Think about it. There aren't too many foods or beverages that are appealing when they're lukewarm, (in fact, I'm not sure I can think of any). I've never had a strong desire for a warm, tepid milkshake. (In fact that thought just made me want to gag!) Never have I thought "I'd love a nice, lukewarm bowl of soup; maybe just slightly warmer than room temperature...that would be great!" Advertisers know this very well. That's why whenever you see cold things advertised, they look icy cold. Similarly, hot foods and beverages are clearly portrayed as piping hot with visible wisps of steam. The thought of putting tepid, lukewarm anything in our mouths tends not to be very appealing. It's gross; yucky; blechy. It's interesting that these words (lukewarm; tepid) can also mean something in a person's personality: "having or showing little ardor, zeal, or enthusiasm; indifferent; lacking conviction". In other words...blah; blech; yuck. And this is what Jesus is really accusing the church in Laodicea of; a spiritual tepidness. At the time John relayed Jesus' message (probably at least 30 years after Paul was in the neighborhood) their church was lukewarm. They lacked conviction. They lacked enthusiasm. And Jesus was unimpressed.
But for us, the point of a passage like that should never be of purely historical interest. Just like any of the letters in the Bible, we're crazy if we think that since they weren't originally addressed to us we can't get anything valuable from them for our Christian walk today! We ought to ponder how similar or dissimilar we are to them and their situations. Have we, in our comfortable, secure, Western lifestyle, developed a spirituality that is lukewarm; tepid; uninspiring? Do we lack conviction or enthusiasm in our faith? Would Jesus take the "temperature" of your heart and find it wholly unappealing? If so, what steps do you need to take in order to fire up the temperature of your faith?
- Pastor Paul