Wiehann de Klerk
Lukewarm Is Not An Option
Updated: May 24, 2021
To be lukewarm is to be less than what you are called to be, what you were born to be. Let go of your calling, and you let go of what God sees in you.
In Revelation 3:14–21, we read about the Lukewarm Church of the Laodiceans, and specifically in verse 15 and 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." Here, what the Lord desribes is something that many Christians misquote regularly - anyone that has grown up in a Christian circle will be aware of the term, "lukewarm Christian," a term used to characterize the life of a Christian who is nominal and average in their approach and believes. However, just because everyone uses this term doesn't mean that its right. So, firstly, I would like to bust this myth, as Jesus is not saying that it is better to not believe (i.e. be cold) than to be indifferent (i.e. lukewarm)? Jesus is not saying that its okay to be on fire for Him, or not to be, rather than be inbetween because Jesus would never say its okay to turn away from Him - why would our saviour condone us to a life that leads to Hell? Instead, what Jesus is desribing in this passage is the "lukewarm" heart of those in a specific church, namely the Laodicean church who were, at the time, manifesting this through their deeds. They were not hot, they were not cold, they were lukewarm. Jesus gave this rebuke specifically to the church in Laodicia. Now, lets understand exactly what Jesus was saying. If you think about hot water, you think about cleansing, purification; cold, you think about a refreshing or cooling. To the contrary, lukewarm water carries no value. The Laodiceans recieved drinking water through an aqueduct, from a spring about five to six miles south. These aquaeducts were constructed by the Romans to move water from springs and other sources to the cities and towns. These systems were not as modern as the systems we use and take for granted today, there was no localisation of heat - if the water was hot to begin with, by the time it made it out the pipe five miles later, little heat was left. Yet, the water wasn't cold either. It was a detestable lukewarm water, nothing like the hot springs for bathing, or the refreshing cold water for drinking. Simply lukewarm, useless. Infact, it was nauseating - the water lost its hotness and never became cold. This was the response from the Lord to the church in Laodicia - they sickened Him, they were good for nothing, and so "I will vomit you out of My mouth." The Loadicean church has lost its zeal, energy and enthusiasm, completely lazy and complacent, wholly unacceptable to God. It was the deeds of the church that failed to resemble the value of hot water on a cold day or cold water on a hot day; their deeds were of no value.
In Revelations 3:17, we read, "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." It is, by ones deeds, we can see their spiritual state. Jesus denotes to this in Matthew 7:16-17, where He says, "By their fruit you will recognize them, Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” And “Every good tree bears good fruit." Clearly, the lukewarm deeds of the Laodicean church was not resembling those of a hot or cold Christian; the fruits of "poorness, blindess and nakeness" depicts christians who are lukewarm in their spiritual walks. It is out of love, that the words, "I will spit you out of my mouth" were said. Jesus doesn't want His Church to have these fruits, he wants them to be hot or cold, useful to the kingdom. He wants the best for His Church, and the Loadicean church didn't know where their paths were leading them. A life lived according to the gospel is a life filled with deeds, not words; life lived with continous longevity of actions, not dreams. Jesus, when He speaks of fruit is speaking about the importance of what is left behind, what affect we have - are we lukewarm and distasteful, or we hot and/or cold? He is looking for the fruits that lead unto holiness, not those of selfishness and pride, the fruits of the Laodicean church.
In many aspects, what is referred to here is the outcome of unprofitable servanthood in the kingdom. In Matthew 25:30, at the of the end of The Parable of the Talents, we read, "And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." More comes to those who are profitable, and to those who are unprofitable, more will be taken away. When it comes to things profitable to God, with respect to God, the list equates to zero; nothing can profit Him and no man can be profitable to Him, for He is God, therefore, he that is wise, a profitable servant can be profitable to himself as well as those around him. To the contrary, an unprofitable man is unprofitable to himself, not improving or making use of the talents given to him; unprofitable to others, not useful concerning the justification of sinners nor the edification of the church; unprofitable to his master, bringing no honour and bearing no interest; unprofitable to the kingdom, not spreading the Gospel, and to conclude, essentially good for nothing, lukewarm, to be casted "into the outer darkness." Many might read this, and think what has he done and why such harsh repercussions, I mean, was his actions truly deserving of such a punishment? What we see here is not what was done to deserve punishment; but what was not: Charged for being slothful, and unprofitable, for being lukewarm, instead of hot or cold. The servant who hides the talent is the servant who cares about his own advantage. The caring of ones own advantage is a problem that the Laodicean church also had - they were concerned about their economic status, wealth and self-reliance. Lukewarm therefore means being prosperous and self-sufficient through the efforts of self, out of fellowship with Jesus. When we are lukewarm, we say "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," dangeours words displacing reliance on Jesus and embracing reliance on self; unprofitable to those around us, but profitable to self.
There is an increasing level of Christian men and women who are being overwhelmed by or engaged in the secular things. A great deal of interests, whether hobbies, movies, literature or other, are of great importance to many and suck up a large proportion of the energy in the Church. I do not despise these interests as many of them come from our creativity which is a gift from God for us to enjoy, however, I do hope to appeal to your zeal - you are "the salt of the earth" - Matthew 5:13. Go where you like, but remain salty, and carry about our Fathers business. If we do not salt the world, the world must be putrefying us, and if this is the case, we are lukewarm. We are, in verse 14, the "light of the world,"and a "town built on a hill" that "cannot be hidden." But, as it says in verse 16, you need to "let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." It is only through the display of good deeds that we showcase our willingness to do the will of the Father, to let go of our own unprofitable reliance on self. These good deeds are those of cold refreshing water, or boiling hot water, useful in its ways. We must let the world see the good deeds, deeds of zeal; our faithfulness, integrity and diligence; our strict regard to truth, and; our concerned effort to share the gospel. God has designed it so that we display to the world who we are, to manifest our spiritual characters, not only our traits such as love and faith, but our will, affections and aims. God's intention is not the locking away of the goodness of the Gospel in the hearts of His servants, an unseen treasure passing as dust in the wind from birth to grave; but a display of light that could inspirit others. We are His witnesses in the world, to bear witness to the truth and power of the Gospel. How can we inspire action or greatness in others with nauseating water, lukewarm at its best? We are to shine our light: Be a cold drink to those who thirst, need refreshing or cooling, and; a hot spring to those who need healing, cleansing and purification. The diference between the display of our light and the secrecy of it is dependent on the level of corrupt notion in the heart - there is a the tug-of-war between true Christianity and secret Christianity in the hearts of all. Being a Christian based on feeling without active manifestation, or a true Christian but one who doesn't witness to any is animated Christianity. The Gospel states that goodness is to be a visible form, a light that can be seen in the darkness, a beacon of hope, and, without it, its not goodness at all.
The world is in desperate need of light - men are in darkness, do not know God; are burdened by a guilty conscience and know not why it is there, nor how it can be removed, and; are living lives filled with sin, but do not know the consequences, nor the path of forgiveness. The Lord came to be the light, and teach us the Gospel, and also, how we are a light in the world: We are not the light, but Christ within us is, and in our own places of influence, we dispel darkness. If we look back at Matthew 5:15, what we see is the importance of making our light available to be seen - "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Its about the position we take up. If our lamp is on the floor or under a bowl, or hidden in any way, its rays are not as useful as it will be if it was to be placed on a stand, or better yet, hung from a ceiling. In addition, we are to remove things that hide our light, firstly by disregarding the secular things, instead of saying "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," we say, "I have need of nothing when I have Jesus." Moreover, its about the disregard of self rather than the display of self, that, by shining our light, God can be glorified, not us.
"They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed" - Titus 1:16
Let's pray - "Father, I thank you for each and every person that reads this blog, and I thank you that they are made for a time such as this. Provide them with strength again to break down strongholds and be movers and shakers in this world."
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