Revelation 3:15-16: “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.”
The church of Laodicea (roughly 90 AD), was a “lukewarm” church. The Christians in that congregation had financial wealth, but they were spiritually poor. Bible commentators have observed that Jesus was “standing outside” of the Laodicean church (Revelation 3:20),and was requesting that His church allow Him to come back in. Some have suggested that this is a picture of the modern church, lukewarm with compromise and sin. Others have stressed a comparison between Laodiceans and 21st century Christians, who are neither “hot for the Lord” nor “cold” against Him, but somewhere in the middle. They are not wanting to go to hell, but are not willing to give up worldly pleasures either.
As I examine myself (2 Corinthians 13:5) and seek to remove any “planks” from my own eyes (Matthew 7:4-5), I observe there are two extremes at work in the evangelical church today. On the one side are those who are “cold” to the things of God. These are the ones who attend church on Sunday mornings, have prayed the “sinner’s prayer” and been baptized, and would consider themselves to be saved and on their way to heaven. And yet, these same folks drink alcohol in public (often in excess), use the same slang words as everyone else, dress just like everyone else, participate in the same activities as lost people and have no problem watching or listening to non-Christian entertainment. These are the ones who cry “Do not judge” and “God is love” whenever they are confronted with their lifestyles. There is no visible difference between these people and unsaved people. They are “living under grace” and hate “legalism.”
On the other side of the proverbial fence are the “hot” believers. They follow all the rules. They are daily Bible readers, three times a week church attenders, and “are in the world and yet not of the world.” These are the ones who don’t “drink, smoke, chew, or go with girls who do.” Their choice of music and entertainment is strictly biblical and “Christian.” My mind conjures up images of men with crew cuts and women with long hair, worn up in a bun. Men who wear pants, women who do not. And on and on I could go with the “do’s” and “don’t’s” And while most of them would never admit it, these “hot” ones look down their noses in disgust at the “cold ones.” Truth be told, they believe that they are going to heaven, while the other ones are surely not.
I want to be “hot” for Jesus. I really do. I do not want to be lukewarm and have Jesus throw me up. And while I cannot fellowship with the cold ones (and wonder myself if they are genuinely born again), I find myself not wanting to hang with the “funny-mentalists” either. As much as I hate to admit it, I fall somewhere in the middle. I have personal guidelines which I follow and strict morals which I adhere to. I follow the teachings of Christ and His Word, and I do not believe in compromise with the world. I keep a daily watch over my flesh nature and seek to please God with my speech, conduct and lifestyle. I do not want to be a stumbling block to other people. Above all, I want to do right because I am grateful to God for what He has blessed me with.
For me, life is something to be enjoyed and cherished. People are meant to be loved and cherished, regardless of whether they are lost or found. If I want to watch The Walking Dead, I watch it. If I wanted to drink ONE mixed beverage in private (which I truly have no desire to do) I would drink it. If I want to listen to ’70’s rock music (yes!!), I listen to it. The difference, I think, is that these things do not control me nor do they define me. And the closer that I get to my Jesus, the more that I want Him and the less that I want those other things.
In other words, being somewhere in the middle does not make me “lukewarm.” It simply means that I am not living on the two extreme edges of the Christian life. And the closer that I get to heaven, the more comfortable I am with it.