Apologies to anyone called Luke, but luke-warm is no compliment. Jesus says, that ‘luke-warm’ makes him want to gag! The last time we heard Jesus being that complimentary was when he was giving the pharisees a serve. There’s something about religious hypocracy and luke warm that doesn’t work for Christian discipleship.
Laodicea was a town with the worst water in the district. Up the road Colossae had pure water and down the road Hierapolis had hot springs. An aquaduct carried the Hierapoliis water to Laodicea but by the time it arrived it was tepid—neither hot nor cold. It was just blah.
With respect to the word ‘gospel’, the Christian faith is not good news, its boiling hot best news! And the gospel calls us to follow the saviour with priority and passion.
The Laodiceans had wealth and lifestyle but their priority and passion for living for Jesus had gone off the boil. Their faith was as blah as their town water. Here’s a thought, if Jesus found their temperature so repulsive, how did the community around them. The thing with tepid is that is doesn’t confront. No-one says about tepid, ‘yeeow! that just burn’t my tongue’, or ‘wow that water refreshed my soul’. Tepid is just…there, take or leave it. That kind of faith is luke-warm, uninviting, unconfrontational, invisible. We, however, are called to be living waters—refreshing, life-changing.
It was refreshing to hear Mark Glanville describe the marks of church in the language of community of grace. He spoke of the Jesus community being a display of grace to the world through life, word and deed.
17 “You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so that you can see”
As a typical suburban church in a western country, we enjoy peace and prosperity, but sometimes they are our greatest enemies because the lifestyle that comes with it can blind us to the greater vision of Jesus and rob us of our passion. The enemy is not money or peace and prosperity, it is blah. As we step into another beautiful day in a city with a golden beach and all the golden comforts, lets remember to buy gold refined by fire from God. Let us plead with God to how we can step out our comfort zone for Him to be refined and passionate. We want to be living water, not blah.