The Lord Jesus as the High Priest is right now walking among all the local churches in order to know their situation, and He is speaking a word to the messengers of the churches so that He may produce the overcomers.
Through His speaking, the Lord is trimming the charred wicks of the lamps and He is adding the supply of the Spirit as the oil to cause the lamps to shine bright. Through His speaking, the Lord trims away religion (Rev. 2:9), worldliness (Rev. 2:12-17), and any leaven of the evil in the apostate church (Rev. 2:18-29).
The last of the seven churches is Laodicea, which is right after Philadelphia, and this church was lukewarm and spiritually proud (see Rev. 3:14-22). There is a great danger for every loving seeker of Christ to be proud of his history with the Lord and to become lukewarm toward Him. The Lord prefers if we would be cold or hot, but if we are lukewarm, He will spit us out of His mouth!
When we read the epistle to the church in Philadelphia we would like to remain there and hasten the Lord’s return….but the ones in the church of the brotherly love, those who hold on to the Lord’s name and don’t deny it even with their small power, they can fall into Laodicea, the opinion of the people.
Whenever the brotherly love is gone, Philadelphia becomes Laodicea – the church of the brotherly love becomes the church of the opinion of the people. And these people think they are rich, they have everything, and they are in need of nothing!
May the Lord shine on us and may we allow Him to expose our lukewarmness and our spiritual pride so that we may repent, humble ourselves before God, and come to Him to receive from Him an up-to-date word that would supply us for right now.
We need to humble ourselves before the Lord and not consider that we are rich or have need of nothing. May we pay the price to buy the eyesalve that we may see our real condition as the Lord sees it, and may we come to Him in a fresh way for our portion of grace today, right now, depending on Him moment by moment.
Allowing the Lord’s Speaking to Trim Away our Lukewarmness
The last epistle in Rev. 2-3 was written to the church in Laodicea, where the problem was lukewarmness and spiritual pride. Through His speaking, the Lord exposed what the problem is and He desired to trim away the lukewarmness.
After tasting the Lord in His riches and sweetness in the wonderful church life of brotherly love in Philadelphia, there is a great danger for us to become lukewarm. In Rev. 3:15-17 the Lord says,
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am about to spew you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am wealthy and have become rich and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,…
When we lose the brotherly love (Philadelphia), we have a lot of opinions and high esteem for ourselves, and we become lukewarm. We may still go to the meetings, enjoy the Lord in a general way, and be in the realm of the church life, but we are more “moderate”, we are not “hot for the Lord”, and we may even say things like,
I don’t think we need to be that MUCH for the Lord. I love the Lord, but in a moderate and balanced way! It’s not too good to be too wild or too committed or too involved – I love the Lord in a moderate way!
But the Lord wants us to be cold toward the world and hot for Him, otherwise He will spew us out of His mouth! As soon as we look at ourselves, see our spiritual pursuit, consider our love for the Lord, ponder over our spiritual experiences, and don’t focus on fresh-now-living Christ, we become lukewarm, we become Laodicea.
We may have a lot of opinions, good and spiritual opinions based on the Bible, but that’s all we have – opinions. We don’t have Christ in a fresh way. Laodicea is Philadelphia in a distorted and degraded way. May the Lord constrain us with His love all the time, may we be open to Him and ask Him to rekindle our love toward Him, and may we love one another with the love Christ put in us!
Lord, rekindle our love for You. Constrain us with Your love. We don’t want to be lukewarm toward You. Lord, may we be cold toward the world and hot toward You. Save us from losing our first love for You and the brotherly love. We repent, Lord, and we come to You to just love You and be freshly in love with You, hot for You!
Repenting of our Spiritual Pride and of Not Being Fervent for the Lord
The characteristic of Laodicea is that they think they are wealthy and they even think they have need of nothing! This is spiritual pride, and it comes from our history and Christian experience. We cannot deny that the Lord has spoken to us; we cannot deny that we know Christ to a certain extent, and we have experienced Him.
The Lord was indeed merciful to us to save us, regenerate us, and transform us to a certain extent. But once we dwell on and remember our history with the Lord and not touch Christ in a living way RIGHT NOW, we are in danger of becoming spiritually proud.
There’s nothing that we have which we have not received. Everything comes from the Lord, and all we have enjoyed of Him and experienced in Him is from Him and unto Him. But our being conscious of it and even speaking it as to boast in it will bring us into degradation to become lukewarm toward the Lord. I was helped by brother Nee’s speaking on this matter,
Those around us may be full of death, but we do not need to be conscious of the fact that we are full of life. Those around us may be poor, but we do not need to be conscious of the fact that we are rich. Those who live before the Lord will not be conscious of their own riches. May the Lord be merciful to us that we may learn to live before Him. May we be rich and yet not know that we are rich. It was better for Moses not to know that his face was shining, even though it did shine! Once a person knows himself, he becomes Laodicea, and the result is lukewarmness. Laodicea means to know everything, but in reality to be fervent about nothing. In name it has everything, but it cannot sacrifice its life for anything. It remembers its former glory but forgets its present condition before God. (Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 50, pp. 785-786)
The Lord was faithful to speak such a word to the church in Laodicea in Rev. 3, and He speaks such a word to us today also. We need to be up-to-date with the Lord and enjoy Him as the now-Christ, not dwelling on past experiences but being fresh with Him every day.
We shouldn’t look at ourselves and consider how “rich in Christ” we are – as soon as we do that, we become proud spiritually. Our consecration to the Lord, our fellowship with Him our pursuit in the truth, and everything needs to be up-to-date with the Lord!
If we want to continue in the way of Philadelphia and be saved from the lukewarmness and spiritual pride in Laodicea, we need to humble ourselves before God (see Isa. 66:1-2; 57:15). As soon as we become proud, the Lord resists us; when we humble ourselves, when we become poor in spirit and have a contrite heart waiting and listening to His word, the Lord will come to dwell with us.
It really helps to take the word of God and pray over it, speaking it to the Lord and asking Him to do it in you. Why not take verses such as Rev. 3:18-20 and pray over them? Why not take Isaiah 66:1-2 and 57:15 and pray them to the Lord?
We cannot “humble ourselves”, but we can be open to the Lord and be willing to be humbled before Him. Only a person who is poor in spirit and with a humble heart before the Lord can actually hear what He is speaking today and know what is on His heart, and with such a one God is pleased to dwell to make him His overcomer.
Lord Jesus, we would like to be poor in spirit. Lord, we want to hear Your word and tremble at Your word. Save us from being proud or thinking we have need of nothing. Lord, we humble ourselves before You. We want to have a contrite spirit and not a proud spirit. We don’t want to miss You in Your word! Make us up-to-date with You, those enjoying You in a fresh way right now! Revive our spirit, Lord! We want to be lowly in Your presence. Revive our heart. We want to be contrite in Your presence. Lord, trim away any lukewarmness and spiritual pride, and make us Your overcomers!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my Christian experience, bro. Ed Marks’ speaking in the message for this week, and portions from, Collected Works of Watchman Nee (vol. 50, ch. 45), as quoted in, the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Mending Ministry of John, week 5 / msg 5, Christ’s Heavenly Priesthood Ministered to the Churches for the Producing of the Overcomers (you can buy this morning revival book here).
- Hymns on this topic:
# I hate to lukewarm be! / Lord, burn me thoroughly. / My first, My best, I come to Thee. / The seven Spirits burn, / Intensified to turn / My heart for You to be so firm. / Grant me a hot pursuit! / All else in me uproot! / Oh Lord, do burn each part! / Grant me a fresh new start. (new song on loving the Lord)
# Sometimes it seems that / I have no room in my heart for You. / But then You touch me / And soften me to turn to You. / Recover my heart, / Rekindle my love for You. / Fill me with love / Eternally, ever new. / Make me wholly Thine. (new song: make me wholly Thine)
# Laodicea warns us all: / From Philadelphia some will fall. / By saying, “I am rich,” it’s then / The Lord is outside wanting in. / Lukewarmness we must ever spurn / And in the spirit always burn, / The inward life experience gain, / And pay the price with Him to reign. (Hymns #1274)
# Will you be an overcomer? / Never lukewarm be, / Ne’er content with what you’ve gotten, / More you need to see. / Will you be an overcomer? / Christ is calling still! / Will you now be loyal to Him, / His demand fulfill. (Hymns #894)
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