Study Guide: Revelation 3:14-22 (Laodicea)
14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ”
Jesus calls the church to be zealous for him. If we become complacent, he will bring us to repentance.
Laodicea was a wealthy city - so wealthy it declined imperial assistance to rebuild itself afer a devastating earthquake just before this was written. It was an important medical and textile center (Revelation 3:17–18), well known for eye disease treatments and its worship of Zeus. Because of their wealth and financial security, the Laodicean church has become lukewarm - self-deceived into thinking they have it all together. In this passage, Jesus calls out their complacency and commands them to repent.
- Why does Jesus say he wants them to be “cold or hot”? (Hint - one is not good and the other bad - they are both good because both are useful. Only lukewarm, standing water is not valuable.)
- Why do you think the Laodecians were “spiritually blind and naked”? Why were they self-deceived?
- What does Jesus mean when he says he “stands at the door and knocks?” (Hint - it isn’t a call for salvation - he is calling the Laodecians to repentance for ignoring him)
- Do you think the modern American church can be lukewarm? Why? What about our church? What about you personally?
- What self-deceptions do you (personally) and we (collectively) need to repent of? What causes complacency and distracts us from following Jesus with zeal?
- Does Jesus’s refining discipline give you cause for hope or fear? Why is Christ’s discipline a good thing for our walk with him?
Pray that God would stir you to follow Christ with all your heart, soul, and mind and that he would rid you of any self-deception or complacency.