"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth" (Revelation 3:16).
Jesus had a message for the church at Laodecia, which is also a message for us today.
Who were the Laodecians?
The city was famous for banking, cloth production and eye medicine. Laodecia also had hot mineral springs. The hot water was used for therapy. And there was cold water for refreshment. These springs also produced lukewarm water, which when you drank it, would make you sick!
Recently we had the experience of swimming in a hot mineral springs pool. There were two pools.
In one pool, the water was hot - straight from the springs. This hot pool was just that - hot! If you want to get into the hot water, you have to ease yourself very slowly into it. You cannot stay in it for a very long time.
But in the other pool they added cold water with the hot spring water. It was comfortable.
Jesus is compared the Christians in Laodecia with their city's characteristic mineral springs. He said they were neither cold nor hot.
How did the Laodecian Christians see themselves?
They thought they were full of good works.
But how did Jesus see them? He compared them to the mineral springs in their city. "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot ... because you are neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth" (16).
They thought they were rich. But Jesus said they were: "Wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked" (17). (Though Laodecia was known for its banking, cloth production and eye medicine - Jesus said they were the opposite in their spiritual lives - poor, blind and naked.)
The church at Laodecia thought it was okay. They "worked" for the Lord. However, they were self-contented. Jesus remarked, "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" (17).
They had become "comfortable" with their lives. They had enough money to live on, enough food to eat. Things were pretty good. But Jesus said that they were the opposite.
What happens in our lives when we become comfortable? We tend to forget to call on God for our needs. It can happen to any of us. Slowly, slowly, we are spiritually lulled to sleep. How do we keep from getting "comfortable?" We need to keep on stepping out in faith with the Lord. Are you settled and comfortable in your service for the Lord? Have you ever asked the Lord to challenge you to stretch your faith? Is there some way you can serve the Lord that stretches your faith? Perhaps there is someone you should talk to about the Lord, but you are afraid of their rejection. Is there a job you see needing done for the Lord, either here in the local church or as an outreach? Ask the Lord to put on your heart something He wants you to trust Him for. Has the Lord put on your heart something that He wants you to give of your money for that requires faith in His provision for you so that you can have the money to give. There is nothing like feeling totally inadequate for the task to make us call out to the Lord for His help! There is much that needs to be done for the Lord. Don't become comfortable! It is a dangerous position! God's eternal reward is for those who are "good and faithful servants."
Jesus said to them, "Buy from me gold refined in the fire, white garments that you may be clothed. Anoint your eyes with eye salve - that you may see" (18).
He says, "Be eager and repent" (19).
The church thought they were okay, but they did not realize that they were lukewarm in their love for the Lord. They needed to repent of that.
Why does Jesus rebuke us? "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be eager and repent" (19). He rebukes us because He loves us!
If you really love your children, you will discipline them. If you do not punish them for disobedience, it means you don't really love them! (The world around us is trying to make parents feel guilty for punishing our children, but God's Word tells us many times that we must make our children obey.) And Jesus tells us that the reason He sometimes rebukes us, is because He loves us. Sometimes as we read the Bible or listen to a message, we feel our conscience pricked. Perhaps that is a sign that God is trying to teach you something you need to change in your life. Just like we know what is best for our children, Jesus knows what we need as well.
Jesus spoke to the church, "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" (20).
Notice that these words were spoken to the church. It is possible for us in the church to think we are serving the Lord, but in actual fact be lukewarm in our love for Him. Always ask yourself if what you are doing for the Lord is for His honour and His glory. And, remember, we are told, "whatever you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). That doesn't mean just the preacher or missionary! It means: washing your dishes for His glory, doing your work on the job for His glory! Whatever you do, do as unto Him!
"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" (21).
If only we could comprehend how much the Lord wants to bless our lives! If only we could comprehend what He has prepared for all who love Him!
The Lord wants us to be hot in our love and service for Him. He cannot stomach lukewarm "Christians," and He will vomit them out of His mouth. Strong words to us!
If you or I have "cooled off" in our love for the Lord, there is a solution to this problem! The solution is to ask for His forgiveness and get back on track with Him. "Be eager and repent" (19). If water cools off, it has to be reconnected with the source of heat so it can be hot again. We need to "reconnect" with the Lord so we can remain on fire for Him.
He has promised to be with us and give us His Holy Spirit to live for Him as He wants us to do.
Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.
Holiness, godliness, righteousness, and Christ-likeness in personal and church life