Tepid Torpidity or Lukewarm Complacency

As the One who built the church (Mt 16:18) and purchased it with His own blood (Acts 20:28), Jesus has a genuine concern and personal interest in the well-being of His spiritual body (Eph 1:22-23). In His letters to seven churches recorded in Revelation chapters 2 & 3, the Lord commends two churches, gives commendation and censure to three, and severely censures two. The last church receiving very harsh criticism from the Lord was Laodicea (Rev 3:14-22).

The Laodicean church viewed itself as rich, wealthy, and in need of nothing. But the Lord’s sobering assessment was quite different. He saw them as “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (v. 17). Because of their personal comfort and self-satisfaction, they had been lulled into a state of apathy and complacency – rendering only mediocre service to the Lord. And the really sad part of this was…they thought they were fine! But they were not fine.

Their uncommitted, lukewarm approach to Christianity nauseated the Lord and made Him want to throw up. Because they were “neither cold nor hot,” Jesus said: “I will spew (vomit) you out of My mouth” (v. 15-16). Their lack of passion for the Lord’s cause and their half-hearted service actually disgusted the Lord Jesus Christ and made Him sick! We, in our comfortable, well-to-do modern age, need to take note of this and thoughtfully consider the seriousness of the Lord’s critical rebuke.

Yet, as bad as the Laodicean church had become, Jesus did not give up on them nor disown them. Rather, He affirms His love for them and gives them opportunity to repent! He says lovingly, but firmly: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (v. 19). The word “zealous” used by Jesus is literally defined as “to burn with zeal” and carries the meaning of having “a zeal for God.” It means to earnestly seek or eagerly desire to do God’s will. This is exactly what the Laodiceans were lacking. To be pleasing to God, they would need to repent of their lukewarm indifference and reclaim their spiritual enthusiasm.

Perhaps we, like them, would do well to pray the heartfelt words uttered by a humble and repentant King David: “Create in me a clean heart , O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free (generous) Spirit” (Psalm 51:10-12).

Terry Schmidt


Author: southmain006

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