Dr. Stephen Phinney
Are You the Spit from Jesus's Mouth?
Christ | Culture | Creator
Unamuno, the Spanish philosopher, talks about the aqueduct built by the Romans in Segovia in 109 AD. For 1800 years, that aqueduct carried cool water from the mountains down to the hot, thirsty city. Nearly 60 generations drank from the water that flowed through that aqueduct.
Finally, a more modern generation came along that wanted to preserve the aqueducts as a memento for their future generations, so they laid modern pipes and cut off the flow of water through the aqueduct. Can you guess what happened? The aqueducts began to fall apart. The sun beating on the dry mortar caused it to crumble. The bricks and stones began to sag. What ages of service could not destroy; idleness disintegrated. (Resource, Sept-Oct 92)
Our first lesson from this historical event is that the aqueduct begins to fall apart if the water does not continually flow through the aqueduct. Secondly, the scientific element of this water system was simple. When the water left the mountain areas, it was cold and refreshing. By the time it arrived in the city, it was tepid, lukewarm.
Much of Christianity is likened to these examples. Like the church of Ephesus, at first, being filled with the love of Jesus, and later deluding into a lukewarm faith. The same thing happened to the church of Laodicea, which resulted in Jesus spitting the members out of His mouth.
Speaking of Irony
How can an authentic believer refute the warnings from Christ and maintain a pathway to being removed from the book of Life? Seriously, what causes such despondency?
Our above historical event answers these questions. Unless the River of Life flows through the person, the human will implode, self-deteriorate and become useless as a resource to deliver Life unto a thirsty world. Secondly, unless the believer gets the Living Water from the source head, the believer will turn lukewarm in time.
While hanging on to the modality of security of salvation is important, Satan has used this church doctrine to deceive many "Christ-followers" to hang their hats on a potential elusive experience. The Word tells us that the world shall know authentic Christians by their fruits. However, the single most important security factor of salvation is found in Matthew 10:22.
"You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved."
Those words are directly from the mouth of Jesus. Could this be the test or factor that Jesus watched within the Seven Churches? That would be an affirmative, yes. I have carefully studied the warnings Jesus delivered to five of the seven churches, and all His warnings centered around this test of endurance. Has Jesus changed His methods of observance? Probably not. If this is the primary marker of authentic salvation, Satan can easily doop the Christ-followers into the misnomer of "having their ticket" to eternal salvation.
Converting a passionate Christian from an indwelling obedient life to one of being lukewarm is what we call today, deconstructing your faith. This ridiculous ideation cannot happen until the person shifts from a Christ-centered Gospel to that of the me-me gospel, which is entirely based on Jesus bending His knee to the needs of humanity. Since Jesus is not about to cower to such demands, the person deconstructs their faith, minimally making them lukewarm, passive, and resistant to absolute Truth. It is said that what you set your eyes upon is what you become. In reviewing our topic of the warnings of being lukewarm, this is a profound statement.
DEFINITION OF LUKEWARM
The organic definition is a liquid at room temperature or tepid. In defining it according to what Jesus said:
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." (Rev. 3:15-16)
I believe this is one of the most ignored passages in the Bible, outside of Revelation 22:18-19. The gracialistic group covers this blunt statement by Jesus like butter-covered bread. The legalistic group uses it as a hammer to put the fear of God into souls. However, this passage has a balanced approach – God is God, and we are not. The Lord’s prerogative is to place people into the Book of Life OR take them out - at His discretion (Rev. 22:19).
The Western world and many of their theologians have duped the masses into thinking that once you "receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior," you are secure for eternity. While there is a boatload of Truth in this statement for those who authentically received the Holy Spirit, there is a darker side. That darker side pops up in passages like Jesus addressing the lukewarm or those who add or delete passages contained within the Word of God.
THE SEVEN CHURCHES
As Jesus was addressing the Seven Churches, mostly, He starts with an affirmative statement regarding their initial love for Him. For His reasons alone, He did NOT do this with the lukewarm church, the church of Laodicea. He jumps to the point of their demise – they are neither “hot” nor “cold.” Furthermore, He connects their lukewarm beliefs to wealth. This reinforces the root cause for the madness method of their lukewarm mindset.
It is no news flash that the Western world is cloaked in differing shades of wealth. Because of this, the Western church is known for differing shades of lukewarm. By the standards of many theologians, the Western world is the new Babylon Revelation’s book speaks of. Be it true or not, we do know that the fake-Chrisitan movement was birthed in our culture. Wealth and authentic Christianity rarely mix.
We cannot ignore these questions: Can lukewarm believers authentically be born-again? Can authentic Christians choose to do a slow fade into lukewarm thinking upon occasion without being labeled "lukewarm" as a lifestyle? For example, what is this Revelation passage communicating?
"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Rev. 21:8)
I believe there is a major difference between choosing the lies that come with being lukewarm versus being labeled "lukewarm." The latter is a positional identity statement. The test is in baptizing them with fire. If they surface from the fire with a stronger faith & endurance, they pass the test of enduring to the end. If they surface with the eight deadly lukewarm modalities, it is what it is. Furthermore, Jesus separates these eight types of people who might claim salvation in Christ but function as lukewarm believers.
Cowards – people who lack courage in standing for Truth
Unbelievers – those who believe with their mouths
Hateful – when pushed, they persecute
Murderers – those who kill with intent
Immoral – people of adultery & fornication
Sorcerers – those who embrace witchcraft as acceptable
Idolaters – people who put other gods before the God
Liars – people who practice lying as a lifestyle