Do We Still Really Believe In It?

John Plunkett

Feast of Tabernacles 2016: Day 4
October 19, 2016

After the Bible, my favourite genre of book is the historical novel – in which the authors mix in history with a nice bit of drama.

One of my favourite books of this genre is "The Day of the Scorpion" – the first in a series of four novels, collectively named “The Raj Quartet.” It was written by the late British novelist, Paul Scott, between 1965 and 1975.  The British television channel – Granada – made an excellent mini-series of it in 1984.  If you get the chance either to read the books or to watch the television series, it is definitely worthwhile (for adults).

It is set in India, immediately before, during and after World War II, a time that was also the period of India’s efforts for independence from the British Empire and from Colonialism – perhaps the Indian equivalent of the UK's "Brexit" of 2016.

There are two passages in this book that jumped out at me and reminded me of today’s era of the Church of God – which I believe to be the Laodicean era of chapter 3 of the book of Revelation.

I would like to read these two passages from the book today; and I would like to use the two quotes as a framework to communicate some loving warnings from our Father and our Elder Brother, Jesus.  They are stern but loving warnings to the Church of God members of today.

My first question to you is: “Do you still really believe in it? – in what we are doing?”

The first quote from the book breaks into the middle of a conversation between two sisters – the older one is Sarah and the younger one is Susan.  They are portrayed as members of a wealthy, English, military family who were living in India during that turbulent period.  They were bewildered and confused by the huge changes that were taking place. The British "Raj" rule) in India was all they had ever known.  

As you listen to the words, please apply them to God's church and its changing face today:

Susan, the younger sister says: 

"I try and I try; but I can’t see the answer.  I suppose the trouble is that people like us were finished years ago, and we know it, but we pretend not to.  And we go on as if we thought that we still mattered." 

Looking full at Sarah, Susan asked, "Why are we finished, Sarah?  Why don’t we matter?"

Sarah replied, "Because we don’t really believe in it any more – not really believe – not in the way that our grandfathers believed.  Our not believing, seems like our betrayal of them.  We cannot any longer look at each other in the eye and feel good.  We can’t feel that even the good things that some of us might do have anything that, to them, would be worth remembering.  So we hate each other; but dare not speak about it.  And we hate whatever lies nearest to hand – the country – the people in it – our own changing history, that we are part of."

That is the end of the first quote.  Yes, it is true that it is only fiction; but it is based on solid historical facts.  The novel’s story-line effectively brings out the huge changes that were taking place in India at that time and the huge effects on everyone who was living there. 

There really were young, upper class, English women just like the fictional Susan and Sarah, whose military families had ruled India for generations.  And it is also true that they did find that transition period in the 1940s to be very difficult to understand and to deal with. 

Again, this passage jumped right out at me when I first read it and, in my own mind, I compared these events to what has happened in God’s church over the past thirty years.

And again I ask the question: In some ways, are we members of God’s church in the Laodicean era something like how the British were in India in the 1940s?

I would like to paraphrase some of the quotes from the book and apply them to our Church of God situation:

Do we Church of God members not matter any more? 

Do we no longer feel good about what we are doing? 

Do we no longer feel good about what the church is doing?  And about our part in it? 

Do we not believe in it anymore – I mean really believe – as our Church forefathers did? 

And, for those who don’t really believe in it anymore, is that lack of belief a betrayal of our spiritual forefathers?  Is it a betrayal of what they did, and the great efforts and sacrifices that they put in?  I am talking about the church going further back than the Waldensian era.  I am talking about the church fathers of one and two thousand years ago.  Is this lack of belief now a betrayal of the blood, sweat and tears that those forefathers put into it?  More importantly, is it a betrayal of God the Father and Jesus Christ, who have done so much for us. 

In answer to all these questions, we would probably say, "Perish the thought!"  

But why not?  And why would I even suggest this?

Is the work that the Church of God groups and their members are doing today mediocre?  Is it somehow second rate?  Especially when we compare it to the "big works" of the church during Herbert Armstrong’s heyday?

Will the work that the churches and their members are doing today not be worth remembering in the future?  Especially when we compare it to the "big works" of yesteryear?

My next question – again paraphrased from Susan and Sarah’s fictional conversation – is an almost unthinkable one.  As some of the British in India did in the 1930s and 1940s, have some of the Church of God members of our own day come to betray – and even hate – our Church of God forefathers and their teachings – and even one another? 

Again, we might say, "Perish the thought!"  But, again, I say, "Why not?"  Because Jesus  foresaw that such betrayal and hatred would happen within His end-time Church!

Matthew 24:
10:  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another...
12:  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Mark 13:12: 
Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.

We can apply this to physical families; but I believe that we can also apply that to our spiritual families, as well.

Again, compared with the church of yesteryear, do any of us hate our own changing history that we are part of?  For example, do any of us despise the scattered condition of the Church of God, as it is today?  Are any of us even ashamed of it – of our tiny little groups – of our scattered condition?

What is the underlying problem here?  Does the Church of God in the 21st Century suffer from the same causative problems that the British Colonists suffered in India in the 1930s and 1940s?

Again, do we not believe in it anymore?  Do we not believe in what we are doing?  Do we not believe in what the church as a whole – the Body of Christ – is doing;?  Do we not believe in it with the same level of belief and zeal as our Church forefathers did, and as the Church of God pioneers did?

We are all very familiar with the scriptures in chapters 3 and 4 of the book of Revelation.  I personally believe that there may be different applications of the seven churches described in these two chapters; but I do still believe in the concept of seven church eras. 

I know that, like me, a lot of people still do believe this concept; but some people don’t.  There are some branches of the Church of God who are still trying to emulate – or even perpetuate – what we might think of as "the Golden Years" of the Philadelphia era of the church.  But we must face it.  We have to be realistic.  And I believe that some of the Church groups are not being realistic about this: that the golden Philadelphia era of the church is irretrievably over!  It is gone!  I believe that, whether we like it or not, we are well into the infamous Laodicean era. 

If this is true, then everybody in this room and everybody who can hear me on the Internet –  every single one of us needs to heed the warnings that Jesus addresses, specifically and directly, to the Laodicean church.  And those warnings are addressed to each and every one of us individually.

I am sure that most of you have been through these Laodicea scriptures before; but I believe that a repetition of them is critically important right now, especially if and when we ponder this question: “Do we still really believe in it?” 

This is all about the level of zeal.  I am not pointing the finger at anybody – other then myself!  But Jesus has given us all a warning here:

Revelation 3:14: 
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: "These things says the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

This is Jesus Christ.  He is the "Captain and Commander" of our salvation.  Jesus tells us what the Laodicean dilemma is.  But He also gives us clear answers to the dilemma.

The description of the Laodicean church here is a general state of that church.  Every sin that is listed here may not necessarily apply to every single member.  It is like a general overview of how that church was and is.  But, Jesus is saying, "If the cap fits, then here is what the Captain says that we Laodicean members must do."

1. Correct Lukewarmness:

Revelation 3:
15:  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot.
16:  So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.

The bottom line here is that, if any of us are lukewarm, then He is telling us to stop being lukewarm!

It is interesting to me that the Laodicean church is pictured as being in Jesus’ mouth!  The implication in the scripture is that Jesus mouth must be a good safe place for us to be!  Certainly rather than the alternative of being ejected from it!

So, What is Jesus’ symbol of us here?  It is likely some kind of drink.  Either a refreshing cold drink, like water, juice, beer.  Or a comforting hot drink such as coffee, tea or hot chocolate. 

If you have a cold drink and you leave it out on the counter for too long, it will warm up to being lukewarm.  Not good!  And if a hot drink cools down to being lukewarm, it not nearly as effective, satisfying or as enjoyable.  

If we are not being spiritually refreshing and satisfying to Jesus – perhaps by being filled with the water of the Holy Spirit – then He will spit us out.  And we don’t want Him to do that. 

It is surprising to me, though, that Jesus said that He would rather see us cold than lukewarm.  Maybe He feels that we would be better off if we were totally uncalled and unconverted, yet still having the future opportunity in the second resurrection, rather than being converted now; but lukewarm and in danger of being permanently spat out.

Most of us here are already converted; so, if any of us have become lukewarm, it is important that we must repent and return to being spiritually hot.  We need to be hot for God and His work.

2.  Correct poor spiritual condition:

Revelation 3:17: 
Because you say, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing"; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

There are a lot of conditions in there that we don’t want any part in.  The brethren of the Laodicean brethren must come to know and to admit that the church is in a poor and wretched overall spiritual condition. 

It is true, however, that physically, in this day and age, most of the brethren in the church are comparatively rich.  You probably don’t think of yourself as rich; but when you see how other people live, most church members really are rich, increased with goods and in need of nothing... physically!  But the members of the Laodicean members need to admit and accept that, spiritually, the church is generally wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.  Each of us individually must self-examine on this.  We tend to think of self-examination as just being a pre-Passover thing; but it is not.  We need to be concentrating on this all year long. 

And again, if the cap fits... once we recognize one or more of these problems in our own lives, what must we do?  Is it acceptable for us to just think that these conditions are merely parts of the Laodicean character and so do nothing about it?  No! 

James 1:
22:  But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23:  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24:  For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was.
25:  But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Again, once we find a problem, we must act upon the problem.  We can’t just sweep it under the carpet.  We must take urgent steps to correct any of these pitiful conditions that make up the problems of the Laodicean Church.

Again, if any of us find ourselves to be spiritually wretched, miserable, poor, blind or naked, what must we do?  Jesus has the answers.  He is not going to leave us ignorant of this:

3.  Correct Spiritual Poverty

Revelation 3:18a:
I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich … 

The first thing that we need to do, then, is to buy gold from Jesus – spiritual gold that has been refined in the spiritual fire.  This spiritual gold will cure spiritual poverty and will make us spiritually rich.

When God allows trials to come upon us, He is effectively refining us, as gold and silver are refined.  Not to give us pain, of course; but to help us to be better able to learn what our true priorities are.  In other words, we need to get our minds off the physical – although there is nothing wrong with many of the physical things created by Him.  But we need to get our priority thinking off those things and get them onto the spiritual treasure that Jesus offers us:

Matthew 6: 
19:  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

It is obvious from this that Jesus wants us to be looking for the spiritual treasure.

What else?

4. Correct Spiritual Nakedness:

Revelation 3:
18b: … and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear… 

We must buy white, spiritual clothing from Jesus.  This will correct and cure the shame of any spiritual nakedness that we might have. 

As we go through the scriptures, we find that the Levites and the regular priests of the Old Covenant temple wore white raiment.  So do the twenty-four elders and some of the other angels.  And so does Jesus. 

I'm sure that we all know what white symbolizes.  We, too, as a group, are promised to be able to wear the same white raiment if we overcome.  And not just white raiment; but also something very, very special that it represents. 

Revelation 3:5:
He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

In this verse, Jesus is talking specifically to the Sardis era.  But it can also be applied to us. We can’t just look at the messages to the Sardis Church and say that that was for them only.  Again, I believe that there are seven church eras; but I believe also that  many of the things that are specifically applied to the individual eras can also apply to all of us.  There are messages in there for every era of God’s church.

But what is this white raiment?  What is the very special white raiment that is promised to us?

Revelation 19:
7:  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.
8:  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

This fine, white linen – this spiritual white raiment – is the righteousness of the saints.  And it applied to all of God’s people who are going to make up the Bride of Christ at that time.

I have noticed that most brides do a lot of shopping before their wedding – a lot of buying. Here, Jesus' spiritual Bride is told to buy this white raiment – from Him! 

Most brides do a lot of shopping to buy that one, special wedding dress.  We are engaged to Jesus; and we, too, must go shopping to buy this white spiritual raiment of righteousness.

Proverbs 23:23: 
Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

We are to buy truth, wisdom, instruction and understanding.  These are four great things that lead to righteousness.  If we buy these, spiritually, they will lead to us buying righteousness as well.

We all know, of course, that we cannot buy our way into the Kingdom of God.  But can righteousness be bought?  This buying of gold and white linen raiment is a spiritual purchase.  But still, as withy all purchases, something must be given in exchange for what we receive.  Yes, we must give something up.  This makes this purchase more of a barter than a purchase.

What are we to give in payment for these wonderful purchases?  Let Jesus answer:

Luke 21:
 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 
2:  And He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.
3:  So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;
4: For all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God; but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

This widow, who had the right priorities, and was seeking righteousness, gave everything that she owned to God.  So, what are we to give in payment for these wonderful purchases?  Everything we have!  Our whole lives!

5.  Correct spiritual blindness:

Back to the Laodicean church in Revelation chapter 3:

18c: … and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see.

We must anoint our spiritual eyes with spiritual eye salve so that any spiritual blindness that we might suffer from can be cured and so that our spiritual eyesight and vision can be restored.

What is the spiritual eye salve that "Doctor Jesus" is prescribing for us here? 

If you have ever had eye problems, you know that there are all kinds of eye drops and ointments that will soothe physically sore eyes and will alleviate other symptoms.  However, under normal circumstances they cannot heal physical blindness.  Even more certainly, no physical eye salve can ever heal spiritual blindness.

When a minister anoints a person and asks God to heal him or her, he usually puts a tiny dab of olive oil on the person's forehead.  

But what did Jesus use as an eye-salve when He healed someone who was physically blind?  Did He use olive oil as we are commanded to do (James 5:14)? 

No, He didn’t.  

Mark 8:23: 
And He took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when He had spit on his eyes, and put His hands upon him, He asked him if he saw ought.

John 9:6: 
When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

In these two examples, Jesus used spit!  Spittle!  Saliva!

Thinking back to what we read in verses 15 and 16 of Revelation 3, it is perhaps significant that Jesus used something that came out of His mouth to heal physically blind people.  The symbolism from this, I believe, is that it is something that comes out of Jesus’ mouth that also heals the spiritually blind.  What comes out of Jesus’ mouth – His Word and His Spirit – is "powerful stuff"!

6.  Accept God's Correction:

Revelation 3:19a: 
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten …

We must accept and admit our shortcomings and the poor current state of the church.  We must also be willing to accept the loving rebuke and chastening, from our Elder Brother and from our Father, both of who love us so very, very, much:

Hebrews 12:
5:  And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as unto children.  My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked of him:
6:  For whom the Lord loves He chastens; and scourges every son whom He receives.
7:  If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the
{human} father chastens not?
8:  But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you illegitimate and not sons.
9:  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10:  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.
11:  Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Those white raiments of righteousness will be the positive result from this.

It is not always going to be too pleasant.  We know that!  We know that chastening and rebuke can be unpleasant.  But as it is from our Elder Brother and our Father who both love us so much, we know that it is good for us.  It proves that they love us dearly.  And it proves that we are their legitimate children and fellow-heirs with Jesus.

7.  Repent and Return to being Zealous!

Revelation 3:19b:
… Be zealous therefore, and repent.

Repent?  Repent of what?  We must repent of many things.  Any and all kinds of sin.  Any and all kinds of transgression of God’s laws. 

But in this case, it appears that He is talking about the sin of the lack of zeal.  Please remember that the Laodicean church is characterized by the sins of lukewarmness and lack of zeal.  If we are zealous we will get over any Laodiceanism – or lukewarmness – that we may have.  We must use God’s Holy Spirit to get back to being spiritually hot, and spiritually zealous.

8.  Hear Jesus’ voice!

Revelation 3:20: 
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Until the First Resurrection, it is unlikely that any of us will actually hear Jesus’ voice one-on-one.  We wish that we could hear it.  

He might appear to very few brethren in dreams and visions as He did with the apostle John – which is exactly what we are reading from here; but it is unlikely that Jesus is going to come to any of us personally and speak to us, as He did with the apostle Paul.  

Under normal circumstances, we can "hear" Jesus’ voice via His written Word; also, perhaps to a somewhat lesser extent through the messages of the church, its booklets, articles and Internet pages.  To have Jesus speaking to us in person would be number one – and secondarily, through "Jesus in print."

It is our responsibility to listen for His knock at our spiritual doors.  If we have been called by the Father, we have listened for and heard Jesus' knock.  

But also, on a continual, ongoing basis, we need to read and study the Bible.  If we do, we will come across things that we have read time and time again, and will appear to us like something brand new coming to us.  This is Jesus knocking on our spiritual doors and showing us this "new" concept – that is not really new; but is "new to us." 

If we recognize His knock and we recognize His voice, then it is our responsibility to open our spiritual doors to Him.

John 10:
3:  To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out...
27:  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Jesus knows who His sheep are, and they recognize His voice and willingly follow Him.

However, applying this to ourselves, we must be very careful.  We must recognize that there are many counterfeit shepherds out there.  

It is not up to me to judge anybody; but we need to recognize what is in the holy Word of God, to filter out the counterfeit shepherds who disagree with it, and shut them out.  We must not open our spiritual doors to these counterfeit shepherds who do not speak according to the Word of God.

It is our responsibility to recognize, filter out and refuse entry to the counterfeit shepherds; but to recognize and open our spiritual doors to the true Chief Shepherd  Jesus Christ – and to His true ministers – His true "under-shepherds."

Just like Abraham did (Genesis 18) when he invited the true Shepherd (and His two angelic under-shepherds) into his tent home and prepared a special dinner for them, we too must do something similar – only with the spiritual food that God provides.  

Jesus is not just to be our spiritual dinner guest.  He is also the main course!  He is the source of our spiritual food. We see a wonderful duality there.

What kind of spiritual food should we consume?  Yes, the Bread of Life, of course; but more than that:

Hebrews 5:
12:  For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13:  For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14:  But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

That discernment of good and evil is the recognition of counterfeit shepherds compared with the true Chief Shepherd and His true under-shepherds. 

Long-time Church of God member, Bill Cherry, gave a wonderful sermonette, showing that , for those of us who are no longer spiritual babes in Christ, we should no longer be feeding on the spiritual milk of the Word. 

Not that there is anything wrong with the milk of the Word; but God has designed it for the Babes in Christ.  But most of us here are mature children of God; and so we should be feeding on the strong spiritual meat of His Word.

9.  Overcome:!

Revelation 3:21: 
To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.

This is the specific promise to the Laodicean church.  If we obey this command to overcome, we will receive this astonishing reward.

In other chapters of the Book of Revelation, and in other Bible books too, we are frequently commanded, by Jesus, to overcome.  Not only overcome; but to emulate Jesus’ example of overcoming.  

Jesus’ reward for His overcoming is to share His Father’s throne.  Our absolutely fabulous reward for our overcoming will be to share Jesus’ throne.  

Worth the effort?  You bet! 

10.  Hear what God is saying to the churches through His Spirit

22:  He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.

Please notice that this is not just applied to the Laodicean Church; but to all the churches – plural.

We dealt earlier with spiritual blindness.  Now we are dealing with spiritual deafness

So, I say to you on behalf of Jesus, "Friends, Canadians and countrymen, lend me your ears." 

Do we have spiritual ears?  If we do, are we using them?  Are we listening intently?  Are we hearing what Jesus is saying to us through His Holy Spirit?  Or, are any of us perhaps "selective listeners" in some areas?  Sometimes, in some areas, are we voluntarily deaf?  Are we voluntarily spiritually deaf?  Could we even be rebelliously spiritually deaf?  Old Covenant Israel came to be that way.  They became voluntarily, rebelliously, spiritually deaf and blind!.

For our own good, Jesus wants us to learn the lessons from our physical Israelite counterparts from back in Old Testament physical Israel and Judah:

Ezekiel 12:
1:  The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying,
2:  "Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.

The LORD told King Saul, through Samuel, that rebellion is just as bad as the sin of witchcraft (I Samuel 15:23).

We need to hear.  We need to listen.  We have already seen, that hearing is good; but it is not enough.  We must be hearers and "doers" (James 1 and 4).  We must act upon what we hear.  That's what being a "doer" is.  We must hear and act on what Jesus says.



We have just studied nine short verses of Revelation 3:14-22.  In those nine short verses, we members of the Laodicean era of the Church of God have been given our marching orders.

But, what if some of our fellow Laodicean church members fail to heed Jesus’ stern warnings?  Or even worse, what if they rebelliously refuse to obey.  How will their failure or rebellious refusal affect us individually?  If we were to see either of these conditions in one or more of our spiritual brothers or sisters, would it give us an excuse not to obey? 

For a partial answer, I would like to go back to my quote from "The Day of the Scorpion."  This partial answer is given by the older and wiser of the two sisters – Sarah.

Our question is: Does another brother or sister’s refusal to obey Jesus’ commands to the Laodicean Church, give us individually an acceptable reason to follow suit, and disobey.  

I would like to recap my earlier quote from the novel. The last words that we heard young Susan saying were these: 

"I suppose the trouble is, that people like us were finished years ago.  And we know it, but pretend not to, and go on as if we thought that we still mattered."

Again, she hesitated, and looking full at Sarah, asked: "Why are we finished, Sarah?  Why don’t we matter?"

Then Sarah gives this wise reply to her younger sister:

"Why do you say, 'We may be finished' or 'We may not matter?'

You and I matter.  There is too much 'we.'  Too much 'us.'  I don’t know who we are any longer, either.  You need to think of yourself as a person, not a crowd.”

What the fictional Sarah is saying here to her confused younger sister is so true for you and me.  Yes.  It is true that we are all members of a church "crowd."  We are all members of the Body of Christ and we are all, to a certain extent, dependent upon one another.  And that is good.  That is as it should be.  

Also, some brethren may consider themselves members of one of the many Church of God groups.  And that is okay too – to a limited extent.

But please keep in mind that the "we" of our Laodicean era of the Church of God today is so very different from the "we" of the former Philadelphia era of the Church of God.

In what seems like the mass confusion of the Church of God today, perhaps we, like the fictional Sarah, do not know what we are any longer.

You and you and you and you and me – we are all individual persons!  We are all individually responsible, before God, for our own actions.  

Yes, God tells us to assemble ourselves together to help and strengthen each other; but as far as obedience is concerned, we all stand individually before Him.  There is no man between God the Father and us.  The only one that stands between us and God the Father is Jesus Christ.  He is the only mediator.

Normally, you and I are not directly responsible for the sins, the disobedience, the lack of zeal, or the lack of action of any of our fellow church members.

Again, it is true that, collectively, we are part of the Body of Christ; but we stand side-by-side before God as individual stones of His spiritual temple.

Yes, the Church of God seems to be in its Laodicean era.  We must face that fact.  But, that does not mean that every member is compelled to be, or to remain, in a Laodicean attitude.  In Revelation 3, God has given us all, individually, the power and the crystal clear solutions and instructions of how to break out of it.  

If it is true, that we are now living in the Laodicean era of the Church of God, only God knows how long this era might last.  We can’t look at the lengths of the former eras and say that this one is going to last for the same length of time. 

Whether we are young or old, life flies by so very quickly.  And, for each one of us, our time is short.

So let’s get zealous and let’s be putting Jesus’ solutions to work.