Over the past seven months, many have been concerned with their temperature as well as others they are around. It seems to be one of the early warning signs of having the COVID-19 virus. Many venues, especially hospitals, take a person’s temperature quickly before entering the room or the area. When washing one’s hands for 20 seconds to rid themselves of the potential virus, is it better to wash them in cold, warm or hot water? I admit that I start out with the cold and lead up to the hot.
These thoughts and circumstances have led me to reflect on my temperature as a Christian, and the American church as a whole. It’s a serious question, and the answer is critical for us, our families, nation and world as a whole. Over the years, many people have compared the American church to the early church in Laodicea, one of the seven churches during the Apostolic Age. Let’s visit this briefly. You can read the letter to that church in Revelation 3.14-22. What do you see and what did Christ have against them?
Don’t be lukewarm
Basically, lukewarm followers, those who believe but do not walk according to the Spirit of the Lord. Briefly, he says: “I know your works, that you are neither hot nor cold. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth” (vss. 15,16). Is that severe or what!! In light of this stern warning, seriously examine your spiritual temperature. Right now. If the word lukewarmness comes to your mind, then repent and turn up the thermostat.
You and I are the church, the Body of Christ. We, and every true born-again believer must examine our hearts. Is Jesus supreme? If we are not, are we willing to lay down our personal lives of comfort and pleasure and follow Jesus? I submit that the vast majority of the American churches are lukewarm, in theory and practice. Otherwise, we would be impacting the culture, other than the other way around.
Unfortunately, God’s way usually involves levels of discomfort and even persecution to drive us out of our lukewarmness. It was serious business when he went to the cross and gave his life for us. He has called us out of darkness, we don’t deserve it, it’s entirely by grace. If he went that far, and saved us from ourselves and from the damnnation of our sin, what other choice do we have than to be all in?
You and I can see very clearly that a time of testing, even possibly persecution, is on the rise in our country. Are we prepared for that? Will the church be the church that will help turn the tide of the godless culture that is starting to permeate and even dominate our lives here in this country? We have the message, it’s Jesus. Are we living examples of his love to a dying world around us? Are we caring for and ministering to the least of these?
Teach your children
Dads, are you discipling your children with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Will they be a voice of hope in their circle of influence? Are you teaching them scripture, showing them the value of prayer and service? Do they know how to share the gospel with their friends, do you? You are God’s primary disciple-maker in your home. Don’t make assumptions that ‘everything is going to be okay’. I leave you with this. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22.6). If you are fulfilling your role, then the Spirit will light a fire in your family, your next generation and the church as a whole. Don’t wait for the other guy to step forward. Dad’s, love, listen, lead!