Are We Living In Laodicea?

In the beginning of the book of Revelation, the apostle John records Christ’s words regarding Christ’s letters to seven churches. In Chapter 3, Christ’s letter is to the church at Laodicea.  This city, about forty miles east of Ephesus, has been called the “city of compromise.” The Laodiceans tried to be neutral regarding their faith, giving no real commitment to following Christ.

Laodicea was a place of great wealth with a prosperous center of banking. It manufactured clothing made from the wool of black sheep raised in the area. It was a major center of commerce situated on trade routes.

It was a place of science and literature. It boasted in having an excellent medical school. In fact, the Laodiceans developed a salve using Phrygian powder which cured eye diseases.

Although the Laodiceans boasted in their wealth, fine black wool garments, and salve to cure eye diseases, Jesus condemned them. He said they were really miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.

They were spiritually poor in the midst of their worldly wealth.

Jesus suggested they buy from him gold made pure in fire so they could be truly rich. Buy from him white clothes so they could be clothed and cover their shameful nakedness. Buy from him medicine to put on their eyes so they could truly see.

The Laodiceans built an aqueduct which brought cold water from the mountains. By the time it reached them, the water was lukewarm. Likewise, in a valley nearby were hot springs. As boiling water was brought to the city, it cooled on the way and was only moderately warm.

Neither hot nor cold.

I like ice cold tea. I don’t like it once the ice melts in my glass. I also like hot tea. I do not enjoy it once it cools and grows lukewarm. Perhaps you can say the same about food or drinks you enjoy. We want them one way or the other. Not something straddling the middle.

So I wonder. Are we living In Laodicea? Are we walking around like we’ve got it all together? Saying we’re rich. We don’t need anyone’s help, including God’s.

As was true with those living in Laodicea, it is true with us today. A life of compromise and lack of commitment to Christ does not appeal to Jesus. It makes him want to spit.

Neither hot nor cold.

Unaware of spiritual poverty and blindness.

Clothed in darkness, not light.

I don’t believe any of us want Jesus to spit us out because we’ve let the fire that once burned bright for him grow dim. Perhaps we need to get rid of lukewarm attitudes and turn up the heat in our commitment and relationship with Jesus, so our eyes can truly see how he desires us to live.

And then live it.

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 I know what you do, that you are not hot or cold. I wish that you were hot or cold!  But because you are lukewarm—neither hot, nor cold—I am ready to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich, and I have become wealthy and do not need anything.’ But you do not know that you are really miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.  I advise you to buy from me gold made pure in fire so you can be truly rich. Buy from me white clothes so you can be clothed and so you can cover your shameful nakedness. Buy from me medicine to put on your eyes so you can truly see.

 “I correct and punish those whom I love. So be eager to do right, and change your hearts and lives. Revelation 3:15-19 (NCV)


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I wish you well.


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Neither Hot Nor Cold

“Did you know grilled cheese sandwiches don’t have to be burned?”


“Grilled cheese sandwiches don’t have to be burned. I had one for lunch. It wasn’t burned, like yours always are.”

My son, Pie, had just returned from a day of working at the home of fellow church members, as part of his youth group’s efforts to raise money for a youth trip.

I’ve reported on this blog before, I am not a cook. Like Walter Brennan, on the Real McCoys used to say, No brag. Just fact. Still, having Pie remind me of one of my many deficiencies, especially one that impacted what he ate, made me cringe.

My way of cooking was to turn the heat all the way up. Never considered a medium. All or nothing. That’s the way it was. (I’m using a past tense verb here, but should probably amend it to say, it’s not that way, all the time, anymore.) I’ve grown to love burnt toast.

This reminded me of something the apostle John wrote about in Revelation.

Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says: “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless. Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.”  Revelation 3:14-18  (The Message)

Maybe we’re walking around like those Laodiceans. We think we’ve got it all together. We don’t need anyone’s help. But, God’s ready to spew us out. We’re neither hot nor cold. God’s ready to be done with us, because we’ve grown stale. We’re unaware of our spiritual poverty and blindness. We’ve got the outward conformity thing going on. We look pretty good. But what about our spiritual maturity? How are we doing in that department?

So, as I try to remember to moderate the temperature when I grill my cheese sandwiches, I need to never forget to keep the fire of my striving to be more Christ-like, turned all the way up.

I don’t want God to spew me out because I’m stagnant. What about you? Do you need to get rid of a lukewarm attitude, and turn up the heat in your relationship with Jesus?

I wish you well.



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