28. THE CHURCH AGE OF LAODICEA.
Revelation 3:14 “And to the angel of the church of Laodicea write,
'These things say the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 "I know your works, that you are neither hot nor cold. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor not, I will vomit you out of my mouth.
The church age of Philadelphia begins in the late 1700’s with the renewal of missionary fervour. We still see this missionary fervour at work in much of the church and we will continue to see this until the Lord returns. Running alongside the church age of Philadelphia, starting in the mid 1800’s we have the church age of Laodicea, also known as the age of the lukewarm church. This age to will also continue until the Lord returns.
This doesn’t mean that all churches today take totally after either the church of Philadelphia or the church of Laodicea, for we still have many churches today bearing the characteristics of the other five churches. Nevertheless, most churches today either bear the missionary fervour of the Philadelphian church or the lukewarmness of the Laodicean church.
It should be noted, the mid 1800’s does not only mark the start of the church age of Laodicea, it also marks both the beginning of the industrial age, and publishing of Darwin’s writings on the theory of evolution. So it should come as no surprise to us, that when Jesus introduces Himself to the church of Laodicea, He not only introduces Himself as “the Faithful and True Witness,” He also introduces Himself has “the Beginning of the creation.” In all the other church ages this was never an issue, for, before this time, almost everyone regardless of their religion, believed in a supreme god, the creator of all things. Only since the mid 1800's, the beginning of the church age of Laodicea, has this become an issue.
Who should we believe? Should we believe the written Word of God? Or should we believe the miss guided and deceived scientist who know not the truth? Although many scientists do know the truth; most, because they love the praises of man more than the praises of God, and because they fear the loss of income and honour, will not speak the truth. (a)
Paul wrote to the Colossians.
Colossians 1:15 He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
With the coming of the industrial age in the west, much wealth from the pagan nations of the east flowed west into the predominantly Christian nations. But along with this inflow of the world’s wealth into the hands of the Christians, there also came apathy towards the things of God. Because of this apathy, it could also be said of this church age, that they are neither passionately hot, nor passionately cold towards the kingdom of heaven, or to the things of God.
When we have a drink, be it tea, coffee, water, wine or beer, we like it to be either hot or cold. If it is neither hot nor cold, something within us makes us want to vomit it out of our month. Jesus is saying here, if you are neither hot nor cold for the things of the kingdom, I will vomit you out of the kingdom.
The question is; are you passionately hot for the things of the kingdom, or are you passionately cold against the things of kingdom? If you are passionately hot for the kingdom, then there are good works that Jesus Christ has prepared before hand for you to do. If you are passionately cold against the kingdom, then repent and turn to Jesus and you shall be saved. But if you have tasted the good things of the kingdom of heaven, yet you have no passion for the things of the kingdom, then the kingdom is better off without you, and Jesus will vomit you out of His kingdom.
As Jesus continues, (He could well be talking to the majority of Christians living in the west today.)
Revelation 3:17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, I have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable and 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 sham 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.
In the west today, many second, third, fourth and fifth generation Christians, like the Laodiceans “have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” Also like the second generation Christians of Ephesus, many of us in the Church today have lost our first love, and we have lost the fire and passion our fathers once had for Jesus and the kingdom of God. Oh yes we still regularly attended church, but many of us are neither hot nor cold for the things of God.
Do you love the lost? Do you have a passion for the souls of the lost? If you do not have a love and a passion for the lost, how can you love God or have a passion for God, who created all mankind in His image?
“You say, ‘I am rich, I have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable and poor, blind, and naked.” When it comes to this world’s treasures we, like the early Christians of Laodicea, are rich but in the riches of the kingdom of heaven, the riches that really matter, we are poor; we are wretched and miserable. What is worse, we have become so spiritually blind we cannot even see that we are poor, wretched and miserable. What are the riches of the kingdom? They are love, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and grace towards all mankind, especially towards the poor and needy.
Happy, loving families are also a God-given treasure; families with a husband who loves God, loves his wife, loves his children and brings them up in the knowledge and fear of God. God hates divorce and those who deal treacherously with the wife of their youth (Malachi 2:13 - 16).
It is God’s will that we submit to one another in fear of God, that husbands love their wives, just as Christ also loves the Church, and the wife should respect their own husband, and be subject to him in everything, just as the Church is subject to Christ (Ephesians 5:21 - 33). It is also God's will that the hearts of fathers be to their children, and the hearts of children be to their fathers (Malachi 4:6).
Ephesians 6:1 Children should honour and obey their parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honour your father and mother," which is the first commandment with a promise: 3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."
4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
The story of man’s creation paraphrased.
In the beginning God created the Garden of Eden. Then God formed Adam, the first man, from the dust of the earth and then gave Adam the responsibility of guarding, keeping and tending to the garden. But Adam could not handle the task alone, and it is not good for man to be alone. Therefore God made Eve from Adam's side, to be his wife and helper.
Husbands, I want you to note that God did not give Adam a wife to be his slave. He gave her to be his helper. Think for a moment. If you are working in your garden, or building a shed, and your best friend comes around to visit you, then offers to help you work your garden, do you then demand he works twice as hard as you ever would, while you pull out your deck chair and sit back and relax? Do you then abuse your friend if he much as slows down, or does not do things quite to your liking? Then you wonder why your friend walks off and leaves you all alone.
No! No! You would never treat your best friend like that when he comes to help you. You would make sure you did the hardest work, always giving the easier tasks to your friend. You would see to it that he was well feed and watered, had the right clothes and equipment for the job. You would allow him to rest (even more than you) and instead of being critical towards your friend, you would be forever thankful and praising towards him. Husband, your wife is your best friend; she has come alongside to help you, and it is your responsibility to treat her as your best friend and helper, not as your slave.
God’s word says that even if we have everything God has to offer us, but we have not love, we have nothing (I Corinthians chapter 13). We are wretched, miserable and poor, therefore Jesus counsels us to buy gold from Him. Not the world’s gold that you cannot take with you, but gold you can lay up in heaven as an eternal reward. What are heaven’s gold, silver and precious stones? Love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and acceptance, along with wisdom, knowledge, patience and truth, these are the treasures of heaven. Yet many in the church today are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
The city of Laodicea produced some of the finest garments, but Jesus tells them to buy from Him white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed. In the ancient world to be clothed in fine clothes was to be clothed in honour, while to be stripped naked was to reveal one’s shame. (Noble men and women usually wore long flowing robes to cover their nakedness, while the lowly slaves went about their daily task all but naked.
Thus it was that Jesus Christ was stripped naked and bore our shame on the cross, so that we may be clothed in the honour and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Today most Christians that have been around church for a few years can readily understand and accept the concept that when Jesus Christ was stripped naked and nailed to the cross, He bore our shame, so that we can be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, but is there also something else that Jesus is telling us here?
There are seven churches, that represent the seven church ages, but it is only to one of these churches the church of Laodicea, which represents the church of this age, that Jesus talks about the shame of our nakedness. Could this be because Christians of every age from 33 A.D until the 1940's, never exposed their nakedness in public, but today we (many within the Church) see nothing wrong with exposing our nakedness for all to see.
Just recently a news item on T.V. reported that many women today would not play sport because of the close fitting and skimpy garments they were expected to wear. Clearly, deep within ourselves we know it is wrong to uncover our nakedness in public, but most of us have chosen to be blind to the sin that is all around us.
The city of Laodicea also produced eye salve for the anointing of eyes, but Jesus counsels them to anoint your eyes with eye salve so that they may see. The Laodiceans, like many Christians today, were blind to their wretched and miserable spiritual condition. Jesus knew that it was only the anointing of the Holy Spirit that would release these early Christians from their spiritual blindness. Likewise it is only the anointing of the Holy Spirit that will bring release form spiritual blindness in this age.
Revelation3:19 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 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.
As earthly fathers rebuke and chasten their children when they rebel, so also God our Father rebukes and chasten us when we rebel. Why? Because He loves us and like any other loving father, God does not want to see us destroy our life or our body. So He rebukes us and chastens us in the hope that we will repent and thus save ourselves from destruction. Yet today, even in many Christian homes, there is no father, and in many other Christian homes, children are not brought up to honour and obey their parents in the Lord. We are so blind to our wretched and miserable spiritual condition that we wonder why things often do not go well with our children and many do not live long in the land. Worst all, not only are many of our children dieing young; they are going straight to the pit of Hell because of their rebellion against God.
To borrow a saying by Pastor Frank Webber of South Africa;
If the man is not in place,
The wife is out of place,
The children are misplaced,
And God is replaced.
Nevertheless here is hope, for Jesus Christ is standing and knocking at the door of every man, woman and child saying, “Will you not repent and let me into your life today. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.’”
‘To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.’
In Ephesians we are told that ‘God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is name, not only in this age but also in that which is to come’ (1:20 – 21). And that when we were saved, we also were ‘raised up together, and made to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus’ (2:6 – 7).
As we enter into these last days of the church age, overcomers, for the first time since the first apostles, are not only being raised up and seated with Christ in heavenly places, we are beginning to exercise that power and authority that most of the Church wrongly believed was lost when the first apostles passed from this world to the next.
Jesus Christ said.
Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And theses signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.”
The early church moved with great power and authority, not just because they sat with Christ on His throne above all powers and authorities, but because 1: They knew they sat on the throne with Christ above all powers and authority. 2: They knew that they had been given all power and authority above all powers and authority. 3: And they were not afraid to confront the enemy and use this power and authority.
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
We have power and authority over the devil, therefore when we submit to God and resist the devil he will flee from us.
I have heard many pastors say, “we do not have power and authority over Satan; we only have power and authority over the little demons.” But God’s word says if we resist the devil he will flee from us. Why would Satan flee from us if his power and authority were greater than ours?
In Ephesians 1:20 –21 we are told that Christ was raised up and seated at the right hand of God, far above all principality and powers and might and dominion and every that is named. Then we are told in Ephesians 2:6 that we have been made to sit with Christ in heavenly places. In other words, in Christ we have been given the same power and authority over the powers of darkness that Jesus has; this is why Satan would flee from us.
In Luke chapter 10 we have the account of Jesus Christ sending the seventy out two by two. This makes interesting reading, for these were not from Jesus Christ’s close inner circle of disciples, nor were they counted among the twelve, yet Jesus also gave to them all power and authority over the enemy; the very same power and authority over the enemy that Jesus Christ had Himself. Jesus gave them authority to trample on Satan the serpent, and on his demons, who are call scorpions. Symbolically, when you defeat an enemy, subdue and bring them under the power of your authority, it is said your enemies are trampled under your feet.
Satan rules in the heavens, high above the unredeemed sinners of the world; but when they hear the gospel, believe and repent, Satan falls like lightening from heaven and is trampled under the feet of the new believer in Christ. Before we were saved, Satan ruled over our lives, but when we are born again and we are translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of heaven (Colossians 1:13), and raised up and seated with Christ in heavenly places from where we now rule over Satan and his demons.
Luke 10:17 Then the seventy returned with Joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."
18 And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."
(a) There is much scientific evidence for creation explained in books and DVD’s, available from Answers in Genesis. Their address is given in the Bibliography of this book.
(b) Love, forgiveness, kindness, grace, and mercy are the currency of the kingdom of heaven. Before we even knew God, God poured out His love, mercy and forgiveness upon us; but unless we accept God’s love, mercy and forgiveness we can not receive it. Then in order to hang on to it and receive more, we need to give it away; also if we show love and kindness towards the poor, we lay up treasure in heaven.
Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive you.
Matthew19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.”
Written by Kenneth Allan Clark and printed and published by
VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL. P.O. BOX 144 WYNNUM QLD 4178 AUSTRALIA.
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.endtimes-tribulations.com
Copyright © 2000 & 2011, all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means without the prior permission of the author Kenneth Allan Clark.
Scripture taken from the “Clarks English Translation” © Copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Hard copies of both this booklet and others can be found on our resource page