Archive for October, 2020

Hot and Cold

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” (Revelation 3:15)

I’ve heard many interpretations of what Jesus meant when He uttered those words. Let’s suppose that ‘hot’ simply means a person who is saved and a ‘cold’ person means he is not. I believe that contextually it makes the most sense despite begging the question, why would Jesus wish that some of this group were unsaved?

The answer is also simple: unsaved people can be reached with the Gospel. That notion kind of reminds me of golf instructors. They prefer their students have no golf training whatsoever so they do not have to unteach bad habits. The lukewarm person has acquired many bad habits. Jesus goes on to describe them – they say of themselves, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” In their self sufficient state, they cannot comprehend that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.

Now consider the ‘hot’ person, who in reality he is nothing more than a cold person who came to realize his wretched (sinful) situation, his miserable (hell-bound) future, his (spiritual) poverty, his blindness (to Gospel truth), and naked (uncovered) condition. Jesus was referencing these cold folks when He said (in John 4:35), “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” Jesus also said that these same people (those who ‘realize’ their spiritual shortcomings) are blessed! “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” (Luke 6:20-12)

What does Jesus say to the wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked, lukewarm person?

“Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!” (Luke 6:24-26)

The church descriptions given to us in the Book of Revelation are there to warn us, but sadly lukewarmness is the condition of the church today. For almost 2000 years the church has been cautioned, yet it is what we’ve become.

We can debate how far we’ve gone, but regardless we live in the age where lukewarmness is becoming the norm. It is an era of self-sufficient and self-satisfied pew-dwellers being led in prayers where guarantees of better earthly lives and Heavenly access are given. Far too often there is no recognition of sin or sin’s consequence, no Godly sorrow, no desperation, and no repentance. Subjection, commitment, or obedience to Christ Jesus is nowhere to be found. God’s word has been watered-down, added to, and subtracted from. What’s good is perceived as evil, and evil is perceived as good. Rebuke, correction, and chastisement have become four-letter words. And finally, the Jesus they worship is a construct of the mind who accepts you (and your favorite sin) just the way you are.

By the grace of God, we are not all there, but this deplorable condition is clearly evident wherever we look. Thankfully the course is correctible.

Revelation 1:3 promises, Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

One of those blessings is found in Revelation 3:20-22:

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

A lukewarm person is like Pharaoh, in that his or her heart is hardened against the truth of God. Despite counting themselves as believers, when queried it’s discovered the doctrine they follow is not Biblical. Blind to their own blindness, they are convinced that their self-sufficiency proves their faith’s legitimacy. However, if you recognize the error, there is hope: repent.

The Bible reminds us that the beginning of wisdom is discovered in the fear of the Lord. What does that mean exactly? Well it begins with the understanding that Hell is a real place and although it was made for satan and his minions, it is where those, who like satan, reject Jesus, will go. A normal person (a cold person) should be fearful of that, while a lukewarm person might likely deny that Hell even exists.

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“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Revelation 2:5)

It’s not what we do, but why we’re doing it.

This church in Ephesus simply forgot why they were doing the things they were doing. While those things were commendable, their motivation and direction was not of Jesus. In a way it reminds me of all the great Ivy League universities – all founded by Godly, Christ-centered men, but today, despite doling out degree after prestigious degree, Jesus is no longer their focus or even a part of these institutions. No one can deny that it is ‘pleasing and commendable’ to work hard and earn a diploma, but if Jesus isn’t the focus and foundation, all the effort merely burns up in the end.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)

So it can be with our Christian efforts. What may have begun as an obedient service of and for the Lord, ended up a chore where the act and the actor were lauded rather than Christ Jesus. Before I go any further, I confess that I’ve been guilty of it often. I would also add that all those deeds, regardless of how commendable they may have been, will burn to crisp when He judges them at the Bema Seat.

So we must ask: is this thing we do for and of Christ? Who is honored: the deed, the doer, or Jesus? Does the activity bring His light into dark places or is the only radiance that of the spotlight that shines brightly upon ourselves?

If this is the case, Jesus says to go back to the place where it became about you instead of Him; back to where you pushed Jesus out of the pilot’s seat, and make the necessary corrections.

The Apostle Paul said it this way: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

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