3:14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
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 spew you out of My mouth.
3:17-18 ‘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– I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in 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.
3:19-20 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 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.”
3:21-22 “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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The above verses are taken from Revelation and are warnings to the church of Laodicea. This particular church had the same problems and issues we face in our country and it would be wise to take heed... As one of my favorite expositors has said “I’m not exactly sure what being spewed out of God’s mouth means, but it ain’t good!”
So, what exactly is ‘lukewarm’? Lukewarm seems to indicate a mixture of biblical principles with worldly wisdom, attempting to have one foot in this world and one foot in the faith walk, or double mindedness. The problem with lukewarm in dealing with matters of faith then would be the need to constantly filter the Bible, beliefs and actions through some form of worldliness. The standard then would be partially determined by those who do not have much faith in the Bible, and would be more of an ‘expert’ in the ways of the world, as theologians are ‘experts’ on the word of God.
We see this demonstrated all the time in the ‘watering’ down of the Word from other believers, the pulpit and society. People often want affirmation from those they admire, but these people very well may not have a Theo centric perspective, and will not have one’s best interest in mind. The current social norms in this country automatically speak to comfort and convenience, which then dictate the gospel of ‘tolerance’ and this standard is used when considering what one ought to do, or to determine other’s actions as right or wrong. When this is pointed out to the lukewarm, the default position is always ‘you are judging, who are you to judge and determine what is right or wrong?’
The lukewarm also see no contradictions in pursuing worldly goals that can and do contradict the word of God. This is often seen by people claiming to be believers, but acting in ways that are very contrary. The clearest example is that of the politicians who have the blood of innocent babies on their hands, going up to receive Holy Eucharist, and believing they are in good Graces by doing this. They claim to be able to ‘separate’ their personal religious life from their public political life, and seem smug in their self deluded beliefs. This is observed, and validated by the many religious leaders who say nothing, and do nothing to defend the integrity of Holy Communion. This then, is witnessed by the laity, who themselves think “well, if the politicians can get away with it and the church hierarchy sees it as no big deal….’ And then they wonder why anarchy is becoming a bigger problem.
Lukewarm gives a false pretension of security, that God doesn’t really mean what he says, and that we are the ultimate arbiters of right and wrong. After all, are we not just a bunch of ‘nice people’ and would God really judge us or send us to hell? (In fact, we don’t even believe in hell anymore). It is no wonder people are confused. When the majority can mock and blaspheme and appear to get away with it, and with all of the increased evil, stealing, cheating, murdering, drug infestations going unchecked, it would appear that God is disinterested, or doesn’t really care whether His own laws are followed, it would lead one to the conclusion he can ‘half heartedly’ follow the faith without much consequence.
Those challenging the lukewarm are the true threat to the status quo. Psychologically, it is too difficult for the lukewarm to handle this reality, as it would require revolutionary change in their lives, by living in faith, and stepping outside of their vision of a life of comfort and ease. It is much easier to make fun of and belittle those who challenge the lukewarm than it is to step out in faith and live the life called to live. Jesus wants repentance, and the end of the verses from Revelation shows Jesus continuing to knock on the door, despite the fact it is not being opened to him.
I pray for myself and for all that we will have the Graces and fortitude to stand up for the faith when the time comes when God breaks his silence with this sinful world. Only then, will it become apparent that God does mean what he says, and that the time of meaningful action to stop the atrocities has passed. Grace will abound, for sure, but comfort and convenience will be a thing of the past.