“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh.”
“what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea”
The church in Colosse and Laodicea routed by false doctrine caused a “great conflict” in the person of Paul. Their distortion of truth caused him personal anguish. His care for the church went to the extent of agony to his person. His agony was over their comporting with apostasy.
The word “conflict” signifies the contest for a prize at the great Greek national games. Generally, the word portrays any struggle or trial that may involve peril. Paul indicates that his agony for them is “great.” He wants them to know how much he cares. In the next verse, he gives the purpose of telling them how much he cares–that their hearts might be “comforted.” Evidently, this invasion into the church significantly hurt the church in the general Lycus Valley as well.
“For” in the phrase “for you” is a term of substitution. Paul was in agony and conflict on behalf of the Colossians and the Laodiceans. Whenever a church reverts into false doctrine, it renders great pain to leadership. Instability in truth leads to an unsteady Christian life.
Laodicea, like Colosse, lay in the Lycus Valley on the Lycus River. The city situated on a trade route enjoyed prosperity. There is no book of the Bible written to the Laodiceans. However, Paul did write to them (Col. 4:16). Jesus warns the Laodiceans of lukewarmness because of her riches (Rev. 3:14-19).
Paul carried a burden for both the churches at Colosse and Laodicea, neither of which ever met him personally. He was a churchman in the finest sense of the word. In 2 Corinthians 11, he cataloged the things he suffered for the church. In verse 28, he writes, “Besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.” He knew how Satan loves to invade and ruin churches.
If we are genuinely burdened for Christians, we will minister to them, ”For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Heb. 6:10). A church needs both obstetricians and pediatricians. People require the loving care of a pediatrician after they become Christians.
Christians should carry a burden for the wellbeing of the church.
Do you care about the household of faith? Are you willing to give yourself to the church? It may, at times, cause great personal pain, but the church is worth it.