A favorite pastime of many is
to brand others.
First make sure we are
standing in front of a mirror.
A solid Christian woman observed humbly
“We’re all Laodicean.”
We don’t see the seven Churches of Revelation in our “church of your choice” ads. There’s no Laodicean Church on the corner of Elm. Is that where people from Laos worship?
What do the seven Churches mean to you? “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (2:7). That’s good advice from the Head of the Church! Let’s take it personal!
Today it’s fashionable to reject organized religion. Only one in four Americans say they attend church each week. Their pastors might tell a different story.
Did Jesus let the gates of hell prevail against His Church He built (Matt. 16:8)? It has continued through seven eras since Jesus started it in 31 A.D.
Two key questions for each of us:
♦ Is our church even a part of these seven eras?
♦ How do we identify a true Church of God?
When I was 16
I almost had my right arm and leg ripped off in a motorcycle accident. I thought God was punishing me for having just quit going to church. In Tim McGraw’s hit song “Humble and Kind” he sings “Go to church ’cause your Momma says to.” I had been doing that as long as I could remember without knowing what the Bible teaches about God’s Church. My Mom didn’t know of any local church actually teaching what the Bible teaches but this one at least had the right name so she settled for it.
At the end of my sophomore year of high school, I quit because my boyhood church seemed dead. Today I can read what the Undertaker warns Sardis about its desperate need for resuscitation (3:1-6). My church wasn’t live enough to even be Sardis.
But back from too close to dead myself, I said “sorry” in heartfelt repentance and asked God to show me where His true Church was. This was the turning point of my life. If you do the same, I’m sure He will show you without giving an arm and a leg. Well, actually, you must give your whole life.
God says we must repent, believe, be baptized, have a true minister lay hands on us, asking God to give us His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). All the glory goes to God because it’s the goodness of God—not ours—that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea church eras
exist right up to the return of Christ.
God help us to be Philadelphians who are zealous to complete the commission of preaching the gospel and making disciples of all nations (Matt. 24:14, 28:18-20)! Those whose hearts are in the Work rather than trying to save their own skin will be the ones growing in grace and knowledge (Matt. 16:25).
Who doesn’t want to claim this promise: “I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (3:10). The Church of God has been promised “her place, where she is nourished for” 3-1/2 years (12:14). Yes, God can save us individually where we are, but He clearly talks about a group hideaway. Zephaniah, whose name means “The Lord Hides,” prophesies “It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zeph. 2:3). That would be the last year of the 3-1/2 years of Great Tribulation when the seven trumpets are blown and the seven last plagues are dispensed.
A good reason might be to train Christ’s upcoming administration. Like He did with Paul for three years before he began his public service (Gal. 1:18). And leadership training with a group can compound the effectiveness through iron sharpening iron in Christian fellowship (Prov. 27:17).
“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
The key to how we personally experience the book of Revelation will be
When we repent
Jesus said He has a “few names even in Sardis” (3:4). Sounds like Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. I’d rather make my calling and election more sure!
Laodicea is dominant at the end where material riches abound amid spiritual poverty and wretchedness. Are we lukewarm—neither hot or cold—which would induce Jesus Christ to vomit us (3:15-17)? As the head of the Church, why shouldn’t Jesus want a hot bod too!
Laodiceans will be “ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14). Looks like they suffer martyrdom to prove their heart has changed commitment. Why not get spiritually hot now!
For our sakes, I would hope we have repented by this time because after this “innumerable multitude” there is no mention in Revelation of anybody repenting through the Day of the Lord. You’d think people would cry out for deliverance but they shake their fist at God and blaspheme.
So please, we must repent now
Philadelphia means “brotherly love” and love is the defining sign of the Church (John 13:35). We must learn from Ephesus and recapture our first love. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works” (2:5).
Isn’t it interesting that the reason for “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25) is “to consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (verse 24). Emphasis of Ephesus!
Are we hearing what the Spirit says to the seven Churches? Let’s not waste time judging and branding others. Let’s take it personal!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I personally recommend a booklet called “The Book of Revelation Unveiled” you can get FREE by mail or download at https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-book-of-revelation-unveiled