“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16
In five of the seven letters to the churches in Revelation 2 & 3, Jesus connected His commendations and warnings to their deeds. He said, “I know your deeds,” and in the case of the Laodicean church, their deeds revealed a “lukewarm” spiritual temperature. Their condition so sickened Jesus that He used a word that means to vomit them out. Jesus said he would rather they were spiritually cold, rather they weren’t even believers, than to be a church without any spiritual heat and no ability to raise the spiritual temperature of those around them. To become lukewarm, they had to be removed from the source of heat. So how did that happen? Jesus said their wealth had deceived them into self-sufficiency and blinded them to their condition (3:17). They were a sick church in need of a spiritual fever to fight off the infection. How might we be contributing to such a condition today?
As a community of believers if we think we’re in need of nothing, we won’t pray for or depend on God’s provision, which means we won’t see God’s miraculous work, and nor will the world around us. The freedom financial wealth gives us to choose what we will do and when, might cause us to move ahead on good works that are not God’s work. We may become more of a welfare organization than the soul-repairing body of Christ. We might be able to provide more activities for our members becoming more of a social club than a training ground for God’s warriors. The ease and distractions of life that wealth provides might tempt us to stay out of the heat of the spiritual battles around us. We may be able to afford more staff to handle our needs. So rather than becoming disciples that lead or serve for the cause of Christ, we may tend to become pew-warmers seeking to be served and entertained. The good news is wealth can allow us to do a lot. The bad news is wealth can allow us to do a lot. So how can we be blessed with wealth and keep our spiritual temperature elevated?
Jesus counsels us to buy from Him that which we cannot produce on our own, that which will bless, heal and purify, bring salvation and spiritual sight (3:18). He commanded them to be “zealous” (3:19 KJV), meaning to burn with zeal, get a spiritual fever. He said to repent, turn and go the other direction. Instead of running from the heat, run into it. Don’t bring the fever down with earthly things that mask our true condition, but let the fever do its healing work. If we want to stay close to God’s source of heat, we need to depend on the power of God through His Spirit, live by the Word of God that burns in our hearts, persevere in the heat of spiritual battles, pray fervently, and burn with zeal for the deeds that Jesus commanded us to do. Jesus is speaking to His body, His bride, made up of individual believers, not a building or an institution on whom we can place blame. Individually we contribute to the health of the whole. So what deeds need to change to raise our collective spiritual fever?
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you that you passionately pursue us. That you continue to knock until we open the door to you and your ways. Forgive us Father where we have become lukewarm. Reveal to us where we have moved away from the heat you provide, where our deeds are making you sick. Help us to remove those deeds which are lowering our spiritual temperature, the things we are doing by our own strength and ability and are not in your will. Give us the desire to be more on fire for you, the wisdom, courage and strength to change. Let the wealth we have, whether time, talents or resources, be used by you for your glory. In the powerful name of Jesus, the source of true wealth. Amen!