Have you ever heard a sermon about being lukewarm from Revelation 3:14-22? What did you hear? That being cold means you are against God, being hot means you are ‘on fire’ for God [whatever that means], and being lukewarm is somewhere in between the two, right?
Let me present the question, why would people who are against God, be going to church? This letter was written to Christians. Christians are not against God. To be cold, cannot refer to being backslidden, or atheistic. It must refer to some form of Christianity.
In Laodicea, there are hot springs and cold lakes. Biblically, heat and fire refer to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant (i.e. tongues of fire at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Acts 2). Cold water refers to Moses tapping on the rock in the dessert and producing water (Exodus 17), followed by, and representing, the giving of the law (Exodus 20).
The hot and cold waters refer to the old and new covenants: Law Vs Grace. (Vs 15) He says “you are neither cold nor hot” meaning, you are neither obeying the law, nor living under grace. They have blended two covenants and made them one, becoming lukewarm.
(Vs 17) “You say ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” They think that by blending the covenants, they have the best of both worlds. They are perfect. They don’t need anything – including the real Jesus!
(Vs 16-17) “So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth … you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” That is the result of mixing law and grace: being vomited out of God’s mouth because the taste is a disgusting, lukewarm concoction of grace and works with no insight into ones deepest NEED for God to save them. They think they are good enough to save themselves.
(Vs 18) “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich, and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” He asks them to buy from him and admit their need for him. To admit that they can’t obey the law completely. To admit that they don’t understand how to live under grace. To admit that they can’t save themselves and that they need a Saviour to clothe them and open their eyes.
(Vs 19) He tells the CHURCH to REPENT. Change your minds! Give up the law! Cling to grace! Stop blending the two covenants!
(Vs 20) “I stand at the door and knock” – whose door? Non-Christians? No! Clearly this was written to the church in Laodicea. He is knocking at the door of the church – begging us to see that we are poor, blind and naked without him. We need Jesus! We need grace!
Open the door to grace … I dare you!
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV®. COPYRIGHT © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.