Our real enemy today is not a world full of sin and unrighteousness. Our battles are not against the world and its corrupt system. Yes, there is a lot of corruption and sin around us – we live “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (Philippians 2:15) – but the real battle today is within the Church.
The sin that is effectively weakening and destroying the church and its testimony and influence is the sin of apathy or lukewarmness. “So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)
Lukewarmness is spiritual paralysis. It is forsaking one’s first love (Revelation 2:4). It is the gradual loss of zeal (Psalm 69:9). Jesus said: “You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” (Revelation 3:1)
Lukewarmness means less service, less prayer (or none at all), satisfaction with spiritual “bare necessities”, self-centredness and self-righteousness. It also means giving grudgingly or not at all, thus robbing God. “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, “How do we robe you?” In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi 3:8)
Lukewarmness also indicates lack of a spirit of evangelism but plenty of desire for entertainment and the popular sport of doctrinal and denominational competition. Lukewarmness is another evil and dangerous satanic plan of deception. That’s why it is so dangerous: the devil does not destroy all the doctrinal truths. That would be too obvious. While Satan is deceiving people into believing that everything is fine, religious leaders are busy with religious activities and doctrinal wars.
The victim, not understanding his real condition, feels good and satisfied just the way he is, and he remains in that condition. He does not see the need to change. He feels very proud of his religion, but he does not realize that, in the eyes of God he is pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:17). He is religious, but his religion is an abomination to God.
Is there a cure for lukewarmness? Of course there is! The cure is given by Jesus Himself: “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Revelation 3:18)
How long will we remain idle and lukewarm? What is keeping us idle and apathetic, even though we see the church being threatened with spiritual paralysis and destruction? How can we remain idle while the world is going through such a frightening crisis? Soon it may be too late. Pray, dear believer, pray!
Precious Lord, have mercy on us. Revive your church; revive me today, Lord. Help your church turn away from sin and walk in holiness. Lord, purify your church!
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian