Revelation 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (NKJV)
The title of this series is a famous line from the Star Wars movie where Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker that he is his father. In the same way, this letter in Revelation was written to the church at Laodicea, and God is saying, “lukewarm, lukewarm… I am your Father. I am displeased. Change your ways.”
This verse about being lukewarm has always been one of the most disturbing Bible verses for me. Why? Well honestly, I guess it’s because I worry about whether or not I’m lukewarm, or more accurately, to WHAT DEGREE I am.
When I look at my life honestly, there are just too many things I’m complacent about, too many things that I don’t have a healthy fear of, too many things that don’t bother me when they should and too many things I just go along with because they seem inevitable. In essence, it’s a Christian numbness, like getting a big dose of morphine in your spirit. It’s a desensitization to a huge variety of things that should get our attention, should merit change, should cause us to weep, should call us to action and should result in us fearing that we have become lukewarm.
More often though, we do the “two second rule” like you do driving. As long we stay two seconds behind the world’s standard we feel pretty “Godly”. Or as long was we are identifiably “more Christian” than those who don’t care one way or the other, then by comparison, we’re “hot”. But are we “hot” for God by using His measuring stick?
You know, the Christian life is about joy and freedom and liberty and peace. That doesn’t translate into God’s acceptance of spiritual mediocrity and a ho-hum casual approach to our Christian walk. The Bible constantly reminds us to be alert, be on guard and evaluate our life for this dreaded lukewarmness:
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (NKJV)
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (NKJV)
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (NKJV)
I have often wondered what some of these “tests” might be. How can we stick a spiritual thermometer in our heart to see the degree of our lukewarmness? How do we exam our lives for spiritual morphine that is dulling down our zeal and holiness? Over the next several days I’d like to present a number of questions that, at least for me, give plenty to think about concerning my own life. I hope they will do the same for you. This will admittedly be a “heavy” series. Lukewarmness is never a light subject and it will take some spiritual courage to dive into it. I’m not even going to offer commentary, just questions. This is strictly for the benefit of your own soul searching. We’ll do a couple of questions today, then continue with the list over the next few days.
Before we begin though, it’s important for you to be able to recognize the difference between condemnation, which you are free from (Romans 8:1), and conviction, which God uses to tell us something is wrong in our life (John 16:8). Condemnation comes from Satan in the form of self-focused false guilt. Condemnation will be vague, degrading and leave you feeling hopeless. Conviction comes from God and is the feeling that something is wrong but God tells us specifically what to change to make things “right”. Conviction is uplifting because it brings Godly correction and leaves us feeling blessed and hopeful. Keep this distinction in mind as you consider that questions that follow.
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Do you think about lost souls? When was the last time you actually talked to someone about Jesus Christ, sin, hell and salvation? When was the last time you purposely started a conversation about the state of someone’s eternal destiny? Do you see people and routinely wonder whether they are saved or not? Is one of the first concerns you have about people is their salvation? Do you see people first and foremost as helpless sinners in need of a Savior? Do you think about people being lost, just like you once were?
- 2 Corinthians 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV)
- 1 Corinthians 9:16-17 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. (NKJV)
- Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (NKJV)
- 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NKJV)
- Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (NKJV)
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I realize this is spiritually heavy. My intention is not to pick on our weaknesses which are plenty easy targets. My intention is not to beat up people. My intention is certainly not to pretend that all these questions don’t apply to me because the very motivation of writing them stemmed from personal evaluation of my own life.
Lukewarmness makes God want to throw up.
My intention is to draw your attention to what God thinks about lukewarmness. The good news is that God makes it clear that He loves the people He wrote this warning too. So you can be sure He loves us too and simply warns us for our own good. The church as Laodicea was rich, content, materialistic and satisfied with their “goodness”. This accurately describes the western church today in general. Given that, we are fairly warned and wise to heed the rebuke offered to them: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev 3:19-21; NKJV; emphasis mine)
Lord God, Help us seriously think about what is lukewarm in our life and seek to change it immediately. Help us to realize how disgusting it is to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: My intention is to draw your attention to what God thinks about lukewarmness. The good news is that God makes it clear that He loves the people He wrote this warning too about being lukewarm. So you can be sure He loves us too and simply warns us for our own good. The church as Laodicea was rich, content, materialistic and satisfied with their “goodness”. This accurately describes the western church today in general. Given that, we are fairly warned and wise to heed the rebuke offered to them: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev 3:19-21; NKJV; emphasis mine)
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?