Are we currently living in and part of the Laodicean church… especially in the western world? You know… the church Jesus said was wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked?
Let’s first take a look at what Jesus says to this church in Revelation, chapter three:
Revelation 3: 14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”
Let’s examine a few points about this vitally important passage.
First point: Jesus says the Laodiceans are lukewarm… neither cold nor hot, and because of this lukewarm state, He will vomit them out of His mouth. He also warns them about their state of believing they are not genuinely needy. They think they have “arrived”.
Now, in spite of all the glowing, exciting proclamations of power, healing, worldwide revival and other awesome claims going around in the Charismatic, Pentecostal, Word-of-Faith and New Apostolic Reformation circles… I have to say that they are simply not true.;
I believe in the gifts of the Spirit and have walked in some of them, but these claims are not true.
I will not argue or debate this issue with anyone at any time. If you believe these claims of power, healing and revival are genuine and true, then God bless you. I pray good things for you and wish you well.
The levels of confidence, self-exaltation and self-sufficiency displayed in these circles is mind boggling, as well as the level of scripture twisting and misinterpretation. They are not needy, regardless of the claims of neediness they may make.
I will say there are surely mighty things going on in certain parts of the world… being experienced by simple, humble, obscure believers… but it’s not going on in the Charismatic, Word-of-Faith and New Apostolic Reformation circles. Call me arrogant and judgmental. That’s OK.
Now, in the non-charismatic realm of the church, the blandness, lukewarmness and powerlessness is even more obvious. At least there is a level of excitement in the charismatic realm, however misplaced it may be.
The church in our day and age… to a great degree… especially in the west… including the charismatic segment… is extremely man-centered; bland; lifeless; powerless; apathetic and practically irrelevant to our world. I could go on with descriptive adjectives, but I’ll stop there.
Second point: Jesus counsels the Laodiceans to buy from Him… Jesus… gold refined in the fire. What does that mean? For a simple illustration of the meaning, we will look at 1 Peter 1: 3-6:
1 Peter 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
So, gold refined in the fire is simply a genuine faith, in God and His Word… not His Word as we make it out to be… that is tested, tried and purified in the fires of affliction, tribulation and difficulty, which all true believes are told repeatedly in the scriptures they’d have to endure.
Final point: Jesus tells us he rebukes and chastens those He loves, and that He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, wanting to come in and dine with us… wanting us to be zealous and repentant. We always use this passage about Jesus knocking at the door, wanting to come in, as an evangelistic passage, telling unbelievers, “Jesus stands at the door and knocks. Won’t you let Him in?” This is a false application of God’s word. He knocks at the door of our hearts… believers… and wants us to see our condition, and open the door to Him, and have a true change of heart and direction.
Let’s look, finally, at a passage I believe closely parallels the Revelation passage. It’s found in 2 Timothy 3: 1-7:
2 Timothy 3: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
This passage is speaking about the condition of Christians… believers… in the end times… today’s times. I know, we’ve all been told how this passage describes the state of the unrepentant… the unbelievers… the lost. We’ve been told wrong.
Now, Charismatics will say that denying the power of godliness means denying the reality of tongues and Pentecostal manifestations. To that I say, “Baloney!”
To have a form of godliness while denying the power of godliness means we do “Christian” things, activities, programs and projects… Charismatic and non-charismatic… but we avoid, at all costs, truly denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus… down into the death of self, the burial, the resurrection and the ascension.
The power of godliness is the death… the loss… of self, and the taking up of the very life and nature of Jesus, the Messiah, and please don’t try and tell me that we in the modern church are doing and living that… even in the Charismatic realm. To an extremely high degree, we are not, especially in the western church.
As always, I ask you to leave comments, and “like” and share this post if you find substance and value in it.
Grace In Him. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Geno Aptaker is from Knoxville, Tennessee and writes for his own website What IS Church? This article republished with the author's permission.