In our study today, Frances Chan asks the question: Would you describe yourself as totally in love with Jesus Christ? Or do the words half-hearted, lukewarm, and partially committed fit better? Before we get into Chan’s profile of a lukewarm Christian, I’d like to take a look at the Scripture that references that word “lukewarm.”
So, come with me to the Church at Laodicea where God had sent the Apostle John to address the Christians. “I know you well – you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit (spew) you out of My mouth!” (Revelations 3:15, 16)
Whoa—back up! Let me read that again! “I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit (spew) you out of My mouth!.” I don’t know about you, but that word “lukewarm” grabbed my attention. Why, that’s the same thing I do to a mouth full of lukewarm coffee! It is so disgusting to me that I immediately spit it out of my mouth! Would God really do that to me if I were a lukewarm Christian?
Questions buzzed around in my brain.
What precisely does lukewarm mean? A quick Google search yielded this definition as it pertained to a person’s attitude or action: UNENTHUSIASTIC.
My next buzz question was: What caused the Church of Laodicea to become unenthusiastic that produced a lukewarm attitude in regards to their relationship with God? I believe we find the answer in verse 17: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing‘.”
As I continued to research the Church of Laodicea, I learned that the city of Laodicea was affluent, rich, and prosperous. It was known for 3 main things: wealth, black-wool textile industry, and housed a world-renowned medical school which discovered a miracle eye-salve.
From that, I assumed that there were Christians living in the richest commercial center of the ancient world which, no doubt, yielded them much personal wealth.
Next buzz question: Is God scolding them for being wealthy? I don’t think so. It was then that I had my “Aha!” moment. Could it be that the Church of Laodicea had become so secure and self-reliant in their natural habitat and had no need of anything, that the same self-reliant attitude had spilled over into their spiritual life and their relationship with God?
It took me back to my early years of being a Christian where I was totally dependent upon God to supply every piece of clothing I wore, food for my family, and His guidance to solve all my problems. I jumped out of bed in the early mornings hours to talk with the King of Kings before rushing off to work. Oh yeah, the two of us were engrossed in a very intimate relationship with one another and I relied totally upon Him for everything.
Had I now developed an attitude that seemed to be apparent in the Church of Laodicea? “You are no longer hot and enthused in your pursuit of me; you are not excited and on fire about the faith.” “You are not cold either, because you have not left the faith, you still go to church, call me your Savior, but – I didn’t like the sound of where this nudge might be leading, so I went quickly into my prayer closet to do some soul searching.
And now, let’s look on pages 68-72 in Crazy Love for the profile Mr. Chan gives us of a lukewarm Christian:
- attend church fairly regularly—it is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go
- gives money to charity and to the church as long at it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living
- tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict
- don’t want to be saved from their sin; want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin
- are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act
- rarely share their faith with their neighbors, co-workers, or friends
- gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world
- say they love Jesus, and that He is, indeed, a part of their lives—but only a part
If any of Chan’s profile points have described you, I have good news for you!! We are God’s children; He really does not want to spit us out of His mouth. So He has provided a way out of being lukewarm. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (verse 19).
Father God, first of all, we open our hearts to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to show us where we have become lukewarm. We ask Your forgiveness, and help us to turn from those ways. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
How would you describe yourself – halfhearted, lukewarm, or partially committed?
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