The Letter To Laodicea Is A Warning To The TRUE Church
by Sandy Simpson, 4/30/07
Rev. 3:14-22 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 spue 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: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.Much has been made of this passage, using it to point out what is happening today in the apostate churches around the world. It is true that they believe they are rich in spiritual things when they are very poor. It can be applied in one sense to the Word of Faith movement. It is true that the "River" movement of Latter Rain teachings do think they are hot when actually they are cold.
But this letter to the end times church of Laodicea is actually talking to biblical Christians who are born again. The apostate movements of the Latter Rain, Third Wave, Toronto "Blessing", Vineyard, Brownsville "Outpouring", Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation, World Gathering on Indigenous People, Manifest Sons of God, Seeker Friendly, Church Growth, Emerging Church and many others have already had their lampstands removed (Rev. 2:5) because of their apostasy and have already been spit out of the Lord's mouth (Rev. 3:16). We can know this because of what the Bible says about those who teach false doctrines (1 Tim. 6:3-5, 2 Tim. 4:3) and make false prophecies (1 John 4:1). These false churches, false movements and false brethren (Gal. 2:4) are already under the judgment of the warnings of the seven letters, as all but two of the original first century churches are today (only the two who Jesus did not warn still survive today). Therefore the letters to the churches apply to those churches who have not had their lampstands removed and been spit out of the mouth of God because of heresy and false prophesy. So the warning to the true biblical churches today remains. Why is this warning significant to us?
It is significant because, by in large, it is the true Church today that has allowed the movements mentioned above to infiltrate and take over the agenda for what is called "Christianity" today. Many in the Church have allowed heretics and false prophets to fill the airwaves with their apostasy and bring the truth into disrepute. Most have not drawn a clear line in the sand among believers and non-believers so that they would be able to understand that the leadership of those movements do NOT represent true biblical Christianity. Many have not contended for the Faith in order to preserve the truth. A large part of the true Church is lukewarm, just as Laodicea (in what is now Turkey) was addressed by John as part of the true Church. It has sat back and allowed heresy to take a front seat in the representing Christ and His Church while thinking that we are rich and "have need of nothing". It has parked itself in expensive pews and sanctuaries and not responded to the all out attack on the core doctrines of the Faith and lying in the name of God that is taking place in thousands of churches and movements worldwide. When does the Bible say that those who use the name of the Lord yet teach heresy and make false prophecies without repentance are our brothers in the Lord?
Ga 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:Yet much of the true Church, by remaining silent, has not rejected the heresy of the movements above, but instead has allowed the influence of these false brethren into our churches. Many use their methods and materials. They read their books and sing their songs. Most pray with them using their agendas on the National Day of Prayer. Many watch them on TV saying they can eat the meat and spit out the bones, while actually being brought into bondage by their diaprax brainwashing. How is it that the true churches that remain believe they will be spared judgment for, in effect, being ashamed (Mark 8:38) to stand up for the name of Christ today? The fact is that many true churches and true believers have been taught not to judge by the very people who need to be judged!
Ro 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Tit 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Many true biblical churches and individual Christians today think they are fine because they say they are saved when, in fact, they are disobeying the commands of the Lord, thus proving they do not really love Him (John 14:24, John 15:10). They are actually "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked". What needs to happen is for true believers today to buy gold refined in the fire of standing for the truth (Eph. 6:14) and being persecuted for it (2 Tim. 3:12). This is EXACTLY what many discernment and apologetics ministries have done and have had to stand ridicule from both the apostate churches and from true believers. Those who are born again and wear the white clothes need to stop dirtying them by consorting with apostates. We can pray for them and try to pull them from the fire (Jude 1:23) when the Lord opens the door, but we must mark and avoid them (Rom. 16:17) until they come to the Faith or return to it. Otherwise how can the world know what true Christianity is all about? The true Church and true Christians need to ask for wisdom from God to open their blind eyes they have turned on what is happening to the cause of Christ before the world today. True believers need to REPENT of this dalliance with the world, the flesh, and those who serve the enemy (1 John 3:8) instead of the Gospel! We all have a lot to overcome and so we must, by faith (1 John 5:4), be overcomers.
I know this warning will seem like I am now taking potshots at everyone, including the true Church. But is not my intent nor has it been all along. I take this warning seriously myself, which is why my neck is on the line in front of the world and the churches on a daily basis. I need to be sure I tell it like it is. False teachers and false prophets who are spreading lies and denying core doctrines of the Faith are NOT my brothers in the Lord until they repent and turn to Jesus Christ. True believers are NOT to associate with heretics! We are to reject them (Tit. 3:10). Have these individuals and movements that are heretical been admonished? They HAVE! ... many, many times in many different ways. The matter of public false teaching and false prophecy is not a matter that is properly addressed in private. Those who are doing these things need to repent of them publicly, just as their teachings and works need to be refuted publicly.
2 Co 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV)
1Ti 5:20 Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.