Have you ever sat down on a cold, chilly winter morning with a cup of coffee? As you curl up in your favorite chair with a blanket and your morning cup of hot coffee you put the coffee to your lips and take that first sip. You expect it to be piping hot only to realize that it is barely warm. You immediately spit the coffee back into the cup and your day is ruined. How you thought the day was going to start takes a sudden turn for the worse because your coffee was lukewarm. Your coffee might as well have been ice cold because it’s not palatable.
That experience could be likened to a child who is forced to eat the green vegetables on his plate. Try as the child might, he can’t get the food down, it turns cold and is still forced to take a bite and swallow. The bite went seemingly well through the tears; however, the swallow part has an expected outcome. The child gags and hurls violently! The experience becomes a traumatizing experience for both the child and the parent. Because the food was not tasty as it once was when it was hot, the child could not stomach it. Most of us don’t like certain green vegetables cold. When are served cold vegetables we eat them cold but are silently wishing we were a child so that could have a visceral reaction to the cold “yucky-ness.” Oh, the joys of being an adult! We don’t have the luxury of vomiting it back out.
So what in the world does cold coffee and vegetables have to do with Revelation 3:15-16? In Revelation 3, God was addressing the seven churches in Asia Minor. He was calling them to account for their Christian witness. The church of our focus is the church in Laodicea. The church in Laodicea’s sin being “neither cold nor hot.” They were neither on fire for Christ and actively spreading the gospel message, nor were they ice cold—that is, completely dead spiritually. The church of Laodicea was lukewarm, dabbling in Christianity when it was convenient.
‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:15-16 (NASB)
The church was straddling the fence. They had one leg in and one leg out in their faith and witness. I would venture to say that the church was living in a place of comfort. In Revelation the churches were under a great amount of persecution and the church of Laodicea was playing it safe. And why not? Playing it safe was a good way to avoid extreme persecution while still enjoying life and wearing the Christian label.
In verses 15 and 16 Jesus addressed the church and said He wished they were either hot or cold. If they were hot, they would be on fire for Christ, spiritually alive and making strides for the kingdom by sharing the gospel message and being a living witness. If they were cold, they would be dead. There would be no evidence of Christ in their church.
The issue was the church was lukewarm. They were dabbling in Christianity and semi-dead in their witness. Jesus said that because they were neither hot nor cold he “will vomit” them out of His mouth. His use of “will” in this statement meant that He was about to vomit. The impending action of vomiting was near. Just like the child who could not stomach the cold or lukewarm vegetables and threw them up, Christ will vomit out the church that is lukewarm.
The Laodicean church should serve as a warning to all of us not to become lukewarm in our faith and walk with Christ. The lukewarm state that Christ speaks of in Revelation 3:15-16 is a real threat to Christians today, especially in America. For the most part we all live a pretty comfortable life free from the persecution that others face in other parts of the world. The life of comfort leads to lukewarm Christian walk. Don’t allow the lack of trials, tribulation and persecution to lull you into lukewarm life in Christ. Be on guard and actively pursue God and the things of His Kingdom to avoid becoming the vomit He is soon to spit out.