REVELATION 3:15-16: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: What causes one to become lukewarm in their devotion to Jesus Christ? As I look at my walk of faith, am I hot, cold, or lukewarm? Is there even such a thing as lukewarm faith?
When something is lukewarm it is not useful for anything. People enjoy a piping hot cup of coffee or a nice iced coffee, but who enjoys a lukewarm cup of coffee. Have you ever put your foot into a lukewarm tub of water? How about a delicious bowl of lukewarm soup? You get the picture. No wonder Jesus said – “…because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
These are strong words. Yet, they are words of love and truth. It is easy for people to convince themselves they are walking in faith when they are not. James expresses it this way in his epistle.
- “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” James 2:19-20 NKJV
To James, faith without works, the evidence of obedience and God’s righteousness working through us, is no faith at all. A mere belief in God and church attendance will not cut it. To believe we are in right standing with God, simply because we surround ourselves with the trappings of faith, is to be lukewarm. Jesus would rather we be honest with Him and ourselves. It is better to be on fire for God or simply dismiss Him altogether. We cannot walk the fence between Jesus and the world.
What is the evidence of being lukewarm? What is the test we can apply to our lives to make sure we are on fire for God? When a person is lukewarm they are not aware of their deep spiritual need. They are self-righteous, complacent, and satisfied. They are fully unaware of their true spiritual condition. Jesus says,
- “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—”. Revelation 3:17 NKJV
What does it mean to be on fire for God? It means that we know and understand our true condition without Him. Without Jesus, we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. We realize that we are in desperate need of His daily forgiveness, cleansing, and grace. We run to Him and hear His words…
- “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:18-19 NKJV
To be on fire for God is to realize our need for Him. To be zealous literally means to be heated and brought to a boil. If this is not the definition of being hot, I don’t know what is. And, Jesus links this action with another important act – repentance. When we realize our need for Jesus Christ we live in a posture and attitude of repentance. This is what it means to be on fire for God! Anything less is really to be cold. There is no place for a lukewarm response in the call to faith.
I think it is wonderful how this letter from Jesus to the church of Laodicea ends. In essence, this church has pushed Jesus out of their lives. He is not in their midst, but He is now standing outside. Yet, He does not turn His back on this church. Jesus stands at the door and He knocks! He calls out to them with a wonderful invitation to be restored.
- “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.” Revelation 3:20-21 NKJV
This morning I need to take my temperature. Am I hot, cold, or lukewarm? Am I self-righteous, complacent, and satisfied, or am I aware of my deep need for Jesus? Have I pushed Jesus off the throne of my heart, or have I welcomed Him anew as my Savior and Lord? Whatever the answer – He stands knocking. His promise to forgive, cleanse, and restore, is extended to me. I have a choice to welcome Him in or to ignore His invitation.
The question I must answer is – “Am I listening?”
- “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:22 NKJV
In Jesus Name!