Chapter 3 – Letter to Laodicea

Jesus Addresses Laodicea

john writes the future
This is a strong rebuke with no mentioning of good works to the “lukewarm” church that has departed from the faith, being neither hot nor cold. Still, though they are repugnant, Jesus tells them that He stands the door of their hearts and knocks.

v.14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:”

Because Laodicea had departed from the true doctrine of Christ and instead had accepted the doctrines of men Jesus presents Himself with a three-fold title that shows Him to be the Truth.

First, Jesus calls Himself “the Amen” (which means “true”). Where God is twice called in Scripture the “God of truth” the meaning is that He is the “God of the Amen” (Isa.65:16). Jesus is the eternally true.

Secondly, Jesus calls Himself “the Faithful and True Witness.” In contrast to worldly doctrines of humanism and materialism and all other vain philosophies Jesus (in the most absolute sense) is the “Faithful and True.” He is the One in the bosom of the Father who has declared Him (John 1:18), the absolute expression of God to man (John 8:19b), the eternally true and reliable Witness.

Finally, Jesus calls Himself “the Beginning of the creation of God.” This signifies Jesus to be the Creator of all creation; both its origin and active cause (see—Col.1:15). He existed before time began therefore He is the eternal One.

v.15-16 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.”

Whether it’s steaming hot or frozen solid, water becomes lukewarm in one of two ways: when allowed to sit at room temperature, or when it is mixed (cold with hot). In the same way when Christians sit idly and do nothing with their faith, or when they mix truth with untruth, they become spiritually lukewarm.

The issue for Laodicea was having mixed the Word of Truth with untrue worldly philosophies. As a result, they had adopted total indifference without conviction and had concocted spiritually lukewarm hearts. They were neither hot nor cold, neither fervent for God, nor bitterly opposed to God.

“I could wish you were cold or hot.”

If Laodicea were “hot” it would have signified a heart that burned for Christ, whereas if “cold” it might have stirred a need to know Christ. Instead, Laodicea had become so satisfied and smugly contented with their complacency it became comfortable neither to desire Christ fervently nor to change. As one commentator states, “Whereas a cold person might at least sense a need, seek out a fire, and move near it, a lukewarm person senses no need, seeks out nothing, and comfortably stays put”.