In the book of Revelation, Chapter 3, Jesus, the faithful witness spoke to the Laodicean church, pointed out their lifeless faith and urged them to repent. They had lost their faithfulness to Christ. Laodicea, a large and very rich city, was a city of entertainment and the people sought continual pleasure.
It would seem apparent that the city’s wealth and enticing pleasures proved too much for ‘the church’ – the believers in Christ. The result was compromise: lukewarm faith that was rejected as worthless. Out of the seven churches Jesus addressed in the book of Revelation: Chapters 2 and 3, the Laodicean church was the only church that did not receive any commendation; only rebuke.
Did they fall because of lack of knowledge? No. They had much knowledge. They fell because of their flirtation with the world. They fell because they became so full of themselves. They fell because they exchanged their loyalty to Christ for other things. The church had acquired much wealth but Jesus rebuked them for their ‘spiritual’ poverty and blindness. He exhorted them to seek true riches – spiritual riches that could only be attained through faith. This seems painfully familiar.
Like the Laodiceans, we too flirt with the world and even welcome it in our churches. To our shame, we justify our flirtation with fine explanations and godly-sounding reasons. We too have become ‘full of ourselves’, guilty of spiritual pride. Sadly and ironically it is due to spiritual dullness that we do not recognize our conceit. We have much knowledge but lack understanding. Do we deceive ourselves? Yes, I think so. Is God unaware of the lukewarm condition of the present day church and our compromise? Not at all.
We thank God for His Holy Spirit but where is His Spirit in our gatherings? Yielding to compromise leaves little or no place for the Holy Spirit in our lives or in our churches. Is the enticement of the world proving to be far too much to resist? Is chasing after ‘pleasure’ and ‘gain’ causing us to become spiritually poor? Are we waning in our loyalty to Christ? Yes, I think so. The word of God calls upon believers to keep from becoming polluted by the ungodliness of this world and to remain faithful to Christ.
What does it mean to be faithful to Christ? It means single-minded devotion; constant in our love for Him in every aspect of our lives. It means to follow Him; to follow His ways with moral uprightness, integrity, and humility while always drawing on and depending upon the grace of God to do so.
Nearing the closing of Jesus’ address to the Laodicean church (Rev. 3:19, 20) He says, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
I believe that Jesus (in a spiritual sense) is standing at the door of ‘the church’ today and also at the door of the individual believer’s life and saying, “Here I am. If you hear my voice and open the door and really let me in, we will have fellowship one with another; spiritual fellowship.” Is the Lord trying to get our attention? Yes, I think so. Why? Because He loves us.
There is a remarkable promise at the close of Jesus’ rebuke to the Laodicean church. He says, “To him who overcomes I will give the right to sit on my throne.” Those who ‘overcome’ will be taken to the very throne of Christ!
Are we the spiritually impoverished Laodicean church? Yes, I believe so. In terms of church history and types (a foreshadow of another to come) I am convinced that the Laodicean church signifies the ‘End Time’ church – namely the church of this present age (roughly 1900’s and on). Is every believer in Christ spiritually lacking, smug, and worldly? No. However, this is a pervading problem at work in ‘the church’ at large. Does God want us to be earnest and repent? Yes. The rebuke from Jesus to the Laodicean church is clear but so is the promise; a promise not for them alone, but also for us. Just as we are included in the rebuke and would be wise to pay heed, we too are included in the promise if we overcome. To those who ‘overcome’; to those who remain loyal to Christ; to those who keep their faith in this present church age of lukewarm Christianity, they will be taken to the very throne of Christ. This is spiritual and can only be attained through faith, faith that is as pure as gold: tried, tested, and true!
This is a hard message but let those who have an ear – hear…