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sermon: Letters to Seven Churches (Part Eleven): Laodicea

The Curse of Eternal Security
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 22-Jun-19; Sermon #1494; 75 minutes

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The failure of the Laodiceans to reciprocate Christ's love for them may explain the intensity of His letter to them. Laodicea was a wealthy, self-sufficient city, sitting astride important roads in southern Asia Minor. Its people were hardworking and upwardly mobile. Philemon's son Archippus was probably the pastor to the Laodiceans. Materialism was the root of the spiritual problem plaguing the people of the Laodicean church. Because of the comfort of prosperity, the concept of needing Christ was absent among them. Consequently, their self-appraisal (considering themselves to be in the upper percentiles of the Church due to their wealth) differed from Christ's, who proclaimed them naked, blind, beggarly and wretched. The people interpreted the wealth they enjoyed as God's blessing for their righteousness. A species of Gnosticism, present in both Colossae and Laodicea, encouraged a "once saved, always saved" approach to the peoples' relationship with Christ, the idea of "eternal security." The true children of Light dare not assume that sanctification comes without the presence of righteous works. The motivation for Christ's epistle to the Laodiceans was His ardent and urgent love, offering His help to those who had reached rock-bottom in their relationship with Him.

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