Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Lukewarm Soul (Reflections on Revelation 3:17 - Part 3)



Can we be lukewarm and still be Christians?

We tend to use the word lukewarm to describe lack of commitment. We find ourselves aloof, indifferent, almost uncaring to the matter at hand.

The Laodiceans were anything but that. They were rich. They had money. They boasted they had everything they needed. No doubt, this is what gave them permission to live between two worlds. They could worship Jesus and be part of His Church. With equal passion, they could live like the world and party with the world around them.

Just like before.

When Moses went up Mt. Sinai to get the Ten Commandments, Israel gave themselves once again to the Golden Calf – it was everything to them. It was one of the many gods they worshipped in the days of their slavery in Egypt. But they were cunning. They knew God had said, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex 20:3). So they put the Golden Calf right in front of the Lord’s altar and called it “a feast to the Lord” (Ex 32:5).

It’s the perfect self-made religion: Worship God side by side with the Golden Calf. This way the people of God “sat down to eat and drink and then began to party. It turned into a wild party!” (Ex 32:6 MSG). There’s nothing lukewarm about that! They have passion for what they’re doing. They think they’re right with God.

They have no idea – none whatsoever – they’re wrong with God.

Jesus told the Laodiceans, “You brag…you need nothing” but you’re “oblivious that you are wretched and pitiable…” (Rev 3:17 MSG, ESV). No one is called “wretched” unless they’re outside the kingdom of God – having no relationship with Jesus (see Rom 7:24). Isn’t that the most “pitiable” state possible -- “wretched” and Christian at the same time? But is that even possible?

Are they really converted to Jesus?

Wretched. Pitiable. Poor. Blind. Naked. That’s what our Lord calls them.

Something happens to the lukewarm soul. We become daft, ignorant, oblivious. We have no idea we’re lukewarm. We’d never consider ourselves indifferent to God. We can’t imagine ourselves being poor to God, poor to the riches of His kingdom. And not just poor – blind. Not just blind – naked as if we’ve wrapped ourselves back into the fig leaves of Eden, no longer clothed with Christ (Gal 3:28).

Is this us?

We’ve witnessed it in our lifetime. Churches filled with people which have “the appearance of godliness, but denying” the power of God to save us (2 Tim 3:5)? Dead churches filled with dead Christians (or are they barely alive?) who confess Christ with their lips and party with passion like everybody else in the world. Is this us?

Have we become lukewarm and don’t even know it?

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John 15:1-11, the Vine and the branches. "Is He everything to you?