Quarter’s Theme: DIVINE DISPLAY OF THE WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
Unit 2 – I Know Thy Works-Time For Critical Self-Examination (Lessons 4-11)
LESSON 11 16/8/2015
LAODICEA: THE LUKEWARM CHURCH
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 80, 83
Devotional Reading: 2 PET. 2:12-20
Topic For Adults
LITTLE REGARD FOR SPIRITUAL QUALITIES
Topic For Youths
FOLLOW JESUS WHOLEHEARTEDLY
Topic For Intermediates
CHRIST IS KNOCKING AT THE DOOR OF YOUR HEART
Memory Verse: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot”. (Rev. 3:15) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Take The Lord’s Rebuke Serious
The Lord rebukes and chastens those whom He loves. Even the Laodicean church in their self-sufficient prosperity and worldliness was still shown a way out of their lukewarmness. God still issues out His invitation through Christ Jesus to those who are victims of lukewarmness. He knocks at the door of your heart, if you are willing to open up, He will come in and sup with you. Ask yourself, “am I putting my confidence more in material things than God? Is this rebuke for me? If the answer is positive, don’t take the Lord’s rebuke for granted. Do something about it today.
Point of Emphasis: Don’t take the Lord’s rebuke for granted
Prayer Point: As I hear Your voice today, come into my heart and make Your permanent place, Lord Jesus.
This week’s lesson reveals to us that it is impossible to be indifferent to Christ.
Though the Laodicean church was rich in abundant physical materials, there was nothing commendable about them because they were spiritually bankrupt. Riches can cause spiritual decline if one reposes confidence in it and not in God. Riches without Christ is vanity.
NOTES ON THE LESSON
(1) LAODICEAN CHURCH’S PROFILE (REV. 3:14-17)
This is the seventh letter sent by Jesus. This one was directed to the Laodicean church, forty miles north of Ephesus. In the city was a famous medical school, and eye salve made here became known for its healing power. Laodicea was extremely rich because it was the centre of finance. It was one of the largest cities in Asia minor.
It was a city of entertainment where all the citizens sought continual pleasures. This might be the reason why the church compromised with the world, and became neither cold or hot.
It was a famous city near the River Lycus. It had a wall of vast compass and marble theaters and like Rome, was built on seven hills. It seemed Paul was instrumental to planting the gospel there. In his epistle to the Colossians, in the last chapter, he sent them salutation.
Also, the city was not above twenty miles (32km) from Colosse. A church council was held in this city in the 4th century. The city which had been destroyed since lies in its ruin to this day.
The church was lukewarm because they had a wrong understanding of themselves. They thought themselves rich but Jesus rebuked their spiritual wretchedness, blindness, and nakedness (v. 17)
The letter to Laodicea church was the worse out of the seven letters. There was no commendation, only rebukes.
(2) JESUS’ IDENTITY TO LAODICEAN CHURCH (REV. 3:14B)
Jesus appeared to the church in Laodicea as the One who is “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning at the creation of God” (v. 14)
“The Amen” portrays Jesus as the one who is steady and unchangeable in all His purposes and promises. “The faithful and true witness” affirms the Lord (Jesus) as One whose testimony of God to man and vice versa should be fully received and believed. “The beginning of the creation of God” means He is the beginning of the first creation. He is the first cause – the Creator and controller of it. He is also of the second creation, the church. He is the head of the body, the first born from the dead. (Rev. 1:5). It is God’s power that raised up Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:4; 8:11; 1 Cor. 13:15). Since all power on Earth and in Heaven his been given to Him, He has the power to raise up dead souls (Saints) to be a living temple and church to Himself.
The Laodicean church ought to receive the word of God with “amen” to express their sincere loyalty to Him because mankind was created that we might love God and give Him glory.
(3) REMEDY FOR LAODICEAN CHURCH WEAKNESS (REV. 3:18-19)
Christ’s words in chapter 3 verses 15 and 16 describe the spiritual condition of the church in Laodicea. It professes Christ but in reality, does not know Him in truth and in spirit.
Christ severely warned them about His judgment against spiritual lukewarmness (v. 15-17). Christ invited the church to repent and be restored to faith. Though Jesus condemned the lukewarm faith of the Laodicean church, He showed them the way out so that He would not spew them out of His month. He advised them to ask of Him for gold that is tried in fire. 1 Pet. 1:17 gives us insight to this “that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”. The best gold tried in fire is faith in Almighty God. If you have every material thing without faith in the Almighty God, you have nothing because without faith, you can’t please God.
He also admonished them to buy from Him eye salve to clear their eyes so that they could clear the wrongs they had been doing which was unknown to them.
The riches of the body will not enrich the soul. God had been the dwelling place of His people in all ages. It is only in Him that the souls of man can find rest. He, therefore, appeals to them to abide in Him because by being separated from Him they can do nothing (Jn. 15:4)
Jesus’ ultimate invitation spoken outside the door of their hearts is a request for them to repent and overcome spiritual lukewarmness.
(4) THE CHURCH DUTY (REV. 3:20-22)
Laodicean church had excluded Jesus from their congregation in their self-sufficient prosperity and worldliness. Christ’s invitation in verse 20 is a request for intimate fellowship with whosoever will repent.
The relationship between the churches and the Holy Spirit must be a continuous one since they are surbordinate not only to Christ as the Lord and Head, but also to the Spirit of God. It, therefore, behoved on them to listen, hear and respond positively to the voice of the Holy Spirit (verse 22).
The concluding part of this division has those who will come in contact with this scripture in mind. It is not of private interpretation but it is intended for instruction, reproof and correction for all the churches of God in all ages.
This was the message of Christ to the Asian churches. There will be a resemblance in all succeeding churches both in grace and sins. God will continue to deal with the churches in all ages. The rebuke of Jesus to the lukewarm church is a dreadful one. It is surprising that many churches today have a Laodicean church philosophy. They do things according to their own terms and not according to God’s precept. These churches should heed to God’s warning and repent.
(1) How can material possession lead to spiritual decline?
(2) Why did Laodicean church receive no commendation?
(3) Make a brief explanation of how Jesus introduced Himself to the Laodicean church (Rev. 3:14b)
(4) Mention the remedies for Laodicean church nakedness.
(5) What is the church duty according to this lesson?
PRENDS AU SERIEUX LA REPRIMANDE DU SEIGNEUR
APOCALYPSE 3 :19-20
L’Eternel reprend et châtie ceux qu’il aime. Même l’église de Laodicée dans sa prospérité autosuffisante et la mondanité, il lui fut montré encore une voie de sortie de leur tiédeur. Dieu donne encore une invitation par Jésus-Christ à ceux qui sont victimes de tiédeur. Il frappe à la porte de ton cœur, si tu désires lui ouvrir la porte, il entrera et soupera avec toi. Pose-toi la question suivante : « Est-ce que je mets ma confiance plus dans les choses matérielles qu’en Dieu ?» Cette réprimande s’adresse-t-elle à moi ? Si la réponse est affirmative, tiens compte de la réprimande de l’Eternel. Fais-en quelque chose aujourd’hui.
Point essentiel : Tiens compte de la réprimande de l’Eternel.
Axe de prière : Comme j’écoute ta voix aujourd’hui, viens dans mon cœur et y élis domicile à jamais.