The First Stages of Spiritual Decline
Revelation 3:14-22
And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things said the Amen, the faithful and true witness…

If the Christian's progress may be likened to a steep and difficult ascent, we may compare his first beginnings of decline to the slow and doubtful motion of some heavy substance from which the force is removed which caused it to ascend, while the impetus is not yet gained which will shortly urge it down its headlong, unresisted course. Betwixt ceasing to mount upwards and beginning to fall back, there is an awful moment of suspense. Or, to use another illustration, when the tide has risen to its height there is still-water for a time, before the ebbing waves begin to retire. Just so with the business of the soul.


1. We may first describe the state to which the Lord refers in the message to Laodicea as a state of great spiritual insensibility.

2. Another symptom of lukewarmness in religion may be discovered in the influence which the opinions and the example of the world exert upon us. Why not preserve just so much of religion as will satisfy the meagre demands of a sleepy conscience, and yet enjoy the pleasures, and pursue with breathless haste the riches, of the world? The attempt is vain!

3. But, further, that Laodicean spirit which the text describes, betrays itself at length in a decay of zeal for God. Does it cause you but little sorrow that the Saviour of the world should still be an outcast from so large and fair a portion of His inheritance? Have you no bowels of mercies for a perishing world?


1. The first that strikes us arises from the very nature of spiritual religion. For it is a contest against a corrupt nature. All the natural aids are on the side of sin: the world and the flesh are banded in one common cause. So that to lose ground in religion is not merely to risk our souls by wasting those advantages we have gained, but, further, it is to arm our enemies; it is to give to them the advantages which we have lost: for the attractive power of sin increases as we approach it.

2. The danger of this state is increased by the circumstance that there is in it nothing which at first excites alarm. For it is not a lapse into open sin. It does not amount to a rejection of the gospel. After all, the lukewarm Christian, compared with the multitude, is a religious man. And all this serves to soothe and to quiet his conscience.

(J. B. Marsden, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

WEB: "To the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write: "The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of God's creation, says these things:

The Epistle to the Church in Laodicea
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