- Revelation 3:14-16 “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.
First, before I share my thoughts on this subject, I would like to mention two web pages from “Biblereasons” blog. The first gives a number of bullet points and passages about lukewarm Christians. The second gives a bunch of passages about denying God. I highly recommend you read each one carefully.
We live in a world that fears offense. To offend another, no matter the reason, constitutes one of the greatest evils possible within our families and society. And for this reason, many believers of Jesus have not shared their faith, even once, with those close to them.
Yet, the Bible clearly lays out that we will offend others. Jesus himself states (John 15:19) “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” James went so far as to say, James 4:4 “You unfaithful people! Don’t you know that love for this [evil] world is hatred toward God? Whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God.” Eleven of the twelve died sharing the gospel. They did not set out to die by yelling rudely at officials. Rather, the truth of the gospel, which cuts sharper than a two edged sword, wounded those who listened, and in retaliation, they murdered these faithful men.
The Bible warns us to count the cost of following Christ. In Luke 14, Jesus says, “26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?”
And, yet, many Christians have lost their zeal, passion and desire to share Christ. Some never had that to begin with. This concerns me for two reasons. First, God deserves our utmost. He created us, gave His Son for us, and we should reflect His glory whenever possible Second, the Bible commands us to examine ourselves to make sure we have saving faith. While our good works will not get us into heaven, the Bible points out that faith without works is not saving faith, but simply mental assent.
This last line requires a bit of unpacking. First, read the second half of James 2.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[b] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
Saving faith leads to repentance of sin, and a born again life. The Bible makes it clear that when one is born again, they are a new creation, old things are washed away, and all things are made new. Of course, this refers to the spiritual direction of the heart. A born again follower has different priorities, desires and passions than when he lived for himself under the control of sin.
To return to my original point, when we live lukewarm lives, that looks very similar to the world around us, it shows evidence that our lives lack that transformation and, by extension, means we may have never had saving faith. And that, my friends, should concern us. Jesus said He would spit out those who He considered lukewarm. What about you? Are you on fire for God? Are you passionate to share the gospel with those around you? Or, have you allowed the concerns of this world to cool off those flames and make you lukewarm?