The Church of Laodicea and Today’s Times
By Cody T. McCain
In the Gospel of Luke chapter 18, verses 1 through 8, Jesus teaches a parable concerning persistence in prayer. Verse one states, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” The word translated “give up” here is the Greek verb ekkakeo which means: “to be utterly spiritless, wearied out, exhausted, to lose courage.” This same word was also used in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 when the apostle Paul admonished the church at Thessalonica to “…never tire of doing what is good.” This Greek verb is comprised of two additional words: ek, which means “out” or “from” and kakos which refers to “that which is evil in the sense of THINKING.” In other words, to “give up” first and foremost begins in our minds and our patterns of thinking. It is when our thinking begins to lean in the direction of what is wrong, of a bad nature, troublesome, injurious, or destructive (the only other word used for “evil” in Greek is poneros which refers to evil motives or intentions)! Daniel 7:25 has a connection to this principle of evil thinking believe it or not! This passage states – which is pointing to a time in the future where the antichrist would reign upon the earth – “He (the horn, representative of the antichrist) will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times, and half a time.” There are several things we should notice that this entity will utilize as tactics: (1) A hatred of God (“He will speak against the Most High), (2) Spiritual warfare (“…and oppress his holy people”), and (3) Have a huge degree of influence in government and legislation (“…and try to change the set times and the laws”). Although this entity of the antichrist has not yet been revealed to reign upon the earth, the spirit OF the antichrist is already at work in the earth (1 John 4:2-6). We see this spirit that has created a culture that hates God and rejects the things of God, wages spiritual warfare against the people of God (particularly in the MIND), and has tremendous influence in the governmental systems of not just this country, but across the world! It is this spirit that begins to oppress the THINKING of individuals (INCLUDING BELIEVERS), to direct their lives in an evil and GodLESS direction! Now jumping to verses 7 and 8 in Luke 18 which state, “7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Now you may ask, “What do these verses have to do with what you’ve just said?” My answer: THESE VERSES GO HAND IN HAND!
There is a direct connection in verse 1 regarding our crying out to God (in prayer) and the Parousia or the coming of the Lord. The word “cry” signifies speaking in a strong voice that is aggressive and continual. What does this have to do with the return of our Lord? Although God promises swift justice when we continually cry out to Him, He also knows that the spirit of the antichrist described in Daniel 7:25 can cause the believer to FAINT and affect the FAITH of many! This proves to be a key aspect of today in that many cry out regarding justice for social ills and shortcomings of our legal system. Like the children of Israel, some have judged God as “unjust” (Ezekiel 18:25) and have since turned away from faith in Christ and to teachings that promote retaliation, ethnocentrism, and “self-love.” Faith just doesn’t refer to the belief in the existence of God, but a full confidence in His righteous character and a lifestyle demonstrative of such confidence! In this hour, the enemy will stop at nothing to hinder our crying out to God. Part of the departure from the faith in these last times isn’t only a turning away from God (thereby turning to an alternative), but also an ABANDONMENT of the PERSISTENCE of crying out in prayer, and subsequently the HOPE and FAITH of many! Christian author Bob Sorge once stated, “God loves it when we cry out to Him, day and night without ceasing. Why? Because He reckons unrelenting prayer to be an expression of faith. He sees it as a concrete representation of the confidence we have in His intervention. And if there’s anything that pleases God, its faith (Heb 11:6).” Adding to this very principle are the words from Romans 14:23, “…everything that does not come from faith is SIN!”
For the believer, we must realize that for the Church of Jesus Christ, this spirit seeks to infiltrate our ranks and create a Laodicean-like environment (yes Laodicean is a word in Webster’s Dictionary)! Most commonly we refer to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 as the “lukewarm church.” To provide a base here, when Jesus reprimanded the church regarding their spiritual state in verse 15 saying, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” he was NOT talking about being spiritually warm verses being spiritually cold (as commonly taught)! This is where we must investigate the historical context of the scripture text itself! The ancient city of Laodicea – located in present-day Turkey – was a city of great productivity. It was known for being a very wealthy city with a thriving financial sector, a textile industry, and even a medical school! In other words, it was very self-sufficient and on the cutting edge of finance, industry, and medicine (sound familiar????). However, the location of this city posed a problem for its water supply. As a result, water had to be piped in through the main aqueduct pipe (being there was no DIRECT source of water). To the north of Laodicea was the city of Hierapolis, known for its lush hot springs (warm water), while to the south was the city of Colossae known for its refreshingly cool water (cold water). By the time the water was drawn from the aqueduct pipe (fed from a spring known today as Baspinar), it had acquired a great deal of mineral content causing the aqueduct pipe to sometimes clog due to the build-up. The results? Lukewarm water that often-caused residents to experience a sour stomach, resulting in vomiting (hence Jesus’ reference to spewing the church out of his mouth!). In Jesus’ rebuke of verse 15, he was imploring this church to NOT be conformed to the Laodicean culture, thereby diluting the influence of the Spirit. This compares to the church of today! We have situated ourselves NEAR the water supply (aka the power of the HOLY SPIRIT) but have not positioned ourselves for DIRECT and FULL ACCESS to the water supply! We have been guilty of using man-made controlled methods (just like an aqueduct) to “funnel in” the Holy Spirit rather than allowing Him a sovereign course! This has resulted in our works being found neither spiritually zealous (hot water) nor a source of true spiritual refreshment (cold water) because we have a watered-down revelation of the Father and the POWER of His Spirit! We find ourselves only NEAR the source when we neglect and undermine the FULL Gospel which teaches the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with FIRE! Furthermore, this has led the church of today to conform to the culture of “Laodicea” by trusting in our material wealth, ingenuity, and even the prioritization of the physical above the spiritual! We have prioritized our racial and political cultures ABOVE the authority of God’s Kingdom! This my brothers and sisters is lukewarmness! Where lukewarmness abounds, the spirit of the antichrist is attracted and can produce a tremendous influence. Where lukewarmness abounds, there comes a gradual turning away from the person and character of Christ! Where lukewarmness abounds, the desire to WATCH as well as PRAY decreases, allowing us to succumb to demonic distractions, doctrines, and other various strongholds! When we allow the enemy to steal our “cry” of prayer, it isn’t long before our thinking begins to take a downward spiral towards the realm of the antichrist (literally AGAINST Christ: several key examples include believers who do not uphold the authority of scripture nor believe in corporate fellowship at a local assembly or deliberately choose to live immoral lifestyles!!!). The solution? We must REPENT of ways we have personally and corporately allowed this antichrist spirit to influence our thinking! Then, we must purpose as Ephesians 5:18 states to “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT.” We must be baptized in the power of the Holy Ghost in this hour that we would have DIRECT access to the mind of God and the POWER of God, lest we buy into the distractions and deception that is so rampant! We must also purpose to become STUDENTS of God’s Word as never before! It isn’t enough to just have a casual reading of scripture as we would a piece of literature! We must study, meditate upon, speak, and apply the principles of God’s Word! Finally, we must purpose to pray without ceasing! I’m not talking about any kind of prayer! I am talking about prayer influenced by the Holy Spirit where we pray and declare the Word of God (which is the will of God) or even prayer that involves the prayer language given through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8:26, 1 Corinthians 14:4, Jude 1:20).
There is a wave of God’s glory that is about to hit this planet with the tangible presence and power of the Holy Ghost that will bring salvation, deliverance, transformation, and healing (physically and emotionally) and make DISCIPLES of all nations. I do want to emphasize this point: The individuals that God will use in this hour to usher in this wave are those considered “unknown” or “non-influential” in the eyes of culture! In other words, if you have been looking at individuals who have a major platform to usher in revival, I’d strongly encourage you to look again and hear out of the realm of the Spirit!!!
Father help us in this hour to take heed to what you are saying and simply be your ambassadors on the earth by operating in the ministry of reconciliation! In Jesus’ name…AMEN!
Cody T. McCain Sr. is the owner, funeral director, and embalmer of McCain Funeral Home & Cremations, LLC located in Morganton. He, along with his wife Shaunda, have a passion to serve their community with the love, integrity, and excellence of Christ.
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