Are You Lukewarm?

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea, write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:14-16

I used to be like that church, Laodicea, useless to God; I used to be lukewarm to God.

Years ago, God convicted me of being lukewarm. I had one foot in the world and expected the Lord to move significantly in my life. It wasn’t until a friend called me out and told me to quit straddling the fence. Those words stuck with me, and I knew I needed to make a change.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 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 3:19-20.

Perhaps you have thought the same thing. Maybe your conversation went something like this:

“God, I don’t understand. I’m going to church. I’m sitting in the pew, and I’m worshipping you. I’m praying when they say pray.”

“You are doing that, but think about how you’re coming into the church and what you’re really doing. Are you wholeheartedly doing it, wholeheartedly
serving? Are you wholeheartedly giving, praying, and worshipping me?”

“God, what do you mean?”

“You come in here and sit as if you’re coming to see a show. You critique what goes on in here and look at the people. You ask how hard they worked putting this “show” together. That’s not what it’s all about. You critique the music, the sermon, and the ministries.”

“Yeah, I guess I’m kind of guilty of that.

“Kind of?”

“Ok, yes, I am guilty of critiquing and wondering if the band will be on point or too loud. How much time did they practice? Will they sound good? I also wonder if the pastor borrowed someone else’s material or if you inspired the sermon that week. Now that I say those things out loud, it doesn’t sound very good. Oh wow, it sounds terrible. They volunteer, and who am I to criticize all the time and effort they put into each week?”

“Are you coming to church to worship me?”

“I thought I was.”

You do know I wrote a book. Did you know that? It’s been the number-one bestseller for hundreds of years, and you haven’t read it from cover to cover yet. Why not? Is it that boring? Not enough action, romance, history, or drama for you? Not relevant for today?”

“Time. It takes a long time to read. Sorry, it is 11,000 chapters. And, well, it’s hard to understand. I don’t see anything about the internet?”

“Really? The church offers Bible studies, and you can get all kinds of study materials online that will help you understand my Words. The internet has been useful for some things, and while it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, other things aren’t either, like social media, but you still spend a lot of time there.”

“Maybe I should quit while I’m ahead? “

“What about your giving? The plate comes by, and you don’t put anything in most Sundays.”

“Lord, you know I am a single parent, and I’m trying really hard and giving all I can, I mean… and you know I’m doing this parenting thing by myself, and you know about our situation. I don’t get any support from you know who.”

“No support at all, huh? And you’re doing it by yourself? Hmm.”

“Well, Lord, you know I’m not getting anything extra. Remember when I worked two jobs?”

“Ok, no extra money, no support, and no help, so you’re doing it all by yourself? Have you heard about the poor woman who gave two coins? Oh, wait, probably not because you haven’t read the Bible much.”

“Well yeah, you know. I am sure you see my situation and know I have no one helping me.”

“Ok. What about serving? I gave you gifts and talents, and what are you doing with those?”

“I’m remodeling my house with those talents.”

“What are you doing in my house?”

“Well, I don’t know how to remodel a church and what needs to be done. And besides, they said a hundred-plus people help run the church, so I can’t see how they would possibly need me. They seem to be doing fine. And I don’t know how to do anything in a church. I’ve never served in a church before, so I kinda don’t know what to do.”

“Did you ask?”

“No. I don’t know who I would ask. I don’t know what I would ask them to do.”

I could keep going, but I hope you get the point.

God was basically saying, “Look, Jeanette, what you’re doing is coming in here, and you’re praying, and you’re worshipping, but you are not giving me your whole heart each day. You ask me to do big things in your life and give you what you need and want. But what are you doing for me? I’m doing all I can for you with what you will allow. I can’t do much if you’re only going to go this far in your faith. I am not a vending machine you drop coins and press buttons when you want something. I love you and want a relationship with you. But we can only go so far as long as you continue to give me half your heart. You are not useful to me. Jeanette, you are lukewarm. I wish you were either cold or hot.”

Being told that you are lukewarm and essentially useless is a hard thing to hear.

At this point, I had two choices.

Choice #1 – If God wants to call me lukewarm and useless, I will show him lukewarm and useless. I will pick up my toys and go home, and I will not return. I’ll get good at being lukewarm and useless.

Or

Choice #2 – I don’t want God to look down on me and see lukewarm or useless. I want God to see me as useful. I’ve been praying for God to mold, shape, and grow me. I missed that there was also a responsibility on my part to help make those things happen. So I asked God how do we do that? Put people in my life to help me do this because I want to be useful to the Lord. I don’t want to be lukewarm anymore. I want to be helpful. I want to do His work. I want to grow. Please, Lord, help me do that.

And He did.

When God told me he would do that for me if I would just move over, I needed to trust and believe his words. The Lord opened the floodgates, and I can’t get them shut, nor do I want him to close those floodgates. He’s coming at me every day with someone else or something else, and I think it’s fantastic. I say, “Lord, you keep going because I don’t want to turn around and return to being lukewarm. I don’t want to go back to being useless.”

My desire for everyone is that you would feel the same way. If you think you might be in the same spot, please let me tell you something from my heart – it works if you ask him.

“Move me, Lord, move me over here. Get me out of the dead center. Open it up, God, and give me all you have for me because I can’t wait to do your will.”

God is ready, but you have to be willing to trust, and you have to be able to do and live according to his will. The Lord will guide you accordingly.

Do you ever feel like sometimes you aren’t giving it your all?

Do you ever feel like you are half-heartedly worshipping and praying to God?

Is your faith lukewarm?

Ask God what you can do to move out of the dead center, away from being lukewarm and over to being on fire for God.

I would love for you to feel the same excitement and love I have for the Lord. It’s a beautiful feeling. I thought I found joy and happiness with one foot in the world. I was wrong. I found absolute joy when I took my foot out of the world and gave my whole heart to the Lord.

I want to say with a heartfelt expression that I am sorry that I took advantage of all those people who worked so hard each week at church. I apologize to them and the Lord for half-heartedly worshipping, serving, and praying.

I used to wonder what was wrong with people in the church. Then I looked at myself and realized I had a lot of work to do.

I’m inviting you not to be lukewarm anymore.

Go to your workplace or neighborhood with the gospel, and share the good news.

We are living in unprecedented times like never before. Like Esther, who knows if we are here for such a time as this?

Christ viewed the church as neither hot nor cold but lukewarm.

The problem is the people in the Laodicean church didn’t see themselves that way.

Take American Idol, for example. Some folks think they can sing when they really can’t.

Christ said you make me want to vomit.

Why? The Lord answers that in verse 17.

17 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. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

This is how the church viewed the church. They didn’t know they were in a bad spot because they had trusted themselves with eye salve to be treated for eye disease. Jesus says you’re blind.

They had a great banking industry. They had a linen industry. They began to trust in those things more than God. They looked at their self-sufficiency. They thought they were affluent; they thought they were rich.

What’s Jesus saying?

There’s a great danger – self-sufficiency – doing it on our own. None of us is doing it independently—the mindset of independence. Look at our church building; we have fun, we sing, wear nice clothes, see good-looking people, and you can fool yourself. The problem here was the views didn’t line up.

The church can be self-sufficient sometimes.

God’s counsel  in Revelation 3:17-18 is this – three things:

1. Buy from me; buy gold from me. Don’t count on your equity or hummer, etc. Buy gold from me – store treasures up in heaven. Make a deposit every time you follow the Lord.

2. Garments that will really cover your sin – The building is not nearly as important as your heart.

3. Sight – buy ointment that will really help you see.

What will you do with Jesus today?

What will you do for Jesus today and every day?

Now is not the time to be lukewarm in a world going crazy and rapidly going down the drain.

Choose Jesus, and choose life, eternal life.

Blessings,

The Teaching Lady Logo

Sermon Snippets From The Book of Haggai

Sermon Snippets From The Book Of Haggai – Part 2

JD Farag

 

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