No one likes to think of their spiritual life as being only lukewarm and it is not something we would readily admit to. Yet this is the problem with the church at Laodicea. It was tepid, insipid and Jesus was about to spit it out of his mouth. It would be nice if we could read about this from a lofty disengaged vantage point, but the reality is, when we read it we are challenged to think about the spiritual temperature of our own lives.
The Christians at Laodicea thought they were doing well, but in Jesus’ eyes they did not measure up. Jesus called them out on their inflated and deceptive view of themselves. They claimed to be rich, but Jesus said they were poor. They claimed sight, but Jesus said they were blind. They took pride in their stylish clothing, but Jesus said they were naked.
These issues were bad enough, but not their greatest problem. The source of all these problems can be attributed to the fact that Jesus hadn’t been invited into the church. He was locked out. He said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) It appears no one at Laodicea had opened the door and welcomed Jesus in.
This church was suffering from affluenza and was so confident in their own self-sufficiency that they were doing church without Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote, they have a “form of godliness but deny its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). Little wonder they were lukewarm, they were disconnected from Jesus, the source of spiritual power. They had no redeeming features and Jesus had nothing good to say about them.
We see the opposite of this in the early church which is described in Acts 2.42 as being devoted. This devotion caused the early church to thrive. They were 100% committed to Jesus, his people and the mission he had given them. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was in the midst of all their activities including their daily worship in the temple courts.
I think you can tell the health of a church by their devotion to worship. A lukewarm church will be lifeless, but a church on fire for God can change the world. At Greyfriars, one of the standards we use to measure the spiritual health of the congregation is to ask, are we Devoted in Worship? We could ask, is our zeal, commitment and devotion to God evident in who we are and what we do? Have we invited Jesus into the midst of our church life, so he is the focus of our worship? Is our worship a joyful expression of our relationship with Jesus?
How do we as a church or you as an individual measure up in terms of devotion to worship? People who are devoted will put their hearts into worship, it will stir their souls and lift their spirits as they praise God. People who are devoted to worship will consciously be fostering a deep relationship with the One they worship. They will hunger for those times of devoted worship together in the church and will hurry to be there with God’s people to sing His praise.
The way to warm up a spiritually lukewarm life is to get close to Jesus – what will you do to get closer to Jesus this week?
Rev John Malcolm