In the book of Revelation there are seven letters to seven separate churches, all dictated to John the Apostle by Jesus Himself. In these letters Jesus summarizes the spiritual condition of each church, and states in very clear terms the remedy for flaws He observes. He also commends the good He sees, and encourages accordingly. He is very stern in His rebuke of the flaws that He sees.
Taken in sequence as listed in the book of Revelation, each church seems to indicate and predict conditions down through future history of the church universal down through successive eras, all the way down to what the Bible describes as the "last days". Jesus was dictating to John history in advance. Each church era has its good and not so good points which Jesus describes . When we come the last two - Philadelphia, and then Laodecia - the contrast is stunning compared to the previous five. Philadelphia is complimented and praised for its work and condition. But the last church,
Laodecia is described as diametrically apposite in many ways. We may certainly wonder at the contrast and dramatic shift in the spiritual state of the church in the end times. Why the dramatic change from the Philadelphian condition compared to the last, Laodecia? Laodecia seems to have become a polar opposite compared with Philadelphia.
What could cause such a dramatic decline? How could the Laodecian church have become as Jesus described?
Certainly Satan was involved. But nothing happens to believing Christians that cannot be avoided. Perhaps they imagined that they were simply enduring. Instead, they had become stunted in their growth. In what seemed to be automatic spiritual progress, they were only coasting. They had become "comfortable". It happened so slowly, almost no one realized that the heat of the fire under them was rising - much like the proverbial frog in a pan of slowly heating water. He was finally cooked but hardly noticed. They were content with the statue quo. They could not discern consequences, and the law of cause and effect. They were perhaps, in their eyes, fulfilling the command to be content "with such things as you have".
A simple twist of the application of a command could have caused the very severe rebuke from Jesus. Some undoubtedly believed their wealth and privilege was their reward from God for doing everything right, working hard, and paying their tithe. Someone has said that the problem with many churches is that there are too many there who are not Christians, at being at the place for the converted, not the unconverted. With all this, their flaws, failures, sins, carelessness, Jesus told them that He loved them - and encouraged them to change.
There is a principle called entropy that God created in all things, which in very simple definition, is the tendency for all matter to disintegrate if it remains static, or still. This law seems to be universal, and includes all living things as well as the universe. Perhaps one could describe the condition of the Laodecians as being spiritual entropy. By being "lukewarm", in a static state, not moving spiritually at all, they were actually going backward. This is the law of entropy. Such a condition begins first with an attitude of self satisfaction, content with the status quo spiritually. The last words we have that were written by the Apostle Peter warns us, and urges all Christians, to avoid spiritual entropy (2 Peter 3:18).
But Jesus encourages Laodecia to carry out the corrections and admonitions, then assures it that He loves it. He works toward the remedy by describing their spiritual condition very plainly first. At other times when dealing with the church, He only compliments their efforts, but tells them they can do better. To some, He simply says - endure!
All these methods of dealing with His church applies to you and me individually. His church consists of you and me. Are you responsive of His messages to you? Which one of the messages to His church is speaking to you today? Does the description by Jesus of Laodecia seem familiar? It is the last letter sent as recorded in the Book of Revelation. It was literal of that time, and also prophetic of a time to come. Laodecia is a type of a condition that will exist sometime during the last days, but its problems can develop in any church and in any person's life. There are indications from history that the Laodecians did not respond adequately to Jesus' admonitions. Not long after, it apparently ceased to exist, and became a total devastation - physically and spiritually.
In a time to come, there will arise a religious leader called by the Bible as "the man of sin" and "Anti-Christ, who will sway lukewarm Christians away by false miracles, and other persuasive methods, to follow him. Many in the Laodecia of Revelation three were not Christians, but only tares sown among the wheat, along with the weak and half-hearted lukewarm. They will be susceptible to the influence of an easier way of life.
Watch and pray that day does not overtake you...
"The coming [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels—[all of them] lying wonders—And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false, In order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness." - 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (AMP)
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