Part 011 – Laodicea


A Study

Part 011

To the church in Laodicea …To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (Rev.3:21)

This message to the Church in Laodicea (Rev.3:14-22) as well as the six preceding messages are addressed to saved individuals only. The unsaved are not in view at all. All seven messages are to believers, to those “in Christ”; and all have to do with works, resulting in the saved individuals overcoming or being overcome. When sin manifests itself in the life of an individual claiming to be a Christian, one of the most common ways which other Christians often deal with the matter is to begin questioning the person’s salvation. This type thinking though is completely contrary to any Scriptural teaching on salvation by grace through faith. A person can no more show by his works (any type actions on his part) that he has been saved than he can perform works to be saved in the first place. Works cannot enter after any fashion, either preceding or following the time one is saved.

  • A person cannot perform works to be saved.
  • A person cannot perform works to stay saved.
  • And a person cannot perform works to show that he has been saved.

Salvation is by grace through faith apart from works, and it must forever so remain.

The spiritual condition of the lukewarm believers in this church is described as wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. But they are ignorant and unconscious of their own pathetic condition and they say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” We are called into existence with the things of the coming kingdom in view; we should not focus our attention on the temporal things of this world, but on things that belong to the coming kingdom (Col.3:1, 2; 2Cor.4:17, 18); but they, instead, prostituted their high calling through their intimate association with the things of this present age, the present world system under Satan. Now there are these two types of believers: on the one hand, those that are spiritual, who hear Him and obey Him in all matters in all simplicity and sincerity and on the other hand those that are carnal, who seek popularity, pleasures and possessions of this world (1Cor.3:1; Matt.7:21-23). The majority of the present day believers are of the latter category, deceiving and being deceived, become spiritually lukewarm but “rich” in the things of this world, and Christ is about to spew (vomit) them out of His mouth (stomach) (Rev.3:15-17). And they will be found naked and shameful in front of the Judgment Seat of Christ (v.18) and will be rejected for positions with Christ on His throne. Being vomited out of the stomach and being rejected for positions on the throne has no reference to eternal verities, for such are not in view. The message is to those who already possess eternal life, and it is life for the coming glorious age alone which is in view.

Despite the attitude of such Christians as set forth in the message to the Church in Laodicea, Christ still extends an invitation for them to “repent.” They have forsaken Him, but He has not forsaken them. Christ still holds out before them proffered crowns, necessary for positions on the throne with Him in that coming day. It is not too late for them to buy “gold tried in the fire” that they might be rich, (James 2:5; 1Pet.1:6-9), clothe themselves in “white raiment” that the shame of their nakedness might not be manifested (Matt.22:11; Rev.19:7, 8), and anoint their “eyes with eye-salve” that they might see (Eph.1:17-19; 2Cor.4:17, 18). Christ stands at the door of the lukewarm Church of today and knocks; and the invitation to the individual Christian within the Church — whether in the Laodicean Church then, or the Laodicean Church of today — is the same: “…if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him [not come into that individual, but come inside the Church to that individual], and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev.3:18-20).

We are drawing close to the end of the dispensation of the Church, and as represented by the messages to the churches in Philadelphia and Laodicea, the church is found in a dual fashion today: (1) There are the few overcomers that are truly Philadelphian, eagerly looking forward to the return of the Lord and preparing themselves for the coming glorious kingdom, as well as (2) there are the many non-overcomers that are Laodicean, with no concern for the return of the Lord, and fully involved in the things of this world. “…he who is righteous, let him be righteous still, he who is holy, let him be holy still” (Rev.22:11).

“To him who evercomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne…” The promise that the overcomer will one day be allowed to sit with Christ on His throne comprises the pinnacle toward which all of the overcomer’s promises move. All of these seven promises are millennial in their scope of fulfillment, and all have to do with Christians occupying future positions as co-heirs with Christ. All point to and find their fulfillment in Christians exalted, with Christ, to the purpose for which they were redeemed, which is same as the original purpose for which they were called into existence.

And during the Messianic Era, there will be a dual kingdom; Christ will rule over the whole earth from His Own throne in New Jerusalem, which will be a city in the heavens above the earth, probably visible from the earth. The overcomers in the churches will be occupying positions as co-heirs on the throne with Him (Rev.2:26, 27; 3:21; Rom. 8:14-21). The non-overcomers, who will have no part in the glory and power of His kingdom, will be cast on the outer side of the kingdom (Matt.8:11, 12; 22:12-14; 25:30). And Christ will also rule from David’s throne in the earthly Jerusalem, in the midst of the repented, re-gathered and restored people of Israel (Luke 1:31-33). Within this complete structure of the kingdom (heavenly and earthly spheres), the seed of Abraham (the stars of the heaven and the sand on the sea shore) will “possess the gate” of the enemy, and the Gentile nations of the earth will “be blessed” (Gen.12:1-3; 22:16-18).

“…as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” The Lord Jesus Christ has left an example for us to follow (1Pet.21-24). All Scriptures and also the life of Christ clearly teach us that we ought to suffer and then enter into glory (Luke 24:25-27; 1Pet.1:11; Rom.8:17, 18; 2Tim.2:12). “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1Pet.4:12, 13).

“He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Christendom, near the conclusion of this dispensation, will be marked by one main feature: APOSTASY. The people of God though have not been left alone and helpless but we are in possession of God’s Word and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Knowledge of this Word, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, is the one great protection, the only protection, which Christians possess against the widely prevalent false doctrines (Isa. 8:20; Acts 20:32; John 16:13-15; 17:14). This invitation, contextually, is with a view to overcoming; and overcoming is, in turn, with a view to ultimately occupying a position with Christ on His throne.