The Church of Laodicea is the last Church of seven spoken of in the Book of Revelation. The overwhelming characteristic of this church is that they are neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm.
The names of the seven churches are symbolic of the church in different periods of the Christian Era. The number 7 indicates completeness and is symbolic of the fact that the messages extend
to the end of time, while the symbols used reveal the condition of the church at different periods in the history of the word.
Here is an idea presented by the first church.
Ephesus is the first of the seven, and it is representative of the Apostolic Church era.
The loss of first love is revealed in the loss of the first works. In other words, love for Jesus is revealed by works of love (Galatians 5:16). To lose the first love is to lose the first works. To do the first works is to recover the first love. The first epistle of John reveals the relationship between love and works, but it also describes a personal relationship to Jesus (I John 3:16-18; 5:3; II John 6).
When we read “Left Your First Love” we are reminded of a marriage where love is alive and vibrant at the beginning. The husband and wife spend quality time together and regularly express their love for one another. But with time, there is a very real danger that work and other activities will lead the couple to spend less time together, and as a result, the first passion and love wanes. There was a very real danger that in working to the point of exhaustion, this church would lose its vital connection with Jesus. One is reminded of the contrast between Mary and Martha. Martha was a hard worker for Jesus but Mary sat at His feet learning of, and from Him. Working to advance the gospel and preserving doctrinal orthodoxy is important, but not at the expense of a personal, loving relationship with Christ.
And it was because the church had left its first love, that Jesus threatened to remove the light from the church of Ephesus if it did not repent and return to Him. (Matthew 5:14-16; Mark 4:21-25; Luke 8:16-18).
Below are the times of the churches, and a primary characteristic of each.
Ephesus: ‘Desirable’ (31-100 AD): Losing its first love.
Smyrna: ‘Bittersweet Myrrh’ (100-313 AD): Persecuted and killed.
Pergamum: ‘Acropolis’ or ‘Elevation’ (313-538): Key figure is Balaam.
Thyatira: ‘Sacrifice of Penitence’ (538-1517): Key figure is Jezebel.
Sardis: ‘Escaping’ (1517-1833): Looks alive but is actually dead.
Philadelphia: ‘Brotherly Love’ (1833-1843): The Millerite movement.
Laodicea: ‘Judgment of the People’ (1844-Close of Probation): Judgment.
Today we are in the time of the church of Laodicea; this church exists at the end of earth’s history during the judgment period in the Heavenly Sanctuary, hence the name, “Laodicea” which means “judging the people.”
The message to the church of the Laodiceans applies especially to God’s people today. It is a message to professing Christians who have become so much like the world that no difference can be seen between them.
The lukewarm Christian is more dangerous than the infidel, and the warning of the faithful witness in Revelation 3:15, 16 shows the result of those who will remain in a lukewarm condition.
“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 spue thee out of my mouth.”
The condition of many of those who claim to be the children of God today is exactly represented by the message to the Laodicean church.
“I know thy works,” these are half-hearted Christians, and they are worse than infidels because their deceptive words and noncommittal position leads many astray. The infidel shows his true colors, but the lukewarm Christian deceives everyone. He is neither a good worldling, nor a good Christian, and Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do.
The members of Laodicea are almost Christians: Almost Christians, yet not fully Christians, they seem near the kingdom of heaven, but they cannot enter there. Almost but not wholly saved, means to be not almost, but wholly lost.
Helpful Reading: Once Saved Always Saved?