The church at Philadelphia was giving church bent toward ministry to others:
1. They had a little strength, but willingly offered themselves.
2. They were open to and relied on God’s wisdom to make the best use of what little they had to offer.
3. They put others first.
4. They ministered as God led them, even in the face of opposition and naysayers.
These were probably the biblical principals they lived by:
1. Dying daily (1st Corinthians 15:31)
2. Living for the One who saved them (2nd Corinthians 5:15)
Unlike the Church at Ephesus, the Church at Philadelphia had not left their first love…which was people…
Philadelphia had it right:
1. They loved people enough to give of themselves
2. They ministered to people by putting them first
3. They sought God’s will in ministering most effectively
4. They didn’t quit
The Church at Laodecia was a selfish church that manifested its selfishness in at least three specific ways that we’ll see in a moment.
There was NO ministry. There was NO thought of others. There was NO consultation with God. There was NO sacrifice. There was NO love of others. There was NO concern for others.
A. The Church at Laodecia was a “lukewarm” church, “neither hot nor cold.” (verse 15)
1. May have been hypocritical in their outward lives
2. May have been inconsistent in their daily walk
3. May not have been fully committed to God or the world
4. Unlike the Church at Philadelphia, they didn’t want to sacrifice, be put out, or face difficult situations.
5. They we very willing to turn from satisfying God one minute to focus on satisfying the world the next.
6. On fire for God one moment and cold and indifferent toward the things of God the next.
7. This characterizes the self-preserving, self-serving Christian…which characterized the entire church. They elevated themselves and their well being above God.
B. They told the Lord, “We are rich…materially…we are all set.” (verse 17)
1. The church at Laodecia was indeed a very wealthy church.
2. In or around 60AD, an earthquake devastated the churches at Laodecia and Colassae.
3. Laodecia was able to rebuild itself on what they had amassed without any help from the governing Roman Empire at the time.
4. They probably had lots of nice things in their church being part of such a wealthy community.
5. Their members probably had the means to have lots of toys.
6. There was probably an emphasis on lifestyle and leisure among this wealthy church…they were.
7. Their focus was likely on the here and now.
8. This church was a self-sufficient, self-gratifying, self-supportive church. They did not need God.
C. God said to the church, “Knowest not…?” (verse 17)
1. Wretched—people feel sorry for wretched people. One would NOT want to be wretched.
2. Miserable—people who are miserable are sad and pathetic in their appearance and attitude and the way they carry themselves.
3. Poor—these people lack essential needs. They don’t have the necessary means to provide for those essential needs.
4. Blind—anyone who is blind is either lacking vision, or has NO vision at all if they are completely blind.
5. Naked—in one sense, being naked means one is completely vulnerable. In another sense, being naked is a metaphor for the fact that one has no shame.
6. This indicates to us that the church at Laodecia was a church that did their own self-assessment. They did not see what God saw.
As individuals, how do we measure up to the church at Laodecia?
1. Do we conduct our lives to serve God on a case by case basis ONLY when it’s convenient for us and won’t cause us any undue hardships?
2. Do we live our lives as though we are all set where we are with what we have and thereby live our lives needing nothing from God and having no need to rely on Him for anything?
3. Are we truly unaware of our present state? Do we dare look at the Bible and assess our lives against God’s standards or do we do our own self-assessment to make ourselves look better than we really are?
The church at Philadelphia was a loving and giving and self-sacrificing church.
The church at Laodecia was a selfish, self-serving, self-preserving, self-sufficient, self-satisfying, self-gratifying, self-supportive, self-assessing church.
As a member, how are you helping to define your church?