Will God really Vomit you out of His mouth?
What it means to be Lukewarm!
Rev 3:14-16 nkjv “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
If you have been in church circles long enough then at some point you may have been taught “You better not become a lukewarm Christian otherwise God will spew you out of His mouth”. Really? Does this literally mean that if you are not on fire for God then you better look out?
In order to interpret the Bible correctly we need to always determine who is saying what to whom and why so we can “rightly divide” what we read. This is essential to know how to apply what we read to our lives today. One of the main ways we can do this is to filter everything we read (especially in the New testament) through Jesus’ finished work of the Cross. That way we will be able to more clearly determine “who” the passage is referring to.
Before I reveal what this passage is really saying, I first need to remind you of the Good News of the Gospel because then you will clearly see that this passage of Scripture contradicts it.
Eph 2:8-9 niv For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
The word saved in Greek means to be healed, delivered, made righteous and whole, the word grace means God’s own provision of Jesus and Faith means to believe, trust and rest in Jesus performance and not our own.
Put this all together and this Scripture reads, we are healed, delivered, made righteous and whole by God’s own provision by believing, trusting and resting in Jesus performance and not our own!
So if we are made right with God by Jesus performance and not by our own works, why then would we need to make sure that we are constantly “performing” by making sure we are always “hot” in zeal and fervour?
Can you see as a child of God if you take this Scripture literally that it doesn’t make sense?
When interpreting this scripture we also need to read the whole counsel of the Word because the Bible is clear that when it comes to Salvation there is no middle ground…
John 3:16-17 niv For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Truth is that we are either saved (hot) or unsaved (cold). There is NO middle ground when it comes to Salvation! Additionally, we are not saved by grace and then have to keep our salvation through our own works. Salvation and the Christian life must both be based on trusting in Jesus finished work and not on our own performance.
The Apostle Paul said for whatever is not from faith is sin. (see Rom 14:23b).
This means that if our motivation or actions are not out of faith (believing, trusting and resting in Jesus performance) then we are in sin (back under the law) because we are trusting in our own works to earn from God.
Therefore, in understanding the Gospel can you see that this Scripture is not talking to believers? If we had to keep our salvation or earn favour from God by “being hot” then our salvation is dependent on our performance and not on the free gift of Jesus sacrifice!
So what does it mean to be lukewarm?
I believe this Scripture interprets itself when you know how to rightly divide what it says. So let’s now look at this passage again in this context…
Rev 3:14-21 nkjv “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
But keep reading…also look at Verses 18-21 for more context…
Rev 3:17-21 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Does this now make more sense to you? If not let me show you what these verses mean.…
Verse 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-
The Laodiceans became rich through the work of their own hands. They were Self-sufficient, which means that they were self-righteous because they were trusting in what their own hands could produce.
Verse 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
i) Counsel you to buy from me…
Is 55:1-3 nkjv “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
ii) Gold refined in Fire – Jesus is not talking about material gold or wealth but about the “true riches” of Heaven, which is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (see Eph 1:18).
iii) White Garments – represent Jesus’ righteousness and not our own because our own self-righteousness is like filthy rags. It is only through Jesus blood that we are made as white as snow (see Is 1:18).
vi) Anoint your eyes with eye salve that you may see – these people were obviously blinded to the truth.
Verse 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
i) As many as I love – God loves all because Jesus provision was for the whole world.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 nkjv
iv) Repent – The word Repent in Greek is metanoéō and this word literally means: to change one’s mind or purpose. It is also important to note that “repent” is what we do when we come into Salvation…
Acts 2:38 nkjv Peter said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In context Peter is calling the Jews to repent, which means for them to change their heart and mind and stop trusting in their own works (through observing the law) to earn favour from God and instead turn to Jesus and trust in Him for their Salvation!
Verse 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
This is a call to Salvation! Jesus is on the outside! He is standing at the door of their hearts knocking and waiting for them to accept and welcome Him in!
Now can you see WHO God is referring to?
The Laodicean church does NOT represent the body of Christ because the “Lukewarm” are unbelievers! These people have NOT accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for the payment of their sins because they are trusting in the work of their own hands! They think they are rich but they are in fact are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked because they are left with their own righteousness which is like filthy rags.
God can obviously deal with those who are hot (saved) and even those who are cold (unsaved) but those who are Lukewarm he cannot tolerate. This is because these unbelievers are dangerously deceptive because on the surface they have the appearance of being Christian’s (hot) but they are not. This is why God calls them “Lukewarm”.
2 Tim 3:1-7 niv But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
I pray this message will show you that if you are in Christ then this Scripture is NOT referring to you! This means that you do NOT have to constantly make sure you are on fire for God! If we have to keep our salvation by making sure we are always on fire or “hot” in zeal then our salvation is dependent on our performance and not on the free gift of Jesus sacrifice. So always remember the simple truth that we are healed, delivered, made righteous and whole ONLY by believing, trusting and resting in Jesus performance and not our own – it is a GIFT of God, not of works so that none of us can boast!
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