As a young Seventh-day Adventist I learned the truth of the Seven Churches and the application of the final church to the last days. This knowledge is an inheritance from our forefathers. Note the dawning reality of Laodicea to James White.
Does not the state of the Laodiceans (lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot) fitly illustrate the condition of the body of those who profess the third angel's message? RH Oct 9, 1856
He then goes on to make this penetrating comment:
If this be our condition as a people, have we any real grounds to hope for the favor of God unless we heed the “counsel” of the True Witness? [Revelation 3:18-21 is quoted.]—Ibid.
Heeding the counsel of the True Witness requires a knowledge of the human heart that only God can give Him. Such knowledge was possessed by our Lord Jesus when He walked among men.
John 2:24,25 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
A quick reading of the counsel given to the Laodicean church reveals a group of people who did not really know what was in the heart of man. They are a people who think they are rich and increased with goods and don’t actually know they are poor, wretched, blind and naked. What a pitiful condition is this! What a sorrowful state is this! Thinking that one is bound for heaven when they are most certainly bound for hell! It makes the soul tremble to contemplate these things.
Yet how easy is it for a Seventh-day Adventist to discover what is in the heart of man and know his own wretchedness? Have not the Adventist people been given great light? Have we not been given the gift of prophecy through which we have become rich in the knowledge of the plan of salvation? How can such a people receive all these things and still be blind, deaf, dumb and stupid? The apostle Paul responds
1Co 8:1-2 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity [Agape] edifieth. (2) And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
As a young Seventh-day Adventist I stared at this passage with a realisation that this condition applied to me but I was at a loss to understand how it could apply to me as it is literally written. Had I not accepted the 1888 message of righteousness by faith? Had I not accepted the truth of the investigative Judgment? Had I not applied a faithful Sabbath Observance? Had I not accepted the call to health reform and the removal of flesh meats? Had I not visited the sick and assisted the poor? Had I not gone door to door with the message of life to a dying world? Had I not preached the gospel and studied the Scriptures with many assisting them into the church of the Remnant? Yes, indeed! So how can this counsel apply to me? Oh of course I was convicted of things in my life that I struggled with but somehow the depth of the counsel escaped me. It was a simple task to move my mind to the condition of other men when reading this passage.
As I thought of my church and read this passage, I thought of the rejection of the Judgment hour message by scores of Adventist Theologians, the creeping in of evolutionary teaching, the lowering of standards and the compromise with the world that I saw everywhere. Yes, I see now, this does apply to my church, but it applies more to others than it does to me. I know that I am not perfect Lord but I thank you God that I am not like other Adventists! I am most humbly (oh boy!) and gratefully appreciative of all that you have taught me and that you are freeing me and I am receiving the counsel of Laodicea and I am changing Lord! So it was that this piercing counsel that applied to me quickly became a passage that really applied to other men even though I would say with my mouth it applied to me. My lips spoke the words of God but my heart was still blind, dumb and stupid. O Wretched man!
Seven years ago, I was minister of the remnant church of God. I preached the message of justification by faith. I baptised sinners into the kingdom of God. I gave my life to the advancement of the cause of God. I was the inheritor of the faith once delivered to the saints! Oh, actually that is not actually the case. You see, I believed in the Trinity and was confused about the Sonship of Jesus. I was not clear about Him being begotten. In fact looking back now I was completely confused!
So looking back seven years I see a man who believed he had the truth and yet what I believed would leave me outside the kingdom of God! I thought I had the Son of God but I had a counterfeit and therefore I was completely lost!
Now the words of the counsel to Laodicea are starting to penetrate my mind. I see myself as one who truly was blind poor and naked and yet will I fall victim to the same fate that I fell into before? Knowledge puffs up! Does my knowledge of the Son of God cause me to return to my Laodicean state and cause me to cry “I thank you God I am not like other Adventists who believe in the Trinity.” Have I come this far only to be in the same state as I was before? O Wretched man, who shall deliver me from this body of death?!
Yet further to this, once I had embraced the truth, I tried to convince other men to walk as I walk, to approach the church as I approach the church. I was still saying to people “I know the way!.” “I have the truth!” Is there not an end to this spirit in man? When does such a man come to the end of himself?”
Here are the words of Jesus to Laodicea. Here is the path to life.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Does the knowledge of the truth cause me to feel rebuked and chastened and a sorrowfulness of soul that leads to repentance? I thought I had the truth and I was blind. I thought I knew righteousness by faith and yet I had not the only begotten Son – the very truth of righteousness by faith. I have thought I knew the way to the kingdom and yet having confessed to my blindness I prove myself a hypocrite. It is revealed that I am still confused.
The Lord in His great mercy has allowed me to be disfellowshipped from His church. He has allowed this to humble me and to lead me to repentance. The leaders of the church have blessed me greatly in that they have caused me to halt in the way and to question myself. In the silence of my home I have had the chance to examine myself and I find that I am indeed a Laodicean man. As a Trinitarian and as an Adventist minister I now look back and see that I certainly deserved to be spued out of the mouth of Christ. I am receiving only what I deserve. Will I be a fool still and walk on in the sparks of my own kindling and project myself as the favoured of God and that God is on my side and that I have the truth and I know the way. My soul trembles! Lord deliver me from this body of death! Deliver me from the man who always thinks he is right and sees others as wrong and contents himself in his knowledge of the truth when his heart is full of harshness, pride and self-confidence. Let me be the man who waits in silence and sorrow for his condition and let the Lord choose to do with me as He wills, not as I will.
Father let these words be in my lips
Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Psalms 22:11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
Lord you have promised me the gift of repentance, you have told me that we shall mourn as one mourns for his only son. Let this gift come to me, a Laodicean man.