THE KINGDOM OF GOD
20 January 2002
CHAPTER THREE: THE CITY
Antiochus II decided to enlarge the city of Rhoas, and at the same time he renamed the city Laodicea after his wife, Queen Laodice. Some years later he divorced Laodice and married the Egyptian princess Berenice. At his death in 246 B.C. civil war broke out between the two queens.
Laodicea became a Roman city when Rome conquered the region in 64 B.C. In 60 A.D. the city was destroyed by an earthquake, but rebuilt. The city was so rich that it refused the customary imperial aid to restore the damage caused by the earthquake.
At the time that the book of Revelation was given, the city of Laodicea was a banking center for the region. It also had a large textile industry, producing cloth and carpets from the specially glossy-black wool produced in the region. It was also a pharmaceutical center, producing ear ointment and the "Phrygian powder" used in making eye salve. It also had a medical school. The people in this city were rich and could buy anything they wanted.
Today Laodicea is a heap or ruins.
Verse 14: Jesus is identifying himself here as the Creator. He is demanding respect from the people in the church - John 1:1-3,14; Colossians 1:9-20; Hebrews 1:2
Verse 15: The church in this city consisted of people, who were not excited one way or the other. Compare this with the teaching that Jesus did - Luke 14:16-27; 9:58-62
Verse 16: Jesus threatened to spew them out - he was sick to his stomach. There was no faith, since they had no needs - James 1:5-8
Verse 17: Most of the Jews in this city would have been working in the banking system. Since some of them had accepted Christ as their Messiah, they had brought gold and other riches into the church. There was no spiritual growth among the members; instead, they were spiritually blind - 1 Corinthians 2:9-16; Romans 8:5-15
The church of Jesus Christ in the United States is rich in earthly possessions, but we are more than poor in spiritual things. Preach in America on the power of God and people will yawn and just sit there. Preach it in a third world nation, and people will come running to the altar in faith to receive all that God has for them.
Verse 18: Jesus rebuked the very items which made up their economy, their gold, their textile industry and their famous eye salve. Jesus said, come to me and I will give you eternal gold, garments and eye salve that will open you spiritual eyes. Matthew 13:13-23
Verse 19: Jesus wanted to redeem the people living in Laodicea. God will only correct them who are his and whom he loves - Hebrews 12:1-13
Verse 20: Jesus is telling them that currently he is not in the midst of this church, but he is knocking on their door. If they open, he will come in and fellowship with them. Matthew 18:18-20; John 14:20-27
Verse 21: Jesus invited them to come and sit with him on the throne of God! Matthew 19:27-30
Verse 22: Jesus asked them- do you have an ear with which to hear? History tells us that they did not. Today the city of Laodicea is a heap of ruins and the church did not survive. None of the seven churches had ears with which to hear. Today they are gone and the candlesticks for each one of them have been removed! Are we as a local church going to survive?
Do you have an ear with which to hear? To be continued . . . .
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