What Does the Bible Say About Being Lukewarm?


In Revelation 3, Jesus rebuked the church at Laodicea for becoming complacent in their faith. “I know your works,” he said. “You are neither hot nor cold. So because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Now, it’s often interpreted that being hot is having passion for God and cold is against God. If you have no passion, then you’re lukewarm. Therefore Jesus is saying, “Either be all in or all out. It’s the ones in the middle that really make me sick” But how does that make sense? Jesus was not telling a church, “I’d have more respect for you if you were against me.”

Laodicea was abundant in riches, and the church benefited from the wealth of the city. It got to the point where they thought they didn’t need anything from God. But Jesus said, “You are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked’ (Revelation 3:17).” You have nothing apart from Christ.

For all of Laodicea’s luxuries, there’s one resource they didn’t have. Water. Nearby Colossae had refreshing cold water, and Hieropolis had medicinal hot water. But what happens when you channel that water in? It becomes lukewarm. If you’re expecting a cold drink and it’s warm, or hot water and it cools with all those mineral deposits in it, you’re going to spit it out.

What Jesus was saying to them was this: you are far from the source. You cannot refresh nor offer healing to anyone, because you are far from me and my word.

Many churches today have sought after wealth and prosperity, and they’ve forgotten the word of Christ. Jesus says, “Those whom I love I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” But you cling to this world instead of Christ, He will spit your name out of his mouth on judgment day, when we understand the text.

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