YAHSHUA TO LAODICEA AND THE CHURCH OF THE END TIME
© Carlos Padilla, October 2021
We are living in a world that no longer has great evangelists; we see many churches closing in the western world and how the persecution of Christianity grows, and not only in hostile countries against the Christian faith, but also in the western world. If we add to this the lukewarm and irrelevant of the Christian impact in the secular media, we are facing what Jesus warned of in Revelation 3:14-22 as the character of the Church of Laodicea, the spiritual lukewarm. We could affirm that the Church is facing the end time, as humanity is, but also the apostle John already warned that the time after Christ was the end time (1 John 2:18-23) but the calling to give testimony of the faith in Jesus Christ – Yahshua as saviour keeps growing and fulfilling the Great Commission. But let us see what is the character and the spirit that Revelation describes as of Laodicea, and how each of us can impact with his life and testimony to those who surround us, despite the fact that now there are no great evangelistic movements.
BUT, WHAT IS THE SPIRIT OF LAODICEA?
Laodicea is the last of the 7 churches to which Jesus sends a specific message through the apostle John in Revelation 2 and 3. The fact that this passage of Scripture tells us of 7 real churches that existed in the times of John, which also express the particular character of the believers of those cities and time, it contains a series of messages and promises that along the history of the Church are similar, and for some are the true history of the Church, including its different denominations, from Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, etc., between the two comings of Christ. This why, if we look to Laodicea we find the character of a rich Church, which points to two things: today knowledge is the greatest that has ever existed, and in resources, for the Church has never had so many. However, this Church, as well as Laodicea, trusts in that richness, and is therefore blind and lukewarm. The Church must pray and testify now more than ever with the fire of the Spirit, to avoid something very similar than we see as the ghetto Church; a type of church that only looks at itself, to the inside. But the essence of the Church, and this is in the majority, is to do mission towards the outside, through evangelism and good deeds in its community. On the other hand, the emperor Domitian, who named this city of the present Turkey, honouring his wife Laodice, imposed the cult to his person as a divinity and persecuted the Church. Today the secularist world also imposes certain practices and persecutes the Church, trying to stop the freedom of conscience, of belief and of faith expression. You can read more on the 7 Churches of Revelation at https://www.yahshua.net/SevenChurches.htm
THE GOSPEL AND EVANGELISM
Though we can and must continue to preach with our example of good deeds and the help to the neighbour, the Gospel is essential so that those who are called receive the salvation by faith in the work of Yahshua, Jesus Christ. Surely the work of evangelism is crucial, but it is even more the testimony person by person, the live example of each Christian, and to be there with the character of Jesus to be a friend of the neighbour. Jesus tells us that if we love Him we out to keep His Commandments (John 14:15) and the greatest of all His Commandments after loving the God is the New Commandment: that we love one another, like He loves us (John chaps. 10 and 13:31-35).
Jesus, in Revelation tells Apostle John about his aversion to Christian lukewarmness, to such a point that expresses that He will vomit the lukewarm from His mouth. But, the reward for those living in what we could call, end times of the Church in comparison to the character of Laodicea, is nothing less than sitting with Jesus in His throne. If you never read this in the Bible or do not believe it, read Revelation 3:21.
Therefore, although we will do the good works in which the Lords puts us and provides resources, the final target is that the neighbour knows Yahshua and are saved from spending eternity in hell. And this is possible through the testimony of the Gospel: without the Cross of Christ there is no salvation, and this is the work that we must accept as the payment for all our sins, not our merits. This work has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ, but our neighbour needs to know it, understand it and receive it to be born again, and this is what the Holy Spirit does, to convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:4-15). This is what Yahshua was saying to Nicodemus in John 3:3-5 in one of the deepest conversations anyone has had with the Master, and Nicodemus was a recognized elder of Israel, a principal amongst the Jews, to whom He said: “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”. And this precisely is the Good News for every human being that death has been defeated, everyone will be raised, and all those who believe in the work of Christ can enter the Kingdom of God for ever. We can share with all the key verse of the entire Bible which resumes the Gospel: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Evangelism faces, not only the spirit of Laodicea, but also a secularist world that has permeated the Church with laic and the postmodern influence, even more, transmodernist influence, as I have been writing in previous works that can be read at:
But our hope must be the same of the first Christians, from the apostles until today, because the Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever, the message of the Gospel has the same power in those that God has chosen, and therefore it is our duty to continue to evangelize the world. Although we do not have great evangelist at world level, today we do have one another to fulfil the so called Great Commission of Yahshua to the Church, who said: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven as on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all the things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). Ours is the task today, of the Church and of each and every Christian. John 3:16 is a good way to present the Gospel in between any conversation, after asking: Do you know Jesus?
BRIDGES OF PEACE
At the beginning I was talking of the great evangelists that we had until not long ago, one of them, the last and most recognized in the entire world, Billy Graham was a master in the construction of bridges, and I don’t refer to civil infrastructures, but to the spiritual ones, to opening ways of peace for the Gospel. In his book “The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham”, in chapter five, there is a sub chapter dedicated to “Building Bridges”, that he started with a sentence from Martin Luther King Jr., which says that a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus, but a molder of consensus.
Spiritual bridges for Christ imply looking for common points with those who think different. To build bridges with other Protestants was not easy, but where he stood out was when building them with Catholics, not for accepting the doctrinal differences, which are many and important, but for uniting in the common faith, which is also much and important, in base to the Bible. A leader must admit and recognize his limitations, know how to find common ground, know how to refocus the differences, to create camaraderie and unite people.
He closes the chapter with Isaiah 1:17-18: “…Lear to do good; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together says the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow”.
But I do not want to close the chapter of peace without mentioning Ken Sande, author of the book “Peacemakers” not only about internal conflicts, but about the peace with the neighbour if we live in peace with God. His focus is that conflict, as well as being inevitable, as the Lord Yahshua would say (John 16:33), provides us with opportunities for peace.
Every day we can talk about Jesus and can do good. At the end of each day we can ask ourselves: To whom have I spoken about Jesus to today? Whom have I helped today? And can pray for those people. We all have the call of Jesus Christ – Yahshua since 2.000 year ago, was what the mother of another great evangelist in the Spanish speaking world, Luis Palau would say, who as well as Billy Graham already departed with the Lord. These were the last great evangelist of worldwide influence. Today the entire Church can continue to evangelize. If you have not spoken about Jesus or done good to anyone today, use it as an opportunity to pray to do it tomorrow.
Jesus tells the believers in Laodicea, and to us today, that He stands at the door and knocks. This is to the door of our heart and mind, and if we open He will dine with us, with each and every one of us. There has been much discussion if Laodicea is only the Church in times of John, or if it also represents the end time and character of the Church in history. In both times there are many antichrists, those who deny that Jesus is the Christ, as they are increasing now. Whether we agree or not, what we can do is to look at ourselves in the mirror of that behaviour and not fall in it, so we can serve our Lord better, as well as the Church and those who are going to believe. To defeat that spirit in us, the resources are those of always and the most powerful: prayer, fasting, to spend time with God and with the Bible, to share with the brethren, until the return of Jesus Christ – Yahshua.
Therefore we have seen that the spirit of Laodicea is the lukewarmness and the false richness in which we sometimes believe, whether knowledge, denominational belonging, financial resources, or any other, which sends us far for the needed and essential dependence on Christ, on everything, because the Christian cannot believe himself to be rich, nor to be lukewarm, but must open the door of the control of his life to Christ, who knocks on it.
I close this journey making emphasis in the purpose of our Christian life, which is the glory of God, because amongst our call is to make disciples, which begins with the Gospel, with good deeds and followed by the Good News. That way of life gives us peace and departs us from considering ourselves rich or of being lukewarm, far from the spirit of Laodicea, because the Lord says in Revelation 3:21: “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”. Amen.