Nearly all the brethren whose history in God’s Church dates back to the days of the Worldwide Church of God wish to think that they are Philadelphians. We were taught back then that we had an “open door” and that we possessed brotherly love. And there was a lot of loving, giving, serving brethren. It was a time when the Gospel message went to all the world. In the 1980s, as the apostasy came to the full and the brethren began to be widely dispersed, many continued to believe that they were Philadelphians – and that it was those “other” groups who were the Laodiceans.
None in God’s Church wish to consider that they just might be Laodiceans. It’s the farthest thing from our minds. Our thinking process goes something like this, “Laodiceans are not pleasing to God – but I’m pleasing to God – therefore I’m not a Laodicean.” According to Jesus Christ, Laodiceans are a self-satisfied bunch. They have been convinced that “they have it all.” Or as Jesus describes the Laodicean attitude, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” (Revelation 3:17)
Prophecy is history written in advance. These are the last days – Jesus is returning soon. We know that the last church era before the return of Christ is Laodicea. We have precious little time to prepare for the return of Jesus Christ. When Jesus prophetically describes His Church in the last days He speaks of the church brethren in very uncomplimentary terms.
Look around at the bigger groups who claim to be doing the lion’s share of God’s work. They assume that they are right on track. But, that is not what Jesus sees when He looks down from His heavenly throne. He describes the church brethren overall as basically coming short of His expectations. If the church brethren today were actually living and doing God’s will – we would not be Laodiceans. But, Jesus says that we are Laodiceans.
We believe the Bible – and what it says. If the conduct, character, and Christianity of a majority of the church brethren were pleasing to God at this time – He would have not described the church brethren right before the return of His Son, Jesus Christ, as being Laodiceans.
Jesus knew very well what church conditions would become in the end-time. He does not say that one or two – here and there – would stray from their faith, but that the overall church would. He describes the church brethren as being Laodicean.
God, therefore, counsels us to repent and return to basic Christianity. “Be zealous, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19) The letter to Laodicea is a message of God’s judgment, with a call to repentance.
That means that we are not to be going along with the crowds who do not practice their Christianity. And it means that it is possible to escape the lackadaisical Laodicean mindset. We are exhorted to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).
These verses tell us that the end-time church is not pleasing to God. He is saying that we are off-base; and that we possess the wrong attitude.
It seems that everyone claims to be a Philadelphian in attitude and spirit, and possess Biblical brotherly love. But I cannot remember, nor do I know of any time in church history, when so much division has existed among those brethren who claim to represent God’s true faith.
God says that “Laodicean,” is the predominant attitude that prevails in the end-time church. Wouldn’t it be wise and prudent to seriously take a look at ourselves instead of pointing the finger at others?
“Unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness [Jesus Christ], 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.” (Revelation 3:14-16)
Could it be that some or all of us are Laodicean – without even knowing it? God says that we are blind to it. How can we tell the difference between a Philadelphian and a Laodicean? Is it possible to determine for ourselves?
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire [Godly character], that thou may be rich; and white raiment [righteousness], that thou may be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:17-20)
Laodiceans are a part of the true Church of God. What will happen to the Laodiceans during the Tribulation? Will they be able to be in the first resurrection? There are parables about Laodiceans that are able to give us an idea of what to expect. Does Jesus say that we should hear the messages that He gives to all the different church eras?
Jesus says to the Laodiceans, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me… To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne. He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22)
Editor’s Note: This is an introduction to a sermon by Warren Zehrung of the Sabbath Church of God
you can listen to the sermon here ↓