Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:14-16
If the scenario is ghastly, it is hardly original. Just a short time out of Egypt, Moses suffered the “murmuring” of his thirst-crazed people. After three days of stumbling around in the wilderness of Shur, they came to the water of Marah. As the name implies, there was bitter disappointment. The water proved to be undrinkable. When Moses cried out to God, He showed him a tree to throw into the water. It became instantly sweet. At the “healed water” of Marah the LORD identified Himself as Israel’s healer. His promise to shield them from Egypt’s diseases was contingent on a firm commitment to take His word seriously. Then He led them straight to Elim, an oasis replete with twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. There Israel “encamped” by the water (Exodus 15:22-27). This allowed for reflection and rededication.
God’s word says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Is His cross not the tree that must transform the insipid church of our age into the living water that will satisfy both God and the world He came to love so much? Art has produced countless saccharin Christs. Sadly, the church has matched them with like bodies. The Christ of Revelation will heal what bitterly disappoints Him if we will humbly heed His warning word. The repentant church will resemble Elim in its inviting beauty and bountiful provision. (Part 2 of 2)
Comment: Should we check our local church for some inadvertent weaknesses? A sharp jab in the ribs by the Laodiceans might stop us. Christ, they would ruefully point out, nailed them on their supposed strengths. What if they had modern-day descendants known for making quality T-shirts for church fundraisers? Naturally, we’d expect John 3:16 to be the proven bestseller … and then shake our heads in disbelief when by mistake John 3:36 showed up. But what if it was the Spirit’s idea? “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” We do sing “Trust and Obey” during worship in order to be “happy in Jesus,” as the hymnist suggests. The “wrath of God” smacks of archaic doctrine dear perhaps to Puritans, but not so much to Presbyterians who prize “Amazing Grace.” Paul was neither, identifying himself simply as “a bond-servant of Christ Jesus…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith…” (Romans 1:5). If we read verses 18 to 32 in view of our society’s steep moral decline, the question of “tolerance” comes up. It’s today’s highly touted cultural glue to promote a non-judgmental climate where no single creature has to worry about any “unnatural” behavior that our Creator calls ”abomination ” Have we inadvertently given “hearty approval” to the proponents of sexual immorality, or given “gossips” a pass for being relatively harmless? Paul insists that a holy God is morally obligated to be intolerant of anything that robs us of holy intimacy with Him. He cannot force our love, but is compelled by His to let us go to pursue “the lust of our hearts.” His wrath is the crust of “righteous anger” over His inner anguish. Revelation 3