Saturday, September 13, 2008

How's The Water?

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
-Rev. 3:15-16

We all know what the word lukewarm means. It’s the transitional condition of having been warm or hot, but now being neither cold nor hot. This word-picture would have had an immediate take-hold comprehension for the Laodicean Church because the water they drank every day was indeed lukewarm.

The nearby city of Hierapolis was famous for its hot springs. Nearby Colossae, noted for its cold, refreshing mountain stream. But Laodicea had dirty, tepid water that flowed for miles through an underground aqueduct. Visitors, unaccustomed to it, immediately spat it out. Jesus used this situation and said, “Just as the water you drink is disgustingly lukewarm, you are lukewarm. . . .”

In the spiritual sense, lukewarmness is a picture of indifference and compromise. It pictures churchgoers who try (sometimes with great pride) to play the middle-ground, having just enough of Jesus to satisfy a craving for religion, but not enough to bear fruit or offer eternal life.

There is probably no greater barrier to evangelism than the curse of empty religion. There is no soul harder to reach than the one who has just enough of Jesus to think they know it all. The church of Laodicea is a perfect illustration of this. The harlots of the day were more open to Jesus than the scribes and Pharisees -- in very much the same way today that it is easier to reach an un-churched and completely biblically illiterate sinner on the street with the message of salvation than it is to reach the religious sinner sitting in a pew with a fifth-grade knowledge of Scripture. In the time of the Laodicean Church – and today -- Satan prizes a lukewarm religious person far more than a cold-hearted sinner. He can do far more damage to God’s Church with a religious person.

Are you a lukewarm Christian? Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected and they do not want to make people uncomfortable. Lukewarm people gauge their morality by comparing themselves to others. They are satisfied to compare themselves to other people rather than see themselves in the light of God’s Word. Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at a young age and were baptized. Some lukewarm Christians feel secure because they come from a Christian family or simply because they live in America.

Matthew 7:14 remind us how prevalent the problem of lukewarmnes is:

“Because strait is the gate, and marrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Are you a lukewarm Christian? What’s the water temperature like in your life. Would people unaccustomed to it – like the visitors to Laodicea -- immediately spit it out? How about Jesus? Would He spit you out?

- Pastor Mark E. Goossen