Lukewarm Devotion


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: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. 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.” (Revelation 3:14-16)

Lukewarm Devotion

“The great lack of modern religion is the spirit of devotion. We hear sermons in the same spirit with which we listen to a lecture or hear a speech. We visit the house of God just as if it were a common place, on a level with the theater, the lecture-room or the forum. We look upon the minister of God not as the divinely-called man of God, but merely as a sort of public speaker on a plane with the politician, the lawyer, or the average speech maker, or the lecturer. Oh, how the spirit of true and genuine devotion would radically change all of this for the better! We handle sacred things just as if they were the things of the world. Even […] the Lord’s Supper becomes a mere religious performance, no preparation for it before-hand, and no meditation and prayer afterward. We need the spirit of devotion, not only to salt our secularities, but to making praying real prayers. We need to put the spirit of devotion into Monday’s business as well as in Sunday’s worship. We need the spirit of devotion, to recollect always the presence of God, to be always doing the will of God, to direct all things always to the glory of God. The spirit of devotion puts God in all things. It puts God not merely in our praying and church going, but in all the concerns of life.” (Edward M. Bounds; 1835-1913)

Laodicea had a problem not uncommon in many churches of the Lord today. Jesus examined the hearts of the people concluding they were at best lukewarm. He knew their works and He was not impressed. They were not like Sardis whom the Lord defined as being dead. This would be a cold church, lifeless and with little hope of revival. Laodicea was not a church on fire either. It would have pleased the Lord to at least say the church was dead or alive but it found itself it a much worse state. Lukewarm is mediocre and going through the motions of worship with little or no life convinced they are a faithful and sound congregation. What was greatly lacking in the church of the Laodiceans was a true devotion to the Lord.

E. M. Bounds understood the need of devotion in our spiritual life as a people living in the world and as a people gathered for worship. Both of these arenas of life are connected. If church services are out of context with the rest of the week, the problem lies in the rest of the week. Worshiping God is not a prosthetic we take on and off when we enter the church building. Too often saints gather on the first day of the week to worship who were not saints the week before. The singing is weak on Sunday because there is no joy in the week before. Prayers are rote memorization’s of key words and thoughts with no spiritual meat resulting from lives void of prayer. Listening to the preacher drone on about concepts foreign to the interest and purpose of life result from lifeless carnal pursuits in the hearts of those squirming in the seats anxious for an ‘amen’ to be sounded. Taking the Lord’s Supper is eating some pie crust and drinking Welch’s grape juice. Praise the Lord we are devoted; let’s go home. And this is where the problem came from.

Jesus condemned the church at Laodicea because they were not wholly devoted to the purpose and design of God. Lukewarm devotion emerges from lives that are little interested in spiritual matters Monday through Saturday. The Christian is only a lifeless machine going through the motions doing the will of God because they are commanded to and mom and dad insisted. Having a devoted heart is a spirit that is full of the love of God embracing the glory and majesty of His divine power in every part of life. Worship on the first day of the week is an outgrowth of six days preparing for a wonderful feast of good things as the people of God gather together and join hearts and voices in divine praise. A heart devoted is a spirit filled with the word of God on a daily basis always praying in the spirit and serving others in the kindness of brotherly love. As Berry Kercheville said, “We need to fall in love with God again.” That would change our worship, our hearts and our outlook. Devotion comes from a heart prepared to worship and devoted worship will change the heart to live in righteousness every day of the week. Is thy heart right with God?

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