Do you ever come home after a long tiring day and say “I fancy a cup of lukewarm tea”?
I felt challenged this week by a sermon I heard and as I pondered over the verses and prayed about it I felt I should share it with you and encourage you.
Have you ever felt you don’t really need Jesus in your life? Have you ever considered you know enough now of this “Christian” life that you are ok. You can do it. Maybe if it gets too hard I know I can pray to God and He will help me. Have you been so distracted by culture/society that you have changed your views to accommodate theirs and feel you are in with the times? Do you feel outraged when you hear people taking God’s name in vain or blaspheming? Does it make you want to cry when people say that they would never read parts of the Bible either because they are too difficult, or full of rules, or just outdated? Do you find yourself taking control of your life and completely ignoring the One who gave it to you, through His Son? When was the last time you spoke to God just because you enjoyed His painting in the skies above or just because you felt the cold air as you opened the door in the morning? I am addressing these questions firstly to myself and those who have met Jesus and given their lives to Him. If you call yourself a Christian, think about these questions.
When we first meet Jesus, there is a fire burning in our hearts and all we want to do is to spend time with Him. We open our Bibles and we are hungry. We want to know more of Him. Prayer is a bit difficult at first but as we are assured it is just like having a conversation with Jesus we pray a lot. We want to talk to Him. Our lives are so much better and we feel so loved and cherished that we even tell our friends that we have found Him. Or better yet, we tell them He has found us. He died for us and forgave us. He promised us life eternal if we believe in Him. We are so in love with Jesus that we put a lot of effort and time into getting to know Him. This is great by the way. It is normal too. It is by His grace that we are changed and that we want more of Him.
Are you confused? Are you asking yourself what the point of this blog is? Bear with me. We are getting there.
Very often when we have been a Christian for a while, our attitude or our view of Jesus tends to change. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t want to spend time with Him or know Him. It doesn’t mean we don’t love Him anymore. We are just busy. Too busy. There is not time or very little time for Jesus. Sunday mornings. Yes. Thank you Lord for Sunday mornings. I love Jesus, but life has not stopped, you know? I will read my Bible later today because my “to do” list is just a mile long. I don’t have time to go to the Women’s breakfast on Saturday morning? Are you joking? Have you seen my house? Church prayer meeting on Zoom? You must be having a laugh… I work in front of a screen all day… no. I will pray before I go to bed. I will buy the book being promoted for Lent but I have no idea when I will find time to read it. I will put it on the ever growing pile of good Christian books I have bought over the years and haven’t read yet. One day I will. I promise.
Sometimes we say all of the above and yet we find time to binge watch a Netflix series someone at work recommended. We find time to play video games or listen to our favourite music all day long. We engage in meaningless conversations and get distracted by the world around us and all it brings with it.
If this sounds a little familiar, read on.
There is a great danger that we could become lukewarm Christians. Not cold. Not hot. Not possible, I hear you say. I could never feel like that towards Jesus. Well, think of when you so wanted to have a hot bath and run it and whilst you were waiting for the bath to be filled you got busy with other things and by time you came back to it the water had gone lukewarm… What did you do? Did you jump in with excitement? Did you drain the water or added more hot water? Or maybe you poured yourself a nice cup of hot tea and set on the side just to find it 20 minutes later lukewarm. You tasted it a bit and either threw it away or drank it quickly pulling a face as you did it. Lukewarm tea is not the same as hot tea.
There is a warning for a church in Revelations about being lukewarm. The Church in Laodicea. As you read the verses remember that these words of Jesus are directed at Christians.
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.”
In verse 16 the words “I am about to spit you out of my mouth”, mean Jesus is about to be sick – to throw up”. Strong image, isn’t it? A lukewarm Christian makes Jesus sick. That is probably not the kind of reaction we would expect from Jesus, but it is what we need to hear. Do we think we can do it? Do we think we have enough knowledge? Have we forgotten our first love? Are we so centred on ourselves that we think we don’t need Jesus? Verse 17 says: “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”. Again, these are harsh words. May they pierce our hearts and produce in us repentance.
Jesus loves us and this passage bring a warning as we have just considered but it also brings hope. Verse 19 says: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” There is hope. We must look at our hearts and repent. We must be zealous in our walk with Christ, by His grace. We are united with Him through His work at the cross and what it has accomplished. We are now justified and saved, made righteous with God through Jesus. That is never going to change but our communion with Jesus, our “relationship” with Him changes depending on how we walk with Him. Verse 20 is an amazing verse: “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.” Jesus is saying to us, even though we might be lukewarm, wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked He is at our door, knocking, waiting to come in to have communion with us. Take heart my friend. This love is incomprehensible. Who loves like this? Only Jesus. His it is true. Jesus is offering it to us, all of us, that might find ourselves sometimes in a lukewarm place in our faith. Consider His words to the Laodicea church and examine your own life, as I have mine.
May our gracious God help us as we refocus on Him.