The Remedy for Lukewarm Christianity Rev. 3:14-19 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
We live in the age of lukewarm Christianity. Whether we want to admit it or not, whether we can see it or not, we are the generation of lukewarm Christians. Lukewarm Christians lack the zeal of Titus 2:14; that’s why the Lord said, “be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Lukewarm Christians are like lukewarm coffee or lukewarm tea; they’re neither hot nor cold. Most people enjoy hot coffee or iced coffee, hot tea or iced tea. But they will spit lukewarm coffee and tea out. Likewise, the Lord said of lukewarm Christians, “I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Our God is a God of extremes: hot or cold, heaven or hell, light or darkness, righteousness or unrighteousness, saved or lost.
Dr. Ruckman preached a sermon titled, “Church members that make God sick.” They are Christians who pray without passion, sing without feeling, sin without concern, preach without unction, preach without preparation, and work without witnessing. That’s the majority of Christians today.
Lukewarm Christians measure their spiritual worth by their wealth, their possessions and their lack of need. Lukewarm Christians say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Like Dr. Jim Binney said, they measure success by “bucks, bodies and buildings.” I received a letter from a church that changed locations and the pastor said, “We know this is of God.” He said he knew God was in it because they sold their building for more than it is worth and purchased another building for less than it is worth. Spirituality measured financially.
Jesus said that lukewarm Christians don’t know their true condition. So, he spells it out for us. He said, “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” There is no way that they would know this by simply examining their earthly condition. They would say, “We must be right with God; look how much He has blessed us.”
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to make God sick. So, God gives us a remedy for lukewarm Christianity. He doesn’t just point out our fault and leave it at that. He tells us what we can do about it. He gives us three things to do. The remedy for lukewarm Christianity is to:
Buy, from Jesus, gold tried in the fire – notice he didn’t say, “Buy gold.” He said, “Buy of me gold.” And he didn’t just say, “Buy of me gold.” Rather, he said, “Buy of me gold tried in the fire.” So, this is not that gold that we might receive after the fire of the judgment seat of Christ [1 Cor 3:11-15]. This is gold that we can obtain now; gold that has already been tried in the fire. This is pure gold that we obtain from Jesus. It keeps us from being “poor.”
This gold must be “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” [Eph 3:8]. His riches include: the “riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering,” [Rom 2:4], the “riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God,” [Rom 11:33], the “riches of his grace,” [Eph 1:7], the “riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” [Eph 1:18], the riches of his “mercy,” [Eph 2:4], etc. He became poor that we “through his poverty might be rich,” [2 Cor 8:9]. As Paul said, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” [Phil 4:19].
We “buy of (him) gold tried in the fire” when we forsake those possessions upon which we rely and start trusting the Lord [Lk 12:15-21; Lk 14:33]. You and I can do things through the riches of Christ that no man can do with his own riches [2 Cor 8:1-2]. Our salvation is by the grace of God and cannot be purchased with money or works [Eph 2:8-9]. When a Christian has eternal life and the durable riches of his inheritance with Christ he is wealthier that any man, even if that man owned the whole world [Mk 9:36-37].
The church of the Laodiceans didn’t understand this. They thought they were wealthy because they were rich. In fact, they were bankrupt. As Paul said, don’t “trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy,” [1 Tim 6:17]. That’s the remedy for our lukewarm poverty [Rev 2:9].
Buy white raiment – we need this white raiment to cover our nakedness. It doesn’t appear to a lukewarm Christian that he is naked, because he has plenty of clothes. But to the Lord he is “naked.” And the only thing that will cover his nakedness, so that he is not ashamed, is white raiment.
White raiment is “the righteousness of saints,” [Rev 19:8]. So, the trouble with the church of the Laodiceans is that they were self-righteous. And self-righteousness is filthy rags [Is 64:6]. They couldn’t hide their nakedness with their own righteousness anymore than Adam and Eve could hide their nakedness with fig leaves. That’s why the Lord said they were wretched and miserable. All self-righteous people are wretched in God’s eyes.
Paul dealt with this problem of self-righteousness among Christians in Phil 3:3-10. Paul said, “that I may… be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith,” [Phil 3:9].
To “buy” this white raiment of righteousness, Paul had to forsake his own righteousness, which he did according to Phil 3:7-8. So, just like we forsake our trust in riches that we may live by the gold of Christ’s riches, so we forsake our own righteousness that we may live in the white raiment of God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. We won’t be naked that way [2 Cor 5:2-4].
Anoint you eyes with eye salve – the church of the Laodiceans couldn’t see the miserable condition that they were in. That’s due, in part, to the fact that our eyes are messed up as a result of the curse. After Adam and Eve ate the fruit, Gen 3:7 says, “the eyes of them both were opened.” They saw things that God didn’t want them to see or they saw things in a way that God didn’t want them to see them. Either way, we now struggle with an evil eye and, consequently, with bodies that are “full of darkness,” [Matt 6:23].
Therefore, God gave us the words of God to anoint our eyes. The Psalmist said, “Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,” [Ps 119:18]. Our eyes open to God when we believe the words of God [Lk 24:31-32, 45]. Paul said, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” [Rom 10:17]. When you believe what God said by faith, you are no longer blind, even to things that are not seen. Heb 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Therefore, “we walk by faith, not by sight,” [2 Cor 5:8]. When you believe the word of God, you are no longer blind. You can see things the way God wants you to see them [Ps 119:130, 105; Matt 6:22].
With the word of God, your work is not dependent upon how you see things or how smart you think you are [1 Cor 8:2]. Your work is the result of the work of the word of God. Contrast the church of the Laodiceans with the church in Philadelphia [Rev 3:8-10]. They kept his word.
Conclusion: You can go to hell trusting your riches, your righteousness and your sight. Don’t do that; get saved. And after you get saved, quit trusting these three things. The remedy for lukewarm Christianity is to start living by the riches of Christ, to start trusting the righteousness of God and to start living by faith in the words of God. Be zealous, and repent. Trade your riches for his, your righteousness for his and your sight for his.