When looking at the full council of the Word of God there are some truly frightening verses to consider the implications of, and Our Lord’s words in Revelation 3:16 are some of the most frightening.
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
These are red letters in my Bible, that means they are Jesus’ actual words. The words “spit you out of my mouth” in the original Greek carries with it the idea of vomit. The idea being the lukewarm Christian literally make Christ sick to His stomach. I struggle with this because many times I find myself in a place of complacency. I don’t think Jesus had blogging in mind when he spoke of spreading the good news. I also find myself sometimes in the struggle of loving theology, the study about God, more than loving God. I struggle with this because I like routine, I like knowing what to expect from day to day…but do I love my routine more than I love my Savior? Do I love the study of Theology more than Christ?
In his book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan has a list of 18 traits of the lukewarm, and I want to share them with you. if you haven’t read the book…and even if you have it’s good to review.
LUKEWARM PEOPLE attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go. (Isa. 29:13)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE give money to charity and to the church…as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. (1 Chron. 21:24; Luke 21:1-4)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. (Luke 6:26; Rev. 3:1; Matt. 23:5-7)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. (John 10:10; Rom. 6:1-2)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers. (James 1:22; 4:17; Matt. 21:28-31)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. (Matt. 10:32-33)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. (Luke 18:11-12)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, their money, and their thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives. (Luke 9:57-62)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for pastors and missionaries and radicals. (Matt. 22:37-38)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE love other but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached. (Matt. 5:43-47; Luke 14:12-14)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE will serve God and other, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give. (Luke 18:21-25)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule, and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they intently consider the life to come. Regarding this, C.S. Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” (Phil. 3:18-20; Col. 3:2)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, “Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only that the love of money is.” Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel “called” to minister to the rich; very few feel “called” to minister to the poor. (Matt. 25:34, 40; Isa. 58:6-7)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without it requiring too much of them. (1 Chron. 29:14; Matt. 13:44-46)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God. (1 Tim. 6:17-18; Matt. 10:28)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in the Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label Christian or because some people persist in calling us a “Christian nation.” (Matt. 7:21; Amos 6:1)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens—they have their savings account. They don’t need God to help them—they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live—they have life figured and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis—their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God. (Luke 12:16-21; Hebrews 11)
LUKEWARM PEOPLE probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong. (Matt. 23:25-28)
We are all sinners and prone to this behavior. I really believe the lukewarm as described above would be the majority of the churches in America today…and I think it’s time for a gut-check to see if we are really carrying out the Great Commission or if we are Lukewarm…and going to be spit out of Christs mouth.