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Laodicea Is Here Today
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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If you look up the word “here” in a Thessaurus, you find these alternatives: everywhere; all over; far and wide; here, there, and everywhere; near and far; in all quarters.
That is the extent of the Laodicean church today! It is shocking, because it is everywhere.
When I published the book Understanding The Book of Revelation in 2000, I wrote of this condition:
“Laodicea is complacent, self-satisfied. She has all she wants spiritually. She is blind to her need to move forward.”
She doesn’t see what she lacks but which she so desperately needs in order to be in the will of God. This is the condition of the majority of believers right now. I explained what I had learned from God about it:
...Laodicea is lukewarm. She is not on fire. She has become complacent, 'laid back' spiritually.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! (Rev 3:15, NIV.)
This complacency is a result of delusion. She thinks she has acquired so much. "You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing,' " (Rev 3:17a.) Laodiceans think they know so much, or are so right before God. They think they have such a right understanding or right standing before God that they don't need any more from the Source of Truth.
Actually, this pride separates them from Him. They don't see their impoverishment. "You do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (Rev 3:17b, NIV).
Jesus counsels them:
...buy from Me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich [true spiritual wealth]; and white clothes [true righteousness] to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes so that you can see (Rev 3:18).
Peter refers to this process of purification by 'fire' in his first letter: "...you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" (1 Pet 1:6). Why?
These have come so that your faith – of far greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed (v 7, NIV).
True riches of faith and righteousness only come through difficult trials. Smith Wigglesworth declared that great faith is the product of great fights, and great triumphs are the outcome of great trials. The gold Jesus advises us to 'buy' from Him (there is a price) is not physical, nor intellectual. It is spiritual. Spiritual gold is purified in the spiritual fires of life. Our Saviour disciplines and rebukes those He loves.
There is only one response which Jesus accepts:
So be earnest, and repent (Rev 3:19, NIV).
This earnestness and repentance has been seen in the responses of reformation, revival and renewal that have come and gone through the Church in its various sectors over the past few centuries.
It may have started with Wyclif and Huss, and gathered momentum in Luther's time, but it has never ceased. After Martin Luther came John Calvin (1509-64), John Knox (1515-72), Roger Williams (1604-1684), John Wesley (1703-1791), George Whitefield (1714-70), Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, William Booth (1829-1912), Charles Spurgeon (1834-92), Dwight Moody (1837-99), and many others. Each played his part in the restoration and revival that was prophesied to come before the end (Mal 4:4-6; Matt 17:11). Reformation continues today.
Jesus had allowed the Church to be taken captive by hollow philosophy and Babylonian tradition. Through your response to truth you demonstrate your loyalty to Christ. All Christians are tested as they struggle to emerge from this sea of error.
What you have in your head is not so crucial in God's estimation as what is in your heart. The intensity or 'fire' of your response determines the reward Jesus will give you. Those who have struggled with great earnestness towards the Light display their great love for God. It is no good having a head full of truth, if your heart does not really care for God and others. Knowledge is not paramount. Love is. That is Philadelphia's desire for which she is commended. It must be ours too.
While Philadelphian elements are present throughout the Church in and outside its various groups, sadly, the prevalent traits today are those of Laodicea. Perhaps for that reason she is mentioned last and why Jesus comes to her as "the Amen" (Rev 3:14).
The revivals which zealous men of God engendered, such as John Wesley and William Booth, have since led to the establishment of large denominational bodies: the Methodist Church and the Salvation Army, respectively, to mention just two out of many. In their day, they were spiritual pioneers, used by God to kindle fires of reform and restoration. They zealously sought to move forward by the Spirit. But, the fires of change have since died down. The majority are now complacent and self-satisfied within such denominational structures. Laodicea does not seek a fresh fire of the Spirit to purify further. Content with the warmth from the embers, she doesn't think she needs it.
This is the deluded state of the Church today. It is unaware that there is still more – much more – that Jesus wants to restore to the Church to bring it back in line with the faith as it was once delivered to the saints. So much was lost in the early centuries AD. So much is yet to be restored. But few want it!
Jesus addresses Himself to Laodicea as "faithful and true" (Rev 3:14). Laodicea is unaware that she is not faithful nor true. She thinks she is, but Satan has deluded her. Perhaps she is resting on her laurels because of the legacy of her past. However, it is no good looking back. Forward, we must continually go.
The movements of restoration prompted by the Holy Spirit were valiant in their time. Yet, they were only stages. More is yet to be restored to the Church: a correct understanding of, and approach to, the true Sabbath and festivals of God; other aspects of the forgotten "law of Moses" (which was not Moses', but God's – see Mal 4:4); a full working understanding and application of spiritual gifts; an acceptance of all Church 'offices', especially prophets; and a better appreciation of God and His Holy Spirit.
We are now approaching a final move of the Spirit before the return of Jesus Christ. This move will challenge the world of Christendom more than any other move before it. 'Elijah' will do 'His' work, and then the end will come.
A desire for holiness and the things of God has always characterised those who have benefited from previous moves of the Spirit. Without holiness no-one will see God (Heb 12:14). Those who want God for what they want will be overcome by Laodicean pride and complacency. However, those who lay down their lives, being willing to give up all self-interest for the sake of Christ, will be given a crown of life. This is the earnestness Jesus admonishes His Church to covet.
Jesus promises a 'crown' to Philadelphia – those who hold fast by putting implicit faith in God, who uncompromisingly obey all they understand from God's Word (Rev 3:11). Jesus is the rightful inheritor of the throne of David (Luke 1:32). He will rule and teach the world His ways in the Millennium. He promises to share that great privilege with any who equally earnestly seek Him (Rev 3:19-21).
The above excerpt is from Understanding The Book of Revelation, pages 58-60.
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