Revelation 3:14 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;

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 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:

18 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.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

20 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.

21 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.

22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


MEMORY VERSE: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  —Colossians 2:8


CENTRAL THOUGHT: The Laodicean church and its pastor had fallen into spiritual lukewarmness, poverty, wretchedness, blindness, misery and nakedness; yet were vainly deceived into thinking they had no need. Jesus, in love for them, counseled, rebuked and chastened them and continued knocking at their heart’s door, promising sweet communion and a place with Him in His Father’s throne if they would overcome.




Near to Colosse, east of Ephesus, and southeast of Philadelphia, Laodicea was a wealthy manufacturing and banking city. It was founded by the Syrian Antiochus II (261-246 B. C.) who named it for his wife, Laodike. It came into industrial prominence when Rome formed Asia in 190 B. C. Laodicea was destroyed by an earthquake in 60 A. D., but was so wealthy that the citizens rejected Roman aid and rebuilt the city themselves.

In his epistle to the Colossians, Paul directed some of his admonitions specifically to the Laodiceans and to Archippus, who was evidently the pastor there, and most likely the “angel” to whom the Revelation epistle was addressed. Paul ordered the Colossian epistle to be read to the church at Laodicea (Colossians 2:1; 4:16-17). Our memory verse contains some of the warnings Paul gave them, which echo distinctively in our minds as we read of the condition the congregation was in when the epistle from Patmos was given. Paul’s “great conflict” indicates the burden and fervent desire he had for them, although it is not certain that he had personally visited Laodicea.

There are no particular inner heresies nor outward enemies listed in the message to Laodicea. It evidently received no terrors of persecution. Like Sardis, the inhabitants of the city were extremely wealthy. They trusted in their riches, the traditions which they held and the absence of opposition as signs that they were spiritually prosperous. They interpreted the “knocking” of Christ—blessings and mercies He would send, help He would give in need, warnings and spiritual stirrings—as proof that He was dwelling within, when in reality, He was a forgotten stranger standing outside the door. “Such are neither earnest for God nor utterly indifferent to religion. They are, perhaps, best described as those who take an interest in religion, but whose worship of their idol of good taste, or good form, leads them to regard enthusiasm as ill-bred, and disturbing; and who have never put themselves to any inconvenience, braved any reproach, or abandoned any comfort for Christ’s sake, but hoped to keep well with the world, while they flattered themselves that they stood well with God; who were in danger of betraying their Master, Judas-like, with a kiss” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers).

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




  1. Titles: What three did Christ ascribe to Himself?
  2. Temperature: How did Christ describe the spirituality of the Laodiceans?
  3. Truth: How did the Laodiceans describe themselves, and what was reality?
  4. Trade: What steps were they to take to get rid of their complacency and pride and acquire Christ’s communion and righteousness?




Jesus tenderly but masterfully counseled the complacent congregation to buy the real gold and the true righteousness, and to anoint their spiritual eyes. The result of obeying this command would be a burning zeal and a complete change of mind (repentance). They were to hear His knock and voice and open the door to Him.

This is what it took to overcome. In the commands to other churches, the intimate, personal communion with Christ was the prize given to the overcomer. Here He goes a step further. The communion ushers us into a final promotion—a grant to sit with Him on His throne. “Even as I also overcame”—what thoughts are evoked by this? The temptations of the devil; the weakness of His flesh, the rejection by His brethren, the battle in the garden, the tortures of the cross…He overcame by completely submitting to His Father’s will. So shall we.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck



As a young boy attending services at the Church of God chapel in Fresno, California, I can remember a set of paintings hanging behind the pulpit by the American artist Warner Sallman, one of which I later learned was titled “Christ at Heart’s Door.” Those paintings struck a chord with me then, and as I got older I marveled at the subtleties conveyed by the artist, such as there being no handle on the outside of the door, conveying the concept of Jesus only being allowed in if the heart’s owner would open to Him.

However, imagine what a revelation it was to me when I later came to understand that Christ wasn’t knocking on the heart’s door of sinners, He was knocking on the heart’s door of those who considered themselves to be a part of His Church! Imagine Jesus standing on the outside, a stranger to those who claim to know Him. They believe they are following Him and His commandments, and yet He is on the outside knocking, waiting for them to open the door and let Him in!

This realization was a bit startling, and it shows just how easy it is for complacency to creep in, causing us to be less zealous and “on guard” than when we first came to Christ. There are many going about doing things in His name, and yet at the Judgment He will say to them, “Depart…I never knew you…” These illustrations confirm just how necessary it is that we are truly listening and heeding His call, and following Him closely with a fervency that never abates. I am reminded of a few lines from the old hymn, “Let Him In:”

“Hear you now His loving voice? Let the Savior in, O let the Savior in;

Now, oh, now make Him your choice, Let the Savior in, O let the Savior in.

He is standing at your door; Joy to you He will restore,

And His name you will adore, Let the Savior in, O let the Savior in.


Now admit the Heav’nly guest, Let the Savior in, O let the Savior in;

He will make for you a feast, Let the Savior in, O let the Savior in.

He will speak your sins forgiv’n, And when earth ties all are riv’n,

He will take you home to Heav’n, Let the Savior in, O let the Savior in.”

—Bro. Fari Matthews