Revelation opens with personal words to each of the 7 churches we assume he pastored. The last of these is to the church in Laodicea which is located in modern day Turkey. John, as you may recall, was in exile on the island of Patmos in the Mediterranean Sea. Here is a handy pic for you. Sure it looks all resort-ish now but I can assure you it was no day at the beach for John back when the Romans sent him there.
Anyway, I digress. This Sunday, Tasha will be preaching on Revelation, which is likely the least understood book in the Bible. It is hard to get our minds around John’s Revelation. It is my opinion that the key to understanding it is found in these opening addresses to the individual churches. All but one were struggling with their commitment to the faith. Some had given in to idolatry, some were waffling under the force of Roman persecutions, and others had simple lost their steam. All of these churches needed a reminder about who exactly was in charge of the world. The answer was, and is, God. Revelation then proceeds to underline this truth over and over again. After reading it we should be filled with a sense of awe and wonder at the power of God through Jesus Christ. We should be heartened by the promised end-times triumph of God, and we should be emboldened to stand against earthly powers which will all fall before the might of God.
For the Laodicean church the desired affect would have been a recommitment to their work as the Church. Moving away from the comfortable, lukewarm faith which they had settled into, John would have hoped to help them return to their former energy and enthusiasm for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe Revelation has much to share with us about the power of God, the future, and the forces in this world, but at the end of the day I believe it is primarily a reminder of how we are to exist as the Church of Jesus Christ. We should serve him with boldness, fire, determination and faith. We should remember that we live in God’s world, and we should be reaffirmed in our commitment to ushering in the Kingdom of God through the service and worship of our savior Jesus Christ. Revelation is nothing to fear, nor is it likely a literal blueprint of the end of times. Instead it is a promise and a challenge. What could be better than that?
Prayer: Holy God, help us to be the church you have called us to be. Help us to serve you with fire and enthusiasm. Help us to trust in your gracious promises. We ask that your Spirit might be upon us, and that when you knock we would always be ready to let you into our lives. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.