WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 03, 2023
TOPIC: DON’T BE A LUKEWARM CHRISTIAN
BY T. O. BANSO
“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” (Revelation 3:15-16 New King James Version).
In His letter to the church in Laodicea, one of the seven churches of Asia Minor that Jesus wrote to in the book of Revelation, Jesus rebuked the Laodicean church, the seventh and final church, for being neither cold nor hot – lukewarm. Unlike other churches, excluding the church in Sardis, the Laodicean church received no commendation for anything. They were indifferent and idle. Even though Jesus said that the church in Sardis had a reputation of being alive but dead, He still said that she had a few people who had not soiled their clothes, and they would walk with Him, dressed in white, for they were worthy (Revelation 3:1,4). But He found nothing good in the church in Laodicea.
Because the church in Laodicea was lukewarm, Jesus said He would spit her out or vomit her out of His mouth. “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” (Revelation 3:15-16 New King James Version). Note that the phrase, “cold nor hot”, is used three times in this scripture, which, together with the word “lukewarm,” tells us the emphasis. What is the meaning of this metaphor by Jesus?
The Amplified Bible puts Revelation 3:15-16 thus: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold (invigorating, refreshing) nor hot (healing, therapeutic); I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm (spiritually useless), and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth [rejecting you with disgust].” Cold water invigorates and refreshes and hot water has a healing and therapeutic effect. Cold water and hot water are beneficial. But lukewarm water is useless. It is sickening and tends to make one vomit. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary says, “Physicians used lukewarm water to cause vomiting. Cold and hot drinks were common at feasts, but never lukewarm. There were hot and cold springs near Laodicea.”
Probably Jesus used this issue of cold, hot, and lukewarm water, which the Laodiceans were familiar with, to get His message across to them. It’s been said that Laodicea, though the wealthiest of the seven cities of Asia that Jesus wrote letters to, had a problem with water supply. There was a time when an aqueduct was built to bring water to the city from hot springs but by the time the water got to the city it had become lukewarm.
A lukewarm church makes Jesus feel nauseous. He feels like throwing up because she is useless to Him in that state. A lukewarm Christian may be more dangerous to the Kingdom of God than a non-believer. A lukewarm Christian may do more harm to the Kingdom of God than a non-Christian. A lukewarm Christian may give a wrong impression to non-Christians about who Christians are or what Christianity is all about. They may take his/her kind of Christianity as the standard. A lukewarm Christian may hinder non-believers from coming into the Kingdom of God. He may also negatively influence some Christians who may emulate him.
Jesus hates lukewarmness. He says if you want to be cold you should be cold and if you want to be hot cold you should be hot but don’t be lukewarm. You must not be useless to Jesus or indifferent to the Kingdom of God. You should be effectually enthusiastic and affect your world for Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (New Living Translation).
Many Christians today are like the Laodicean Christians. We have become complacent in the profession of our faith and Christian service. We do not see anything wrong because we are okay financially and materially. We believe God is pleased with us because of our earthly possessions. But material blessings are not the right yardstick to measure God’s approval of people’s lives. One can feel financially secure but be spiritually bankrupt.
Hear what Jesus said about the Laodicean church, a wealthy church: “Because 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’” (Revelation 3:16 New King James Version). That’s how many Christians think today. They take ‘prosperity’ for spirituality.
The city of Laodicea was originally called Diospolis and later known as Rhoas before the name Laodicea. The city was known for its wealth and textiles, and for being a centre of banking and commerce. It was also reputed to have one of the most popular medical schools in the world which manufactured an eye salve or ointment.
At about A. D. 60, an earthquake destroyed Laodicea. It was said that the people of Laodicea rejected Rome’s financial assistance to rebuild it and, instead, rebuilt it with their resources because the city was prosperous. The Laodiceans had need of nothing, as the Laodicean church said! But today, Laodicea is in ruins and the place is now called Eski-hissar, or the old castle in modern-day Turkey.
Some have suggested that the Laodicean church became lukewarm because of persecution under the Roman Emperor, Domitian, who declared himself as god and demanded that the citizens worship him. But one can safely say that the Laodicean church was influenced by her environment – the city was wealthy. 1 John 2:15 says you should not love the world or the things in the world and if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
The Laodicean church was self-satisfied. She said she needed nothing – that’s pride. She was self-sufficient, comfortable, and complacent. Meanwhile, Jesus was not in her midst; He was outside knocking and waiting for the door to be opened to come in. This church was blind to her true state. Jesus said she was wretched and miserable, blind and naked.
The Laodicean church said she was rich but Jesus said she was wretched and miserable. Conversely, Jesus said He knew the poverty of the church in Smyrna but said she was rich (Revelation 2:9). God has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him (James 2:5).
As much as the church needs money as one of the tools for the advancement of the Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ is not impressed with a church that prides herself on material wealth, a church that knows gold but not God, a church that worships mammon, not God.
Not giving up on this church, Jesus said, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Revelation 3:18 New King James Version). In other words, she should not be deceived by her wealth but come to Him for true spiritual treasures, righteousness, and clear vision. Jesus rebuked this church out of love, and He told the Laodicean church to be zealous and repent (verse 19). This is a message to the church today.
Isaiah 55:1-2 says, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare” (New International Version). Jesus quoted from this scripture in John 7:37.
Don’t be a lukewarm Christian. Don’t make Jesus feel sick! Don’t let Him feel like vomiting you. In Joshua 24:15, Joshua told the Israelites to choose whom they would serve. The Prophet Elijah said a similar thing to the Israelites: “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him’” (1 Kings 18:21a New King James Version). But the Israelites didn’t give him an answer.
Don’t be a nominal or casual Christian. Don’t shut Jesus out of your life. Don’t live your life independently of Him. Don’t promote wealth or material possessions above your fellowship with God. Don’t focus on or trust in your wealth. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). Beware of the deceitfulness of riches (Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:1). Romans 12:11 says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (New International Version).
As Jesus said to the Laodicean church to repent of their lukewarmness, He also tells the church today. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:20-21 New King James Version).
Don’t spend all your time striving to be rich or become wealthy at the expense of your spiritual well-being. Don’t let gold become your god. Don’t become enthusiastic towards the world and apathetic or indifferent towards God, regarding the study of the Word of God and obedience, prayer and worship, and evangelism. Get your priorities right. What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36). Be fervent in the spirit, serving the Lord.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of my lukewarmness. Holy Spirit, help me to be fervent in the spirit, serving the Lord. I shall not become a victim of the deceitfulness of riches. I shall not get my priorities wrong but love the Lord with all my being.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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