And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things said the Amen, the faithful and true witness…
The soul of man is endowed with active powers that it cannot be idle: and, if we look round the world, we see it all alive. What vigorous action, what labour and toil about the necessaries of life, about riches and honours! But it is quite otherwise in religion. Only a few act as if they regarded religion as the most important concern of life. For look round you, the generality are very indifferent about it. They will not Indeed renounce all religion entirely; they will make some little profession of religion; but it is a matter of indifferency with them, and they are but little concerned about it; they are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot. Now such a luke-warmness is an eternal solecism in religion; it is the most inconsistent thing imaginable: more so than avowed impiety; therefore, says Christ, "I would thou wert cold or hot" — i.e. "You might be anything more consistently than what you are. If you looked upon religion as a cheat, and openly rejected the profession of it, it would not be strange that you should be careless about it and disregard it in practice. But to own it true, and make a profession of it, and yet be lukewarm and indifferent about it, this is the most absurd conduct that can be conceived; for, if it be true, it is certainly the most important and interesting truth in all the world, and requires the utmost exertion of all your powers." There are some aggravations peculiar to the lukewarm professor that render him peculiarly odious; as —
1. He adds the sin of a hypocritical profession to his other sins.
2. He adds the guilt of presumption, pride, and self-flattery, imagining he is in a safe state and in favour with God; whereas he that makes no pretensions to religion has no such umbrage for this conceit and delusion.
3. He is in the most dangerous condition, as he is not liable to conviction, nor so likely to be brought to repentance.
4. The honour of God and religion is more injured by the negligent, unconscientious behaviour of these Laodiceans, than by the vices of those who make no pretensions to religion; with whom therefore its honour has no connection.But to be more particular: let us take a view of a lukewarm temper in various attitudes, or with respect to several objects.
1. Consider who and what God is. He is the original uncreated beauty, the sum total of all natural and moral perfections, the origin of all the excellences that are scattered through this glorious universe; He is the supreme good, and the only proper portion for our immortal spirits. He also sustains the most majestic and endearing relations to us: our Father, our Preserver and Benefactor, our Lawgiver, and our Judge. Is such a Being to be put off with heartless, lukewarm services?
2. Is lukewarmness a proper temper towards Jesus Christ? Is this a suitable return for that love which brought Him down from His native paradise into our wretched world? Oh, was Christ indifferent about your salvation? Was His love lukewarm towards you?
3. Is lukewarmness and indifferency a suitable temper with respect to a future state of happiness or misery?
4. Let us see how this lukewarm temper agrees with the duties of religion. And as I cannot particularise them all, I shall only mention an instance or two. View a lukewarm professor in prayer. The words proceed no further than from your tongue: you do not pour them out from the bottom of your hearts; they have no life or spirit in them, and you hardly ever reflect upon their meaning. And when you have talked away to God in this manner, you will have it to pass for a prayer. But surely such prayers must bring down a curse upon you instead of a blessing: such sacrifices must be an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 15:8). The next instance I shall mention is with regard to the Word of God. You own it Divine, you profess it the standard of your religion, and the most excellent book in the world. Now, if this be the case, it is God that sends you an epistle when you are reading or hearing His Word. How impious and provoking then must it be to neglect it, to let it lie by you as an antiquated, useless book, or to read it in a careless, superficial manner, and hear it with an inattentive, wandering mind! Ye modern Laodiceans, are you not yet struck with horror at the thought of that insipid, formal, spiritless religion you have hitherto been contented with?
1. Consider the difficulties and dangers in your way. You must be made new men, quite other creatures than you now are. And oh! can this work be successfully performed while you make such faint and feeble efforts?
2. Consider how earnest and active men are in other pursuits. Is religion the only thing which demands the utmost exertion of all your powers, and alas! is that the only thing in which you will be dull and inactive?
(S. Davies, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;