Month: January 2017
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (vomit) you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15-16).
Christ describes the condition of the church using three different types of temperatures – cold, hot and lukewarm. Some people believe that He was either addressing the unsaved and saved or the passive and active. So, what did Jesus mean by cold, hot and lukewarm?
Eight years ago, I tore the meniscus in my left knee. It was a small tear, but it caused a lot of pain and swelling. To treat this, I had to undergo arthroscopic surgery. To regain function of that knee, I had physical therapy following surgery. During therapy, I was given two choices of treatment – ice or heat. Although they don’t feel the same when applied, they are both beneficial. This reminds me of the importance of all of the gifts in the body of Christ. The eye is not the hand and the head is not the feet, but they still need each other to function properly (1 Corinthians 12:21).
The ice and heat are both important and they both treat pain, but they don’t treat every pain. You have to know which one to use for your situation. For example, you would use ice on a sprain. If you used heat, it could cause the swelling to increase. But my point is this: lukewarm was never an option. Had the therapist given me lukewarm therapy, it would have been useless and ineffective. It would not have treated my pain.
And this was the condition of the Laodicean church. They weren’t reaching anyone. They weren’t making a difference. They were only concerned with themselves. You say, ‘I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing’ and know not that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (Rev 3:17). It seemed like after God blessed them, they forgot about Him and His people.
But I believe that God is going to allow certain things to happen this year to wake up the church. It is going to push the church to draw nearer to God, to get in her rightful place and to be about her Father’s business. It is going to cause those who are lukewarm to make a choice – to be either cold or hot. When you’re lukewarm, it’s not that you don’t love God, but you don’t love Him with all your heart – yet. It’s like a woman who accepts a marriage proposal, but never sets a date to become married.
But God needs us to get serious. Why? Because God wants His people free and the only thing that can make us free is the truth (John 8:32).
Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Love in truth (1 John 3:18).
Although there are a lot of people who go to church weekly, not all of them want to be the church. There will be those that want love, but don’t want truth. I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people have been apologizing because the truth offended some. I think some of them apologized out of fear – afraid of rejection, afraid of losing their fans/followers or afraid of losing money. Paul once asked the Galatian church, Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16). Many of Jesus’ disciples (the church) walked with him no more because of the truth. Does this offend you? (John 6:61). People complained and people walked away, but Paul and Jesus never apologized for speaking truth.
When Paul was addressing the church’s responsibility toward society, he said, IF it is possible, live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18). Sometimes it will be hard, but that doesn’t mean we behave like the world. That doesn’t mean we go along to get along. People are stumbling (tripping while walking; making repeated mistakes) because they cannot see. Choose to be a light. It’s not enough just to speak with our words, but we must also speak with our lives. If you want to win them to Christ, it is going to take wisdom from God – so ask for it.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that gives to all men liberally and upbraids not, and it shall be given him (James 1:5).
He that wins souls is wise (Proverbs 11:30).
You will start to feel uncomfortable with things that you were once comfortable with, but don’t worry. That’s a good thing. Maybe you’ve been comfortable for too long. Maybe this will be the thing that causes you to ‘stir up the gift’ which is in you. God has a plan and He created you to be a part of His plan. Yes, fear will come, but know that fear does not come from God (2 Timothy 1:7). He doesn’t want us to be afraid of man or what they may do. In God have I put my trust. I will not be afraid what man can do to me (Psalm 56:11).
God wants to transform us from the Peter that denied Jesus and followed Him from a distance in fear to the Peter that walked in holy boldness – healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead and casting out devils. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed (Romans 12:2). The caterpillar has to go through something before it turns into a butterfly, but after the transformation and growth, that butterfly is able to reach places that a caterpillar cannot. This is exactly what God desires to do in, for, through and with His people, but you must make up your mind.
Cold or hot.
Simon, a Pharisee, invited Jesus to his home. Luke tells us about a woman in the city that was a sinner (7:37). Although she wasn’t invited to Simon’s home, she went there to see Jesus. I’m sure there were other teachers and rabbis in that city, but there was something different about this Jesus. Maybe she heard about the widow’s son who was raised from the dead or the centurion’s servant that was healed or the leper that was cleansed.
She didn’t carry any water or towels with her to Simon’s home, but when she arrived, she immediately began to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears and dry his feet with her hair. Simon didn’t say it out loud, but he thought to himself, If this man was really a prophet, he would have known who and what manner of woman this is that is touching him. She’s a sinner. Jesus did know everything about this woman, but he didn’t treat her like the others. Her sins are many (Luke 7:47).
Have you ever for a moment thought you were better than someone else? I know I have and I can only imagine the looks this woman got by these ‘religious folks’. I’m sure everybody in that city knew her business. They probably thought she wasn’t ‘worthy’ to touch Jesus. This does not pertain to all Christians, but like certain Pharisees, we sometimes only teach or preach to impress others and not to help others. We study to teach the word, but we never study to become the word. Like the rich young ruler, we are so proud of ourselves. We’re proud that we don’t commit adultery, kill, steal, bear false witness, cheat or dishonor our parents, but we still lack one thing (Luke 18:20-22).
This woman was an outcast. She was rejected and shunned by religious leaders. No one really wanted her there. Sometimes we are just like Simon. We know other people’s sins, but we don’t see our own. We’re like the blind that have eyes yet cannot see. We know how to look clean on the outside, but refuse to become clean on the inside. And even if we ‘don’t do the things we used to do’, we sometimes forget what we once did or who we once were. We forget how long we were slaves to sin. This is why God told the Israelites that if they forgot and left a sheaf while gathering their harvest in the field to not go back and pick it up, but to leave it for the poor, the stranger, the orphan, the widow and the fatherless. This was a reminder to them that they were once slaves in Egypt. This was His way of humbling them and reminding them what HE did for them (Deuteronomy 24:19-22).
I think sometimes we forget that we were saved by grace and not by goodness. Trust me. Our good is not good enough. I believe that, as Christians, we have an opportunity to be like a gate or a door for others to God, but at times we have only let certain people in while shutting out others. Forgive us, Lord.
This woman, to me, was more pure and honest than Simon and his invited guests. Yeah, she was probably a mess, but she came to Jesus because she was tired of that mess. She wanted change. She wanted something different. Her tears were tears of repentance. She submitted to Him. She honored Him. She worshipped Him. She anointed His feet with ointment, which wasn’t cheap. It cost her something. All Simon did was open his house, but this woman opened her heart. She gave Jesus all and her faith moved Him. He had to forgive her sins.
Well…now they were mad that Jesus forgave her sins. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgives sin also? (Luke 7:49). Have you ever taken a medication that is supposed to cure one thing, but it can harm something else? When Jesus forgave her sins, she wasn’t just free from her sins, but she was free from the effects of sin. They really didn’t understand what had just taken place. Had they understood, they would have been rejoicing with her. Had they understood, they would have repented of pride and repented for their thoughts.
I think one of the reasons why people get angry when God does something for someone else is because they think God should have done it for them instead. They behave like the eldest son who got angry when his father celebrated the prodigal son’s return. They feel that because of the things you’ve done in your past that you don’t qualify for a party (Luke 15:28-30). You’re not good enough. You don’t deserve a husband or a wife. You don’t deserve that promotion. You don’t deserve to be blessed. And sometimes they get angry because they don’t understand what the father told the eldest son. All that I have is yours (Luke 15:31).
I know the body has many parts, but let us not forget that we are one body in Christ. Let us be careful of how we treat one another. Let us not look down on one another because although you may be standing today, it may be you that fall tomorrow. Be careful.
Let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation) ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12, AMP.
So be careful. If you are thinking, “Oh, I would never behave like that” – let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12, TLB.