Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lukewarm....what exactly is it?

The word "lukewarm" has been swirling around my head lately.  My husband and I have had conversations about it and began to study what it truly means.  We read Revelation 3:16-22 and then I dove into commentaries and other tools to grow my knowledge. 

A lukewarm person is one who is a comfortable Christian.  One who goes to church, may be involved in groups within the church, but doesn't truly live for Christ.  They go through the motions and think that is good enough.  They are half hearted and not 100% committed to God and His Word.  A lukewarm person is not zealous for Christ.  In fact, they like to refer to themselves as Christians but would rather keep up with the world instead of Christ. 

My husband and I certainly don't want to be in the lukewarm category and we don't want our children there either.  My heart began to ache as I looked around and realized that we live in a world of lukewarms.  I have decided that every Wednesday I will post a lukewarm test.  We can check our hearts and make sure we are living on fire for Jesus.

Before we begin any tests, we need to read and understand Revelation 3:16-22. 

Revelation 3:16-22
v.16 - So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.

v.17 - Because you say, 'I am rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,' you don't know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,

v.18 - I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see.

v.19 - As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline.  So be committed and repent.

v.20  Listen! I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. 

v.21 - The victor:  I will give him the right to sit with  Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.

v.22-  Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

Here is a BRIEF explanation of each verse:
v. 16 - Lukewarm people are not useful and are seen as spiritually worthless.  This nauseates Jesus.

v. 17 - Lukewarm people think they are rich and have all that they need.  They only turn to Jesus when they need something, otherwise they believe that they have a good handle on life.  They have no clue how in need and desperate they really are for Jesus.

v. 18 - Jesus advises people to come to Him.

v. 19 - Jesus truly loves us with all of His heart and He instructs us to repent and be zealous.

v. 20 - Jesus is standing at people's hearts and knocking.  He reveals Himself daily to us and He wants us to open our hearts and invite Him in.  He desires for us to be with Him eternally.

v. 21 - This is a promise from Jesus.  Those who truly live for Him and love Him will be victorious and be in His presence for all of eternity.

v. 22 - Jesus tells us to listen to the Holy Spirit and open our hearts to Him. 

I searched various places to find concrete categories of a lukewarm person.  I found a list here that I found extremely helpful.  I will summarize the list for everyone to read through, but if you have time you may want to visit the site.  Scripture addresses back up each category and it is helpful to see it written in God's Word.

1.  A lukewarm person attends church regularly because that is what "good Christians" do.

2.  A lukewarm person gives to charities and the church as long as the giving doesn't interfere with the standard of living the person is accustomed to.

3.  A lukewarm person tends to choose what is popular over what is right in God's sight in a conflict.  They have a strong desire to fit in and care more about what people think than standing up for God.

4.  A lukewarm person doesn't really want to be saved from sin, only the penalty of sin.  They don't truly believe that the life Jesus offers is better than the life the world offers.

5.  A lukewarm person is moved by people who act radically for Christ, but aren't moved enough to act themselves.

6.  A lukewarm person rarely shares their faith with other people.  They don't want to be rejected or made to feel uncomfortable.

7.  A lukewarm person gauges their morality and goodness by comparing their actions to the secular world.  They feel satisfied because at least they aren't that bad.

8.  A lukewarm person says they love Jesus, but the don't really want Him in control of their entire lives.

9.  A lukewarm person doesn't love Jesus with all of their heart, soul, and mind.  They believe that kind of devotion is reserved for pastors, missionaries, etc.

10.  A lukewarm person loves others, but they don't seek to love others as much as they love themselves.  Their hearts are focused on what they can get in return and their love is highly conditional.

11.  A lukewarm person will serve God and others, but there are limits to how much energy they are willing to give.

12.  A lukewarm person thinks more about life on earth rather than eternal life.  Their daily life is focused on to do lists, schedules, etc. rather than serving God by doing these things.

13.  A lukewarm person likes their luxuries and comforts.  They don't consider giving as much as they can because they don't want their comforts messed with.

14.  A lukewarm person does whatever it takes to keep from feeling guilty.  They do as little as possible to be "good enough".

15.  A lukewarm person likes to play it safe.  They don't like to step out of their comfort level.

16.  A lukewarm person feels secure because they attend church.  They can check off a list and feel like they are good with God.  For example, church attendance, Bible studies, baptism, sacraments, etc.

17.  A lukewarm person doesn't live by faith.  They have their lives figured out and are very structured.  They don't really rely on Jesus unless He is needed in a crisis.  "In truth, their lives wouldn't look much differently if they suddenly stopped believing in God."

18.  A lukewarm person isn't much different than a nonbeliever.

Wow!!  That's a lot to consider.  I don't know about you, but I certainly saw myself in some of those.  I want to be on fire for Jesus in all I do.  I don't want to be lackadaisical in any part of my worship and devotion to Him. 

I will leave us to consider Revelation 3:16-22 and the 18 categories listed.  I pray that we will take to heart what Jesus is trying to tell us.  Next Wednesday I will post a specific area that we can work on to become more alive and active in Jesus.