“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like LUKEWARM WATER, neither hot nor cold, I will spit (“spew”/ “vomit”) you out of My Mouth!” (Revelation 3:15-16, NLT) That stomach churning cry, “Mom … Dad …” was bellowed from our son, Aaron Joseph, this morning followed by the sound that makes this Dad particularly crumble – “the tossing of one’s cookies!” I am the ‘Medic Man’ when it comes to skint knees, busted lips, splinters, high fevers and numerous other ailments – but when ‘cookie tossing’ time arrives, I tend to 'buckle' and gladly yield complete medical authority over to our children’s wonderful mom, Traci, lest I join in on this medical Olympic-like sport! (Update – AJ now seems fine and is actually more joyful /sweet when he is sick than when he is well – go figure!) Through this mornings' rough beginnings, the Lord took me to today’s text. Jesus is speaking to the believers of His Church in Laodicea – a city which was very prosperous (they had a large banking industry, a thriving wool business (manufactured black wool fabric - “the rage” all throughout Roman Empire) and a state of the art medical school where they developed medicines (salves) for treating eye disorders. Sadly, because of their great wealth & affluence, the Laodiceans, to include the Church of Laodicea, had – over time – simply become self-sufficient (“prideful”) in their own ways / abilities! They felt they had no need of anything from anyone...they believed all was fine! But it wasn’t - Laodicea had a major WATER problem – they lacked an adequate water supply (no natural springs were located near the city)! They had to tap into their affluence to build a massive aqueduct and “pipe in” water from its neighbors. For hot water, they collected it from the hot springs of Heiropolis (~11 miles away) – known for its hot, mineral-rich medicinal waters. For cold water, the collected it from Colossae (~6 miles) known for its cool, pure refreshing waters. Because of the distance of travel, by the time the hot and cold waters arrived at Laodicea, they were neither; rather, they were both “lukewarm” at best! Traditionally, many have denoted the “hot and cold” references in this text to refer to Christians’ “spiritual temperature,” that of being either “on fire for the Lord” or “having nothing to do with Christ,” respectively. This interpretation is perhaps not the most accurate for it fails to fully capture the true intent of what Christ was saying to the Laodicean church – that of the “barrenness of their Kingdom works.” (v.15) The Laodicean church was doing much “work,” but it’s work showed no spiritual fruit as it was devoid of the power of God (they had ‘man-made accomplishments’ - not God-produced miracles)! They had no refreshing work (“cold water imagery”) for the spiritually weary / thirsty. Recall the words of Jesus who declared, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.“ (John 7:37b-38) They also had no spiritual healing (“hot water imagery” for the sin sick who needed healing). Instead, God tells them that they were “lukewarm.” Recall that “lukewarm water” was an ancient medical practice that was used to get people to “vomit, throw up, toss their cookies.” The “lukewarm waters” of Laodicea were simply undrinkable lest one would become violently sick. Although the "lukewarm waters" had general uses, the PRIMARY use of water which is to sustain life (be consumed) was lost in the aqueduct journey enroute to the city. This physical condition (problem) represented the spiritual condition (malady) of their hearts. The Laodicean believers had fallen into a sinful state whereby they didn’t take a stand for anything – “neither hot nor cold” (v. 16) – their spiritual indifference had led them into spiritual idleness – leaving them evangelistically neutral!” Likened to its water problem - the church in Laodicea had become spiritually lukewarm (i.e. middle-of-the-road believers, doctrinally moderate, “spiritual fence riders”) and this was deemed by God to be so distasteful & repugnant that He said He would “spew them out of (His) mouth” (i.e. this disgusted God and made Him figuratively sick)! Over 2,000 years later, many suffer from the same spiritual malady that the Laodicean believers had contracted – “Lukewarm-itis!” Many today sit evangelistically neutral because of unaddressed apathy / complacency roots that have been allowed to grow in the ‘plumbing pipes’ of their hearts. These sinful roots have choked off the refreshing flow of the Holy Spirit into and through their lives, leaving them to become spiritually lukewarm (ineffective / distasteful) to the will and heart of God. How is the flow of His “living waters” (John 4:13-14 & 7:38) in and through your heart today? If there are any sinful roots impeding that flow, then humbly call on Christ to “roto-root” them out through the spiritual process of confession, cleansing and restoration so that the “times of refreshing (Acts 3:19), ‘living waters'" will again flow in and through your life and out into the lives of others around you. The parched souls of many across His lands await His healing and refreshing touch made possible through the obedience of His people / His Church! …Selah!
Today's Spirit-led video is by CCM artist/Worship-Praise Leader Chris Tomlin and can be viewed by clicking on the on the song title, "God of this City" - G3 for God's beautiful and spirit-filled gift of ministry thru Christian music!