14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” -Revelation 3
This exhortation was not intended to be a challenge to unbelievers to receive Jesus, as it is often utilized for in evangelism today (I just listened to a prominent American preacher using it in this manner this morning.) Instead, it is a message for the Laodicean Christians.
The Laodicean church was embedded in a prosperous thriving city. Perhaps these Christians became too much like their surrounding neighbors and friends. Perhaps the prosperity, higher education and top medical resources of their city was known for made them more susceptible to a life of complacency and self-reliance. It’s not that the creature comforts are bad. But we as humans seem to have the propensity to become reliant and forget they come from God’s loving hands.
(Pammukale mineral deposits from the hot springs)
At any rate, in Revelation 3 the Christians are challenged to change from their lukewarm ways. They needed to be hot or cold. They needed to become useful to God’s kingdom again.
To understand this water illustration think about it is this way. To this day, hot water is useful for things like cleaning dishes or showering, and cold water is useful for drinking or rinsing off fresh produce. But lukewarm water is not really good for much of anything. Frankly, it’s kind of gross. And then add in the high mineral in the waters the Laodiceans’ acquired from Pammukale and the smell made it even less desirable in a lukewarm state.
As we consider the message to this fellowship, we should heed it’s words and assess their relevance for our lives today.
Do we live like we are dependent upon and following Jesus daily, or is our modus operati one that says, “I’m good. I’ve got this under control Lord? Yes, I received you into my life. I asked you to take up residence in me… but please stay where I sat you down. I am comfortable with who I am and how I live.”
It’s easy for us to become lukewarm and complacent in our faith, and go through the motions of self-guided living, averting the risk, sacrifice, and discomfort that could result from following Jesus. But at what expense?
Maybe it’s time to do a temperature test on the water of our lives? Maybe it’s time to ask the Holy Spirit to help us recalibrate for Jesus’ course in our lives?
Everything we read in the Gospels and the entire NT seems to indicate that the Christian life is one of following Jesus, becoming more like Him in character and priorities, surrendering to Him and the power of the Holy Spirit.
When we look at Jesus in the Gospels, we see someone who gave His all for us. He sacrificed His security, comfort and rights to express His all consuming love. That’s our King. That’s the one we’re supposed to be following. Are we becoming more like Him? Or are we becoming complacent, safe and self-reliant like the Laodiceans?
What area of your life may Jesus want to challenging you to follow Him more?