Monday, 24 May 2010

The Church at Laodicea


The apostle John’s prophecy of Jesus’ returning in the Spirit communing in the end-time in the midst of His seven Churches
In the Book of Revelation, chapters 1-3, we read about Jesus' invisible coming in the end-time, in and by the Holy Spirit, in the midst of His seven churches. He then comes to bring his Church, which has strayed and fallen asleep in sin, and typified here in seven different types of churches, unto sincere repentance, unto restoration and actual victory over satan[1] and sin.
We will now look at His Word directed to the last of the seven types of churches of the end-time, namely the church at Laodicea.

In the grip of mammon
Laodicea is a church of the so-called "rich countries", thus also of the Netherlands.
Revelation 3:14-16 "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."
Jesus here presents Himself as the true and faithful Witness of the situation of the church of Laodicea, whereto we also belong.

The wandering state of the Church
1) She is lukewarm, not hot/on fire and reprehensible in the eyes of Jesus: "I shall spue you out of My mouth".
2) Wrongly, she deems herself blessed by God because of her material wealth.
Because of the temptation of being able to gather material riches this Church forgot the next Word of God, which warns us:
Matthew 6:19-25 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness (itself)! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for you body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"

Who or what reigns in your heart?
Proverbs 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
What are you looking for in this life? If the mammon, the idol of the lust for money, lives in your heart, and your eyes are filled with, and are focused on, wealth; when your heart trusts in money, bank accounts or material possessions, or when it longs for them, then the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ is no longer in your heart, even if you go to church regularly, perform religious acts, and speak and sing of Jesus Christ.
Your conscience has then been scorched by the mammon, and you do not recognise your real spiritual state.
Revelation 3:17 "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."
You do not know that spiritually you are "miserable, wretched, poor, and blind, and naked". It is God's grace if the light of the Holy Spirit comes over you, and you then discover, who you really are spiritually, and that that material wealth is not a blessing from God.
Search yourself closely: Who or what reigns on the table of our heart? Is it the Lord Jesus, an idol, or our own "I"? Which lusts reign in your heart? Is it money? Material wealth? Is it sex, or power, or the greatness of this worldly life? These then are as many idols, and we have left our first love. If we really seek eternal life, which Jesus Christ offers us, then we are to make a definite choice in this life; namely we must be willing to love Him above all, even above our own life; and we must be willing to follow Him on His road, the way of the cross, to God, our Father.
Luke 14:25-27 "And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."
We must love the Lord Jesus Christ above all, He must fill our heart and life; and no earthly desires, no matter how beautiful, which become idols in our heart and life.

What more does the sinner have to do?
The Lord Jesus comes unto the Laodiceans with the following advice:
Revelation 3:18-19 "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
1) We are to buy this new life of God, and pay for it with our old, sinful life, which must be burned to ashes by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 3:11-12 "I indeed baptise you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
We read here of the advice, John the Baptist gives us, to open our being for the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, that the threshing floor of our heart be purified of sins, and He give us, in its place, the divine life, His heavenly divine riches.
In Revelation 3:18 we read, that He does not only want to give this divine wealth, this heavenly gold, but also the while clothes of His holiness, a divine and holy life here on earth in and by His power.
2) We must also search diligently for this new life (Revelation 3:19),
3) and repent sincerely thereto of all sin, and flee the sinful circumstances.
4) We also must open the door of our heart for Him, of He knocks at its door to enter.
Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
We see that Jesus stands outside the Church of Laodicea, and that we are to let Him in personally, because we have a free will, which He will not torpedo.
Once we have let Him into our heart and life, He will have supper with us; this means: He will share with us His death and resurrection, His victory over sin and satan. Then we, too, shall be conquerors through Him over sin and satan, already here in our earthly life.
Revelation 12:11 "And they (the victors) overcame him (satan and power of sin) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony (whereby also others will share this victory); and they loved not their (earthly, sinful) lives unto the death (until it is completely dead, already here on earth; so that they may live without spot or wrinkle, faultless; see Ephesians 5:27, already here on earth).”

The victors' reward
Revelation 3:21-22 "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. e that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
He then shall share with these His lordship/dominion in His Millennium, and crown us with authority. He will also clothe these, outwardly and inwardly, with divine glory.

Let us keep in mind this hope of glory.

By E. van den Worm

[1] We write the word satan not with a capital, as it is not a name, but a word meaning opponent or adversary, accuser.