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 vomit you out of my mouth.
Despite her mother and my persistent prohibitions, my daughter once put some dishwasher detergent in her mouth. She was two at the time, so I would suspect the white powder was akin to sugar in her mind. Mere seconds after ingesting it though, her stomach lurched and out came the soap… along with the rest of the sizable dinner she had just eaten.
Poison Control assured us that our daughter would be okay considering she swallowed such a small amount and immediately expelled it. However, I’ve never gotten over how a few flakes of detergent could evoke such a grisly and drastic response.
That episode vividly portrays the reaction that Christ has to a certain group of people in his church. The Bible describes them in terms of tepid water. They are “neither cold nor hot,” which means they are rather indifferent to Christ. On the one hand, they don’t necessarily hate him. At the same time, they are not all that passionate about him either.
Today, we might call such a person a “nominal Christian.” I’m sure you know the type. It is the kind of person who is pretty familiar with Christianity, but not overly concerned about it. Most likely they know the lingo and are familiar with some of the doctrines of the church. They feel comfortable in a church setting, and they even attend quite regularly. All agree too that they are your easy-to-get-along-with kind of people.
But, if we could unlock the doors of their chest, we would see that there is no fire for Christ there. A spiritual X-ray would reveal no zeal for his worship or passion for his presence.
Peering inside we would find that church is nothing but a formality to them. It is much like a divine tax that they must pay each week to a governing official. They sing the songs and bow their heads in prayer, but the outward act is the extent of their devotion. Inwardly they neither long for his glory to be advanced nor thirst for the Scripture that drips from the pulpit.
Their religion is as neuter as tepid waters.
If you find this in any way descriptive of you, you need to be aware that you nauseate Christ. Your half-hearted affection and noncommittal spirit aggravate him to no end, even more than the vilest of sinners. Indeed, he prefers cold blooded murderers and rapists over you. He even finds the flagrant atheist much more tolerable than you.
You might think that all is well with you. You might think that Christ is pleased to have your vague allegiance, but you must understand that it irritants him immensely. It makes him vomit!
Moreover, you will be that vomit if you do not repent. If you do not stoke the flames of love for him, you will one day find yourself expelled from his presence. On the Day when he comes again you will be cast out, and forever excluded from the pleasures of his eternal kingdom.
Like a loyal lover, Christ holds out his hand and offers to forgive your languid spirit. His devotion burns bright and he is ready to receive you into his arms. His only requirement is that you kindle the fires of fondness. You must give yourself to him, and not hold back. You must pledge to live in obedience to him and not seek the things that now draw your affection away.
If you desire life, you must not sicken Him any longer. You must do away with your lukewarm faith, and let the embers of your heart burn hot for him.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.