I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” Revelation 3:15-16 NLT
Jesus sees everything we do! He knows everything about us! The church in Laodicea was "lukewarm". Lukewarm is an indifferent position between hot or cold. The word "neutral" could be applied as a synonym. The church wasn't hot or cold. Being neutral is a position of indifference. Indifference to doctrinal error and sin is deadly. Personally, I like to drink my milk, orange juice, or sweet tea very cold. For all of you coffee drinkers, I know you prefer your coffee hot. I am not a coffee drinker, personally. I have never drank a cup of coffee in my life. My dad drank it like it was his life's blood. My brother is a lot like my dad. A cup of lukewarm coffee is like sour milk, fit to be thrown out the door! When Jesus declared the condition of the church in Laodicea as lukewarm He was comparing their spiritual condition to the water that fed the city. Lukewarm is fit for nothing but spewing. I can imagine the picture in my mind of Jesus spewing the lukewarm church out of his mouth. Have you ever poured a glass of milk to drink, placed it to your lips and taken a big gulp, only to spit it right back out because it was sour? This is the idea that comes to my mind when I read this passage of scripture. Unfit for consumption. Good for nothing. The church of Laodicea was financially solid, materially overflowing, medically advanced, and educationally privileged. However, they were spiritually unfit. Jesus spoke with strong rebuke to this church. His assessment of their condition was straightforward. When someone is dying, the doctor shouldn't flatter them with words about how well they are. Instead, the doctor should hold a prompt meeting with the patient to discuss the diagnosis, possible treatments, surgery, or other options and then give a medical prognosis. This is exactly what Jesus did (the Great Physician) with the churches. We don't need preachers who are going to flatter the congregants with words of commendation when they are lost and dying. What we need is the straightforward preaching of the Word of God to assess our condition, diagnose it, and give us the cure. Like Laodicea, we, in America, are swimming in our financial success, materially overrun with "stuff", wrapped up in our consumerism, have access to world class medical treatment, have educational opportunities and advantages, yet we are in spiritual trouble. We suppose ourselves blessed by God because we have all of these "things". I once read a sermon by David Wilkerson that was titled "Don't Mistake God's Blessings For His Approval". O how that needs to resonate with us in our time! Just because we have padded pews (or chairs), musical entertainment, fancy buildings, programs of various sorts, and go through the motions of a "church" doesn't make us the church. The church is the body of Christ! We are the redeemed! The born again saints of God are called to be the salt and light of the world! “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:13-16 NLT If we are only shakers with no salt in them (or full of something we think is salt, but isn't) and if we are a lamp with no bulb, then we are nothing more than useless. We must have the salt and light of Jesus Christ within in order to accomplish our purpose as His Church. We aren't a church just because we occupy a piece of property, have facilities we call a church, and attend them. We are the church when we are alive in Jesus Christ and unashamed of His gospel!! Many buildings, designated as churches, dot the landscape of America. Many of these churches used to be on fire and ablaze with the Holy Spirit of God! Today, many of them are no longer on fire and many of the pulpits are occupied by those who are more concerned about pleasing the people, being culturally and politically correct, and financially prosperous. May God help us! If Jesus spoke at the church you attend, what would He say about its condition? May God open our spiritual ears so we can hear what He has to say to us!
Rev. Curtis Norris