02 – Laodicea

 

 

Laodicea was an actual city with an Ekklesia to whom Paul had ministered and wrote letters.

 

For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

Colossians 2:1 KJV

 

  • Paul had evidently communicated with the congregation at Laodicea.
  • It appears, that as of the writing of this letter to the Colossians, he had not visited Laodicea in person.
  • It is possible that Paul had met some members or leaders in the past, but it appears he had not been with the assembly.

 

For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.

Colossians 4:13 KJV

 

  • The “him” and “he” is Epaphras, who is evidently a Colossian, as Paul says of him, “Epaphras, who is one of you,”
  • Epaphras
    • “one of you”
    • “a servant of Jesus Christ”
    • “always labouring fervently for you in prayers”
  • Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis are in the same geographical area along the Lycus River, southeast of Philadelphia.
    • They could share in Paul’s letters to the Colossians, or Paul could have written individual letters to them.
    • We have certain letters of Paul in the New Testament, but these are not all of his letters to the congreagations.

 

Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the [church Ekklesia] which is in his house.

Colossians 4:15 KJV

 

  • Due to the proximity of the cities, Paul either assumed or knew that they had some sort of interaction.
  • Paul knew of Nympha by name and that she/he hosted an Ekklesia.
    • NOTE: different translations refer to Nympha with different gender.
    • This is all I know about her/him; that she/he hosted the believers.
    • It is not shared with us as to her/his giftings.

 

And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

Colossians 4:16 KJV

 

  • Paul did, as we see here, write letters to both Colossae and Laodicea.
  • It appears as though Paul promoted interaction between the Ekklesias of various cities.
  • “The letter from Laodicea” would likely be a letter from Paul to the Ekklesia at Laodicea.

 

Of the seven assemblies mention in the letters of Revelation 1:11, Laodicea is at the southern most and eastern most location.

  • Now known as Denizli, Turkey.
  • It is 40 miles southeast of Philadelphia.
  • It is 80 miles east of Ephesus.
  • It is in western Asia Minor (Turkey).
  • It was a wealthy city with a renowned medical school.
  • It exported fine woolen garments.
  • It was famous for its eye salves.

 

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Revelation 3:14 KJV

 

  • This verse begins the testimony of Jesus concerning the Ekklesia at Laodicea.
    • The testimony continues through verse 22 (8 more verses).

 

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:15-16

 

  • The institutional church system today, for the most part, is represented in Revelation 3:14-22 as the Ekklesia at Laodicea.
    • The lukewarm church system that is about to be cast aside by Christ Jesus.
      • It is neither hot, nor cold, but lukewarm and useful for nothing.

 

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Revelation 3:17

 

  • The church system that says it is rich, increased with goods and has need of nothing.
    • Not knowing that it is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
  • Laodicea was known for the fine woolen garments that it exported.
    • Yet the church is naked.
  • Laodicea was famous for its eye salves and medical school.
    • Yet the church is blind.
  • Laodicea did works of religion.
    • But the Lord looks at the heart and the motives and sees it is lukewarm.

 

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Revelation 3:18-22 KJV

 

  • Jesus, and God, still love those who are in the system and look to lead them back into proper communion with Himself.
    • He stands at the door and knocks, calling those who will follow Him.
    • He comes with rewards and position for those who love Him; for those who will overcome their present situation and open the door to Him.
    • He has the better, white raiment with which to be clothed, and the proper eye salve that there will be no more spiritual blindness.

 

Next: 03 – Ephesus