Sabbath, July 30, 2016
“The message to the Laodiceans is applicable to Seventh-day Adventists who have had great light and have not walked in the light. It is those who have made great profession, but have not kept in step with their Leader, that will be spewed out of His mouth unless they repent.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 66.
“The message to the church of the Laodiceans applies especially to the people of God today. It is a message to professing Christians who have become so much like the world that no difference can be seen.
Message to the last church
1. What earnest message is given to the church of Laodicea?
Revelation 3:14-17 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; 15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because 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 [Revelation 3:14-17] 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. The people of God are represented in the message to the Laodiceans as in a position of carnal security. They are at ease, believing themselves to be in an exalted condition of spiritual attainments. ‘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.’ “ –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 252.
2. If a person does not compare himself with his Redeemer, how will he consider himself? Would he then be conscious of his lukewarm state?
Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“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 for the Church, vol. 3, p. 252.
3. Why is there such a condition of lukewarmness in the church? Can the Lord and the world be followed simultaneously?
Hosea 10:2, first part Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty:…
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
1 John 2:15, 16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
“It is difficult for those who feel secure in their attainments, and who believe themselves to be rich in spiritual knowledge, to receive the message which declares that they are deceived and in need of every spiritual grace. The unsanctified heart is ‘deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.’ I was shown that many are flattering themselves that they are good Christians, who have not a ray of light from Jesus. They have not a living experience for themselves in the divine life.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 253.
“The danger of God’s people for a few years past has been the love of the world. Out of this have sprung the sins of selfishness and covetousness….
“The strong love of the world overcomes, or swallows up, the love of the truth. The kingdoms of the world are offered them, and they eagerly grasp their treasure and think they are wonderfully prospered. Satan triumphs because his plan has succeeded. They have given up the love of God for the love of the world.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 141, 142.
Desire and prayer for cleansing
4. What does God say He will do to those who refuse His counsel and reproofs?
Proverbs 1:23-26 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.
“Many inquire: Why are all these reproofs given? Why do the Testimonies continually charge us with backsliding and with grievous sins? We love the truth; we are prospering; we are in no need of these testimonies of warning and reproof. But let these murmurers see their hearts and compare their lives with the practical teachings of the Bible, let them humble their souls before God, let the grace of God illuminate the darkness, and the scales will fall from their eyes, and they will realize their true spiritual poverty and wretchedness….
“Very many feel impatient and jealous because they are frequently disturbed with warnings and reproofs which keep their sins before them….
“They cannot endure to be told of their neglect of duty and of their wrongs, their selfishness, their pride and love of the world.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 254, 256, 258.
5. When one is concerned about this message, what great longing will he have?
Psalm 139:23, 24; 51:2, 7 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting…. 51:2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin…. 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
“… Sin is deceptive, and tends to deaden the moral perceptions. But through self-examination, searching of the Scriptures, and humble prayer, they will, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, be enabled to see their mistake. If they then confess their sins and turn from them, the tempter will not appear to them as an angel of light, but as a deceiver, an accuser of those whom God desires to use to his glory. Those who acknowledge reproof and correction as from God, and are thus enabled to see and correct their errors, are learning precious lessons, even from their mistakes. Their apparent defeat is turned into victory. They stand trusting not to their own strength, but to the strength of God. They have earnestness, zeal, and affection, united with humility, and regulated by the precepts of God’s word. Thus they bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The Lord can teach them his will, and they shall know the doctrine, whether it be of God. They walk not stumblingly, but safely, in a path where the light of heaven shines.” –Review and Herald, December 16, 1890.
Praying for increased faith
6. What is lacking among God’s people? Like the disciples, what should be every sincere soul’s desire and constant request to God?
Luke 18:8, second part; 17:5, 6 Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?… 17:5And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. 6And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
“Faith and love are golden treasures, elements that are greatly wanting among God’s people….
“Faith in the soon coming of Christ is waning. ‘My Lord delayeth His coming’ is not only said in the heart, but expressed in words and most decidedly in works. Stupidity in this watching time is sealing the senses of God’s people as to the signs of the times… Faith has been decreasing to a fearful degree, and it is only by exercise that it can increase.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 255.
“Faith should be cultivated. If it has become weak it is like a sickly plant that should be placed in the sunshine and carefully watered and tended. The Lord would have every one who has had light and evidence cherish that light and walk in its brightness. God has blessed us with reasoning powers so that we may trace from cause to effect. If we would have light we must come to the light. We must individually lay hold on the hope set before us in the gospel…. How foolish it would be to go into a cellar, and mourn because we were in the dark. If we want light we must come up into a higher room. It is our privilege to come into the light, to come into the presence of God….” –That I May Know Him, p. 230.
7. What exhortation do the Lord and the Spirit of prophecy address to everyone while the door of grace is still open?
Joel 2:12, 13 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
“I would make my brethren alarmed if I could. I would urge upon them with pen and voice, Live in the Lord, walk with God, if you would die in the Lord, and enter by and by where the Lord abideth forever. Be not disobedient to the heavenly warnings; grasp the neglected appeals, the entreaties, the warnings, the rebukes, the threatenings of God, and let them correct your wayward, sinful heart. Let the transforming grace of Christ make you pure, true, holy, and lovely as the pure white lily which opens its blossom on the bosom of the lake. Transfer your love and affections to Him who died for you on Calvary’s cross. Train your lips to speak forth His praises, and to offer up your prayers as holy incense.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 430.
“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.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 233.
For personal study
“As a people we are triumphing in the clearness and strength of the truth. We are fully sustained in our positions by an overwhelming amount of plain Scriptural testimony. But we are very much wanting in Bible humility, patience, faith, love, self-denial, watchfulness, and the spirit of sacrifice. We need to cultivate Bible holiness. Sin prevails among the people of God. The plain message of rebuke to the Laodiceans is not received. Many cling to their doubts and their darling sins while they are in so great a deception as to talk and feel that they are in need of nothing…. Such are in the greatest need of the grace of God and spiritual discernment that they may discover their deficiency in spiritual knowledge. They lack almost every qualification necessary to perfect Christian character. They have not a practical knowledge of Bible truth, which leads to lowliness of life and a conformity of their will to the will of Christ. They are not living in obedience to all God’s requirements….
“We are living in a most solemn, important time of this earth’s history. We are amid the perils of the last days. Important and fearful events are before us. How necessary that all who do fear God and love His law should humble themselves before Him, and be afflicted and mourn, and confess the sins that have separated God from His people. That which should excite the greatest alarm, is that we do not feel or understand our condition, our low estate, and that we are satisfied to remain as we are. We should flee to the word of God and to prayer, individually seeking the Lord earnestly, that we may find Him. We should make this our first business.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 253, 254, 53.
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 252-258.