Revelation 3:14-22

Of the seven churches, none received a more scathing condemnation than Laodicea. Outwardly, the church in Laodicea appeared strong and prosperous. Clearly the people who worshiped there considered themselves happy and blessed. They lived in a town others envied. It seems that some of the church members were from the wealthy families in Laodicea. Unlike Smyrna, there seems to have been no persecution, and, unlike Pergamum, no false doctrine. We find nothing corresponding to the gross immorality of Jezebel and her corrupt legions in Thyatira. Laodicea was a comfortable place to live and go to church. That combination made Jesus sick to His stomach.


A. His Word is true (verse 14a). “Amen” is usually the final word of a prayer. It means much more than “I’m finished” or “Let’s eat.” “Amen” is a sign of agreement. Jesus is the final Amen to all that God has said. Because He is the “faithful and true witness,” we can trust Him completely. Jesus and Jesus alone is the last Word in your life and mine. What He says is true. It is true all the time.

For the church at Laodicea, it means that when Christ issues His scathing denunciation, the church members can’t escape it by saying, “That’s just His opinion.” No, that’s the Word of the Son of God who is faithful and true in all that He says. My words don’t carry that weight because I cannot claim to speak infallible truth. But when Jesus speaks, the church must listen because He speaks only the truth.

B. His Word is authoritative (verse 14b). This phrase means that all creation comes from God’s hand. He was there in the beginning; before there was a beginning, He was there. The whole universe owes its existence to His mighty power.

Do you enjoy breathing? I hope so! You breathe because Jesus gives you life and breath. We owe everything to Him. When He speaks, His word is true and absolutely authoritative.


A. You are indifferent (verses 15, 16). I puzzled over the meaning of these words because I wondered why Jesus said, “I wish you were either hot or cold.” Then a thought came to me that made it plain. What’s another way to describe “lukewarm” water? Room temperature. What do you need to do to make water room temperature? Nothing. Leave water alone and it will become room temperature. Suppose you want hot water. You’ve got to do something to make it hot. Suppose you want cold water. You’ve got to do something to make it cold. Under normal circumstances, water will never become cold or hot by itself.

So here is the indictment: The Laodiceans were not guilty of some intentional sin, such as committing immorality, sleeping around, promoting false doctrine, or welcoming false prophets. To be guilty of those things, they would have had to do something. They would have had to make some sort of decision to move in that direction.

A lukewarm Christian is nothing more than a “room temperature” Christian who has become just like his or her environment.

Why does Christ hate lukewarmness so much? Mostly because a person in this condition doesn’t even know it. A person slips into a state of such total indifference that he or she doesn’t care about his or her own spiritual condition. Nothing matters. After all, “room temperature” is comfortable by definition. It feels right. A lukewarm person is the same as everyone else around him or her

If you never tell anyone about your faith, you are unlikely to be bothered. You’re not too hot and not too cold. And Jesus will spit you out of His mouth!

B. You are arrogant (verse 17). Here Christ reveals that the heart of the problem is in the heart. And until the heart is changed, nothing can change. Note that little phrase “You say.” I am rich! I am clothed! I can see! Arrogance had blinded the Laodiceans to their true spiritual condition. Money has a way of doing that to all of us. Money is almost hypnotic. We can’t take our eyes off it. Money is not the problem; it’s the love of money that gets us into trouble. And the worst of it was, the Laodiceans thought they were doing just fine.

In our day, they would have a big church with a nice building, a fine parking lot, a large staff, a huge budget, many programs, and a good reputation in the community. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but this passage should remind us that a “successful” church is not always a church of which God approves.


A. Wake up! (verses 18, 19). Laodicea was known as a city of banking, eye salve, and beautiful wool garments. Jesus touched the very points of their civic pride to reveal their spiritual poverty

I am struck by the personal nature of Christ’s appeal. If someone said to me, “You make me want to vomit,” I would hardly expect that same person to say, “I love you more than you know.” But when you love someone, you can hate what is destroying him or her and love this person all the more. Parents do this all the time.

B. Open up! (verse 20). “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (verse 20).

Here the appeal becomes extremely personal. It’s as if Jesus turns from the church as a whole and focuses on just one person. Jesus is knocking, always knocking. I find great encouragement in this thought. He wants to come in. He waits to come in. Not only does He wait to come in, He wants to dine with you. There is no better picture of the Christian life than this. We can have Jesus as our dinner companion every single day! We never have to dine alone. Jesus wants to share a meal with us.

Isn’t it amazing that the worst church gets the best invitation? Isn’t that just like Jesus? After exposing their indifference, He offers them Himself.


Then comes the grand conclusion of this letter (verses 21, 22). Sometime we argue about whether or not to use Revelation 3:20 when we lead people to Christ. I love the picture of Christ coming again and again to the human heart. He comes, He knocks, He calls for us, and then He waits for our response.

The door must be opened from within. He waits for you to open the door. Do not let your sin and failure keep you away from Jesus. Christ came for sinners, and it is sinners who need a Savior.

I urge you to heed the voice of Jesus, open the door, and say, “Lord Jesus, you are welcome in my life today.”