Reformation for Laodicea
In last month’s newsletter article we focused on Martin Luther’s 95 theses in which he challenged the church of his day to reform. This month we are focusing on the church of Laodicea and its need to reform.
Laodicea’s problem is described in Revelation 3:15-19 NLT: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me – gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.”
How do the symptoms of Laodicea match those of the medieval church of Luther’s day? Were they lukewarm? Yes! Were they rich, and in need of nothing? Yes! Did they need their faith to be refined and focused on Jesus as their only source of righteousness? Yes! Did they need the white raiment of cleansing from sin by Jesus blood on the cross? Yes! Did they need the eye ointment so that they could see their true condition of sinfulness and repent? Yes!
How would you answer these same questions if applied to your church, the remnant church, here at the end of this world’s history? If you’re honest, it will also be with a resounding YES! We are no different from the medieval church. Wow; that is sobering! You may say, but we have the truth, right? Yes, we do have the theory of truth, but do we have an experiential knowledge of the Truth, as it is in a relationship with Jesus? That makes it so much more personal. We can’t hide from that. It’s so easy for people to see if we don’t practice what we preach. Then Ghandi’s words come to mind, ““I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
In the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25, we see a portrayal of the remnant church at the end of time (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 406). As virgins they have the pure truth. The lamps indicate that they all have the Word, and the oil represents the Holy Spirit. They all have a measure of lukewarmness, because they all fall asleep. The key of the parable is to have sufficient oil of the Holy Spirit. What does that mean?
As a lamp is useless without oil, so having the Word and the truth without the Holy Spirit is also useless. It’s like bragging about my Porsche or Maserati, until my friends ask me to take them for a spin, only to realize it’s out of gas. Ellen White comments, “Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His Word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 408).
The true reformation that is needed by the Remnant Church is to reform from having the truth, to living the Truth, and from knowing the truth, to experiencing the Truth! Welcome to the Reformation of the 21st Century.