At Revelation 3:20, we read, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” The Book of Revelation was written to seven Christian assemblies in Asia Minor. This specific verse was addressed to the Church at Laodicea. It should be noted that the addressees were believers. It should also be noted that that the Christian is required to listen and open the door (his or her heart). Unfortunately, the Laodiceans were described as being lukewarm believers. They were neither hot nor cold. However, Jesus said, “I wish you were cold or hot” (Rev. 3:15).
Laodicea had been under Roman authority since 133 BC. It was located at a key junction of Roman roads leading west to Ephesus and the Mediterranean Sea, east to Galatia, northwest to Philadelphia, and south to the Mediterranean Sea. Under Roman rule, it grew rapidly and wealthier. Around AD 60, it was nearly destroyed by an earthquake, but because of its wealth, it refused imperial assistance with its rebuilding campaign. Jesus said, “You say, ‘I am rich and have become wealthy and have no need of anything’” (Rev. 3:17). Laodicea was known for its black wool, and it was also home to a medical school and a famous powder used to treat eye ailments. Laodicea also had an elaborate aqueduct that brought water from the nearby mountains. Interestingly, neighboring Hieropolis (6 miles to the north) was known for its hot springs and mineral pools.
When addressing the seven churches of Asia Minor, the Lord spoke most harshly of Laodicea as compared to the other six churches (Rev. 15-16). When the Lord called them neither cold nor hot, He was metaphorically comparing their spiritual lives to their elaborate system of aqueducts and the local sources of water. The Laodiceans were not cool and refreshing like the mountain water (at its source), and they were not warm and soothing like the hot water at Hieropolis. Lukewarm water is neither refreshing nor soothing. However, lukewarm water can be used as an emetic to induce vomiting, and the Lord said that He was inclined to vomit the Laodiceans out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16). They were wealthy, and they relied upon their wealth, not God (Rev. 3:17). They had pride in their accomplishments. As Jesus taught, it is nearly impossible for a wealthy person to enter into Kingdom living (Matt. 19:24). Jesus said, “I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:24). The Laodiceans thought that their wealth was indicative of their character, but in fact, they had wretched, blind, naked, and impoverished souls (Rev. 3:17).
Because of their wretched spiritual condition, they were admonished to buy gold tested by fire, meaning wisdom and truth from God (Rev. 3:18). They were also told to buy white garments, which were the metaphorical uniforms of God’s servants (Rev. 3:18). Finally, they were counseled to buy true salve (the Word of God) to cure their spiritual blindness (Rev. 3:18). The Lord’s discipline of us is motivated by His love for us (Rev. 3:19). Jesus told the Laodiceans, “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline, therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:19). In the process of growing to maturity, we will be disciplined many times. Discipline is necessary to break the stranglehold of the flesh and the World (or Spirit of the Age).
We should be diligent and highly motivated to grow and draw near to God. He stands knocking at the door to dine and have fellowship with us (Rev. 3:20). Eating together is a Biblical image of fellowship.
The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery notes:
People in the ancient Near East customarily ate two meals each day, a light midday lunch and the main meal in the evening after work. Breakfast was a light snack, not usually considered a meal proper. A meal was never simply a time to digest food and quench thirst; at meals people displayed kinship and friendship…. Among God’s chosen people, meals became ways of experiencing and enjoying God’s presence and provision.
We cannot understand God’s plan for humanity unless we have a full appreciation of the Biblical image of “sharing a meal.” On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus shared a meal with His disciples. At Matthew 26:26-28, we read,
Now while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is being poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”
In a nutshell, God has offered humanity forgiveness and a new kind of life in His Son, Jesus Christ. Our new way of living is a life of fellowship with God. We are called to live “en Christos” (Rom. 3:24). The Greek preposition en is defined as “in, by, and with.” We believers share in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We have died to a life dominated by fleshly desires. We are challenged to “put off the flesh” and give priority to the will of God. Our new life is so intimate that it is characterized as consuming and internalizing the death and life of Jesus in us. We are in Him, and He is in us. Now, we are challenged to walk by the Spirit, wherein the Word is a light to our feet, trusting in Christ Jesus, while having no confidence in our inherent capacity to live this new, supernatural way of being (Phil. 3.3; Rom. 2:28-29; Ps. 119:105). We believers are a new type of human with a new way of being.
Finally, as noted previously, the victorious believer is also promised the privilege of ruling with Christ (Rev. 3:21). At Revelation 3:21, we read,
The one who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne. The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
There will be significant consequences and loss of future blessings for every human (whether believer or unbeliever) who rejects God’s invitation to live in fellowship with Him and participate in this new way of being.
 “Laodicea.” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, et al., Vol. III, K-P, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1982, pp. 72-73.
 “Laodicea,” p. 73.
 “Laodicea,” pp. 72-73.
 “Meal.” Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, edited by Leland Ryken, et al, InterVarsity Press, 1998, p. 544.
 “G1722 – en – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 6 Nov, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1722/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.