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The disturbing fact about lukewarm Christians

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God is so repulsed by passive, unenthusiastic Christians who are “neither hot nor cold” that He promises to “spit us out of His mouth”. The disturbing fact is that the Bible warns that people who are not “hot” for God will eventually devote themselves to the teachings of demons. How can we check that we don’t become “lukewarm” Christians who follow demons more than Jesus Christ?

 

Revelation 3:16 ESV  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 

1 Timothy 4:1 ESV  Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

Our Father in heaven is so passionate about us that He has gone to extraordinary lengths for us, including watching His only Son tortured and murdered for our sake. When we look back at history and remain unmoved or un-convicted by His painful sacrifice, it deeply pains and offends the Creator. He declares that our “lukewarm” belief makes us worst than “cold” atheists!

 Six signs of lukewarm Christians

The Bible provides six descriptions of lukewarm Christians in Revelation 3:17.

Revelation 3:17 ESV  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

They are:

  1. Worldly: Self-sufficient, independent, focused on own interests
  2. Spiritually poor: No supernatural power
  3. Spiritually wretched: Joyless and striving
  4. Spiritually pitiable: Ashamed, stuck in cycles of sin
  5. Spiritually blind: Immature, don’t understand spiritual things
  6. Spiritually naked: Exposed, spiritually vulnerable to Satan’s deceptions

Lukewarm Christians will not represent God’s abundance, supernatural love and authoritative power to this world.

1. Blend in with the world

Lukewarm Christians are self-sufficient and independent. They place their faith in “doing their best”, without realising that our best will never be enough for a holy perfect God. 

In their hearts, they genuinely think they are doing fine as Christians and don’t need correction, reprimand or discipline. Nor do they believe they need to meditate on God’s Word day and night or actively share His good news. Their tithes and efforts for Christ are erratic and will depend on how they feel.

Psalm 1:1-2 ESV  Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

They hide their Christian identity outside church walls and take pride in their human achievements, families, passports or ethnicities. Lukewarm Christians blend in with the rest of the world by the way they talk and behave. They don’t humbly and sacrificially stand up to injustice. Sadly, God calls them His enemies.

Matthew 10:33 ESV  but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

James 1:27 NLT  Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

James 4:4 ESV  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

2. No supernatural authority

A true believer’s life is nothing short of radical – one that overflows with God’s power, love and self-control. Jesus said that when we are filled with His Holy Spirit, we will overcome sin, love perfectly, cast out demons, speak in tongues, heal the sick and do everything else that He did while on earth – plus more.

2 Timothy 1:7 ESV  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Galatians 5:16 ESV  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Mark 16:17-18 ESV And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Lukewarm Christians on the other hand, will “play it safe” by their own standards and won’t transform their communities. Their lives don’t display amazing testimonies and miracles. Neither are they able to minister to others with the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, as a demonstration of God’s power in their lives.

By contrast, Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to make them supernaturally radical for His sake and caused a reaction wherever they went. They cared deeply for people, were ultra bold in their faith and performed miracles regularly. Lukewarm Christians don’t believe this is the type of life that Jesus called them into. They are more fixated on their own worldly desires and reputations, than God’s. They politely refuse to stick their necks out for Jesus.

Acts 4:29-30 ESV  … grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 

3. Unhappy, judgemental and stuck

Lukewarm believers walk around feeling heavy, frustrated and unfulfilled. Like eagles trapped in golden cages, they know “there must be more to life than this”. So they work hard to build self-images, bank accounts, careers, relationships, families and talents, only to find that they still don’t feel fulfilled. Their prayers are not answered because they ask with the wrong motives.

James 4:3 NIV  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Lukewarm Christians haven’t given their past and pain to Jesus, so they can live the truly abundant life that is only available through complete repentance and surrender to God. Instead, they focus on good works, rules, traditions and “doing religion”, still blind to their own spiritual darkness. Sadly, they don’t realise that God has already rejected them. 

Romans 1:18 ESV  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

4. Stuck in sinful patterns

Our Heavenly Father waits to purify and transform us from the inside out but lukewarm Christians don’t personally experience this renewing and healing power. This is not because God can’t or won’t work a miracle in their lives, but because they haven’t fully submitted everything to Him through open confession of their sins, as well as the sins of their ancestors. (See testimonies on repentance and healing)

James 5:16 ESV  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1 John 1:6-7 ESV  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

5. Spiritually stuck and immature

Lukewarm Christians “outsource” the hard work of growing spiritually to others. They rely on pastors, devotionals or teachers to feed them God’s Word, rather than study it for themselves. They may be long-time Christians who have attended Sunday services for years or can quote a few hand-picked Bible verses, but their spiritual understanding is weak and their lives are not radically transformed.

Often, they admire and follow a “favourite” pastor or celebrity preacher, rather than go directly to the Bible. They are used to consuming watered-down teachings that have been processed through people, rather than the richness of God’s Word through the Holy Spirit for themselves. They may be unaware that Christ says that He is the Instructor for all His followers and we are to call no one else “teacher” except Him.

Matthew 23:8,10 ESV  But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.

After two or three years as a Christian, they are still unable to teach others God’s Word or explain the gospel with power.

Hebrews 5:12 NLT  You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

Sadly, Jesus described such people as “white washed tombs”. They look good on the outside but are empty and lifeless inside.

Matthew 23:27 NIV  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.

6. Unaware of and prone to spiritual deceptions

Lukewarm Christians are easily shaken by trials and Satan’s deceptions. They tend to worry about the problems they see and secretly doubt God. Instead of turning to the Holy Spirit for His counsel, conviction and lead, they turn to their own solutions or other people.

They are unable to test for false teachings in the church because they don’t know the Bible thoroughly and lack a relationship with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. They hear quotes that are supposedly biblical in nature and are happy to share them on social media without realising they are only spreading false teachings.

2 Corinthians 11:4 NLT  But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

Mark 13:22-23 ESV  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.

If we truly believe Jesus is who He said He is, we would make every effort to study the Bible so we can spot “lies so clever they sound like the truth“. Satan is cunning and his deceptions are never so straightforward nor easy to spot. If we remain spiritually naive, untested and gullible, we will fall for any twisted teaching and end up following demons

Ephesians 4:13-14 NLT  … we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.

Here are some false teachings that lukewarm Christians tend to fall for.

1. “Pray hard enough and God will give you what you want.” 

God’s answer: Proverbs 1:28-31 ESV  “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes.

 2. “Your sins are just between you and God, there’s no need to talk to other people.”  

God’s answerJames 5:16 ESV Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 

 3. “If you don’t bother evil spirits, they won’t bother you.”

God’s answer: 1 Peter 5:9 NLT  Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith…

 4. “You will go to heaven once you accept Christ.”

God’s answerMatthew 7:21 ESV  “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.

 5. “God wants you to be happy.”

God’s answerJohn 14:15 ESV “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

 6. “Your parents’ sins don’t affect you.”

God’s answer: Exodus 20:5 NIV You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 

See Jesus reveals demonic worship in lawyer’s ancestry

 7. “Miracles don’t happen anymore.”

God’s answer: Mark 16:17-18 ESV And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

 8. “Baptism is optional.”

God’s answer: Acts 22:16 ESV  And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

See Preparing our hearts for baptism

 9. “It’s fine to take part in items, rituals or food used in idol worship, as long as you don’t believe in them.” 

God’s answer: 1 Corinthians 10:20 NIV  No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 

 10. “We should acknowledge those who donate or do a lot for church.”

God’s answer: Matthew 6:3-4 ESV  … do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Time to repent

Being “hot” for God takes conscientious effort and work. On the other hand, spiritual passivity or sloth only opens us to destruction by demons. Instead of receiving God’s salvation and good gifts, we will be rejected by Him. Let us not unwittingly become passive, unenthusiastic Christians that God will spit out of His mouth. 

Philippians 2:12 ESV  Therefore, my beloved… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

Instead, let us go to our loving Father as children who are sorry for straying away from Him and welcome His teaching, conviction and correction. The Creator of this Universe promises to reward all who go to Him in obedience, reverence and pure love, and shower us with every spiritual blessing through His Holy Spirit. He is a wonderful Father who is full of love, compassionate and joy, and worthy of our devotion.

Revelation 3:19 NLT  I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

Ephesians 1:3 ESV  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

 

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