Editorial: Am I A Lukewarm Christian?

The only time the word “lukewarm” is used in the New Testament is in Revelation 3:16. It is found in the Lord’s description of the church at Laodicea. Lukewarm describes the nauseating effect this church had on our Lord. He said, “So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” In light of the seriousness of this condition, it is worth asking, ‘Am I a lukewarm Christian?’

The word lukewarm is defined by W.E. Vine as “tepid, warm”. He goes on to say it was ‘the state of the Laodicean church, which afford no refreshment to the Lord, such as is ministered naturally by either cold or hot water.’ This is what the Lord Himself said, ‘I would that thou wert cold or hot.’

What is lukewarmness in the life of a believer and how can it be avoided?

Lukewarmness is a state of being indistinguishable from the surrounding environment. A glass of cold water left on the table for period of time becomes like the air around. Likewise a hot cup of coffee will reach the same room temperature if left in that environment. This is what characterized the Laodicean church. They were no different than the world around them. Is that the state of the church today? Have we lost our sense of being different from the world? Are we indistinguishable from it? Are our lives governed by God’s call to be holy or are they governed by a desire to be accepted by worldly peers. A look at what consumes my thinking, time, money and affections will give me the answer.

Lukewarmness is also a state of being independent. This too marked the Laodicean church. They said, ‘I…have need of nothing’. They completely lost their sense of dependence on the Lord. They were taken up with a worldly sense of security largely based on materialism. They could function quite nicely in their personal and church affairs and did not even know the Lord was not with them. They thought they were rich, but in fact they were poor.

Prayerlessness is a sign of independence. It exposes a lack of awareness of need. Prayer is the exercise of needing the Lord’s power and wisdom. When we go without prayer we are echoing the words of the Laodiceans – ‘I have need of nothing’. This challenges our personal prayer life. Do I even have one? Do I demand of myself time alone with the Lord each day? Do I let lesser things remain undone if they are going to prevent my time in prayer? What about assembly prayer meetings? Why are they so poorly attended? And why are the prayers so small? Do we really think we can function without the Lord? Are the lost going to be saved merely through our effort and clever programming? Are believers going to grow, mature, develop by an environment that is merely socially enjoyable? Prayerlessness creates lukewarmness.

Lukewarmness is also an inability to see spiritual realities. The Lord said that the Laodiceans were blind. They could not see. They thought they could. They were unaware of their blindness. It is one thing not to know something. But it is far more dangerous not to know that we do not know. This church was going through the motions of big programs and activity. There were lots of the people. On the outside it appeared to be thriving. Yet the reality was far from it. And they could not see.

How aware are we of our true spiritual condition? There is a place for honest self examination before the Lord. This is not a call to be preoccupied with a morbid self introspection or to be overcome with our failures. But it is a call for a sober assessment before the Lord. This accompanied by daily feeding on the word will give us clarity of vision.

Despite the gravity of the condition of being lukewarm, there was still hope for the Laodiceans. Over half the verses of Revelation 3:14-22 are taken up with the Lord’s prescription for recovery! They are words full of hope and possibility even for the Laodiceans.

Am I a lukewarm Christian? It is worth asking the question. There is a remedy at hand for those who wish to be refreshingly hot or cold.

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