REVELATION 3:14-22: “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.’”
In today’s scripture, the words of the Lord are chilling to the soul, scathing to any profession of faith, and should cause us to pause and ponder. For Jesus to look at our churches, stare at us as individual Christians and say, “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.”
The worst of spiritual conditions Christians may find themselves in is being lukewarm or wear the label of “backslider.” Jesus uses the harshest of words to a backslider church and Christian – “I will spit you out of my mouth.” This does not mean loss of salvation, but it does mean loss of joy, peace, and enjoyment of Christ in the Christian life. It also means we are destroying our Christian testimony in our homes, communities, and churches. We profess a Christ and Gospel that is not validated by our practice. And here are three signs indicating we are backslidden. There are more, but these are “big ones”.
First, we lack any spiritual appetite for the things of God making time in the Word stale or neglected. Prayer is mechanical and never practiced with other believers. Church attendance? Hit and miss, mostly missed and that without regret or remorse.
Another sign of being a backslider is we get more excited and have our affections more attached to the pleasures of the world than being fixed on Jesus and the things of the eternal world. Here is an illustration, if given the choice, and we are given the choice, to be in the Word, prayer, and with God’s people or pursue earthly pleasure, entertainment, hobbies, and recreation, we don’t hesitate to choose the latter. A backslider is all about personal desires more than Christ’s interests.
A third sign of a backslidden condition is we rarely, if at all, think of eternity, the brevity of life, and the certain Day of Judgment before the Lord Jesus. The backslider suffers from “spiritual amnesia” forgetting this life is all about preparing for the next life.
Lukewarm hearts. Backsliders. Indeed, the worst of spiritual conditions for a Christian .Make it our daily prayer and holy pursuit to avoid such a God-displeasing condition. A lot is at stake if we don’t – our joy, our testimony before a watching world, and preparation for our individual day of reckoning before the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
PRAYER: “My God, show more of the Beauty of Yourself, Your Son, and Your Spirit to keep me close to You.”
QUOTE: “A lukewarm heart is the worst condition for a Christian .It destroys our witness for Christ and His Gospel.”