Laodicea Had A Warning

Tucked away, and almost overlooked in the book of Colossians, are four verses that reference the church of Laodicea. When most folks hear that church mentioned they immediately think of the admonition given to them in the book of Revelation. In fact, the church of Laodicea is mentioned more in Colossians than in Revelation.

It makes one wonder if there is not some import in the Colossians references. Looking into those specific verses indeed shows us a strong intent by the Apostle Paul in mentioning this church in an Epistle to the Colossians.

A brief overview of the book of Colossians is very telling in the intent that Paul had. It was written by Paul somewhere between 60 and 64 AD. The purpose of the writing was to counteract doctrinal errors in the church that were arising from Judaistic, oriental, and philosophic influences in the church. When these components begin to enter into the church they have the tendency to overshadow the person and work of Jesus Christ. When that is overshadowed then it is an easy digression into weak doctrine. That in turn leads to worldliness in the body which will diminish the level of spirituality present in the body.

Paul re-affirms the divinity of Jesus Christ and emphasizes the proper understanding of who He is. He then moves on and lets them know that he is anxious for them. His purpose is to make them realize that they are united in love as they understand the mysteries of God. The writer then quickly moves onto warnings against allowing false doctrine to infiltrate the church. Worldly philosophies and legalism are soundly condemned and the liberty of the Cross and Christ are exalted. He even goes so far as to warn them about being consumed with ceremonialism.

In chapter 3, he admonishes them to mortify the flesh, put on the spiritual adornments, practice Christian graces, spiritual love, and to live up to their responsibilities.

But most interesting to note is that in the last few verses of chapter 4 he mentions Laodicea 3 times. Once as a point of interest, second as a greeting, and thirdly as a directive to cause the Epistle to the Colossians to be read in the church at Laodicea. Colossians 4:16 “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans;”

That arrested my attention. Could it be that Paul was doing his best to forewarn the church of Laodicea that they were heading in a wrong direction? Could it be that approximately 32 years before the rebuke in Revelation was given that the Apostle sent a heads up that should have made them examine their practices and mindsets? I have often wondered how different Laodicea could have been had she heeded the words of the Epistle to the Colossians.

It makes on wonder what “Epistle” has the church not heeded from days gone by? As we see worldly philosophies and legalism both creep into the church can we honestly expect any other response from the Lord than what Laodicea did? When the church endeavors to be relevant to the world and loses its identity of, and in, Jesus Christ she has become a modern day Laodicea.

The church of today, just like the church of Laodicea, will never be able to say that God judged without warning. Heaven help us to read the message to the Colossians and examine where we are that we may remain faithful until that day.


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