Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 23, 1969

The Church At Laodicea

Larry Ray Hafley

The Apostle Paul told the "saints and faithful brethren" to whom he wrote the Colossian letter to "cause that it (the epistle to Colosse) be read also in the church of the Laodiceans." (Col. 4:16) This charge becomes significant when we examine the epistle and the later state of the Laodiceans.

The Laodiceans assemble to hear the letter, and are immediately positively provoked unto love and good works by Paul's prayer the "ye might be filled with the knowledge of his (God's) will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1:9,10). Hearing of Christ's preeminence, (Col. 1:15-19) audible amen's chorus from the lips of the fervent in spirit. Nodding affirmatively to the statements of the Apostle whom they have never met, the Laodiceans resolve to continue in the faith, grounded and settled. Their hearts are comforted as brother Paul calls them by name. (Col. 2:1) In Christ they feel their hearts knit together in love.

A little child cries and squirms, protesting the uncomfortable floor where he sits, and the reader, perhaps Tychicus or Onesimus, (Col. 4:7,9) sips a drink of water — then proceeds. The message rings clear: (1) We are complete in Christ. (Col. 2:9,10) (2) No matter how solemn a religious act may seem it is vain if not authorized from the Head. (Col. 2:14-23) (3) We must lay aside the old man, the former manner of life, and project the image of the new creation. (Col. 3)

Following the reading unrecorded information is given, (Col. 4:9) questions are raised, prayer is offered as requested, (Col. 4:3) and the little band disbands for home.

Years later some of the same audience, older and grayer now, gather to hear another letter in their more comfortable building in Laodicea. Shocking words are heard by those who feature themselves as "rich and increased with goods" (Rev. 3:17). "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:15,16) Despair follows astonishment in the hearts of those who recall the zeal of the early years. The fine building, large crowds, and favorable local acceptance have lured them into joining paganistic fraternal orders, softening the Sword of the Spirit into a non-convicting message of "sweet talk" rather than "plain talk." Bowed heads and misty eyes afflict the old soldiers and the younger sincere servants as they hear their plight, "thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked" (Rev. 3:17).

Anguished souls silently ask, "What led us to this finely adorned, ornamental oblivion?" Others, still unable to see their "folly of finery" leave mumbling, impenitent, naked. (Rev. 3:18) Aged Epaphras, who had planted the seed at Laodicea, (Col. 4:13) rises and softly speaks, "Brethren, you have worked heartily, but your fervor went into the sinkhole of the insatiable appetites of men. You pleased men but 'tis time to correctly heed the words our beloved Paul penned, 'And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, AS TO THE LORD, and not unto men." (Col. 3:23)

Yes, `tis time indeed! There are too many Laodiceans among us. "Consider, brethren."

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