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Exploring Revelation
683
“Laodicea pt. 1”
by Art Sadlier   
December 30th, 2007

The letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor are a record of the progression of apostasy in the church. It began with Ephesus and the loss of its first love, it culminates with the Lord spewing out the lukewarm church of Laodicea and it concludes in the apostasy of the harlot church of the Tribulation Period, though the harlot is actually not a church of Jesus Christ.

Laodicea is the last of the seven churches to receive a letter from the Lord, and it is the shortest of them all. It is to this church and this church alone that Christ finds nothing good to say. The Lord completes His work in cycles of seven. These seven churches combined present seven stages in the life of the church on earth, beginning at Pentecost and concluding at the Rapture. The harlot church is a counterfeit, and does not in any way relate to the bride of Christ. We thus have in these letters a prophetic for view of the entire church dispensation.

As we view Laodicea, we see the tares continue to increase among the wheat. The buzzards continue to gather in the trees that are Christendom, and the leaven of evil gains momentum in the church.

Laodicea is the church of the end times and it depicts the conditions of church when the Rapture takes place. Laodicea literally means "the rights of people", a definition that perfectly describes the evangelical church of this present day.

The Word of God no longer stands as a lamp for the feet of the church, nor is it used as a light for her path. The church, meant to be the body of Christ, is no longer directed by the Head in heaven, but instead is governed by "the will of the people."

It must be understood that Laodicea is not Thyatira, which represents the Catholic Church that is still present in the world today. It is the church that from 600 A.D. to 1517 dominated the world scene, but does so longer. However, it will continue to the end of the church age and go into the Tribulation Period as part of the harlot church.

Laodicea is not Sardis, which is mainline Protestantism. This church had its day of prominence from about 1517-1750. Though its day of prominence is over, it also continues in the world in apostasy and will go into the Tribulation Period as part of the harlot church.

Laodicea is not Philadelphia (Fundamentalism) which was dominant from approximately 1750-1950. Philadelphia still exists, but only as a remnant. It will continue until the day when it will be caught up in the Rapture (Rev. 3:10).

Laodicea is the Evangelical church which came out of Fundamentalism beginning somewhere around 1950. As we examine Laodicea, I suggest that you can see for yourself as to whether or not the description of Laodicea adequately depicts evangelicalism of this present hour.

I believe that the church of Laodicea and the remnant of Philadelphia are seen side by side in the world today, and I believe it is possible to stand firmly Philadelphian in character, in this present Laodicean age. The question is, are you a Laodicean or a Philadelphian? Are you a part of the Laodicean church, or are you found among the remnant of Philadelphia?

First, our Lord's evaluation of Laodicea  

Take time now to read Rev. 3:15, 16. This church has been infected with a nauseating quality that will make Christ ultimately vomit it out of His mouth. They neither were hot to the point of boiling, nor could they be described as cold to the point of freezing. Spiritually, they were seen as lukewarm in the faith, half-hearted and uncommitted.  One service a week and make it light and entertaining. Such a condition is totally repugnant to the Lord; you make me sick to my stomach the Lord says. Then the Lord rebukes this church for its emphasis and focus on material wealth. They said "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." Jesus said, "Thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." What a contrast in evaluation! The Lord's evaluation is not very flattering. What self-deception! They were boasting of their material prosperity and were quite happy with themselves. And yet they were, in reality, beggarly poor, poverty stricken, and blind to the truth. They couldn't see it!

Jesus called the church "wretched", a word that appears in only one other instance in the New Testament. The apostle Paul said it of himself in Romans 7:24, "O wretched man that I am." Wretched means distressed, when Paul saw himself as God saw him he was distressed. He was groaning under the immense burden of indwelling sin and longing for deliverance.

The term here is used to describe the spiritual condition of Laodicea. The difference between Paul and the Loadiceans is crystal clear. Paul recognized his wretchedness, the Laodiceans did not. They thought they were doing well in their spiritual life but they were spiritually wretched (Gal. 6:3).

Christ describes the church as being "miserable." Miserable means pitiable. Paul used the word in 1 Corinthians 15:19. The Laodiceans were to be pitied.

The Lord further describes them as "poor". They were proud of their wealth, but blind to their spiritual poverty. In Luke 16:15 our Lord said to the Pharisees, "That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God." Never before has the church owned so much property. Never before has the church had such a large membership. Never before has the church had such a large payroll. And yet, despite this evangelicalism is spiritually poor. It is often seen that material wealth and spiritual poverty accompany each other.

The Lord said the Laodiceans were spiritually blind, they could not recognize their own spiritual poverty nor their desperate plight. They lacked spiritual discernment, a characteristic of those who have never truly been born again (1 Cor. 2:14).

Finally, Christ said the church was "naked." Laodicea was famous for its luxurious woolen garments. They wore beautiful clothing, yet they had no covering for their souls but the filthy rags of self-righteousness.

That was our Lord's evaluation of Laodicea, one that bears a striking resemblance to modern day evangelicalism.  

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