|Prayer a Powerful Weapon that Changes Everything|
A long lasting message? That will be the task facing every Christian. We've all gone to conferences or heard sermons that have challenged us. In fact, they've even caused us to want to change. But then in typical fashion, the world we live in, challenges their thinking and days, weeks or months later, the message is forgotten. The battle and ultimately the "war" will come in the form of a word I blogged about several months ago. Here is my offering......
If the title of this post concerning lukewarmness doesn't evoke some emotion, than I'm not sure what might. Because the subject were going to talk about isn't to be taken lightly and it shouldn't be dismissed. If you are lukewarm in your faith, you've got issues. Frankly, an atheist and agnostic at least have a commitment in their thinking. And as you're about to find out, most Christians have a lot of soul searching to do.
Let's see what Revelations 3 15-16 has to say about being lukewarm:
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Is that God's anger we're reading...an utter disdain for the lukewarm mind. I think so. In some interpretations, the "spit you out" is closer to the word "puke". That most likely says it all.
|Where are you at on the thermometer?|
One of my favorite Christian radio hosts is Adrian Rogers. For over fifty years, Rogers consistently presented the Good News of Jesus Christ with strong conviction, compassion and integrity. He led Southern Baptist churches in the deep South and challenged his congregation each and every time he spoke. He was a three-term President of the Southern Baptists. When he spoke, people not only listened, they were moved to act. Rogers died in 2005 yet his sermons are heard daily on hundreds of radio stations across the world. His sermons are as accurate today as they were then....the message is unchanged. Rogers has some in-your-face thoughts regarding the lukewarm Christian.
"Lukewarmness is that state of being a little too cold to be hot and a little too hot to be cold; no fire, zeal or enthusiasm for the things of God. Believers who yawn in the face of God". If.....the greatest commandment there is, is, "love the Lord with all your Heart", then the greatest sin, is, not, "loving the Lord with all of your Heart".
So, what does lukewarm look like...
Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right?
Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives.
Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one.
Lukewarm people are moved by stories of people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers.
Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion.
Perhaps you see yourself in the descriptions above. Perhaps they challenge you. Perhaps it's time for some changes.......you say, Perhaps.
At what temperature are we lukewarm? All we know is lukewarm is cooler than hot. Everyone has different thermostats. What you think is hot might be cold to God. If at one time you are on fire for God and have begun to cool off, at what point does that cooling become lukewarm? There is not really a gauge between hot, cold, and lukewarm. Have you ever wondered about the thermostat wars that go on between you and your wife? Why did God make men and women in this way? Why is it that my wife is cold when it's 90°? Why is it that am not cool until it's below 70? At bedtime she's got a pile of blankets, and as men we are throwing the blankets off of us. The point is this, we don't really have an accurate way to measure hot and cold. Everyone has a different gauge. God says when you hit his lukewarm point he is spewing you out of his mouth. It means that you are distasteful, intolerable, and rejected by God. What does that mean to you? God says if you keep letting this cooling process continue in your life, you will reach a point when God is done. You need to let those words bother you. Can you look at your life in the light of this text and say I'm not on fire. Can you live with that and continue to live your life like everything's okay.
So how does a person keep lukewarmess in check? Try this...."Reading the Bible should not be a philosophical pursuit or an exercise in academia. The purpose of God's word is to show who God is and show us who we really are, to align ourselves to the God we will face on Judgment Day. James 1:22 - '.. be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.'
Some of the most deceived people on the planet sit in churches every Sunday profoundly deceived because thinking that because they hear the word, that makes them right with God. It is astonishing how many Christians are not doers of the word.
Or you could try this....Serve, Give, Lead someone to the Lord, Find a Mission Field and Love.
A recent study by the Barna Group showed that among ten activities studied of Christians, that Americans are most likely to pray. More than four out of every five Americans (83%) said they had prayed in the last week. This was followed by attending a church service (43%) and reading the Bible outside of church worship services (41%). Notably, just one-quarter of adults possess an active faith, meaning they engage in all three of these activities (pray, attend church, and read the Bible in a typical week).
Slightly less than one-quarter of adults had volunteered free time to help a church (22%) or some other type of non-profit (23%) in the last week. About one-fifth of all adults had attended Sunday school (20%), while a similar proportion had participated in a small group for Bible study, prayer and Christian fellowship (19%). The survey showed that half of all adults (50%) said they had donated money to a congregation in the past year.
If my quick look is accurate, I see only one category where the numbers are over 50%...that being the fact the 83% of Americans said they prayed last week. And to draw some attention to that, I quote Adrian Rogers, "if you remain in your lukewarmness....you are most likely a sitting duck".
There's and old expression that goes something like this, "Lord Love a Duck". Now the question is, are you a sitting duck a lame duck or just a duck? Just because it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, doesn't mean it's a duck....could be blended into, just because it looks like a Christian and walks like a Christian, doesn't mean it's a Christian. You're the one that determines that.