Friday, October 30, 2009

Falling Away Into Laodicea


It happened a few years ago. There was this nagging thought that just would not go away! Day and night it would ask--are we the modern day Pharisees? I prayed and I searched to see why this thought was so persistent and in the process I learned a few things. This led to another question. It asked-- are we living in Laodicea? This is what my post is about today. In fact, I would love to do a post on each of the end time churches according to Revelations...however, one step at a time.

First I want to clarify the word apostasy. It has two different meanings: “a defection from the truth,” or “a departing.”

Over the years, Christianity has had many departures from sound doctrine. However, the apostle Paul speaks about an apostasy which will be the climax of all prior apostasy's, and will be worldwide in scope. This apostasy is also referred to in scripture as the “Great Falling Away.”

Second, the meaning of the word Laodicea is “people ruling,” or “judgment of the people.”
This implies that instead of God ruling, the people are ruling...plain and simple. They are doing what they believe (or judge) to be best without necessarily much regard for God’s ways or standards.

Have you noticed that when God says something, it is true in many ways? You can read a scripture and get a direct meaning, only to learn that there’s so much more there that you didn’t realize at first. I love that about the Word of God. It’s truly a living, vibrant Word. This is true about Revelations 3:14-19 (which I will just touch much meat here) which is listed at the end of this post. To show you what I mean, we have to look at historic Laodicea.

Historic Laodicea

Laodicea was a prosperous commercial center and a large financial center. They were known for their textiles and a world renowned school of medicine which had developed ear and eye ointments. Writers of the ancient world speak openly of their envy of Laodicean wealth. Record after record confirms their status in the ancient world.

(As a point of interest, the physicians of the school of medicine worshipped Asklepios, the god of healing. Apparently this idol had the form of a serpent on a pole, a symbol still used in the medical profession today.)

Laodicea's one weakness was their water supply, which had to be piped in. Cold water came from Colossae, but by the time it traveled the ten miles from the springs, it was lukewarm. About six miles away in Hierapolis were hot springs, but that water was lukewarm when it reached Laodicea as well.
Cold water stimulates and refreshes. Hot water is useful for health (teas, herbs, broths, etc.) and as a solvent which cleans just about anything. Lukewarm water is really good for nothing. It makes one vomit. Metaphorically what does this say about lukewarm Christians?

Here are some synonyms for the word “Lukewarm.”

Lacking enthusiasm or conviction; tepid; mild; half-hearted; hesitant ; subdued; uncommitted; unresponsive; indifferent; languid; phlegmatic; apathetic; nonchalant, and the list continues.
The Laodiceans, though they had the ability and the resources, were complacent, self-satisfied, and indifferent to the real issues of life. Their faith had become stale and their creature comforts were of higher importance than doing the work of the Lord. Sound familiar at all? Now to answer the question that has been going around in my mind. Are we falling away into Laodicea?

Modern Day Laodicea

Laodicea does not exist on the map today. God removed the lampstand from this city. However, is the Laodicean spirit really dead, or is it still prevalent in society today? Check out 2 Timothy 3:1-5...I know, it’s overwhelming! Does this sound like modern day society? Sadly, I believe this may be so. I especially see verse 5 happening in a lot of Christendom today. Unfortunately, so do the unchurched and the unbelieving. 

Certainly in the western world, we are richer than most of the rest of the world. Are we so rich, that we are poor? When you look at 2 you know any people like that? Is it us? I could go on and on, but before I paint too drab a picture here, remember that though we may be surrounded by the darkness, the light shines through the darkness. We are the lights that the darkness cannot comprehend. We will shine through, even in Laodicea!

The Scriptures

Revelations3:14-19 AMP
And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God’s creation: I know your (record of) works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be (truly) wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I (dearly and tenderly) love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten (I discipline and instruct them). So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent (changing your mind and attitude).

2 Timothy 3:1-5 AMP
But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble (hard to deal with and hard to bear). For people will be lovers of self and (utterly) self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate (greedy) desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. They will be without natural (human) affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. They will be treacherous (betrayers), rash and inflated with self-conceit. They will be lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. For although they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it (their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession). Avoid all such people (turn away from them).
Related works:

Seven Churches of Revelation:

Until Next Time,

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Stroll Through Ecclesiastes


I’ve been mulling around in Ecclesiastes lately. You know, I’ve heard people say that they don’t bother to read this book because Solomon was depressed when he wrote it. My findings are that this book is incredible!! I really love this book! To me it represents the very things we learn as we grow a little older and wiser in this very secular world. Solomon just laid it all out for us a few years ago...well...quite a few years ago.

So I thought it would be fun to look at a few verses that always seem to speak to me. There's plenty more...but here's some of them:

-Do not give heed to everything that is said, lest you hear your servant cursing you—For often your own heart knows that you have likewise cursed others. 7:21,22

Whenever someone says something about us, we become depressed, angry, outraged or indifferent (depending on who it is). It doesn’t even matter if it’s true. However, here it's put into perspective. I think it’s the splinter/beam issue. It’s so much easier to find fault with others, than with ourselves and yet we too are often guilty of the very same thing. Any argument on that? Not from me!

-Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, the hearts of the sons of men are fully set to do evil. 8:11

I was surprised to find this little gem when I first came across it. So true!! Isn’t this the world we live in today? Isn’t this what our system is all about? In fact, right seems to be wrong, and wrong seems to be right. It’s not even about what’s true anymore, it’s who can get the most expensive lawyer. Again, no argument from me on this verse!

I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise, nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding, nor favour to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all. 9:11

Actually, I love this verse. Once again, nit’s not about US! God blessed you! God chose you! God gave to you! God allowed it to happen! You can be fastest, strongest, wisest, most intelligent, understanding and skillful, but time and chance happens to ALL. It kind of brings me hope because there's still time for God to work on me!

-He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds, yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 3:11

I know you recognize this verse. I love this one because it answers why people still look at evolution as something viable. It takes faith to believe anything about origins, since none of us were there. It explains why life on this planet is short no matter how old we are when we die. It confirms to me that there is life after death.

-All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man and the whole for every man. 12:13

This is a life verse for me. When I find myself complicating things, I always remember this verse. That word “whole” means it is good for us, it makes us whole. Maybe it’s oversimplified for some, but it works for me!

Okay, I'm done my stroll and going home to enjoy a coffee now. Wanna join me?

PS: All verses taken from the Amplified Bible.

Until next time,