Compare these two churches –
Revelation 3:14-17, “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. (15) “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! (16) So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (17) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
Revelation 2:8-10, “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. (9) “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. (10) Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Things are rarely as they seem to be. By all outward appearances, the Laodicean church had God’s blessing upon it. Just look at all of its finery. They probably were well thought of in their community. They didn’t upset anyone. They stuck to a definite middle-of-the-road Christianity. And Smyrna? Well, those people had a problem. They weren’t growing in size or finances. They were hated not only by their community, but especially by the other “faith communities” in their town. They were radical and stirred up trouble. They brought all of their troubles upon themselves. Outward appearances, you see.
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