Bristol, Virginia

The Cure for Lukewarmness

What is the biggest threat to the Christian in our day. You might say it is falling in some terrible sin. Surerly the devil himself, with the hordes of hell, must be at the top of the list. But I am here to tell you the biggest and most widespread threat of our day and it is…

Being lukewarm.

Jesus talked much about the lukewarm church in Revelation 3.

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 [k]cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (vv.15-16)

Charles Spurgeon gave a powerful sermon on the topic. He talked about the lukewarm Christian. It would do us good to pay attention to this and see if any personal repentance is needed.

“They were not cold, but they were not hot; they were not infidels, yet they were not earnest believers; they did not oppose the gospel, neither did they defend it; they were not working mischief, neither were they doing any great good; they were not disreputable in moral character, but they were not distinguished for holiness; they were not irreligious, but they were not enthusiastic in piety nor eminent for zeal: they were what the world calls “Moderates,” they were of the Broad-church school, they were neither bigots nor Puritans, they were prudent and avoided fanaticism, respectable and averse to excitement. Good things were maintained among them, but they did not make too much of them; they had prayer-meetings, but there were few present, for they liked quiet evenings at home: when more attended the meetings they were still very dull, for they did their praying very deliberately and were afraid of being too excited. They were content to have all things done decently and in order, but vigour and zeal they considered to be vulgar. Such churches have schools, Bible-classes, preaching rooms, and all sorts of agencies; but they might as well be without them, for no energy is displayed and no good comes of them. They have deacons and elders who are excellent pillars of the church, if the chief quality of pillars be to stand still, and exhibit no motion or emotion. They have ministers who may be the angels of the churches, but if so, they have their wings closely clipped, for they do not fly very far in preaching the everlasting gospel, and they certainly are not flames of fire: they may be shining lights of eloquence, but they certainly are not burning lights of grace, setting men’s hearts on fire. In such communities everything is done in a half-hearted, listless, dead-and-alive way, as if it did not matter much whether it was done or not. It makes one’s flesh creep to see how sluggishly they move: I long for a knife to cut their red tape to pieces, and for a whip to lay about their shoulders to make them bestir themselves. Things are respectably done, the rich families are not offended, the sceptical party is conciliated, and the good people are not quite alienated: things are made pleasant all round. The right things are done, but as to doing them with all your might, and soul, and strength, a Laodicean church has no notion of what that means. They are not so cold as to abandon their work, or to give up their meetings for prayer, or to reject the gospel; if they did so, then they could be convinced of their error and brought to repentance; but on the other hand they are neither hot for the truth, nor hot for conversions, nor hot for holiness, they are not fiery enough to burn the stubble of sin, nor zealous enough to make Satan angry, nor fervent enough to make a living sacrifice of themselves upon the altar of their God. They are “neither cold not hot.”

Jesus has some counsel for those who have found themaselves in a lukewarm state.

I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the 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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” (Rev 3:18-19)

Gold represents true riches. The lukewarm Christian thinks itself as wealthy but its poor – even destitute, without Christ. The white garments speak of the purity that only comes by daily washing of the Word. The anointing of the eyes enables healing so spiritual vision can be restored.

Now, Jesus counseled the lukewarm Christian to “buy” the gold, garments and eye salve. This is not buy as in the sense of earning. We can’t but help think of Isiah 55.

Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you [a]spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance
.” (vv.1-2)

The buying is more like an exchange. The only value we have is giving of ourselves. The Lord doesn’t need my money or talent. What He wants and longs for is my life.

After the strong word to the lukewarm church Jesus ends with a beautiful and warming statement.

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.” (Rev 3:20)

Notice where Jesus is in relation to the lukewarm church? He is on the outside asking to be let in. Today, we can open the door to Him. And let it be known that opening that door is the cure to being lukewarm. it is impossible to be near Jesus and remain lukewarm. It would be like standing near an erupting volcano. You can only be burning hot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *