Q. After reading your updated study on the seven churches of Rev. 2-3 I have a question. How can a true believer be lukewarm? Is that even possible?
A. The word lukewarm in Rev. 3:16 means the people in Laodicea neither loved the Lord nor hated Him. They had become indifferent toward Him because they were well off and didn’t think they needed anything. They thought everything was fine. It’s clear from His letter to them that the Lord is not happy with people like that.
Today, we see Laodiceans all around us. I call them Christians in name only. For 6 days a week they are totally immersed in their worldly lives. They only focus on their relationship with the Lord for an hour or so on Sunday morning, and sometimes not even that.
I don’t think a true believer can become lukewarm, but many have had times when they’ve been dangerously close to it. That’s why the Lord told us to focus on seeking His kingdom and His righteousness and not to worry about earthly things (Matt.6:31-34). It’s why Paul warned us not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), and to fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor. 4:18).
One of the biggest challenges we face as believers is to avoid taking our relationship with the Lord for granted, because if we do we risk putting Him on the shelf like a child would do with a toy he no longer plays with but still wants to keep.
Love is not just something we feel, it’s also something we do. We love the Lord by spending time in worship and prayer, by reading His word, and through the acts of kindness we do in His name for those around us. As John put it, “Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).