October 18, 2020

What we are known for: Are we radical enough?

What we are known for: Are we radical enough?


What Are we Known For  (Rev 3:14-22)

Verse 14 The implication throughout this passage  is that there is no difference between those in the church and the average Laodicean citizen who was not in the church.

  • God is speaking to the church but he is using the terms and the descriptions of the culture.
  • This passage is really all about misplaced identity and trust.
    • The people of Laodicea had started trusting the things they were known for and what they had accomplished in their own strength.

Verse 15 This is not a statement about their spiritual temperature per se, this is a statement about their usefulness and their witness.

  • They were well known for lukewarm water so the Laodicean’s knew what Jesus was talking about.
    • Jesus says that he wishes they were either hot or cold because those are useful.

Verse 16 Jesus goes on to say that he is about to spit them out. The word here is literally vomit.

  • The water was lukewarm and so full of minerals that it would make people who weren’t used to it nauseous and even sick. Visitors to the city would sometimes vomit when they drank the water.
  • The important thing to note here is that Jesus has not yet vomited them out, there is still time for repentance.
  • Based on His introduction as the true and faithful witness and based on the nature of the rebukes or praises to the other six churches, the work or usefulness that is lacking was an effective witness to unbelievers.

Verse 17 Jesus’ in a rhetorical statement says what they the Laodicean’s were thinking, “we are rich and we don’t need a thing.”

  • Laodicea was located along three major trade routes in Asia Minor, it was a tourist trap of sorts
  • Because of its prominent location along these trade routes it became a banking center as well.
    • As a result, it became the wealthiest city in the whole area.
  • While they think they are rich Jesus sees them as wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.
    • In His eyes they were selling out their faith in idolatrous syncretism.

Verse 18 This is a call to repentance.  Again, this is all about misplaced trust and identity.

  • Rather than trusting in the wealth of the world we are to buy gold from Him, this is pure refined gold.
    • Our wealth isn’t to be in money but in a purified life rooted in Christ.
      • This verse also reminds us that refinement comes through fire.
    • They had developed special breeding techniques to produce large herds of black sheep.
    • When Jesus says they are to buy white clothes He is calling them to separate themselves from the culture.

Verse 19 Jesus now reminds them of His love for them. This rebuke is done in love.

  • To have an uncompromising witness before the on looking and unbelieving world because of our single-minded focus on Jesus.

Verse 20 Jesus wants His church back.

  • The church needs to be known for, to be identified with the power, presence, and love of Jesus.