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Mar 03, 2019

Laodicea: The Lukewarm Church

Passage: Revelation 3:14-22

Preacher: Arturo Morales

Series: Churches of Revelation

Keywords: apathy, appearances, blindness, righteousness, spiritual vision, zeal suffering, heart-issues


This last church in Revelation had a serious problem that threatens so many churches and Christians in America. This message looks at what Jesus calls us to do in order to triumph over this deadly disease.


Revelation 3:14-22

  1. Introduction
    1. David Lanham, AKA Big Dave was born 1987 in Miami, Florida.
    2. I knew Big Dave in 2001 in Middle school. We were 11 years old.
    3. If you are wondering why I called him Big David, because he was 6’4 280 pound.
    4. When Big Dave graduated High School, he was 6’4 and 240 pounds of all muscles.
    5. Big Dave attended Wellington High School, played left tackle and was Captain of the Offensive Line his senior year. 
    6. He won the “Will to Win” Award at his football banquet and played in the Outback “Allstar” Bowl. 
    7. Big Dave signed on National Signing Day with the Jacksonville University Dolphins where he was a redshirt freshman. 
    8. Due to back injury, He transferred to Florida State University where he obtained his bachelor’s degree.
    9. Through all his accomplishment, Big Dave externally looked good, but internally he was struggling.
    10. Big Dave was addicted to painkillers when he attended Florida State University, and started to sale pills to college students during his junior, sophomore, and senior years.
    11. Eventually, the law enforcement finally caught Big Dave illegal activities and he served 1 year in prison.
    12. That was the beginning of the end of Big Dave life.
    13. He was in and out patients.
    14. He would stopped doing drugs and get back to a normal life, but relapsed over and over again.
    15. There a photo of Big Dave on December 2018, Big Dave looked healthy and started to make a changed.
    16. That was far from the truth, Big Dave overdose on heroin February 17, 2019.
    17. Externally he looked good, but internally he was struggling.

This is similar to the message of Jesus that he was portraying to church of Laodicea, Externally they looked good, but internally they were struggling

  1. For the past eight weeks the preaching team has been gave historical context regarding to John the Apostle. The only thing I will say is John was stoked in some small island. If you want to know more about the history of John, I highly recommend listening to THE LORD OF THE CHURCHES by John Moody, you can listen to the message on Mosaic Fellowship database.
  • I will talk a little bit about the time frame and the two theories that held within scholar regarding the emperor of Rome.
    1. Nero (AD 54-68)
      1. Heavy persecutions, after the death of Nero persecution things were cooling down.
      2. Muratorian fragment (170-190)
  • Pastor John talked about the church of Smyrna, the people were going through heavy persecution (Revelation 2:8-11)
  1. Domitian (AD95)
    1. Church Father Irenaeus (AD 185)
  2. The Church of Laodicea (3:14a)
    1. South bank of Lucius river
    2. Forty miles to southeast of Philadelphia.
    3. They were known to make eye medicine and wool
    4. Wealthy enough that when it was destroyed by an earthquake in AD 60, it declined to accept Roman aid and rebuilt itself from its own resources
    5. The city remains revealed marble that paved the streets for shops to sale to the public. Their modern mall.

Laodicea was very prosperous city that brought economic growth in the community. Laodicea was similar to America. A rich city that seemed well off. They had the houses, and they had a well system that was high tech during their time. They are living the American dream.

  1. Jesus is... (3:14b)
    1. “The Amen”: Amen as a title and also known as a proper name
    2. Jesus used the Greek term amen, amen, in the gospels of John to reveal authentication that He is saying is genuine. TRULY, TRULY… I am the TRUTH
    3. “The faithful and true witness”: Keep in mind that God himself is once referred as God of truth (Isa 65:16)
    4. “Beginning of God’s”: Beginning mean originator, initiator

In other words, shut up because father is talking right. Sh.. Dad is speaking, so pay close attention. Jesus is about to speak truth, knowledge, and wisdom. It is time to take notes.

  1. Spit you out like old gum (3:15-16)
    1. Do not have the mentality that hot means fire for God, and cold water means not following God.
    2. Both words hot and cold are positive in context. Laodicea was only six miles south of Hierapolis; eleven miles west of Colossae
    3. The nearby city of Hierapolis was famous for its hot healing springs, while Colossae was known for its cold freshwater. Laodicea had no water source of its own but received lukewarm water from an aqueduct water source was near Hierapolis.
    4. Like the healing hot spring near Hierapolis, and the refreshing cool springs in Colossae, their testimony was to demonstrate positive attributes.
    5. Lukewarm substance/Water was an action repeated at banquets in antiquity when a diner was not pleased with the taste of served
    6. Some scholar believes lukewarm water was to delude the wine
    7. Spit Greek word is emetic, which means vomit; Christ is saying that the Laodicea’s make him sick.

Jesus wants you to be consistence, just like cold water is refreshing to soul. Hot water brings healing to the soul. Jesus wants us to be passionate in pursuing him. Jesus wants his people to be zealous towards his words. You don’t want hot water during hot season; neither do you want cold water during the cold season.    

  • You think you are rich, but reality is you are poor (3:17)
    1. Spiritual blind, a condition that is the result of one’s location in spiritual darkness and is a sign that one remain in sin (John 9:1-41; 1 John 2:11)
    2. Spiritual naked… Wealth in antiquity was often measured in part by one’s wardrobe. IT is thus quite unexpected that a church that considers itself wealthy would be declared naked.
    3. Spiritual poverty
    4. Doesn’t this sounds like:
      1. (Hos 12:8) Israel boasts, “I am rich!
        I’ve made a fortune all by myself!
            No one has caught me cheating!
            My record is spotless!”
    5. Or…Deuteronomy 8:11-20 forgetting God in the good times.

Laodicea did not need God. Smyrna was the direct opposite of Laodicea, Smyrna were poor community but God saw their heart as rich people. Laodicea was rich community, but God see them poor at heart. Very similar to America, very rich community compare to other countries. I believe America and Laodicea are equal in riches, but also similar to spiritual sense. Guys, this is us…This message is the people who have it all, but have not really allowed God to transform the inner, instead of someone changing themselves on the outside. For the people who are poor, God sees you rich in the inner. This message is for me, yes, I am doing great in the outer aspect, but God wants me to sale all my inner possession, my desires must be lay down before God throne, so that he can reign in my life fully.

  • This sounds like leprechaun, but you have to buy from me (3:18)
    1. What does it mean to refined by fire?
      1. I believe this means purified through trials and tribulation.
    2. 1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
    3. Gold refined by fire symbolizes faith in Christ that has been purified by enduring trail (1 Cor 3:12-14; 1 Peter 1:7),
    4. “Gold that has been purified by fire” (18) the idea of the removal of impurities from a substance by refining it in fire so that it comes out pure. In this context it is difficult not see here a reference to the fire of suffering that opposition and/or persecution brings to the community
    5. White garment symbolize pure and righteous conduct, and ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see symbolizes the anointing of the Holy Spirit that gives true discernment (1 John 2:27)
    6. Scholars believe this is Spiritual poverty
    7. White garment: the meaning of “white garments” as not simply what you will wear in heaven but a present possibility

Not from my work, but through him/ JESUS…

I believe the same things the scholars’ views that being rich, blind, and naked signified spiritual poverty. Jesus was focusing on the internal aspect, because the people were focusing on the external aspect. Jesus was attacking the five things “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” They are actions things. Jesus wants his people to focus on HIM. What do I mean about him? I mean, getting out of your comfort zone. God wants people to follow him in a deeper and personal level. Stop focusing on your riches, stop focusing on your possession.  God has something that is worth more than your things.

Example: How does this relate with us? I go to church on Sundays, I pay my tithe, I financially support Josh and Skyla Haiti ministry. That was subliminal message to support our missionary in Mosaic. I mean, come on, we feel good that we go to church, come back home, pay our tithes, and feel like we are good when we “do good things.” On the outside, we good, but inside we have not fully sold out for Jesus. The Disciples left everything behind to follow Jesus. I am not saying to sell everything you have to go to some foreign country. All I am saying is, internally, have you sold everything you have to follow Jesus? It like Jesus talking to rich man, remember Matthew 19:16–30, Mark 10:17–31, Luke 18:18–30. The rich man asked a question to obtain eternal life? Jesus said, “ you don’t murder, I honor my mother and father. I don’t commit adultery, I don’t steal” The rich man said, yes Jesus, I do all those things. Jesus said, good, good, good job, now sale everything you own and follow me. Rich man was full of grief and sorrow to the point that he walked away from Jesus. The rich man was not ready internally to Follow Jesus.  

Its like the movie the Matrix that Morpheus gave the option to Neo. You can take the red pill or the blue pill, the choice is yours. Once you make that choice, there no turning back, but you can live life of luxury, being very comfortable.

Think about it, your stuff wont bring you happiness.

The real question is, do you really want to follow Him? Once you follow him, you are making a alliance with God, and becoming an enemy of the world.

  1.  discipline the ones I love-i.e his children (3:19-20)
    1. Whom the Lord loves he reproves, as a father, the son he favors. (Proverb 3:12 and Heb 12:5-11)
      1. The word translated ‘rebuke” can also carry the idea of convict or prove wrong John 16:8-11
      2. The word (paidue “discipline”) παιδευω [DISCIPLINE;] is closely related to (paidia “children”) παιδια [LITTLE CHILDREN] 1jn.2.13 ; 1jn.2.18  which often appears in 1 John as a term of endearment for the believers.
  • Be earnest (literally, be Zealous) and repent

My father is the type of guy that teaches his children the hard way. I was the kid who has a fork in his hand and see the outlet­­– one plus one equal 10.  Instead of stopping me from plugging the fork in the outlet, my father said out loud “he will learn that it’s not a smart idea to put those things together. This is not our heavenly father. Out heavenly father will grab his children hands before allowing child to put his fork in the outlet socket. Please understand; God will guide his children by the hand to steer in the right way the wrong path, even if the child is kicking and hollering. Are we allowing God to enter in our heart, our life. Or, are we refusing to ignore the knocks?

  1. Winners will sit with me (3:21-22)
    1. In the Spirit: the Spirit will guide his people. (3:22)
    2. Closely associated with identity and discernment ( 10:3-5, 26, 37) and culminates with Jesus climatic Response to Pilate, each one who is of the truth hears my voice (19:37)
      1. John 10:3, 14
    3. The promise that I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me is a powerful image of Intimacy. In the Middle East sharing a meal indicates a relationship of trust and friendship.

The spirit will guide Jesus’ people. I believe the people Laodicea was comfortable with their lifestyle that they did not want to give up their “riches.” The text reveals Jesus is seeking passionate people, passionate people to fully give up their comfort zone. I believe the people of Laodicea were afraid to die, was afraid to loose everything for the cross. Who wants to loose everything, and might loose your life. Christianity does not sound appealing, but read (verse 21)  “the one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne.” I feel it is worth it to follow him, the question is, is it worth it for you? I do not know if Laodicea follows Jesus advice, I do know America is similar to Laodicea’s wealth. I do recognize the text is speaking to us. The real question is, as a congregation what will do with this text? For me, I know externally I look good, but internally I am struggling. I know I have not fully trust God, and allow him to reign over my life. AM I listening to God’s voice? AM I refusing to hear his voice?  Do I want to internally give all my right to him? I do want to sit with him. I do want to dine with him. I hate to say this; Jesus also had to go through trials and persecution, and gave full access to God to finish our mistakes at the cross.


Internally: buy from me

          White garment

          Salve for the eyes

  1. End of the Series…
    1. Ephesus (2:1-7) Rekindling love by Jesse
    2. Smyrna (2:8-11) Jesus Last Message to Suffering Saint By Pastor John
    3. Pergamum (2:12-17) A Serpent’s tale by Eric
      1. Adultery and Ideas
    4. Thyatira (2:18-29) a Church of Holy Living by Worship Leader Andrew
    5. Sardis (3:1-6) a Wake-Up-Call- by Pastor John
    6. Philadelphia (3:7-13) the Little Church That Could That Can Grow. By Elder Bob
    7. Externally it looked good, but internally it is a struggle