I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. –Revelation 3:15-16
Most of us have heard this verse before and have had trouble understanding it. Honestly there have been many teachers out there who have had trouble teaching this passage. Quite frankly the understanding that I have always had of this passage goes something like this.
If you are “hot” that is good
If you are “cold” (indifferent) that is bad
If you are “warm” that is also bad
So really if you are anything but “hot” that is not good and ‘out you go.’
I imagine that a lot of us have had similar teachings somewhere along the line. I know that this is what I have been taught for as long as I can remember. Well, thanks to a guest teacher at Calvary Chapel Chino Valley (my home church) my view on this passage has now changed. That teacher is Pastor James Kuddis from Calvary Chapel Signal Hill. After hearing him teach on this passage it now makes better sense.
Hot – We all get that part. That can be equated with “being on fire” for God, and being very zealous in what we do for Him. Or imagine if you will that it is a very cold day and you are absolutely freezing (in Southern California that would be about 60o.) Wouldn’t it be great to have a cup of hot coffee or hot chocolate to warm you up on the inside? So you can go and face whatever comes your way.
Cold – Here is the change. Instead of thinking of “cold” as indifferent or not caring, how about thinking of cold as Refreshing? Now imagine that it is the middle of summer and you are outside doing yard work and it’s hot, I mean 98o with 97% humidity. Can you think of anything more refreshing than a big jug of super cold water that you not only drink but also pour over you to bring down your body temp? That would feel wonderful wouldn’t it?
Luke Warm – This remains the same. Imagine either one of the scenarios above, but this time there is a cup of water that has been sitting on the counter for several hours. It is burning hot out and you are feeling the effects, you see that cup of water and reach for it. Already in your mind you imagine that you start to feel the cooling sensation as the cold water flows down your throat. You reach for the cup and pick it up. You take a drink, and the next thing that happens is water spraying out of your mouth and onto the ground. The water in that cup was lukewarm and not refreshing at all. It is neither good for cooling you down nor warming you up.
That’s the whole idea behind this passage. God wants us to be either “on fire” hot or “super refreshing” cold for Him. Either one can and will be used to advance His Kingdom here on earth. But if we are just lukewarm, it is then that we are indifferent and not caring, and He cannot use us. You need to decide today which you will be.
Prayer – Heavenly Father, fill us with your Holy Spirit and show us how to be either Hot or Cold for you. And if we are just lukewarm, help us to change. In your Holy name we pray. Amen –E.C.