2009-05-16 - Lukewarm = Cast Out
Jeremiah 7:13-15, "And now, because you have done all these things," declares the LORD, "and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you but you did not answer, therefore, I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave you and your fathers, as I did at Shiloh. I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brothers, all the offspring of Ephraim."
The above passage is similar to the passage we find written to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-16. "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." The church of Laodicea still exists today in many churches. There is a tendency with followers of Christ that, no matter how vibrant their faith is, or was at one time, it gets put on ice and becomes lukewarm. The fire of faith becomes absorbed into evening TV shows rather than Bible reading, internet blogging, and chat rooms rather than in person, face to face fellowship.
Jesus views with searching eyes everything within His church. He sees not just our external activities, but also our internal frame of mind. He searches the heart and He is not fooled by glitter, neon, or smoke screen phantom hoax practices. Jesus tests all things and He values only those things in us that He values. It is not a good thing when our opinion of ourselves is not the same opinion of us that Christ has.. This was the case in Laodicea, but we can learn from them. We don't have to be lukewarm. We don't have to be like the Israelites of old, in the passage from Jeremiah, and "cast you out of My sight." When we think we are better than we are, we only slander ourselves. Christ sees the whole picture, and it ought to be our goal to see things as He sees things, rather than pleasing ourselves with a view of our condition that is untrue.
The passage to the Church at Laodicea also contains the verses (3:20-21), "Behold, I stand at the door and knock " We often use this verse in evangelism, but it is really directed in Scripture to believers. It is said not to unbelievers, but to the believing church at Laodicea, which had become lukewarm. Christ says He stands at the door and knocks. Being outside the church is not the position that the Lord Jesus Christ resides in. He is already in a flourishing church. If we are walking with Him by faith, Christ is within the midst of His church. His presence makes the life of the church: prayer, preaching, and Sacraments full of life vital life.
The world is at peace with a lukewarm church, but Christ is not. A lukewarm church will always be pleased with itself while Christ is not. Spiritually poor and proud; this is a sad state for a church to be in. But a church that is crying out to God because of its shortcomings, backsliding, prayerless prayer, tepid zeal, passé evangelism, and preaching to acclaim rather than truth, is on its way to recovery, growth, vitality, and usefulness unto Christ and unto His glory. The church that knows it is not perfect, but is striving there unto, is the type of church, and contains the kind of people, that the Lord can, and often does, use to His glory.
Soli Deo Gloria,