Summary: Many are drawn to a camouflage Christianity that blends in with the world but Jesus has called us to wear bright orange vests and stick out. Why? Revelation 3:14-22; John 13:35; John 15:8; Exodus 4; Mark 16:17-20
Scripture Reading: Revelation 3:14-22
Isn't that crazy? A lukewarm Christian - the idea of it is absurd.
It is crazy because who starts off their Christian walk like that?
Who, in giving their life to Christ says, "Lord, take half of me! For the rest of my life I will half-heartedly serve you."
Normal people don't say things on their wedding day like, "This will probably last a year or two." or "You know in 20 years I'll be leaving you for someone younger and better looking right?"
Remember those commercials in which all of the children would say what they wanted to be when they grew up? The announcer comes in at the end and says, "No one ever says, 'I want to be a junkie when I grow up.'" Because when we are young we dream of being astronauts and firefighters and ballerinas.
YET IT HAPPENS: innocent kids turn into junkies; starry eyed lovers get ugly, messy divorces and fully devoted followers of Christ lose their first loves and get lukewarm.
(think of all of the directives we read from Paul, Peter, James and the Hebrew writer about remembering the gospel that was preached to you and how things were when you first believed)
It is sad, but it is true.
Frances Chan, in his book Crazy Love writes out his description of a modern day lukewarm Christian (at this point I read an excerpt from that book)
Chan would then suggest that as the lukewarm Laodocians would be spit out of Jesus' mouth, and if they would no longer be IN CHRIST, can we really call them Christians at all? The same warning should be heeded by us.
Lukewarm = Fitting in. Something can be cold or hot, but when it sits at room temperature it will eventually conform to its surroundings.
But fitting in is often what we Christians strive for!
We want a Christianity that is just between me and God. Sometimes we will let others in, but they have to fit a criteria (they must be safe). So we'll share our faith with some friends and some family but they must be Christians as well OR agree to disagree (I'm OK, you're OK - so let's be friends and never talk about religion). Sometimes we will let the church in too - but only if they don't ask for too much of our time or money. Actually, in this brand of Christianity, there is not too much room for God either - not the One True God at least. We prefer to replace Him with the god that serves us (we used to call these idols).
Its kind of like driving. We often get sucked into going with the flow of traffic - even if the flow is breaking the law. We travel down the road and go with the flow. And anything that disrupts the flow - we don't like. If I get cut off... if the person in front of me is too slow... if the person behind me is going too fast... if the speed limit changes... if I see a speed limit sign...that also says how fast I am going... if I see a police car.
In that situation, I am more concerned about my comfort and desires than with what is right.
SO, when Jesus says that He wants us to be known by all men - that disrupts my lukewarm, fit-in, traffic flow style of Christianity.
Usually we read these and do not disagree with the command aspect of these verses. We know that this is how we should be as God's children: loving and fruit bearing.
So why do we fall short? Why do we fail?
Its not the command, its the purpose of what Jesus is saying and the results.
"Everyone will know that you are my disciples"
that means we'll be different. We won't fit in. We will stand out. We won't be going with the flow, we'll be disrupting it. It means being HOT. The light in the darkness.
WAIT? How is that love? It doesn't make sense. Why would I want to stand out if I will be hated for it and persecuted because of it?
If I knew that my wife and son would be hated and persecuted for knowing me and following me, I would release them. I would tell them it was OK to deny or disown me. I would know they didn't really mean it and I would want them to be safe. You would understand wouldn't you? If it was disown you or get killed - you'd forgive me wouldn't you?