So I have been recently studying scripture and came across this subject and wanted to share it with you.
So most Christians when thinking about the term “lukewarm” think of the following scriptures…..
And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
So growing up I was always taught that the hot, cold and lukewarm were referencing if you were on fire for God, back-slidden, or teeter-tottering between the two.
However, I now recognize that interpretation may not be accurate in regards to what John was trying to write to the church in Laodicea.
In Laodicea, it is believed that they received their water sources from three places. The cold springs that came from the mountains and ran into creeks and streams. The hot mineral springs about five miles from the city. The warm, sulfur water from their advanced aqueduct which they built. The warm sulfur water from the aqueduct was nauseating to the taste and smell and was useless to them.
So the interpretation I learned as kiddo being that lukewarm was about the struggle of doing, not doing and the in between, was actually a talk about the effectiveness of the work we are doing rather than doing more.
So some suggest that John when talking to the church Laodicea was referencing something they knew all too well. No matter how much work, money, time you put into something it can be rendered useless.
This makes me think of all the different ministries out there. The intentions are well meaning. They may be well funded or planned. Friends, if God is not in the lead, if He did not prompt us to start those things they may render useless.
Often times, we may fall into the comparison trap- Lord, look at what so and so is doing. I should be doing more….
Are then we not doing our own will? That is not to say the Lord is not going to prompt you to do more. He can and He probably will if it is in His Will.
It makes me think of two things…
First I think of the last post I wrote you can read it here. If we are looking to Him, if He is our focus, the Spirit will lead us to what is in God’s will for our lives. We only need to be focused on Him and listening for His command.
Second, it reminds me of these verses….
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
I also wanted to show these verses in a different version for this instance I am going to use the message…
“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills.
I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’
And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
Ouch! Lord let us not be one of those who you have to say depart from you!
…did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name… This reminds me of the Revelation… the lukewarm…They were working… but for who’s will?
Friends, in doing this study I learned a couple of things. One is the effectiveness of our work matters. Don’t just do things and hope God jumps on “your” wagon.
Second, I learned that as a person who usually likes to take the scriptures literally, there may actually be more going on there than what is literally written.
I was recommended and will pass on this recommendation to you all. When reading scriptures look for two translations. Translators often have two concepts in mind when translating; either they are translating what is literally written as best they can to the common language of the current time or they are translating what they believe the author was trying to say to the audience they were writing to.
However, it takes a little more than that… you see out of all the versions I searched none of them showed the historical background of the Laodicea. Thinking about the context or historical background changes things.
Did you know what John was referring to when he said ” lukewarm”? Let us not be lukewarm but be walking in His Will, not ours.
Thank you, Father, for giving us understanding, for showing us your will, let our focus be only on you father. Amen