Thou Art Lukewarm
Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,
I will spue thee out of my mouth.
A. The Works of the Lukewarm – vs. 15
They were working; but it was not acceptable works.
They were going through the motions, but it had no heart behind it.
They were fulfilling their duties, but there was no fire; no fervency; no passion.
SEE Rev. 3:1 – the church of Sardis were also working – but their works were not perfect (vs. 2)
B. The Wretchedness of the Lukewarm – vs. 17
He described this church as wretched.
He described them as miserable.
He described them as poor.
He described them as blind.
He said they were naked.
What a horrible state for the church of the Living God to find themselves in!
C. The Warning for the Lukewarm – vs. 18
I counsel thee – I advise thee – I warn thee – BUY OF ME…
It’s time to go shopping in God’s storehouse.
They’d been shopping in the devil’s storehouse for too long.
It was time for them to go to God to get what they needed.
He always has what we need.
D. The Warmth for the Lukewarm – vs. 19-22
I’m grateful that even when the church’s love for God had become lukewarm, His love for them did not!
Verse 19 says he still loved them.
He demonstrated his love by rebuking and chastening them.
This indicates that they were still saved.
This indicates that there was still hope for a positive outcome.
SEE Hebrews 12
- 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
- 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
- 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
- 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
- 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
- 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
I. The Prognosis
Jesus is speaking to a church here.
Not just an individual, but a collection of individuals.
It’s bad when a Christian becomes lukewarm.
It’s a sad sight when a family becomes lukewarm.
But when Jesus looks at an entire church and says, THOU ART LUKEWARM, that is disastrous.
Lukewarm is not a matter of opinion; it is a fact.
Jesus is stating a fact here.
- He didn’t say, “Thou could be lukewarm…”
- He didn’t say, “Thou appearest to be lukewarm…”
- He didn’t say, “Some of your sister churches are accusing you of being lukewarm…”
- He didn’t say, “If you don’t get it together, you’re going to end up lukewarm…”
NO! He said THOU ART LUKEWARM!
It was a fact. It was true. It was irrefutable.
His prognosis is always right.
II. The Progression
How does a church become lukewarm?
How does a group of Christians that worship together, serve together, labor together get lukewarm?
NOTE: They couldn’t blame anybody else for their lukewarmness.
Paul mentioned a man in the book of Colossians that had invested much into this church.
- Colossians 4:12, 13 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
Two things are clear about Epaphras. By the way – his name means “lovely.”
- He labored fervently for them in prayers.
- He had a great zeal for them that are in Laodicea.
This means that they not only had the blessing of someone that:
1. The Example of Epaphras – vs. 12 …always labouring fervently; – vs. 13for I bear him record…
2. The Expansion of Epaphras – Epaphras was a member of the church of Colosse, but had a burden for other churches in his region – Laodicea and Hierapolis.
3. The Expectation of Epaphras – “that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”
Imagine having to live with the embarrassment of a member from another church having more zeal and fervency for your church than you do!
Somewhere along the way, the zeal, the fervency, the fire, the love, the grace that had been poured into this church became lukewarm.
III. The Prescription – vs. 18 – 20
We could break it down like this:
- Buy of me. This is what you need to GET.
- Be zealous. This is what you need to BE.
- Repent. This is what you need to DO.
What did God mean when He told the church of Laodicea to BE ZEALOUS?
DEFINITION: to burn with zeal; to be heated or to boil
There are many answers, but here are just a few ways that this happens.
There are things you and I can do to keep our church from becoming lukewarm.
When God said, “BE ZEALOUS,” what can we do?
Let’s examine a few key elements:
A. Fervent in our Spirit
- Acts 18:25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
- Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
B. Fervent in our Minds
- READ II Corinthians 7:5-16
Their fervency of mind was directed at Paul, but it goes much deeper than that.
Paul had written them a scathing rebuke.
C. Fervent in our Charity
I Peter 4
- 7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
- 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
- 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
When a church starts taking each other for granted, they have become lukewarm.
This building is not the church – you are the church.
We are the church.
D. Fervent in our Praying
- James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
A church that has a fervent prayer ministry will never fall into a state of apathy and lukewarmness.