1. THE LAODICEAN CONDITION
a. What attitude is prevalent in the professed Christian world today? Isaiah 4:1.
b. What is the dangerous condition of Christ’s church during the Laodicean period? Revelation 3:17.
“There are many who are priding themselves upon their spiritual riches, their knowledge of the truth, and are living in guilty self-deception. When the members of the church humble themselves before God by zealous, not half-hearted, lifeless action, the Lord will receive them.”—The Review and Herald, December 23, 1890.
“Christ cannot take up the names of those who are satisfied in their own self-sufficiency. He cannot importune in behalf of a people who feel no need of His help, who claim to know and possess everything.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 964.
2. THE STRAIGHT TESTIMONY TO LAODICEA
a. What startling denunciation does Christ give to His professed people? Revelation 3:15, 16.
“The message to the church of the Laodiceans is a startling denunciation and is applicable to the people of God at the present time.”—The Review and Herald, September 16, 1873.
b. What message designed to correct this condition was rejected at the 1888 General Conference held in Minneapolis? Revelation 3:18; 18:1.
“The message given us by A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner is the message of God to the Laodicean church, and woe be unto anyone who professes to believe the truth and yet does not reflect to others the God-given rays.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, p. 92.
“The message and the messengers have not been received but despised. I longed that those who have greatly needed the message of divine love would hear Christ’s knock at the door of the heart, and let the heavenly guest enter. But at the hearts of some Jesus has knocked in vain. In rejecting the message given at Minneapolis, men committed sin. They have committed far greater sin by retaining for years the same hatred against God’s messengers, by rejecting the truth that the Holy Spirit has been urging home.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 913.
“The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 363.
“An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord’s message through Brethren [E.J.] Waggoner and [A.T.] Jones. By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world.”—Ibid., pp.234, 235.
3. KEEPING THE CANDLESTICK BURNING
a. What warning is given to us today? Revelation 2:5; Job 18:5, 6; Jeremiah 25:10.
“When we cease to fulfill our mission, when the candlestick refuses to reflect light, and the great truths committed to us individually in trust for the world are not given to them, then the candlestick will be removed.”—The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.
“We have a message of warning to the church. God says to you, ‘Be zealous and repent.’ ‘I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent’ (Revelation 2:5). Precious time has been squandered in which you might have won souls to Christ—souls that through your love of ease are now lost. Every member of the church should awake to duty now. May God help you to take on the burden. Let the church members pray and fast and believe. Let the hearts of parents be turned to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents, ‘Lest I come,’ saith the Lord, ‘and smite the earth with a curse.’”—Historical Sketches, pp. 286, 287.
“The living Christian is one who has not left his first love, and his candlestick is not removed out of its place.”—The Review and Herald, November 1, 1892.
b. What should we do with the light that we have? Matthew 5:16; Luke 11:33. What do we need in order for our light to shine? Matthew 25:4.
“We are to look to Jesus, to catch His Spirit, to live in the light of His goodness and love, and to reflect His glory upon others.”—My Life Today, p. 200.
“Let the church arise and shine. Let every family practice self-denial, doing all they can to improve their own condition. Those who are truly on the Lord’s side will be self-denying and self-sacrificing. They will eat and drink to the glory of God, refusing to corrupt soul and body by intemperance. Then the condition of the church will testify that her light has not been removed. But if church members do not act the part God has assigned them, the movement of health reform will go on without them, and it will be seen that God has removed their candlestick out of its place. Those who refuse to receive and practice the light will be left in the background.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, p. 339.
4. OIL IN OUR VESSELS
a. What is the similarity between the Laodicean condition and the state of the church represented by the five foolish virgins? Revelation 3:15, 18; Matthew 25:3, 8-10.
“In these sleeping disciples [Jesus] sees a representation of a sleeping church. When they should be watching, they are asleep.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1104.
“The state of the church represented by the foolish virgins is also spoken of as the Laodicean state.”—The Review and Herald, August 19, 1890.
“Though the professed followers of Christ are in a deplorable condition, they are not yet in so desperate a strait as were the foolish virgins whose lamps were going out, and there was no time in which to replenish their vessels with oil. When the bridegroom came, those that were ready went in with him to the wedding; but when the foolish virgins came, the door was shut, and they were too late to obtain an entrance. But the counsel of the True Witness does not represent those who are lukewarm as in a hopeless case. There is yet a chance to remedy their state, and the Laodicean message is full of encouragement; for the backslidden church may yet buy the gold of faith and love, may yet have the white robe of the righteousness of Christ, that the shame of their nakedness need not appear.”—Ibid., August 28, 1894.
b. What is needed by the slumbering, lukewarm church? Matthew 25:4, 7; Leviticus 24:2.
“God calls upon you to shine. With intense solicitude trim your lamps, take the oil of grace in your vessels, and keep your lamps trimmed and burning, that your light may shine bright and clear amid the moral darkness of this world. All who hold the truth should hold it in righteousness and appreciate its value and sacredness. They should ask wisdom of God, that they may send its rays into all the highways and byways of life. If we are sanctified by the truth, our souls will be pervaded by a deep and abiding sense of its importance, and it will be our meat and drink to obey the truth and pass along the precious light to others.”—Ibid., February 7, 1893.
5. LIGHT BEARERS TO THE WORLD
a. What is our work during the judgment period of Laodicea? Revelation 3:19–21; 14:6.
“We have precious light to present before the people, and we rejoice that we have a message for this time which is present truth. The tidings that Christ is our righteousness has brought relief to many, many souls, and God says to His people, ‘Go forward.’”—The Review and Herald, July 23, 1889.
“It is the work of everyone to whom the message of warning has come, to lift up Jesus, to present Him to the world as revealed in types, as shadowed in symbols, as manifested in the revelations of the prophets, as unveiled in the lessons given to His disciples and in the wonderful miracles wrought for the sons of men. Search the Scriptures; for they are they that testify of Him.
“If you would stand through the time of trouble, you must know Christ, and appropriate the gift of His righteousness, which He imputes to the repentant sinner.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 363.
b. What condition within Christ’s remnant church will be a witness to the world? John 17:20, 21; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 3:8, 9.
“It is the will of God that union and brotherly love should exist among His people. . . . While we are not to sacrifice one principle of truth, it should be our constant aim to reach this state of unity.”—
Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 520.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is the sad condition of the church during the Laodicean period?
2. What prevented God’s people from receiving the special power of the Holy Spirit more than 100 years ago?
3. How can we let our light shine?
4. What hope can we have as we consider the difference between Laodicea and the five foolish virgins?
5. What is God’s desire for us at this time?