Revelation 3:15,16,17 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

   Being complacent is spiritually dangerous.  Yet, affluence and self sufficiency lull us into a sense of security that simply doesn’t exist.  Accidents, illness and disaster can come into your world without warning and in a moment.  Money can’t help people deal with events that are beyond human control.  And control is a social illusion.

     Dennis Davidson writing on the complacent church points out; “Affluence had lulled the church to sleep. The members were wealthy in material good, but poor spiritually. The lack of spiritual receptivity, devotion and faith in God manifested in a lukewarm state is revealed in the exaltation of material wealth in contrast to spiritual riches.” In the trials to come, that inevitably come in our lives, it is spiritual strength that gets us through rather than the fake strength of material wealth.

     The Bible warns us not to trust in the world’s strength; “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7)  Spiritual strength comes from trusting in the LORD our God; “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverb 3:5)

     How can we stay rooted in this trust in the LORD?  Stay in His Will, not your own ways; “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” (Proverb 3: 6,7)  His word will guide you; “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)  Unless you have a better idea.  And that’s where the road to lukewarm begins.

     Jesus described the way the Gospel is received by people who hear it.  Some refuse to believe it (Luke 8:12).  Some receive it with joy but it doesn’t take root in them and they fall away when times get tough (Luke 8:13).  Others hear it but; “as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” (Luke 8:14)

          How does a passion for the Lord express itself?  How do passion and maturity go together? Passion without maturity isn’t passion. Rather it is at best adolescent infatuation bound to be shallow and unable to produce a crop because there is no maturity – no real love, trust and belief in the Gospel.  Spiritual immaturity expresses itself along a continuum from Pharisaical rule keeping to charismatic excess.

     Jesus cannot stomach either extreme.  He nails the Pharisee with; “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’” (Matthew 15:8,9) And to those who believe charismatic excess entitles them to enter heaven, He will say; “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:22,23)

     Like children, spiritually immature people believe that holiness is found in obsessive rule keeping or the antics of charismatic emotionalism never realizing that maturity has a sobriety that recognizes only God as good and holy.  Those who consider themselves spiritually rich as they religiously observe their man-made rules or engage in charismatic excess are really prancing about in rags.  Sobriety comes out of the knowledge that we fall short – in all ways and always.  Sobriety is to see and understand our own pitiful condition.  This is maturity.

     It’s not hard to see how Pharisaical rule keeping can be lukewarm.  But how can charismatic excess with it’s high pitched emotionalism be seen as lukewarm.  There is heat and passion in it – but for God or self?  Jesus isn’t fooled; “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.” (Matthew 7:21) Those who seek and do the will of God have the passion that Jesus is looking for!

     Affluence allows the freedom to live by man’s rules and the freedom to act out emotional religious experiences.  Affluence provides the full range of the worldly church that we see today. The adolescent passion of it is just smoke and mirrors.  If we’re looking for God we will still find Him where Elijah found him; “And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”  (1 Kings 19:11,12)

     At the time Elijah was broken down and beaten.  Elijah was ready to listen!

     Are you?

     Praise the Lord!

   

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