This week we conclude our sermon series ‘The seven churches of Revelation’. Preaching from Alan Cole. Service led by Brian Dickson.
The church at Laodicea was outwardly rich and successful, but this was the only church of the 7 about which Jesus had nothing good to say. The tragedy was that the church did not think there was anything wrong with it – but the critical eye of Jesus saw what they were really were.
1) You cannot hide from Jesus (v14). Jesus is described here as one who is faithful and true and the Lord of creation. Jesus will always speak the truth – even when it is unpalatable – and the great creator God has the power to put things right – or close the church.
2) Jesus knows our deeds (v15). Nothing we do is hidden from God. He also sees the motives behind each of our actions and will reward us accordingly.
3) The church was lukewarm (v16). Their heart was not in what they were doing. They were going through the ceremonies but they were not really doing work for God with glad hearts. Therefore they were of no use to God and He rejected them.
4) The church thought they did not need God (v17) They thought that they could exist on their own resources. A rich and talented church must beware of doing things in their own strength rather than relying on God.
5) The church was oblivious to their situation (v17). They thought everything was fine – but Jesus described them as wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
6) What the church needed to do was repent (v20) – to rely on God for spiritual riches, cleansing from sin and open their eyes to God (v17).
7) Jesus was standing outside the church knocking the door and waiting for admittance (v20). Do we have a personal relationship with Jesus and is He the centre of life and worship within our church?
Questions for further study
1. You cannot hide from God (Revelation 3:14). Can you think of some Bible characters who thought they could hide things from God – and what happened to them? See, for example, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8); Achan (Joshua 7: 16-26); David (2 Samuel 11:1-5; 12:15); Jonah (Jonah 1)
2. God knows both our deeds and our motives. How should this impact both on our worship and our service within the local church? See Philippians 2: 3-8.
3. The church at Laodicea was described as “lukewarm” (Revelation 3: 16). How can a church or an individual become lukewarm? Do you think that this is a greater danger for a mature Christian or a long established church than for a new convert or new church? How can we guard against it?
4. The solution to the church’s problems at Laodicea were to seek gold, white clothes and eye ointment – all products of the city. What do these products represent? See 1 Corinthians 3:12-13; 1 Peter 1:7; Matthew 17:2; Revelation 4:4; 7:9-12; Psalm 119:18; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:18.
5. Jesus was standing outside the door of the church knocking to get in (Revelation 3:20). Why might a church not want to admit Jesus? What will be the characteristics of the church which does not acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus? Why might we seek to resist Jesus taking control of our lives?
Sermon Title: The church that did not need Jesus
Bible Reading: Rev. 3:14-22 (Laodicea)
Preacher: Alan Cole
Worship Leader: Brian Dickson