Jesus addresses three more churches in this chapter (as a reminder, the Church is the central character in Revelation, and the book opens with Jesus addressing seven particular congregations that represent the universal church in all places at all times).
v1-6 - SARDIS:
Pros - A few people who've not 'soiled their clothes,' meaning they have not fell back into a sinful lifestyle.
Cons - They have a reputation of being vibrant, but it's all a fake veneer. They're not doing what a church should be doing, and are therefore dead.
v7-13 - PHILADELPHIA:
Pros - They "have kept my command to endure patiently (v10)."
Cons - None listed.
v14-19 - LAODICEA:
Pros - None listed.
Cons - They were just going through the motions as a church.
v20-22 - This first perspective of Christ's victory ends with the famous invitation from Jesus standing at the door knocking. Those who accept this invitation and open the door, Jesus will " give the right to sit with me on my throne (v21)," as He sits victoriously with His Father.
Jesus has extremely harsh words for the church in Laodicea in v17:
‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth
and do not need a thing.’
But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Commentator William Hendriksen sees many parallels between these ancient Laodiceans and our modern churches:
The Laodiceans were lukewarm, tepid, flabby, half-hearted, limp, always ready to compromise, indifferent, listless: that ‘we’re-all-good-people-here-in-Laodicea’ attitude. The author of this book has become personally acquainted with this attitude on the part of some church members.
You cannot do anything with such people. With the heathen, that is with those who have never come into contact with the gospel and who are therefore ‘cold’ with respect to it, you can do something. With sincere, humble Christians you can work with joy. But with these ‘we’re-all-such-very-good-folks-here-in-Laodicea’ people you can do nothing.
Dig even deeper: The sermons from our recent series on Revelation are embedded at the bottom of each post. Even if you don't want to listen to them in their entirety, you can easily see the sermon slides and be reminded of the outline and key passages.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Proverbs 3:11–12 (NIV)
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL— Upon those whom He made pillars in the temple of His God, Jesus promised to write three names. What are these three names? (See verse 12.)
Questions from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Jesus, who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars (v1)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will open your ears, that you may hear what the Spirit says to the churches (v6, 13, 22)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: