Introduction: What do you think about the book of Revelation? Do the
scary beasts stand out in your mind? How about deep mysteries
regarding the future? We turn our attention this week to a different
part of Revelation, the part that deals with God’s advice to the
Christian church. Although this section of Revelation gives advice to
specific churches that existed at the time the book was written, most
Christian Bible scholars believe that these churches also represent a
description of the Christian church during different periods of
history. The church in Laodicea represents the last period of history
before Jesus returns again. If you believe, as I do, that we are
living in the end time, Laodicea is a description of us. Let’s dig
deep to see what lessons we can learn from the advice to Laodicea!

  1. Introduction to the Churches

    1. Read Revelation 1:1-2 and Revelation 1:4-5. On whose
      behalf is John writing this message? (Jesus. However,
      Jesus brings greetings on behalf of God the Father and the
      “seven spirits” before His throne.”)

      1. To whom is he writing? (He says “seven churches”
        which are located in “the province of Asia.” This
        tells us that we are dealing with seven actual

    2. Read Revelation 1:19-20. To what are the churches
      compared? (Golden lampstands.)

      1. Why compare a church to a golden lampstand? (Recall
        two weeks ago we studied that we should do “gold
        standard” work for the church? God is looking for
        gold standard churches that will shed the light of
        the gospel to the world.)

      2. What does the “one angel for one church” suggest
        about your local church? (That it has an angel
        assigned to it!)

        1. Wait a minute. Consider this. If “lampstand”
          figuratively means the church, is the word
          “angel” also figurative for the minister or
          leader of each of the churches? (This is
          debated. It could be a reference to the local
          clergy, but Revelation 1:1 starts out with a
          reference to an “angel” that is clearly a
          supernatural being.)

      3. What does the phrase “what will take place later”
        suggest? (That this is not simply advice to seven
        literal churches, but it is advice for the future
        church as well.)

  2. Laodicea

    1. Read Revelation 3:14. Instead of writing to Laodicea, John
      writes the angel assigned to Laodicea? Why? (It must be
      that the angel conveys God’s message to the church.
      Remember that when we studied Cornelius and Peter’s vision
      of the sheet, we read that it was an angel that spoke to
      Cornelius. Acts 10:3-4. Thus, angels give messages to
      humans, and this is the message the angel of Laodicea is
      to give to that church. On the other hand, if we think
      “angel” is a figurative reference to the clergy leading
      the church, this shows God gives His message through His
      divinely appointed leaders.)

      1. Who is the author of the message to the angel of
        Laodicea? We learned at the beginning of this study
        that Jesus is the author of messages to the churches.
        Has the author of the message to Laodicea changed?
        (Instead of giving a name, it gives a description,
        “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler
        of God’s creation.”)

        1. Who does that describe? (Re-read Revelation 1:5
          and read Colossians 1:18. These are still the
          words of Jesus.)

        2. Why, from a practical point of view, does this
          matter? (Jesus experienced our life! This is
          advice from One who knows what it is to live
          the human life.)

    2. Read Revelation 3:15-16. Why does Jesus want us to be one
      extreme or the other? What is wrong with “middle of the
      road,” “temperate?” (Jesus compares us to a drink, which
      causes us to recall that we prefer cold or hot drinks.
      Lukewarm is not our favorite.)

      1. A drink is an analogy. Jesus is talking about deeds.
        What are lukewarm deeds?

    3. Read Revelation 3:17. Here is our definition of
      “lukewarm.” What do the members of this church think?
      (They are rich and life is great.)

      1. What are they in reality? (Wretched, pitiful, poor,
        blind and naked.)

        1. I don’t know about you, but that sounds great
          to me. What if everyone you knew who was
          “wretched, poor and blind” thought life was
          great? It would mean you would not have to
          worry about them, right? (It would be a
          wonderful cure for poverty and disease world

        2. Does this mean that if you are literally poor,
          and you think you are poor, “lukewarm” does not
          apply to you? It only applies to rich people?

      2. What do you think Jesus is actually telling the angel
        of Ladocea? (Being “rich” and “poor” are extremes,
        they are not lukewarm, middle of the road. Thus, I
        think it unlikely that we are talking about those who
        literally think they are rich, but are literally poor
        and blind.)

        1. What would make sense of the reference to us
          being “lukewarm?” (Rich, poor and blind must
          refer to our spiritual condition. We think we
          are spiritually on track. We know a great deal
          about God. But, in fact, we are spiritual

        2. Most people are not rich, so the advantage of
          thinking this refers to those who are literally
          rich is that you can say, “That does not apply
          to me!” If Jesus is talking about literal
          wealth, what is the message? (That you depend
          on yourself. You are comfortable. You are a
          Christian, but that might be more of an
          identity than an activity.)

    4. Read Revelation 3:18. Does this show that Jesus wants us
      to become rich? Do you think that Jesus means that we
      should literally purchase gold? (It is hard to imagine
      that Jesus has a “gold store” somewhere. The fact that the
      gospel is not a financial transaction reinforces the idea
      that Jesus is talking about spiritual matters.)

      1. What is the cure for our spiritual poverty? (First,
        to realize that we are not rich. We need more gold.)

      2. What is the gold that we must “buy?” (Read
        Philippians 3:7-9. Paul writes about a comparison
        between actual money and the value of knowing God and
        understanding grace. This means that knowing God is

        1. Do you realize that by reading this lesson you
          are mining for gold?

      3. What are the white clothes to wear? (The parable of
        Matthew 22:1-14 shows that this is a reference to
        Jesus’ robe of righteousness that He gives to us.)

      4. What is the salve for the eyes? (Understanding what
        we are just discussing. Our own spiritual “wealth” is
        absolute poverty in God’s eyes. Instead, we need to
        “buy” from Jesus the gold of understanding Him which
        will open our eyes to understand righteousness by
        faith – the righteousness of Jesus given to us as a
        free gift.)

    5. Read Revelation 3:19. What can we expect if we do not
      correctly understand grace? (Jesus says that He will
      rebuke us. If we find that our views on grace are
      changing, this may reflect a rebuke. Perhaps life is not
      going well and this reflects a “discipline” to focus our
      mind on Him. The goal is to understand grace correctly. We
      need to be earnest and repent.)

      1. Notice that the text says nothing about “grace,” it
        says that if He loves us we can expect rebuke and
        discipline. Is love the trigger for rebuke, not a
        failure to understand grace? (You don’t rebuke your
        children simply because you love them. You rebuke
        they are doing something harmful. Love is not the
        trigger, taking the wrong path is the trigger.)

    6. Read Revelation 3:20. What encouragement do we get from
      this verse? (Jesus is pursuing us on this, not the other
      way around. We don’t have to agonize about whether we
      correctly understand grace, if we are earnest and “open
      the door” Jesus will come in an bring us light.)

      1. Notice the elements of gaining grace: 1) Jesus comes
        to each one of us. He will not force us, but He will
        knock. 2)We are simply called to listen and open our
        hearts and minds to Him. 3. He will become a part of
        our life. He will make Himself known to us.)

    7. Read Revelation 3:21-22. What is the “payoff” for letting
      Jesus into our life? (That we will be able to sit with
      Jesus on His heavenly throne!)

    8. Friend, are you comfortable in your current spiritual
      state? Are you alert to Jesus’ “knock” on your door? If
      not, why not ask the Holy Spirit, right now, to help you
      open the door to Jesus so that you can “buy” His “gold,”
      “white clothes,” and “eye salve?”

  3. Next week: Redemption.