Neither Cold nor Hot
Revelation 3:14-16 NIV
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
“These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
What this says here is descriptive of much of today’s modern American church. Some of them always were Christians in name only, but never in practice. Others were Christians in practice, but they drifted away from their pure devotion to the Lord, and they became lukewarm.
These are those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, yet they are neither opposed to Jesus Christ nor are they on fire for him. They do have an element of devotion to him, but they are also devoted to the world. They attend weekly church services, and they may read their Bibles and pray, but their lives are not much different from the world.
They go through the motions of Christianity, but they aren’t sold out to Jesus Christ. He is not truly their Lord and master. For they are still deciding their own life course. He is not much a consideration in their normal daily routines, but he is more like an add on to their lives.
So, our Lord is on the precipice of spitting them out of his mouth, of not acknowledging them before the Father, but of disowning them, for they have disowned him as their Lord and master (ruler of their lives) and they have followed after the ways of the world, instead.
I Counsel You
Revelation 3:17-18 NIV
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”
Many people professing faith in Jesus Christ are quite content with their lukewarm Christian lives. They see their Christianity as normal, for that is often what is modeled for them by their parents and by their fellow Christians with whom they fellowship on a weekly basis. So, they don’t see (or they won’t see) that something is missing, that it isn’t right.
They often see “church” as a building or as a place you go each week to worship God and to fellowship with other believers in Jesus. And “worship” is often reduced to singing a few “worship” songs before a sermon, and “fellowship” is often not much different from what the world experiences.
Belief in Jesus is often a formality, too, often a one-time decision made at an altar or a mere acknowledgment of who Jesus is and of what he did for us, but not a lifetime commitment to obedient faith in Jesus Christ in surrender to his will for our lives.
So, the Lord is counseling this lukewarm church to accept and to obtain from him, by faith in him, true faith, true salvation which results in repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord (owner-master) of their lives, and which results in them surrendering their lives to the Lord Jesus.
They are to receive from him purity of faith and devotion to the Lord which results in forsaking our sinful practices and following our Lord Jesus in purity of devotion to him. It results in us no longer being enslaved to sin but us being slaves of God and of his righteousness.
They are to now be totally surrendered to Jesus Christ to do his will, to go where he sends them and to do and to say whatever he commands. He is to be their Lord 24/7, guiding and directing them in the way that they should go. They are to be his full-time, not just when it suits their purposes.
They are to no longer have one foot in the world and one foot in the church, or in Christianity. A line has been drawn in the sand and they have to choose which side they want to be on, for they can no longer ride the middle line. Lukewarm will not fly when Jesus returns to take his bride to be with him.
I Stand at the Door
Revelation 3:19-22 NIV
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
“To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The church which is lukewarm today has shut out the Holy Spirit and they are operating by the flesh. They have pushed Jesus right out of the church gatherings, and some of them literally push out of their congregations those who are following Jesus Christ in wholehearted devotion, too.
So, Jesus is knocking on their hearts’ door, and he is letting them know that if they will hear his voice and if they will open their hearts to let him be their Lord (owner-master) that he will enter into fellowship with them and they with him. But this involves true repentance. They must die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.
And this is not just about individuals turning their hearts and lives over to Jesus Christ, but this is about the church collectively surrendering the operation of the church over to Jesus Christ and letting him be Lord and letting him grow his church his way and not man’s ways.
Some people see the church in Laodicea as a symbol of the last days apostate church, and they see no hope for that church. But that is not what this passage teaches. This message is filled with hope! Yes, the lukewarm church will be spit out of Jesus’ mouth if they do not repent, but if they will repent, and if they will make him Lord, they have hope and a future.
Those who are victorious over sin, and over their enemy Satan, and over the flesh, and over lukewarmness and complacency, and who surrender their all to Jesus Christ, and who get on fire for him, to walk in obedience to his commands, they will have eternal life with God.
But for those who remain lukewarm, who do not surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, who do not make him Lord of their lives, and who do not forsake their sins to follow him in obedience, Jesus will not acknowledge them before the Father when he returns. And they will die in their sins.
Jesus Christ never taught a lukewarm gospel. He always taught being fully surrendered to him. He taught that we must deny self and daily die to sin and self and to follow him in obedience. He taught that we must lose our lives for his sake in order to gain them for eternity. So, take this to heart.
Turn from your sins today. And follow Jesus in obedience. Reject lukewarm Christianity and all that goes along with it, and choose to follow Jesus today in wholehearted devotion, fully committed to him and to his will for your life.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:7; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]
Seek the Lord
An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”