August 3, 2021

Laodicea: The Self-Confident Church

Speaker: Noah Hartmetz Series: Revelation Scripture: Revelation 3:14–22

Main Theme: In His 7th letter Christ rebukes the church at Laodicea for its uselessness and self-sufficiency, offering His own exclusive provision for what they lack, and appeals to them to repent and be restored to fellowship with Him.

1A. (14a) Church

  • Laodicea had explosive population growth in 1st century

  • City recovered from a devastating earthquake (AD 60) by its own financial means, turning down the emperor's offer to help

2A. (14b) Christ

1B. The true evaluator (cf. Isa 65:16)

  • See esp. 1:5

  • “Faithful and true” (cf. 22:20) → accept Jesus’ evaluation

2B. The Sovereign

  • “Origin of creation” (but Christ is never presented as Creator in Revelation)

  • OR “ruler over creation” (see 1:5; 2:26-27; 3:21; 12:5; 17:14; 19:15-16; 20:4-6)

    • Sovereign either way

  • Prepares for vision in chs. 4–5

3A. (15-16) Evaluation

1B. Knowledge of general conduct

  • Stative verb → “I am in the full state of knowing”

  • Refers to drinking water condition

2B. Evaluation of existing state: useless and repulsive

  • Often “hot” and “cold” considered along spiritual spectrum

    • Key Question: Does Christ prefer open hostility to indifference?

  • Often compared to water situation of the area

    • Collosae → cool, fresh water (refreshment)

    • Hierapolis → hot mineral water (healing)

    • Laodicea → tepid

    • Point of this position––Laodecia is half-hearted, indifferent, useless, and ineffective

  • BUT note emphasis on the water → drinking water

    • Water is spit out because of its tepid temperature

  • Compare this sense to broader cultural drinking practices

    • Preference for cold drinks for some meals and in some seasons (i.e., Summer)

    • Preference for hot drinks for other meals and other seasons (i.e., Winter)

  • This background suggests NOT half-hearted commitment BUT repulsive conduct

    • See vv. 17-18 → self-sufficient, satisfied with material wealth

4A. (17-18) Wise counsel for a critical decision

1B. (17) Reasons for Counsel: Conflicting Evaluations

1C. (17a) Confident self-evaluation

  • Utter misapprehension of condition

  • Self-perception governed by wealth (contrast Smyrna [2:9]; cf. Babylon’s materialism [18:7-8, 16-19])

2C. (17b) Revealed self-evaluation

  • Laodecians self-evaluation is contrary to Christ’s evaluation

  • True condition is bankrupt, ignorant, shameful

3B. (18) Counsel: Depend on Christ to supply what you lack

  • “Advise” → wise advice to someone facing a critical decision

  • Cure for their condition is beyond their resources to meet––source is Christ Himself (“buy from Me”; cf. Isa 55:1)

1C. True wealth (cf. 1 Pet 1:7; 1 Tim 6:18-19) (contrast “poor”)

2C. True righteousness/purity (cf. 3:4-5; 16:15; 19:8; contrast “naked”; cf. 17:16)

3C. True relief from blindness (contrast “blind”)

  • Lack of knowledge and understanding of truth (Acts 26:18; 1 Pet 2:9)

  • Cf. enlightenment from conversion and instruction, 2 Cor 4:4

  • Revelation as a whole opens eyes to see present and future realities that are otherwise hidden from view (cf. 1:1; 4:1; 22:6; all “I saw” statements)

5A. (19a) Christ’s motivation for message

  • Motivation → loving concern for welfare

  • ὅσους ἐὰν → general or indefinite → every person whom Jesus loves, He reproves and instructs

  • Christ’s action is the basis for commanded zeal and repentance

6A. (19b) Command––Earnestly attend to this and repent

7A. (20) Gracious offer

1B. He’s here (cf. Luke 12:35-38)

  • “Behold” and perfect verb “I stand” → emphatic of invitation

2B. Fellowship

  • Resumes “fellowship dinner” theme (cf. “hot,” “cold,” “lukewarm”) → appeal to renew intimacy

  • Warmth of reconciled relationship offered

    • NOT “I will come into him” (εις αυτον), i.e., entering and indwelling

    • BUT “I will come in (εισερχομαι) to him” (προς αυτον), i.e., entering someone’s home and proceeding to where the person is in order to share a meal together

8A. (21) Promises to the Overcomer

  • Share Christ’s sovereign authority

    • Look forward to the consummation of God’s salvation (cf. Dan 7:9-14, 22, 26)

  • Overcomers are Christlike (cf. John 16:33; Ps 110:1)

9A. (22) Command––Listen


  • Self-confidence is…

    • Useless and repulsive (16)

    • Self-deceiving (17)

    • Grounded in materialism (17a)

      • Materialism is a form of idolatry (cf. Babylon, 18:16-19)

    • Christless (20a)

  • Christ is…

    • The true Evaluator (15a)

    • The exclusive Provider (18)

    • Sweet fellowship (20)

other sermons in this series

Jan 15


Jan 8


The Vision of the Holy and Heavenly City – Part 1

Speaker: Noah Hartmetz Scripture: Revelation 21:9–27 Series: Revelation

Dec 18


Judging the Old, Creating the New

Speaker: Noah Hartmetz Scripture: Revelation 20:11– 21:8 Series: Revelation