A lukewarm Christian does not blatantly reject Jesus, but they do not blatantly live for Him as well.
Some people use peculiar terms to categorize others into a particular group. Even Christians have terminologies they use to describe someone or something. Churchy words like “backslider” or “on fire for God” exist in Christian communities. It’s like Christian slang words.
How about the term “lukewarm Christian”? Have you ever heard of it? You might be familiar with it and wonder what it truly means. You might be asking what metric we would use to determine whether we are lukewarm or not.
In this article, we’ll be explaining spiritual truths about being a lukewarm Christian and what measure God uses to gauge our spiritual temperature.
What is a Lukewarm Christian?
Lukewarm is a term that describes a temperature that is neither hot nor cold. It comes directly from Revelation 3:15-17, where the Spirit is speaking through John the Beloved to the church of Laodicea. This chapter points out the charge God put against the believers of Laodicea and how their faith has not produced any good works. It’s essential to note how this warning addresses Christians rather than unbelievers.
In the context of faith, a lukewarm Christian is someone who hasn’t outright repudiated Jesus but isn’t outright living for Him either. To be lukewarm means having faith in name only but not in action.
Lukewarm Christians merely say they believe in Jesus, but their actions speak otherwise. They are self-satisfied and think they don’t need Jesus at all. Lukewarm Christians can attend church services regularly but don’t apply what they’ve learned.
What Does the Bible Say About Being a Lukewarm Christian?
The concept of “lukewarm” originates from Revelations 3:15-17. The book of Revelations begins with seven letters addressed to different churches in Asia Minor. One of them is for the believers in the city of Laodicea. We get the notion of “lukewarm” Christians from John’s description of Jesus’ letters to these Christians.
In Revelation 3:16, God is about to “spit out of His mouth” the lukewarm believers. It’s like saying ”I love hot or cold coffee, but if it’s room temperature I want to vomit it out.” There is no middle ground in Christianity. You’re either all in for Jesus or not.
These types of Christians are what Jesus spoke of in His parables in Matthew 25. In Matthew 25:1-13, the bridegroom’s maidens regard themselves as his friends, yet they do not live in a way that anticipates his return. The five maidens only want to be comfortable and remain passive.
In Matthew 25:14-30, the wicked servant acknowledges that he’s an employee of his Master, but he never offered his talents for the advancement of his Master’s kingdom.
In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus rejected the goats for not taking care of the lost souls. These goats did not engage in serving the oppressed people of God despite serving Him faithfully.
Biblical Example of a Lukewarm Christian
The Church of Laodicea
Laodicea was a city in Asia Minor, near what is today the Turkish city of Denizli. Their territory was located in a richly resourced area. Laodiceans were highly self-sufficient and privileged to live comfortable lives. Because of this, they were prideful in their capacity to provide for themselves. Their pride was so evident that they refused help from the Roman Empire when an earthquake devasted their city and relied on themselves to rebuild it.
This mentality of self-sufficiency pervaded the church as well. They were so confident in their abilities that they no longer sought after God. However, God reminded them of their weakness and rebuked them. He corrected them as a loving father would. His harsh words in the book of Revelation are love-driven messages.
The imagery of lukewarm water was magnificently impactful for Laodiceans. It wasn’t anything random and had a profound meaning for them. Drinks taste better when served hot or cold. But, only lukewarm water was available in this city.
The city of Laodicea received hot water from five miles away. The water came through pipes which was a system invented by the Romans.
Hierapolis, a nearby city, featured a hot spring renowned for its medical properties. It had lost much of its heat and medicinal effect by the time it reached Laodicea via aqueducts. It was lukewarm at best.
Another nearby city called Colosse had cool and invigorating water that was the ideal refreshment. However, the cold and refreshing water would lose its coolness by the time it arrived in Laodicea. It became lukewarm.
Hot water is beneficial, and cold water is energizing. But, lukewarm water is useless and bland. God tells the Laodicean church that they’ve become like their water – useless, lifeless, and stagnant.
Despite being self-sufficient and wealthy, God calls the Laodicean believers poor, blind, and naked. They were spiritually poor, spiritually blind, and dominated by fleshly attitudes. (Revelation 3:15-17)
Signs of Being a Lukewarm Christian
A lukewarm Christian conforms to the pattern of this world
When faced with conflict and pressure, lukewarm Christians often choose to follow the easy path. They tend to follow the flow and what most people do. They want to fit into the standards of this world and love to please people rather than God. Also, they care more about the opinion of other people. And, they would rather be the same as everyone than be different.
A lukewarm Christian loves to play it safe and only does the bare minimum
Jesus wants us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. It requires a lot of sacrifice and effort. He challenges believers to be daring and do the impossible. He wants us to follow His example, win souls, evangelize, train leaders, do miracles in His name, and do many great things.
Lukewarm Christians think doing the bare minimum secures them their salvation. They think following Jesus is merely attending church services regularly and being a good person. But, it’s more than that.
A lukewarm Christian does not prioritize God and the Kingdom Agenda
Lukewarm Christians prioritize other things more than God. It could be their studies, secular work, and selfish ambitions. They tend to think more about what could benefit them than pleasing God. They have dreams and ambitions that only revolve around them. Moreover, they don’t want to be involved in the Kingdom’s agenda.
The great commission left by Jesus in Matthew 28:16-20 was to go and make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey everything Jesus taught. It wasn’t a suggestion but a command.
A lukewarm Christian is afraid to preach the Gospel
2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that “God did not give us the spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love, and self-discipline”.
God equips and empowers believers to make it possible to accomplish their calling. There is no definite excuse to not preach the Gospel. God commands His people to preach the Good News and bring people to Jesus. A lukewarm Christian does not understand this and merely sits on the side. They rarely share about Jesus with their friends, family, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors.
A lukewarm Christian does not heed godly counsel and abhors correction
Lukewarm Christians might be self-righteous and suffer from spiritual familiarity. They think their knowledge about God is sufficient and won’t listen to rebuke. They think what they’re doing is alright and that Jesus has no problem with it. And they detest corrections and remain complacent.
A lukewarm Christian thinks spending time with God is a laborious task
Lukewarm Christians think prayer or reading the Bible is difficult. They find no pleasure in doing such things. They merely read the Bible out of obligation. Also, they think winning souls and evangelism are tiresome.
Other Signs of a Lukewarm Christian
- A lukewarm Christian loves with conditions – Jesus taught us to love our neighbors and do good to our enemies. Lukewarm Christians are only good to people who are kind to them. But they repay evil with evil. Lukewarm Christians sometimes retaliate when they suffer from injustice. Remember, vengeance belongs to the Lord, not us.
- A lukewarm Christian does not give God their first and best – Lukewarm Christians only give God their leftovers and justify their busy lives.
- A lukewarm Christian rarely gives to the poor – They think it’s a loss when they give to the poor. They give reluctantly, not willingly. They do not want to sacrifice anything for the oppressed and underserved sector of society.
- A lukewarm Christian feels compassion for the lost but lacks action – Most lukewarm Christians have compassion for the lost, but they lack the initiative to take action and help.
- A lukewarm Christian fears the penalty of sin more than God – They don’t want to change their wicked ways, but they fear the consequences of sin. They repent because they’re scared of the outcome, not because they’ve displeased God.
The Dangers of Being a Lukewarm Christian
The practices and attitudes of lukewarm Christians teach people that it’s okay to compromise your faith. Lukewarm Christianity encourages the body of Christ to remain neutral rather than standing for righteousness. We become ineffective when the body of Christ becomes neutral. Furthermore, we renounce power and authority to those who desire to alter the standards of holiness to suit their purposes.
Lukewarm Christianity assists the enemy’s plan. It rejects the Lord’s guidance when He reaches out to convict and correct. A lukewarm church feels that they are self-sufficient. That’s why lukewarm Christianity is tremendously dangerous.
Is a Lukewarm Christian Saved?
Jesus talks about lukewarm Christians in Matthew 25. Lukewarm Christians can’t lose their salvation because they never received it in the first place. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
You receive salvation when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. When you truly accept Jesus as your Lord, you slowly become like Him. You repent from your old nature. You become a new creation. And you follow in His footsteps and do the things He did. Furthermore, you obey Him and love Him more than anything. Jesus doesn’t want to be your number one. He wants to be your only one. Jesus is expecting a bride who is spotless and blameless when He returns.
To accept the Lordship of Jesus in your life is to surrender everything to Him. It might cost you a lot, but you will receive something “far greater and more lasting.”
However, God still loves lukewarm Christians. That’s why He rebuked the church of Laodicea so they could repent and turn away from their sins.
How to Stop Being a Lukewarm Christian?
Repent and turn away from your sins
God is merciful and loving. He will not condemn you for your sins, but He will sanctify you if you allow Him. He is faithful to forgive and purify anyone who repents and confesses their sins. (1 John 1:9)
Just pray to God and ask for His forgiveness. Acknowledge the Holy Spirit and ask Him to convict you of your sins and reveal your unrighteousness. Allow Him to move in your life and guide you.
And remember – repent, not repeat! When you are in Christ, you become a new creation, and your old self is gone. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Constantly cultivate a teachable attitude and be open to rebuke
God opposes the prideful and arrogant, but He loves the humble. Always be humble and open to corrections. Listen to godly counsel and heed pieces of advice. Ask for guidance from your pastor or leader. Allow them to teach you and help you in your spiritual walk with Jesus. Also, obey the divine promptings of the Holy Spirit and pray that He moves in your life daily. With humility comes wisdom.
Open your heart to Jesus and spend quality time with Him every day
Invite Jesus into your life and spend quality time with Him daily. Pray and read the Bible in the morning and evening. Worship Him through singing. Meditate on God’s Word day and night. The more you get to know Jesus, the deeper you fall in love with Him.
Read the Bible daily and meditate on God’s word
Reading the Bible and meditating on it daily can strengthen our faith and spirituality. Our goal is to love God and please Him at all times. We must search for spiritual truths in the Bible to better understand the character of Jesus and become like Him.
Discipline yourself to be consistent in prayer
Discipline may be a bit difficult at first. But when you do it consistently, it becomes part of your lifestyle. Renew your mind when you pray and think of it as spending time with your first love. A pastor once said that “God loves your presence more than you love His.” God loves it when you spend time with Him through prayer.
Lukewarm Christians do not blatantly reject Jesus, but they do not blatantly live for Him as well. They are in the middle ground and love to play it safe. They merely do the bare minimum and remain passive Christians. And they do not actively preach the Gospel and win people back to God.
God is not looking for lukewarm Christians to fill in the list. He wants Christians who are passionately in love with Him and are compassionate to the lost. He desires people who are willing to give up everything for Him and take up their cross daily.
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