The nakedness of the 21st century church

Published 5:40 am Sunday, January 27, 2019

The seven churches of Revelation are a fascinating study. For four of the seven churches, God had some compliments and some ridicule. For two of the churches, Smyrna and Philadelphia, God had no complaints, only praise. Laodicea, however, was the opposite of Smyrna and Philadelphia, God had nothing good to say about the church of the Laodiceans.

Laodicea is the last of the seven; therefore, it is representative of the final dispensation of the church age. The characteristics of the Laodicean church will be the characteristics of the majority of churches when Jesus calls us home in the rapture.

Since churches are made up of individual Christians, it is not a far stretch to say that many professing Christians will be Laodicean in character as well. Every church that has ever existed can point to a church from Revelation and say, “There we are.” Which type of Revelation church are you and your church?

Email newsletter signup

Ephesus was the hardest working of the seven, but they had lost their first love. Serving Christ, at first, was done because they loved Him, but alas, now the work was done because it was their duty; their heart was not in it anymore.

Sardis was dying, but it had a few that had stayed faithful.

There are others, but back to the topic at hand.

Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) was lukewarm, apathetic, making God sick to His stomach. The church lacked faith; they had little or no reliance on God. They did not know that spiritually they were, “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

The nakedness of the 21st century church needs addressing. Could it be that many in the church today, many professing to be Christians are not saved? If the Laodicean church was spiritually naked, they had no spiritual garments on at all.

Isaiah 61:10, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”

There is a spiritual garment of salvation. Clothing that only God can see, but every true Christian wears one. The New Testament also emphasizes these unseen spiritual garments. The church, as the bride of Christ, will adorn herself with a linen garment which is her salvation. Revelation 19:8, “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.”

Christ tells a parable about a man who comes to a wedding without a wedding garment. The king has the man cast into outer darkness (Matthew 22:1-13). There may be people impersonating Christians in the church, but God can see the lack of a wedding garment.

The connections between the above verses from Isaiah, Matthew and Revelation are too significant to ignore. When a person has salvation, God places on him or her a linen garment of salvation and a robe of righteousness.

We are to “put on Christ” (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27). Christ is our righteousness: 1 Corinthians 1:30, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”

Again a reminder, the people in the church of Laodicea were naked.

In Matthew 13 Jesus tells a parable about tares being mixed in with the good crop. The tares are separated at the harvest and burned. The connotation is that there are unsaved in the church that are unrecognizable except to the harvester, which is God. It appears that God knows who the tares are because they are naked and the Christians have on the spiritual linen of salvation.

One last thing about the Laodicean church; Christ stood on the outside knocking on the door (Revelation 3:20). God promises us that, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). If He is in the middle wherever two or three believers are, and He is knocking from the outside of the building, can we conclude the people inside the Laodicean church are unsaved? Again, they were naked spiritually.

How is your church spiritually? Which Revelation church is it? However, more important; how are you spiritually? Are you naked?

Timothy Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Kingman, Indiana. Email: Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points and sermons can be found at