The idea of a "lukewarm Christian" originates from Revelation 3, where Jesus rebukes a church for harboring believers who lack fervor in their faith—not completely cold or unbelieving, but not passionately devoted to Him either. He analogizes this by saying, "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16).
Lukewarm Christians are those individuals who attend church and acknowledge the gospel's message but fail to wholeheartedly commit to Jesus and actively participate in His mission.
Jesus describes these "Christians" in three parables found in Matthew 25:
1. The bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13) consider themselves friends of the bridegroom but do not live in anticipation of His return. They focus only on their present comfort, neglecting their responsibility to God.
2. The unfaithful servant (Matthew 25:14-30) regards himself as serving the Master, yet he does not invest his talents wholeheartedly in the kingdom.
3. The "goats" (Matthew 25:31-46) are shocked to be rejected by Jesus, thinking they were serving Him faithfully. However, they did not engage with compassion and support for the suffering people of God.
These parables highlight a crucial point: there is no middle ground. One is either fully committed to the mission of Jesus, dedicating their resources to His kingdom, or not. They are either likened to sheep or goats. This puts lukewarm Christians in a precarious position.
One intriguing detail from these parables is how the servant who buried his talent is labeled as "wicked" by Jesus. This term seems harsh for someone who played it safe. However, it demonstrates that wickedness can manifest through both commission (breaking the Ten Commandments) and omission (failing to invest in God's kingdom).
Many sermons focus on the former aspect, but what about the latter? Have you offered your life and talents, regardless of age, as an investment in God's kingdom? Can your actions prove that you are fully committed to God's mission? Does your calendar align with your declaration that "Jesus is Lord"?
In his book, "Crazy Love," Francis Chan outlines a profile of lukewarm Christians, which can be directly related to these parables:
--They are content with being saved from the penalty of sin but are not eager to be saved from sin itself. They use God as a convenient escape route instead of truly worshipping Him.
-They are moved by stories of radical devotion to Christ but fail to demonstrate radical commitment in their own lives. What Jesus expects from all followers is deemed "radical" by lukewarm Christians.
- They equate a partially sanitized life with holiness. However, Jesus calls us not just to avoid sin but to embrace discipleship, which involves entering into His suffering.
--They rarely share their faith with others, neglecting their missionary responsibility, as Charles Spurgeon said, "You are either a missionary or an impostor!"
--Their focus more on their earthly lives than on the eternal perspective of heaven.
- -They love their luxuries and seldom sacrificially give to the poor.
--Their lives are not characterized by living in faith and desperate reliance on God's Spirit, especially when engaged in His mission.
--They offer God only their leftovers, not their first and best. Excuses like a busy schedule or financial obligations are actually acts of complacency and apathy, which the Bible calls evil (Malachi 1:8).
We all go through seasons of lukewarmness where we struggle to maintain our commitment to Christ.
However, the fundamental question remains: Did your decision to follow Christ include a surrender to be actively engaged in God's mission? Have you personally dedicated your time, talent, and treasures as a blank check to Him?
If not, you cannot truly claim to be His follower.
Remember: True, saving faith is shown through a passionate commitment to God's fame, his people, & his mission.