“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either 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 NIV
The book of Revelation was written in the first century to encourage persecuted Christians in Asia Minor (present today Turkey). The book includes short messages from Jesus for each of seven churches in that area. Each message addressed that church’s context, challenges, short comings and/or accomplishments, and exhorted the Christians to remain faithful to Jesus.
Revelation 3:14-22 is Jesus' message to Laodicea, a church located in an economically and intellectually prosperous community. Its members regarded themselves as self-sufficient, having all they needed and more. As a result, they didn’t desperately need God like other Christians. When the Laodiceans gathered to worship, they felt assured, given their blessings, Jesus was exceedingly pleased with them.
Jesus’ message in Revelation to them must have come as a shock.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:15-18 NIV)
Among the seven churches were many hot Christians, men and women fired up for Jesus. Even as they lived in the midst of a culture stone cold to Christ, threatening violence, persecution, and death, they remained red hot. Passionate and determined to follow Jesus, they refused to deny or denounce him. They picked up their crosses and laid down their lives for Jesus, even if it meant dying.
Laodicea was not so hot. They were not cold to Christ, atheist or antagonistic like the Roman Emperor and his minions. They were lukewarm. They considered themselves Christian, but Jesus' Spirit of love had not yet penetrated their minds, reached their hearts, or saved their souls. They worshipped themselves (success, materialism, popularity, etc.) and unknowingly the Roman empire. Unable to use or delight in them, Jesus threatened to spit them out of his mouth. Cancer patients and others facing health challenges have their physical temperatures taken all the time. These and other life struggles provides an opportunity to take our spiritual temperature. Are you cold, lukewarm, or hot for Jesus? Are you angry and resistant, unmoved, and indifferent, in love and on fire? Cancer and other life threatening, life altering challenges can provide the spark your faith needs. Even if your spiritual temperature is lukewarm
or ice cold, Jesus will not give up on you forget you, or for sake, you. His love for you remains red hot! In his message to the Laodicean Christians, he pursues them.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)
Open your whole heart to Jesus. Be held in his warm embrace, clothed in his love and righteousness. Be healed and be his. Let his Holy Spirit set you ablaze. His love will spread like wildfire, consuming all but love, and make you red hot for Jesus!