And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things said the Amen, the faithful and true witness…
I. WHAT IS LUKEWARMNESS IN RELIGION? It is not Christian moderation. There is the popular and not unfounded prejudice against extremes, a suspicion of too great zeal, too much enthusiasm. And so in the service and the worship of God people choose a middle course between those who are "very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts," and those who turn their backs upon Him. They would not like to think anything extravagant; and they prefer to follow public opinion as safest; and then they think they are letting their moderation be known unto all men. Yet, after all, when we come to scrutinise this spirit, it is not quite like moderation and sober-mindedness, and the Lord's carefulness not to offend the weak. It is much more like worldly-mindedness.
II. WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF LUKEWARMNESS?
1. May we not put first, worldly prosperity, the intrusion of something else into the place which God once occupied, and which God alone ought to occupy in the affections?
2. Another cause is the frequency of little sins. Evil speaking, untruthfulness and exaggeration, outbreaks of temper, vanity, self-indulgence, these, freely indulged, show not only that religion has no real power in the heart, but relax the hold of conscience, lessen our confidence towards God, and so chill our love.
3. Then, again, we may mention dissipation of mind, occupation in so many pursuits that little or no time is allowed for undisturbed communion with God in prayer and meditation. We all find it difficult to keep our attention fixed upon God without distraction. But how much harder if we allow our hearts to be choked with the pleasures and cares of this world! And if we cannot find time to think about Him we certainly shall not have power to love Him first, perhaps not to love Him at all with anything that deserves the name of love. In other ways this dissipation of mind serves to produce lukewarmness. If we are too busy to fix our minds upon God we shall scarcely have time to pay much attention to ourselves. How should we manage that which requires so much resolution, so much abstraction from worldly things, strict self-examination? How should we accurately measure our gain and loss since the last solemn inquiry into our spiritual state? How ascertain where we stand before God?
III. These are some of the causes, and some of the symptoms too — for it is impossible to keep them distinct — of lukewarmness. SOME OTHER SYMPTOMS may be mentioned. If you suffer yourself on every little pretext to shorten, or to omit, your devotions; if you care more about the fact of going through them than about the manner or the spirit in which you go through them; if, when you feel not altogether happy in your conscience towards God and man, you either neglect self-examination, or set about it in a slovenly way; if, when you have detected a fault in yourself, you are slow at reformation; if you act, day after day, without once sanctifying your motives and your actions to God; if you never aim at forming habits of obedience to His commandments; if you never attack any one particular sin; if you despise little things and daily opportunities; if you delight rather in thinking of the good you have done than of the good you have left undone, resting on the past rather than looking forward into the future; if you never care to have God in all your thoughts, and, by meditation at least, to be a partaker of the sufferings of Christ, then I fear it must be said of you that you are lukewarm.
IV. Would to God that we could as easily tell THE REMEDY as the disease. Try, then, if ever you feel your love growing cold, your faith less vivid, to quicken them by meditation on eternal truths, so as to saturate your minds with the conviction of their infinite importance. Fight against the cause of lukewarmness; against worldliness, self-indulgence, carelessness, habitual sins, however little they may seem, self-complacency in the past, the oppression of too many cares. That can be no duty which perils the soul.
(W. Mitchell, 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;