In a previous blog post that centered around The Consuming Fire of God, the topic of fire and its characteristics as an element was briefly described. As mentioned in that post, fire not only consumes what surrounds it but it has the ability to spread throughout the vicinity. As long as other elements within its reach are flammable, a fire will not only scorch and destroy but it will spread.
As it relates to the life of every believer, the burning desire for God should emanate from one’s very life. The world around us should know just how powerful God is by not only the words that we speak but by our actions. How we operate daily should be indicative of our relationship with Jesus Christ and the fact that God reigns supreme in our lives. In the book of Revelation chapter 3, we can see that the writer who was the Apostle John is writing to various churches throughout Asia.
While John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos, he wrote letters to 7 churches between chapters 2 and 3:
- The church of Ephesus
- The church of Smyrna
- The church of Pergamum
- The church of Thyatira
- The church of Philadelphia
- The church of Sardis
- The church of Laodicea
Throughout his letters, the Apostle John is given the charge by God to write to each church both encouraging and also challenging those within the congregation and also church leadership. Each of the churches were commended for maintaining their faith. (e.g. The church of Thyatira – Revelation 2:19) However, in a few of the 7 churches there were sins or issues that led to an ineffective influence throughout the continent of Asia.
For example, the church of Pergamum was found guilty of allowing the doctrine of false gods to be taught to the congregation. Even in the church of Ephesus, it was clear that the Ephesians did not love God as they once had according to verse 4 of chapter 2. However, the focus of this post will be to hone in on an important passage that contain words that God had given to John to write to the church of Laodicea.
In chapter 3 verses 15-16 the following words are given:
(NLT) “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”
(NLT) “You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.”
The overall issue with the church of Laodicea was that many within the church were unaware of their spiritual indifference toward God and the things of God. First, God’s message to John was to inform the people of the church that they were ‘lukewarm.’ Why does God use that term and what does it mean in the spiritual sense?
‘Lukewarm’ is meant to suggest that an individual or group of people are indifferent towards a matter. Verse 15 says, “that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!” The point that God wanted to impress upon the church of Laodicea was that their actions were neither for God or against God. Rather, what displayed was a cavalier or indifferent approach to how the church operated. Even verse 19 says, “So be diligent and turn from your indifference.”
The key point is that God despises anyone who decides to walk on the fence or live in neutrality concerning the things of God. The message that God gives to the Laodicean church is that of being expelled from the very presence of God. God desires that we as Christians burn with passion for Him. In this scripture, God is saying to us even today that there isn’t an in-between. Our lives are either hot or burning in passion for God, or we are cold and we reject God’s truth and love.
The truth of the matter is, God desires that we all burn with passion for Him, however, there will be those that choose to totally reject Him which can be illustrated in coldness towards God. It is key to understand that God wants us to love Him entirely. He doesn’t want pieces of our heart, but He wants us to let Him have the freedom to reign in our lives. In this scripture, the meaning is that God wants you entirely, or He would rather not have you at all.
You and I who are in Christ must burn for God with a passion that shows forth to everyone. Part of the problem within our world today is that there are Christians who are serving in religiosity, but their heart has not been changed to reflect the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Many act as the Laodiceans did which is to portray a life of connection to God through meaningless rhetoric and routine. Yet, the life of those who perpetrate is wicked to the core. The Laodicean church claimed to be rich in wealth but spiritually they were poor as verses 17-19 says.
The indifference that many today show forth is the very thing that God despises. While God also frowns upon those who choose to be ‘cold’ or live in rejection toward Him and His decrees, God makes it clear that He wants you to find your satisfaction and wholeness in Him. God desires that we who are in Christ burn for Him. When we burn for Jesus Christ, the whole world can see the power of God.
We are living in a time in which sinfulness has abounded and many things that were once wrong are now deemed acceptable in our society. However, God is looking for those who are willing to let the fire of God ignite their very lives. Showing indifference towards sin or even the things of God is one of the things that God hates. This is a part of the reason why many within the body of Christ are ineffective because there is a level of neutrality that has taken root within the realm of Christendom.
There are those who no longer fear or reverence God and they feel as if speaking the truth of God isn’t profitable. However, God’s standard and expectation of those who name the name of Christ hasn’t changed. Religion and rituals adhere to a disposition of being ‘lukewarm.’ However, true relationship and true proclamation comes from the heart of a person who is deeply drenched in the Holy Spirit and the fire of God.
Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord & Savior? If not, then you have a tremendous opportunity to start the ignition process of experiencing the fire of God in your life. Or, perhaps you are a Christian but your life is lukewarm. God wants to ignite your life with His Holy fire so that the world will know who you stand with and for. God desires that we know Him intimately and that our lives burn with passion. Seek God through Jesus Christ and repent of your sins. Allow God to shape you and to burn away the sin in your life so you can spread His love and His truth to the world around you.