Revelation 3:14-17 ESV
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.’”
The Lukewarm Church
If we are lukewarm, we are halfhearted, indifferent, apathetic (dispirited, lazy, unconcerned) and tepid (lax, casual, careless). We are neither totally against Jesus and his gospel nor are we passionately for him and his gospel. We are worldly, unconcerned about spiritual matters, for the most part, not walking in the fear of the Lord, although we may hold to some boundaries.
The Lord is not pleased with those who profess his name but who largely ignore him and his teachings and his moral laws for how we ought to live. They are basically useless to him because, for although they may be going through the motions of religious practice, their lives are not surrendered to Jesus Christ, but they are still lord over their own lives and practices.
Lukewarm Christians are not much different from the people of the world other than for the fact that they profess faith in Jesus, they loosely believe in Jesus and in the Scriptures, they may have some moral codes they follow, and they are engaged in some religious practices. Other than that, their lives are worldly, largely given over to the desires of the flesh.
And from my observations, from what I have read on blogs, on social media, and on Christian discussion sites, as well as from what I have experienced in many institutional churches, and from sermons I have heard in person as well as on the internet, and from books and articles I have read, the majority of the church in America is lukewarm and very worldly.
So, if the Lord is about to spit this American (or any) lukewarm church out of his mouth, what would that mean? I believe it means that he will deny them as belonging to him because they denied him by their lifestyles (practices) and by their lack of obedience. For whoever denies Jesus before other humans, he will also deny before his Father who is in heaven.
[Matt 10:33; 2 Tim 2:12; 2 Tim 3:5; Tit 1:16; 2 Pet 2:1; Jude 1:4]
But the problem is not just that. The problem is that so many worldly Christians today are not willing to see that they are on the wrong path. They think that because they “believe” in Jesus that they are good to go and so how they live will not really impact their eternity or their salvation. So, they take God and his grace for granted and have no fear of God.
Revelation 3:18-19 ESV
“’I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.’”
Be Zealous and Repent
Most of this is to be taken metaphorically. Without going into all of this word for word, the bottom line here is that Jesus wants all lukewarm Christians to forsake their lives of mediocrity and apathy, and he wants followers who will be pure in heart, in mind, and in conduct, who will be on fire for him, who will drink from the riches of His grace, and who will obey him in all things.
Instead of denying Jesus with their lives, he wants those who will deny self, who will take up their cross daily (daily die to sin), and who will follow him in obedience to his ways. For that really is the crux of the gospel of our salvation, that we might die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness, no longer as slaves to sin but as slaves to righteousness.
And then there is a warning here of some type of divine correction and discipline, so they need to be zealous about Jesus and their faith and his gospel, committed to Christ and to his works, to doing the will of God. And they also need to repent (to turn away from) their laziness and apathy and now be passionate about Jesus and walks of holiness and purity.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
Revelation 3:20-22 ESV
“’Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
Let Him Back Inside
The church is not a physical building, so this is not a physical door to a physical building. The church is the body of Christ, the people of God, comprised of all who believe in Jesus with genuine faith, who have died with Christ to sin, who have been resurrected with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, and who have been delivered from their slavery to sin.
Now this particular group of Christians have become spiritually lazy and unconcerned about following Jesus in obedience and about living godly and holy lives for the glory of God. They have become worldly, and largely they have shut Jesus out of their lives. So, he is knocking on their heart’s door to let him back into their lives and to have pure fellowship with him.
For, if we say we are in fellowship with the Lord, but we walk (in conduct, in practice) in darkness (sin), we are liars. This could mean that they don’t know the Lord at all or never have, or it could mean that they are out of fellowship with the Lord due to sinful practices in their lives. So, they need to walk in the light (truth, righteousness) as God is in the light (1 Jn 1:5-9).
And I can vouch for the fact that Jesus is indeed knocking on hearts’ doors, and he is calling to his wayward and adulterous people to leave their sins and their idols and to let him back into their lives to be their true Lord and Master, and for them to now follow him in his ways, in his truth, and in his righteousness. For, this is one of the reasons why God called me to share his word with his people daily.
And if you are to be one who conquers, it means that you have repented of your sins of spiritual apathy and of lukewarmness, and you have now forsaken all your sins and your idols, and you have opened your heart’s door to let Jesus back in as Lord and Master of your life, and now you are following him in righteous living and in obedience to all he commands.
Thus, you will have the assurance of salvation from sin and eternal life with God, plus you will be at peace with the Lord, and you will be in true and productive fellowship with him, and you will know his blessings, and God will use you in other people’s lives to be a light for Christ and for his gospel, and you will love the Lord and you will desire him and you will want to obey him.
Broken and Contrite
An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.