Revelation 3; Why Are We Lukewarm?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.     Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  Revelation 3:14-21

This is the last of the seven churches, and represents the last church of the Christian era. In every letter to every church, Jesus asks them to overcome, but in His letter to His last day church, He asks them to overcome, “even as also I overcame.” He is asking His last day church to do something beyond what He has ever asked any church to do before. He is asking them to perfectly reflect His character to a world dying for the hope only He can bring. This can only be done by casting away our so called righteousness for His true righteousness. That is what makes us so lukewarm, we are trying to be like God while still trying to be filled with self. We buy God’s gold and white raiment, by trading in our pride and self-righteousness.

We see in this letter, that there is hope! While Jesus does not paint a pretty picture of our condition, He implies that through His grace He expects to see us overcome! I remember when working at UPS once as a part time supervisor, my full time supervisor was rebuking me for a mistake I made. He seemed to be a little rough on me, but he ended the conversation by saying, “When you become a full time supervisor you will understand what I am talking about.” So while my boss did not paint a pretty picture of my current situation, he also implied he expected me to perform better and get promoted! If we study this letter to Laodicea carefully, we can see all the things Jesus can do for  and through us once we put self away.

God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning.  {Desire of Ages, p. 311}  

The Fruit of The Spirit, Lesson 11

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The key text for this week’s SS lesson is Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled’.”

 

Why is it a blessing to be hungry? Millions of people have starved to death, not because they lived in a third world country and are poor, but because they have a disease which takes away their appetite and they simply can’t eat. Famous millionaires have become anorexic and died of starvation not because they had no food, but rather because they had no appetite.

It is the same reason Jesus tells the church of Laodicea, “I wish you were hot or cold”. You see when we are lukewarm not only are we riding the fence but we do not sense our need of Jesus and His righteousness. I remember years ago going to a camp meeting in Wewoka Oklahoma. I was not planning on spending the night in a tent until late that evening when it was too late for me to drive home after the evening meeting. My friends in the next tent offered my blankets but I did not think I needed any blankets sleeping in a tent in an Oklahoma July. Well let me tell you something. Even in Oklahoma, come 3am in July it still gets cold! I was freezing. I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to make a change to get warm. This is why Jesus would rather his church be cold than lukewarm. He wants us to sense our need to change and accept His righteousness.

In order for us to experience Christ’s righteousness, self must be put of the way. Malachi 4:2 refers to the Sun of righteousness. So righteousness is the same as hot. Matthew 6:23 equates evil with darkness as does John 3:19. It was in the darkness that I got so cold. You know why Laodicea got so lukewarm? They were doing good works which Jesus recognized which were hot. But Jesus also recognized they were doing the good works for selfish reasons, which was cold. The end result was they just came out lukewarm. Paul has the solution for being lukewarm in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” With self interest out of the way Christ can perform His perfect will in us.

While millions starve physically with food nearby, millions more starve spiritually with churches on every corner and Bibles in every home. Why? Because they are not spiritually hungry. Let’s ask Jesus for the blessing of hunger and thirst so that we can be filled with His righteousness which will warm our hearts and cure our cold and lukewarm natures.