If you've grown up with a Christian background of have been following Christ for quite a while now, you've probably heard of the term 'lukewarm Christian.' You may know one or think of yourself as one. But what does it really mean and why is it so bad for our faith?
The term 'lukewarm believer' comes from the message Jesus gives through the apostle John in Revelations 3:14-22. Verses fifteen and sixteen give us the clincher saying, "'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 spit you out of my mouth."
What a strong message towards a church! The actual translation for 'spit out' in this context actually means 'to vomit.' What was it about Laodicean believers that displeased Jesus so much that it made Him want to vomit them out?
The Laodicean problem really was illustrated by the kind of water that they had. Water in that city came from an aqueduct that transported water from almost five miles away. By the time it would arrive in Laodicean homes, they would be lukewarm and almost undesirable for either bath, which people liked hot, or drinking, which people liked cold.
Often when we refer to a lukewarm Christian, we think of a person who is uninvolved or indifferent to the things of the church - someone who doesn't volunteer, doesn't join small groups or doesn't say "amen" enough! But is that really what a lukewarm Christian looks like?
It's not clear in scripture whether lukewarm Laodiceans were uninvolved in ministry or not, but it's clear that they were uninvolved in the things of Christ.
The Bible tells us that what drove people to be lukewarm was their self-sufficiency. Revelations 3:17 says, "For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." The problem with the Laodicean church was that they lived a life that was as if they didn't need Jesus or weren't pursuing him before all else.
Many times, if we're honest, we can all live that way. We live as if we can take care of ourselves and that we don't need Jesus for provision or protection. When we refuse to pray because we're fine without it, when we don't surrender our finances because we're educated and self-made, or when we refuse to read God's Word because we already know the Bible, we live as lukewarm Christians.
It would be wonderful if you could get involved in ministry- volunteering as workers, discipling others and participating in church events- but it's not that that matters most to God. What matters most is if you live life actively pursuing Christ and seeking Him above all things in all you do. When we don't do that, that's when we start becoming lukewarm, and it could happen to anyone. It could even happen to you. If that does sound like you, make a fresh start today and make some new commitments to do the things that would make Jesus want to keep you close to him, not spit you out.