I am confounded by many who are professed Christians in a lukewarm condition. It is a condition, on one hand, that demonstrates the absence of any spiritual fervor for the Lord and, on the other hand, a bruising indictment on the Laodicean church. God’s word to them is “because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Rev. 3:16
You have the picture here of the stomach experiencing a painful nauseating churning of emotions and the only relief is vomiting. We have all experienced painful emotions in our own stomachs, especially when rejected, hurt, abused or abandoned. Often, a lukewarm attitude in one who once showed love can cause it. It would be nice if we could physically vomit out emotional bruises and hurts, but it cannot be done that easily.
I think of the Church as the Bride of Christ. The bride is one who is beautifully adorned in her wedding dress. Looking at her bridegroom as she walks down the aisle, her eyes, heart, and affections are for him alone. She is full of excitement, joy, and hope for the experience of being married to the one she loves. And, for a season, that is what occurs.
But then, the marriage turns sour. She has forgotten her vows and the covenant of marriage. She has lost interest in her marriage and begins to get her needs met in other relationships. Her eyes and heart, once focused on her husband alone, are now drawn away from him and on to something else, whether it be persons, places or things. Her identity is no longer wrapped up into the covenant of marriage, but in some other identity she is trying to establish apart from her husband. The husband notices this and there begins to be a churning of rejection in his stomach that becomes very painful. If it were possible, he would vomit the relationship out and return to the wonderful loving relationship he once had with his wife.
He pleads with her, but it is of no avail for she has “need of nothing”(Rev.3:17). He tries to point out that she has become blind to the condition that she has put herself in, “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”. She has become lukewarm, which one commentator, Rev. James Moffatt, D.D., remarking on this condition wrote: “a quiet intentional appreciation of other things over God, which is all the more mischievous that it is not open wickedness”.
I’m drawn to the possible root of ‘lukewarmness’. It is the offense of the Church of Ephesus in Rev. 2:4; “I have this against you; that you have left your first love.” When you are casual toward the one that should be your first love, you may be on your way to being a casualty in your faith. You open yourself up to those things which God has forbidden in His Word which will ensnare you. I think of the woman in Luke 7:36-50, a known sinner in the city, she sought the Lord in the house of a Pharisee who invited Jesus to dine with him. The woman brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil to Jesus, washed His feet, wiped them with the hair on her head, kissed his feet and anointed his feet with the fragrant oil. Jesus speaks of her as one who “loved much” for her sins, which were many, were forgiven. The one who sees his/her sin as little is also forgiven, but will “love little”. This grieves the heart of God.
What is the answer to this condition? Jesus charges in Rev. 3:19; “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
My word to you is: examine yourself. Have you become lukewarm? Have you left your first love? Have you been loving little? Remember what Jesus said about the woman whose sins were forgiven? She “loved much”! Jesus had an appreciation for how “she loved much” as a result of her many sins being forgiven. How much more we, who have come to Christ as our Savior and walked with him, ought to love Him much! For we, too, have been forgiven much.