A DOSE OF FAITH
Richard G. Mendoza, MPH, PHD
Pr. Richard Mendoza works at the Central Luzon Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. An educator and promoter of health, he complements his advocacies with spiritual and values-oriented insights.
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On the very first quarter of 2020, governments and health officials worldwide grapple with the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the virus which was officially named on Feb.11 as COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). The worldwide death count surpassed 3,100 by Monday, and the number of confirmed cases increased to more than 90,000. Though 80,000 of those that have been reported in mainland China, the crisis appears to be shifting away from that country where hundreds of patients have been released from hospitals.
There is a spiritual infection that is also widespread among us Christians of this end-time generation, which can be called Laodiceanism.
The biblical basis states, “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; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. 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: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Rev. 3: 14-18.KJV
There are seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation. These churches represent seven epochs within the Christian church, ranging from apostolic purity and aggressiveness to the end-time quagmire of blindness and the lukewarm condition. Each church was given a special message for its particular time. The members of each church were commanded to be overcomers. Source: Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation.
Rev.1:11 ESV: “saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.””
Here’s the summary of the characteristics of each epoch or stage of the church based on Revelation:
1. Ephesus – Discerning but loveless
2. Smyrna – Persecuted but rich
3. Pergamum – Imprisoned but faithful
4. Thyatira – Active but adulterous
5. Sardis – Famous but dead
6. Philadelphia – Weak but faithful
7. Laodicea – Deceived
If these seven churches represent the time from John’s day until Christ’s return, then every Christian is a part of the church that represents his or her time. So regardless of their geographic location, Christians living during the apostolic period belonged to the Ephesus church. Likewise, those living in the time of the end are part of Laodicea regardless of where they live. Laodicea represents today’s Christianity generally, and the representative remnant church (which many claims to be) specifically.
Laodicea, which means “a judging of the people,” is the church that finishes the work of God. It must be, for there is no eighth church. No one should feel any stigma about being a part of Laodicea–it is impossiblenow to be anything else. The trouble we face does not lie in being Laodicean but rather in suffering from the disease of Laodiceanism.
What is Laodiceanism? Is it being lukewarm? Is it saying “I am rich . . . and have need of nothing”? Or is it the lack of the gold, eyesalve, and white raiment? These are symptoms of Laodiceanism–very serious symptoms, but they are not the disease.
Going back to COVID-19, common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such ascoughing and sneezing. The health department also advises people to avoid crowded places and to strengthen one’s body resistance through proper diet, exercise and enough rest.
Now as per symptoms of Laodiceanism, the following are the prescriptions from Rev. 3:17,18, “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: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.”
These are what they represent in summary:
1. Poor (Christlessness) – Gold (Christ)
2. Blind (False Security) – Eye salve (Holy Spirit)
3. Naked (Righteousness by Works) – White clothes (Righteousness by Faith or the Righteousness of Christ)
In closing, here’s a quote to inspire us, “Buy gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich, white raiment that you may be clothed, and eye salve that you may see. These precious treasures will not drop upon us without some exertion on our part. We must buy—” Be zealous and repent” of our lukewarm state. We must be awake to see our wrongs, to search for our sins, and to zealously repent of them.” “I was shown that the testimony to the Laodiceans applies to God’s people at the present time, and the reason it has not accomplished a greater work is because of the hardness of their hearts. But God has given the message time to do its work… It is designed to arouse the people of God, to discover to them their backslidings, and to lead to zealous repentance. “A failure to reveal the truth in the daily life has resulted in lax views as to what constitutes the truth for this time. Because of this, there exists an inferior piety, by which the church is enfeebled and its usefulness impaired.” (EG White 1T 142, 186,16 MR 13:4)
Lest I forget, the essence of Laodiceanism is that the church does not now have the intimate relationship with Christ that He urges upon it (see Rev. 3:20). This invitation is for every member of the church. If you claim to be a Christian, then you must grapple with Christ’s challenge.