Revelation 3:15-16, “15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will[a]spit you out of My mouth. “
Every region of the United States of America has it’s own unique traditional foods and staples. Clam chowder is heavily rooted in the New England states. Pizza and Italian food have huge origins in New York state. There is the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich in Philadelphia. Alaska is know for it’s sweet Alaskan snow crab legs. Go to southern California and the lower West to find more authentic Mexican dishes. With all that said, there is one thing the South stands out with in all of it’s glory – Sweet Tea!
I have lived in the south all of my life, and I must admit that sweet tea is a mark of our household. I can remember as a child going to my grandmother’s house and loving the sweet tea she made. It was so sweet I believe a spoon would stand straight up in the glass. It was great. In all honesty, I don’t drink my sweet tea that sweet, but I still love it, and it brings back great memories of growing up.
Here, in the South, iced tea is huge. It is served in virtually every restaurant and home around. However, as good as sweet tea is, there are many places that serve hot tea too. I know many people who drink hot tea each morning instead of coffee. Others don’t go to bed at night without having their cup of hot tea first. When I am sick with a cold my wife will make me hot tea with honey and lemon, and it is oh so good!
Things brings us to an interesting point about tea. It is really good when it is cold and put on ice. It is really good when it is piping hot and put into cup for sipping on. However, if tea is neither hot, nor cold it is no good to drink. There have been times where I have had a cup of tea on my desk as work. It started out really good with lots of ice, and being very cold. At some point during the afternoon the ice melted and the tea was no longer cold. It was not hot either. It became lukewarm and I had to throw it out. The same has happened to me with hot tea before too. I would take a sip here and there of my hot tea until eventually it cooled off too much. Then it became lukewarm. It was no good. In fact, if I was close to a sink I would spit it out because of it’s taste.
Jesus, is sharing the same principle in His word here in Revelation chapter 3. He tells the church that He knows every deed and work they do. Jesus could see into the hearts of the church and see that they were not hot or cold. Instead, He said they were lukewarm. What does this mean? To put it simply, they were very indifferent about their faith and their relationship to Christ. They were fence-straddlers!
You see, there are three types of people in this world. The first category are a people that declare they are against anything to do with Jesus. These people do not believe in Him, what He says about Himself, or anything in His word. They are simply COLD towards God and the things of God. They stand against Him.
The second category are a people who confess Jesus as Lord, and are on fire for Him. Their lives do not dictate their conviction about Christ; but instead, their conviction about who Jesus is dictates the functioning of their lives. They are simply HOT towards God and the things of God. They stand with Him.
The third category of people are the bench-warmers. They confess Jesus as Lord. They want to know Him, but they don’t want to be too close to Him. These people believe if they get too involved, and too close to Christ, their lifestyles may have to change. This category of people are one’s who want the eternal benefits of Jesus, but have no desire for Him while on this earth. Simply put, these are the LUKEWARM people Jesus is talking about. Jesus speaks of these lukewarm people like the tea that is neither hot or cold. It’s simply good for nothing.
The Lord is showing them that their indifference makes Him sick. He says that He would rather someone be on fire for Him, or totally against Him than to be indifferent towards Him. At least if one is cold and stands against Him they have made a choice. I really believe it has to do a lot with the damaging testimony that a carnal Christian gives.
A person who confesses Christ to the world, but lives like the world is more damaging to the church than a lost person is. I believe this is why we see such a disdain for lackluster worship, carnal living, and lukewarm believers here in these verses.
The challenge for you and me is this. We should examine ourselves daily to make sure Christ has rule and reign over every part of our being. If not, we are in danger of becoming lukewarm and that can never be good.