When I was a new Christian and student in primary school I would spend quite a number of my lunch breaks in the school library reading about men and women of the faith, from decades past, who impacted the world for Christ in their lifetime.
I was so inspired by these Godly men and women who faced some serious, at times life-threatening, battles and overcame them in miraculous ways by the hand of God that I would go back to class and wish that God would use me in a similar, powerful way.
These books were a great encouragement to me at the time, however they provided little in the way of teaching me about God and foundational biblical truths, so reading the bible became more of a priority especially as I matured in my faith.
There are 66 books of the bible and there are a couple that I keep in my ‘Favourites’ list and on regular rotation such as Psalms, Proverbs, Matthew, Philippians, Galatians and so on (the books of the prophets, I am ashamed to admit, rarely get a look in). There is one book, however, that I have read all the way through and just once, but it’s a book that is demanding more and more of my time, attention and meditation – the book of Revelation.
The book of Revelation is the only book in the bible that says, ‘If you read me, you’ll be blessed.’ Revelation chapter 1, verse 3 says, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
You could be forgiven for thinking that this entire article is based on why it’s so important to read the book of Revelation, because in one way it is, but it’s also based on this phrase from verse 3, “…the time is near.” The study of Revelation has been my connect group focus for some weeks now and what you’ll read here is influenced by the Word, connect group discussions and pastors such as Dr David Jeremiah and Dr Chuck Missler.
I have been a Christian for 22 years and involved in church all my life, my parents were pastors in fact, and I have heard one message on the book of Revelation in all that time.
Now, as I read Revelation and listen to pastors such as David Jeremiah explain the deeper meanings and representations that can be uncovered in this book, I begin to understand why I’ve heard so little preaching on such an important book – the message to the Church and to believers and non-believers alike is incredibly confronting and demanding. It is impossible, to those who seek after the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, not to change as a result of the revelations contained within this book.
The Laodicean Church
The most confronting message I’ve heard so far was a sermon taught from the last of the seven churches written to in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, the Lukewarm Church of Laodicea. Dr David Jeremiah comments in his teaching series ‘The Disgusting Church Part 1’ that the Laodicean Church is the church that we will see before the coming of Christ; it is the last church of the seven letters and the last church in Church history before the rapture.
The letter begins with a reminder to the Laodiceans about the character of God as can be seen in chapter 3, verse 14, “These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God…” before critiquing the failings of the church.
It is important to note that, where in the other letters God has something encouraging to say about what each respective church is doing right, here in the letter to the Laodicean Church there is no such reference. We then come to that most read and most taught-on scripture from Revelation, chapter 3, verses 15 and 16, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish that you were cold or hot.
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” To provide some context about the idea of being ‘lukewarm’ it’s interesting to note that due to where Laodicea was situated, they had to pipe their water into the city so that it was neither cold and refreshing or hot and remedial – it was not useful.
Laodicea was also a very wealthy city, thriving economically from the production and sale of wool and cloth, and this has lead biblical scholars to believe that the church of Laodicea had grown comfortable in its wealth and position, as noted in verse 17, “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing…’”.
Dr David Jeremiah characterises the Laodicean Church in this way:
1. It is compromising
2. It is conceited
3. It is Christless
Christless? It sounds like a harsh criticism doesn’t it? Revelation 3 verse 20, one of the most well-known and oft-quoted scriptures of this book applied to the individual Christian was in fact part of this same letter written to the Laodicean Church, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Christ is not in the Laodicean Church, He has been shut out and He is knocking at the door of this church wanting to be a part of the church and the congregation, but first He has to be let in.
I don’t have enough words (literally – I’ve used up all my word allocation) to fully communicate the entirety of this message from Dr David Jeremiah, but after listening to his preaching series on ‘The Disgusting Church Part 1 and 2’ (YouTube folks) I walked away monumentally confronted. It was difficult not to look at churches in the world today and see, quite plainly, a strong correlation between the Laodicean Church and popular churches of 2018.
The message for me was simple: if we (you and I) are the Church, what can we do to ensure that we are uncompromising on the message of God in every sphere of life, zealous for His truth and Kingdom? How can we make sure we are humble, trusting in the provision of God and what He can do than in the material things of this world? Finally, what can we do to make sure Christ is in our church? He has offered the invitation, we just need to open that door.
Revelation chapter 1 verse 3 ends with these words, “…for the time is near,” and the last chapter of Revelation 22 verse 20 states, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’” At both the beginning and end of this apocalyptic book we are being reminded that the return of Christ is rapidly approaching – let’s not be found compromised, conceited or Christless.
Janna Mills is a 29-year-old Christian and educator from Queensland and is excited to be marrying the second greatest love of her life in July, 2018! Her interests include reading, writing, eating, the beach, travel and connecting with young people who are trying to walk out their love and relationship with Christ in a middle school setting.
Janna Cutler (nee Mills) is a Christian and educator from Queensland who married the second greatest love of her life in last July,. Janna's interests include reading, writing, eating, the beach, travel and connecting with young people who are trying to walk out their love and relationship with Christ in a middle school setting.
Janna Cutler’s previous articles can be viewed at: