The Church in Laodicea is the last of the Seven Churches in Asia, to which Jesus dedicates chapters 1 through 3 of the Book of the Final Prophecies, His Apocalypse. Historically, they were communities of early Christianity, located in Asia Minor, which today corresponds to the western part of Turkey.
Laodicea was a wealthy city in the Roman province of Asia, near Colossae and Ephesus. And Christ warned those people and all of us, humanity, about not being “lukewarm.” But what does that mean? This is what we are going to see in this Bible study.
Letter from Jesus to the Church in Laodicea
14 To the Angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
16 So, because you are lukewarm―neither hot nor cold―I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
17 You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on His throne.
22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the Lord’s churches.
What did Jesus mean when He warned us about not being lukewarm?
We learn at the Religion of God, of the Christ, and of the Holy Spirit1 that being “lukewarm” means being indecisive about doing Good Deeds; it is when we “sit on the fence,” as the idiom goes.
So, in drawing our attention to this, Jesus is urging us not to give up halfway, but to persevere with those commitments that result in the well-being of our family and community. We can’t be indifferent to the hardship other people experience, whether it be individual or collective.
Based on this knowledge, we can understand the need to be “hot,” in other words, to act firmly and decisively with regard to what is right, fair, and ethical.
Therefore, the Religion of the Third Millennium draws our attention to the path presented by Christ Himself in His New Commandment:
“Love one another, as I have loved you. Only by this shall all of you be recognized as my disciples, if you have the same Love for one another.” (The Gospel according to John 13:34 and 35)
This is how we keep the flame of Hope constantly burning in us, neutralizing all hatred and ending wars and indifference that exist first within ourselves.
Therefore, we should continue firm on this journey of spiritual improvement and always rely on the protection of our Divine Friend, Jesus, and of our Guardian Angels!
Christ knocks at the door of our hearts every day and invites us to eat with Him (Apocalypse 3:20); in other words, based on His Divine Teachings and on His own example, He shares with us the Spiritual Nourishment that strengthens our Spirit.
About the 7 Churches in Asia
It is worth stressing how the Divine Master presents these warnings through the 7 letters to the churches, like the one in Laodicea.
The President-Preacher of the Religion of Universal Love, José de Paiva Netto, who has been preaching about the Bible, especially about the Apocalypse of Jesus, for over six decades, clarifies in his bestseller Jesus, a Dor e a Origem de Sua Autoridade — O Poder do Cristo em nós [Jesus, the Pain and Origin of His Authority—The Power of Christ Within Us], in the subhead “Jesus’ Challenge to the Churches of the Apocalypse and the Heavenly Comfort”:
“There are very critical people who do not make way for anyone. They only point out mistakes . . . But they do not reach out their hands to help, nor do they suggest any way of fixing society . . . But Jesus is different! When He addresses the Seven Churches in Asia, He acknowledges their qualities, shows them what they have that is good, comforts them, offers them advice, encourages them, and, when necessary, reprimand them, not to put them down, but to encourage them to correct what is wrong. If you rebuke someone just for the sake of it or praise them just for the sake of it, you commit a moral and spiritual atrocity. I usually say that rewarding someone who does not deserve it is a crime. However, if you warn them with the intention of educating them—since no one is perfect in this world—then you are acting as a friend.”
Therefore, in these letters the Divine Master comforts the churches and encourages them to correct themselves by highlighting the prize to be received.
Let us pay attention to His moral and spiritual message, because just as the Letters to the 7 Churches in Asia were important for that particular moment in time, the message from Christ dedicated to each of them remains up-to-date.
On this subject, in the book Somos todos Profetas [We Are All Prophets], in the subhead “Desire for Peace and Sovereignty over Oneself,” writer Paiva Netto says,
“With regard to the Seven Churches in Asia, we can say that they also symbolize the various degrees of understanding and spiritual experience in which every Human Being finds himself/herself. In fact, the Seven Churches exist in different degrees within ourselves. Jesus points out their qualities and faults, warns them, asks for their loyalty, and urges them to do Good Deeds that originate from the Accomplishing Faith.”
The youth of the Religion of God, of the Christ, and of the Holy Spirit also invite you to join the debate on the final book in the Holy Bible, the Apocalypse of Jesus. Please send an email to email@example.com.
1 Religion of God, of the Christ, and of the Holy Spirit — also called the Religion of the Third Millennium, and the Religion of Universal Love. This is the Ecumenical Religion of Brazil and the world.