The Seventh Letter: Laodicea
Sermon Title: The Seventh Letter to the Church in Laodicea: Seeing Ourselves Clearly
Proposition Statement: We need to see ourselves clearly so that our lives accurately reflect a life of faith and trust.
Introduction: At the crossroads of commerce, the city of Laodicea is bustling, rich commercial center. The Laodicean church reflects this prosperity and is deceived into believing that they are healthy. However, Jesus recognizes their sin-sickness; He brings assessment and counsel to them and to the church throughout the ages.
Point 1: Their Self-Assessment
The church in Laodicea view themselves as rich, prosperous, and needing nothing (v. 17). Yet, the Great I Know—Christ—sees their hearts, noting that their material prosperity has led them to trust society and their wealth, not God. “Needing nothing,” they have lost sight of the doctrine of sin and of the Gospel itself. In doing so, they rob God the glory due to Him.
Point 2: Jesus’ Assessment
Aware of their works (v. 15), Jesus declares them neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm (v. 15-16). The church fails to bring healing and refreshment like the natural hot and cold springs in the region. Rather, Jesus insists that they must be spit out (v. 16), for they are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked (v. 17). He brings their true reality into full view. The church is not fervent for God; they are away from Him, content with their lukewarm pretense.
Point 3: Jesus’ Counsel
Motivated by love, Jesus reproves and disciplines the church (v. 19) with strong counsel. He instructs them to buy from Him gold refined by fire (to be rich in faith), white garments (to cover their sin), and eye salve (to open their eyes). Poor, blind, and naked, they cannot possibly purchase these themselves. Only Jesus possesses the currency to make such a purchase on their behalf. Jesus stands at the door and knocks, offering fellowship with them if they humbly repent of the self-sufficiency (v. 20). If they do so, Christ promises that they will conquer and sit on the throne with Him (v. 21).
Application Questions: What is your self-assessment? Is it different from Jesus’ assessment? Are you content with where you’re at? Are you robbing God His glory? Are you ready to see yourself accurately—that is, repent? What kind of church are we leaving our children?
Conclusion: Jesus is here to offer the gold of faith that will purify, heal, and welcome us in.