The seventh church seems to be the most infamous, Laodicea.
Revelation 3:15-19 (HCSB)
15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot.
16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.
18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see.
Laodicea was an important Roman city and in fact “it became one of the most important and flourishing cities of Asia Minor. One of its citizens, Hiero, bequeathed all his enormous property to the people, and adorned the city with costly gifts. It was the seat of large money transactions and of an extensive trade in wood. The citizens developed a taste for Greek art, and were distinguished in science and literature. Laodicea was the seat of a great medical school.” [Word Studies in the New Testament]
Indifference is the hollow religion of Bible study and worship, with no application, zeal or passion for the dying world around you. “You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact, you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.” [Revelation 3:16-17 (MSG)] They heartlessly gathered together in worship services bored with what the preacher said, bored with the same old songs, and anxious for the church gathering to end so they could get back to what they really loved. But they still wanted to go to heaven!
It is plain and simple, with all their wealth, they were indifferent to the world around them. They held their money tight and ignored the most important things of life. But the scripture is clear, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” [1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NLT)]
Their money could not buy what they needed from Christ! And if they actually sacrificed and generously shared their riches, and became rich in good works instead, they would have found true riches. “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” [Luke 12:48 (NKJV)]
This church and all churches today like it are sickening to the Lord. More than worthless, and more than a failure, they were nothing like Jesus. “The image is intensely strong, and denotes deep disgust and loathing at the indifference which prevailed in the church at Laodicea. The idea is, that they would be utterly rejected and cast off as a church: a threatening of which there has been an abundant fulfilment in subsequent times.” [Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical]
Isn’t it sad, the Lord’s reaction to a Biblical sound church is more repulsive to Him than a compromising, sinful church. Having head knowledge and doing little for the dying world heading straight for hell, is so foreign to the loving God, He cannot tolerate it. “Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” [Philippians 2:2-5 (NLT)]
The saddest church is the one so blind that it thinks it is overflowing with God’s blessings when in reality it is a church Christ cannot stand being with! “What a difference between their thoughts of themselves, and the thoughts Christ had of them! How careful should we be not to cheat our own souls! There are many in hell, who once thought themselves far in the way to heaven. Let us beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves. Professors grow proud, as they become carnal and formal.” [Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary]
The only promise this church received was “The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!” [Revelation 3:19 (MSG)] Their scorecard was blank, and they completely failed. Maybe a few would turn around and hear His voice, but this church needed to close down, it did enough damage to the name of Christ Jesus.
EVALUATE YOUR CHURCH WITH CHRIST’S SCORECARD
To properly measure our local churches we must use the same measuring instrument Christ used. We can think our church is blessed and assume God is happy with us by our human wisdom or standards, and yet like the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, be surprised by our Savior. Consider Revelation 2:19, The Lord evaluated a church with this five point score card, “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience;” Jesus tells us He will build His church and tells us how to join him. How does your church stand up to Christ’s evaluation?
1/ Works – from a primary (but obsolete) ergo (to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act :- deed, doing, labour, work. – Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
John 4:34 (HCSB) “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.
[ ] My church spends 20% or more of our ministry budget on reaching the community with the Good News of Jesus.
Matthew 28: 19,20 (KJV) “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
[ ] My church plans and creates environments that attract unchurched guests.
Luke 13:32 (HCSB)
32 He said to them, “Go tell that fox, ‘Look! I’m driving out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete My work.’
Acts 4:29 (MSG)
29 “And now they’re at it again! Take care of their threats and give your servants fearless confidence in preaching your Message,
[ ] My church focuses its prayer meetings on the unchurched and asks God to give us boldness and power to spread the Good News.
Matthew 24:46 (NCV)
46 When the master comes and finds the servant doing his work, the servant will be blessed.
Luke 11:23 (NLT)
23 “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
[ ] My church uses 20% or more of our staff and volunteers on outreach projects.
2/ Love – from (agapao); love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast :- (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love. – Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
John 13:34-35 (MSG)
34 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. 35 This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
[ ] My church actually gets involved in the lives of the congregation and sacrifices and helps each other with real needs on a consistent basis.
3/ Service – from (diakonos); attendance (as a servant, etc.); figurative (eleemosynary) aid, (official) service (especially of the Christian teacher, or technical of the diaconate) :- (ad-) minister (-ing, -tration, -try), office, relief, service (-ing). – Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT)
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me.I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Matthew 5:15-16 (NLT)
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
[ ] My church does events to do good deeds for the community
[ ] My church actively gathers clothing to help the poor and homeless
[ ] My church actively cares for the sick if no one is helping them
[ ] My church actively has food or grocery store cards available for the hungry
[ ] My church actively supports and helps Christian inmates
1 Timothy 5:9-10 (NKJV)
9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, 10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.
[ ] My church actively cares for the physical needs of the people of the church
[ ] My church actively holds up families suffering from whatever reasons
1 Timothy 5:16 (Phillips NT)
As a general rule it should be taken for granted that any Christian, man or woman, who has a widow in the family should do everything possible for her, and not allow her to become the church’s responsibility. The church will then be free to look after those widows who are alone in the world.
[ ] My church keeps a role of widows and helps them regularly in their loneliness and needs
James 1:27 (Phillips NT)
27 Religion that is pure and genuine in the sight of God the Father will show itself by such things asvisiting orphans and widows in their distress and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.
[ ] My church actively loves the orphans locally or globally
1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)
10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
[ ] My church encourages us to serve each other
4/ Faith – from (peitho); persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstract constancy in such profession; by extensive the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself :- assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity. – Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
19 Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 20 Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
13 Yet we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, I have believed, and therefore have I spoken. We too believe, and therefore we speak,
20 All this that I am telling you is, I assure you before God, the plain truth. Later, I visited districts in Syria and Cilicia, but I was still personally unknown to the churches of Judea. All they knew of me, in fact, was the saying: “The man who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they thanked God for what had happened to me.2 Thessalonians 1:11 (NLT)
11 So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.
6 As for me, I feel that the last drops of my life are being poured out for God. The glorious fight that God gave me I have fought. The course that I was set I have finished, and I have kept the faith. The future for me holds the crown of righteousness which God, the true judge, will give to those who have loved what they have seen of him.[ ] My church ignites faith in our people to speak out and do good things because that is what faith is2 Timothy 2:2 (AMP)
2 And the [instructions] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also.[ ] My church skillfully equips people in the faith and raises up leaders from inside the church
5/ Patience – from (hupomeno); cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy :- enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting). – Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
12 Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.
15 But as for that [seed] in the good soil, these are [the people] who, hearing the Word, hold it fast in a just (noble, virtuous) and worthy heart, and steadily bring forth fruit with patience.[ ] My church has a clear vision and plan to keep on track to work for and please the Lord
*Add your own scorecard questions and statements based on the Lord’s Five Point ScoreCard. Make sure you are not satisfied with yourselves, but instead open your eyes to what the Lord Jesus actually rates your church, repent, and change to make sure you are highly rated and valuable to Him in these last days. God Bless!