After pondering the verse yesterday, we have to ask ourselves if we really fear God. Yes there are lots of other questions from those verses to ask but since the topic is fearing God, we will go with this one. I was thinking about what luke-warm means. Our pool can get luke-warm in the summer time. When it is hot out that tepid temperature does not feel refreshing. Now I do not have a hot tub but I am pretty sure the title means it is to be hot, hence the name hot tub. Lets put it this way after many different people have been in the tub lets just say lukewarm is not the right temperature. You want it to be hot so that all your discomfort will go away, at least until you get out into the cold. The other extreme is the athlete after a long battle on the ice, court or field goes into have an ice bath not a lukewarm bath. You don’t see someone gingerly sliding into a bath prepared lukewarm, no that tub has ice cubes in it. There is nothing better than coming in from the cold and sitting down to a piping lukewarm bowl of soup. Okay I think you get what I mean. Luke-warm for many things is not good.
Jesus on the other hand makes it repulsive, so much so that he will spew the luke-warm out of his mouth. He is not talking about soup or baths hot or cold, he is talking about you and I and how we live for him. Revelation 3:14 “these are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 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. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” If you go back to Leviticus, God said Leviticus 20:22 “Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24 But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.” Yesterdays verse started with Moses saying “Go, the Lord said to me, “and lead the people on their way, so that they may enter and possess the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” They had been told what to do and warned what would happen if they did not.
So what does luke-warm and fear have to do with each other? The answer is everything. If you do not fear God you will not be concerned with living a lukewarm life. Why? The answer is simple. Most Christians do not believe that the word of God means what it says. They pick and choose what they want to listen to. People think God would never do what he said he would do because he is a loving God. Wrong! That is exactly why he will do it as the word of God so clearly tells us. If people feared God they would actually believe the words of God and live like it. The same goes with hell. Most Christians do not really believe in hell. Oh yes they talk about it, believe it (at least most do) that it exists theologically but really do not believe God would send someone there, Matthew 25:41 “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” People in their disobedience before God then join satan and his angels in this eternal fire. Hell is very real but not real enough it seems. Because there is no fear in the land, many Christians just don’t seemed to be concerned about hell. This comes from false teaching that teaches security no matter what. For many they simply do not believe God when he says “fear the Lord your God, walk in obedience to him, love him, serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” People refuse to look at what happens if you don’t. All of scripture makes this very clear.
So fearing God means we believe God will do what he says he will do. We need to take serious Matthew 25, Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 and believe the truth. We must heed the warnings of scripture and take seriously the command to follow and obey. When we fear the Lord we become not only concerned for our own lives but also for the lives of those around us. It is hard to think about those we love spending eternity in a place created for satan. It also changes how we live. Lukewarm is so bad that Jesus said be either hot or cold but lukewarm means He will spew you out of His mouth. Why then are so many Christians if you can call them that living a life of warmness? It appears that they just are not paying attention to the word of God. Paul said, Colossians 4:16 “After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.” It appears the Laodiceans did not pay attention. Colossians 3:1 Living as Those Made Alive in Christ “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
So our focus is on being Christ-like not like the world. Fearing God means we stop taking the condtions and the threat of judgement away from scripture. We need to believe the word of God wholeheartedly, which leads to fearing Him. We need to “be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Fearing the Lord means we believe God will do what he said he would do and live like it. We then will heed the conditions and warnings of scripture and will refuse to go our own way.