March 20 – 26, 2022
Laodicea – Judgment of the People (A.D. 1844–the End)
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:19
Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 593–602; The Great Controversy, 662–678
“The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to all who have had great light and many opportunities, and yet have not appreciated them.” The Faith I Live By, 306
1 JESUS SPEAKS TO THE CHURCH
1.a. How does Jesus address the angel of the Laodicean church? Revelation 3:14
Note: “Some will not receive the testimony that God has given us to bear, flattering themselves that we may be deceived and that they may be right. They think that the people of God are not in need of plain dealing and of reproof, but that God is with them. These tempted ones, whose souls have ever been at war with the faithful reproving of sin, would cry: Speak unto us smooth things. What disposition will these make of the message of the True Witness to the Laodiceans? There can be no deception here. This message must be borne to a lukewarm church by God’s servants.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 259
1.b. What startling message does Jesus give about the condition of the angel of the church? Why is this condition unacceptable? Revelation 3:15, 16
Note: “Halfhearted Christians are worse than infidels; for their deceptive words and noncommittal position lead many astray. The infidel shows his colors. The lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling nor a good Christian. Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 963
2 DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED
2.a. What do the angel and the people of the Laodicean church think of and state about their own condition, and what is Christ’s answer? Revelation 3:17
Note: “ ‘And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and True Witness, 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 spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable and poor, and blind, and naked.’
“The Lord here shows us that the message to be borne to His people by ministers whom He has called to warn the people is not a peace-and-safety message. It is not merely theoretical, but practical in every particular. …
“What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 252, 253
2.b. What is it about the condition of “thou knowest not” that is the most dangerous? John 9:40, 41
Note: “The Pharisees were spiritually blind, and were leaders of the blind. The physical blindness that Jesus had healed in the man born blind, was not as dangerous as the moral blindness of those who had evidence piled upon evidence in regard to the divine character of the world’s Redeemer, and yet who closed the eyes of their understanding, and refused to see, because they were too self-exalted to be instructed by Christ. They claimed to be learned in the Scriptures, to have spiritual eyesight, yet they made the plainest specifications concerning Christ a different matter from that which the records testified. ‘The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.’ The light of the world was shining amid the moral darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.” The Signs of the Times, November 6, 1893
3 A GENEROUS OFFER
3.a. Before a complete rejection takes place, what wonderful goods does Jesus offer to Laodicea? Revelation 3:18
Note: “As I have of late looked around to find the humble followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, my mind has been much exercised. Many who profess to be looking for the speedy coming of Christ are becoming conformed to this world and seek more earnestly the applause of those around them than the approbation of God. They are cold and formal, like the nominal churches from which they but a short time since separated. The words addressed to the Laodicean church describe their present condition perfectly. They are ‘neither cold nor hot,’ but ‘lukewarm.’ And unless they heed the counsel of the ‘faithful and True Witness,’ and zealously repent and obtain ‘gold tried in the fire,’ ‘white raiment,’ and ‘eyesalve,’ He will spew them out of His mouth.” Early Writings, 107, 108
“The deadly lethargy of the world is paralyzing your senses. Sin no longer appears repulsive because you are blinded by Satan. The judgments of God are soon to be poured out upon the earth. ‘Escape for thy life’ is the warning from the angels of God. Other voices are heard saying: ‘Do not become excited; there is no cause for special alarm.’ Those who are at ease in Zion cry ‘Peace and safety,’ while heaven declares that swift destruction is about to come upon the transgressor.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 233
3.b. What heavenly virtues are represented by the “gold,” the “white raiment,” and the “eyesalve”? 1 Peter 1:7; Revelation 19:8; Revelation 3:5; 19:8
Note: “Again and again has the voice from heaven addressed you. Will you obey this voice? Will you heed the counsel of the True Witness to seek the gold tried in the fire, the white raiment, and the eyesalve? The gold is faith and love, the white raiment is the righteousness of Christ, the eyesalve is that spiritual discernment which will enable you to see the wiles of Satan and shun them, to detect sin and abhor it, to see truth and obey it.
“The deadly lethargy of the world is paralyzing your senses. Sin no longer appears repulsive because you are blinded by Satan.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 233
4 BE ZEALOUS AND REPENT
4.a. Since the destiny of the church hangs on the acceptance of the counsel of the True Witness, what strong appeal does Jesus make to the angel? Revelation 3:19
Note: “I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified.” Early Writings, 270
“The displeasure and judgments of God are against those who persist in walking in their own ways, loving self, loving the praise of men. They will certainly be swept into the satanic delusions of these last days, because they received not the love of the truth. Because the Lord has, in former days, blessed and honored them, they flatter themselves that they are chosen and true, and do not need warning and instruction and reproof. The True Witness says, ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.’ The professed people of God have the charge against them, ‘Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.’ ” The Review and Herald, December 23, 1890
4.b. What is the proof of true and genuine repentance? Ezekiel 33:14–16; Luke 19:8, 9
Note: “There is no evidence of genuine repentance unless it works reformation. If he restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, confess his sins, and love God and his fellow men, the sinner may be sure that he has found peace with God. Such were the effects that in former years followed seasons of religious awakening.” The Great Controversy, 462, 463
“There are many who fail to understand the true nature of repentance. Multitudes sorrow that they have sinned and even make an outward reformation because they fear that their wrongdoing will bring suffering upon themselves. … Balaam, terrified by the angel standing in his pathway with drawn sword, acknowledged his guilt lest he should lose his life; but there was no genuine repentance for sin, no conversion of purpose, no abhorrence of evil.” Steps to Christ, 23
5 STANDING AT THE DOOR AND KNOCKING
5.a. Since there was no evidence of repentance of the angel, to whom is Jesus now addressing His words? Revelation 3:20. How does Christ knock at the door?
Note: “Christ waits at the door of the heart, saying, Open to Me; but He will not force Himself upon any one. Are we listening for His voice? Is our pride humbled and subdued by His divine compassion and pitying love? Open the door of the heart; for Christ is waiting to enter.” The Signs of the Times, February 3, 1898
“Says the True Witness, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock.’ Every warning, reproof, and entreaty in the word of God, or through His delegated messengers, is a knock at the door of the heart; it is the voice of Jesus, asking for entrance. With every knock unheeded, your determination to open becomes weaker and weaker. If the voice of Jesus is not heeded at once, it becomes confused in the mind with a multitude of other voices, the world’s care and business engross the attention, and conviction dies away. The heart becomes less impressible, and lapses into a perilous unconsciousness of the shortness of time, and of the great eternity beyond.” The Review and Herald, November 2, 1886
5.b. What special blessing is pronounced upon the overcomer in the period of Laodicea? Revelation 3:21, 22
Note: “ ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.’ We can overcome. Yes; fully, entirely. Jesus died to make a way of escape for us, that we might overcome every evil temper, every sin, every temptation, and sit down at last with Him.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 144
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
1 What work does the lukewarm Christian do?
2 What is the true state of Laodicea?
3 How can we obtain the gold, white raiment, and eyesalve?
4 How only can the true believer overcome?
5 What is granted to the Laodicean overcomer?
Copyright 2000, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.