Today is the last in the series of the churches of Revelation. Sniff. Sigh.
On a much happier note, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Cindy Bultema, Bible teacher and speaker extraordinaire. Her new study based on the church at Laodicea, Red Hot Faith, will be released on May 9th, and I can’t wait!!
After you read her excellent post today, please leave a comment to enter to win the Red Hot Faith set, a $33 value including a 2 DVD set, a participant’s guide and a leader’s guide. (Note: Subscribers, all you need to do to access the comments is to click on the “Useless” title. We’d love to hear from you too and give you a chance to win.)
I’m definitely not known for my cooking. However, since my family likes to eat, I finally started putting my new crockpot to use. I’ll admit it — I love it. There’s nothing like throwing some random fixings together early in the morning, and then enjoying a nice, hot delicious meal later in the day.
One day, I tossed in my favorite ingredients for chicken tacos, headed out for the afternoon, and thought to myself, “Whew! Dinner is set!”
Imagine my surprise when I arrived home later that evening, opened the door from my garage into the house, and took a big sniff. Instead of a spicy aroma, I didn’t smell anything. I dashed over to check my crockpot. It wasn’t even hot. I thought, “Oh no, I broke it already!” Upon further inspection I realized it wasn’t damaged. I had simply forgotten to plug it in!
You know what kind of chicken I had on my hands? Not hot, not cold, but lukewarm. It was useless. What am I going to do with lukewarm chicken at suppertime? We had to order pizza that night!
Speaking of lukewarm and useless, Jesus had similar words to share with the church of Laodicea. To an affluent church located in a thriving city known for its wealth, shopping, and abundance, Jesus shares in Revelation 3:15-16,
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
The lukewarm living of His church members was beyond disappointing to Jesus, He was disgusted, and couldn’t even stomach their useless faith. In fact, the word “spit” in Revelation 3:16, in the original Greek language means “to vomit, spit out, regurgitate.”
We could read verse 16, “You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit.” (the Message)
Doesn’t sound so “Jesus-y,” does it? But that’s how utterly distasteful a lukewarm faith is to Jesus. It completely sickens Him. Wow.
You know what I find fascinating?
I used to think Jesus was saying in Revelation 3:15 — “hot” was “for Jesus,” and “cold” was “against Jesus.” In other words, be hot — be for me, or be cold — be against me, but just don’t sit on the fence and be lukewarm.
Now that I’ve studied this passage, traveled to ancient Laodicea, and examined how many scholars interpret this passage, I don’t think that’s what Jesus is saying at all.
Instead, I believe Jesus was saying, “I wish you were hot — therapeutic and healing; or cold – refreshing and invigorating, bringing a cup of cold water in My name” (Matthew 10:42).
Be hot! Be cold! Be something! Be of some use!
How God longs to use His church members to be His vessels — vessels of hope, healing and Truth reaching our lost and broken world. As God pours His love and grace into us, we are meant to pour it out into the lives of others. Not to be stagnant and useless, but to let His love flow.
The church members of Laodicea had such purpose in the midst of their everyday, ordinary days. They were meant to impact the lives of others. However, unfortunately the church members were completely self-absorbed and useless, and made no difference at all.
Friends, let’s not make the same mistake. Lukewarm living should not be our norm.
I wonder, how could use you be His vessel this week?
How can you be “hot” and healing?
• Share a cup of coffee with a co-worker and extend a listening ear.
• Offer your presence to a neighbor who is hurting and alone.
• Pray for the lost and broken.
How can you be “cold” and refreshing?
• Share an encouraging text.
• Bring a meal to a single mom.
• Cheer someone on. “You go girl!”
Sweet friends, it’s time to put our red-hot faith into action. Let’s look for ways to be “hot” or to be “cold,” but to “be something” each day! May lukewarm never be our norm!
Cindy Bultema loves the Lord, loves her family, and loves to celebrate! With nearly 20 years of ministry experience, Cindy is a popular women’s speaker, author, and Bible teacher. But don’t let her cheerful smile fool you — Cindy has endured single parenting, overcome bondage to addiction, and survived tragic loss. Sharing messages of God’s hope and redemption is now Cindy’s great delight.
Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and their four kids. Most days you can find Cindy walking her dog Rocky, attending one of her boys’ hockey games, or serving hot lunch at her kids’ school. Visit Cindy at www.cindybultema.com.