by Steven Chan
Some brethren seem to think that it does not matter to God whether the activity level of the church is fervent, apathetic, non -existent or whatever. So they “do church” anyhow they feel like it. It matters not to them whether they really do anything for the Cause of Christ or the manner in which these activities are carried out. What does the Bible say about this attitude of indifference (or in Bahasa Malaysia, “tidak apa” attitude)?
Our Lord Jesus Christ addressed this specific issue with the church at Laodecia and this has been preserved for our learning and exhortation today:
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”(Rev 3:15-16).
1. God does not tolerate a spirit of indifference or
“lukewarmness”. God says He knows their “works” – i.e. what they have been doing and how they have been doing those works. His words are strong towards this type of spirit: “I will vomit you out of my mouth”. Should we not be concerned about the level of our spirit/zeal in doing God’s work?
2. The lukewarmness in their sevice or activities towards God was because of their attitude of complacency, self-dependency or self-sufficiency. God observed that they say in their heart: ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—when in reality the Church at Laodecia did not know that they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”(Rev 3:17). They failed to recognize their deep spiritual poverty and their need to rely on God for their spiritual well-being. They felt that God is not really needed in their lives.
Do we feel that we need God in our lives? Or are we just buying insurance in case there is a God – and so we want to pay the lowest premium or cost for that insurance policy? Is God real to us? Are we are trying to have the best of both worlds by serving God and mammon (or wealth/worldliness). Jesus said that it cannot be done: “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”(Matt 6:24)
3. God’s advice to the Christians at Laodecia: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Rev 3:18) Three things God wants us to buy from Him (as He is the only One who can supply them):-
a. True Spiritual Riches: treasures in heaven
b. Spiritual Clothing: clothing to cover our sins and clothing of immortality for our eternal home: “earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven…further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.”(Rev 3:5; 2 Cor 5:2, 4)
c. Clear Spiritual Sight: so that we know the way to heaven (Psa 1;119:105)
4. Jesus called upon the lukewarm Christians to do the following in Rev 3:19-20:-
a. Be Zealous- don’t be Lukewarm, be “hot” in how we serve God;
b. Repent – Decide to Change – don’t continue in the path of lukewarmness; &
c. Open our Heart to God & Invite Him into our lives – Include Christ in all of our life’s decisions and don’t leave Him outside of our lives! Neither should He be left at the periphery or our lives; rather He should be at the centre of all that we are and do.
5. We need to take heed to the exhortation of the Bible that we should not be “lagging in diligence, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom 12:11); and that we should be like God’s servant, Apollos: “This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord” (Acts 18:24)
Brethren, it matters to God what we do for Him in His church as well as how we carry out our works for Him. May we raise our level of fervency or spiritual temperature so that we will be hot and not be lukewarm. Otherwise, we risk being vomited out by Christ.