My recent post on Revelations: the Perfection of Character, discussed two things in particular: the first is the person of Jesus as our 1st love which I dig into a bit in this post; the second, which I will discuss here, is introduced in Revelations 3:15. “I know your works, that you are neither hot nor cold.”
Now I’ve heard a lot of people take this verse to speak out against “lukewarm Christianity” but that doesn’t make sense to me because in 3:16 Jesus says “because you are lukewarm and NEITHER HOT NOR COLD, I will spew you from my mouth.” (emphasis mine) It doesn’t say “Because you aren’t hot” and it doesn’t say anything about being on fire for God, it says that because the church hasn’t been able to commit one way or the other but are basically playing both sides of the field, Jesus will spit them out.
My interpretation of this passage goes something like this. “Make up your mind, and make a choice.”
Pretty simple right? It’s just like in Mark 1 when Jesus says “repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” There’s no way to just sort of, kind of repent. You either do or you don’t. You’re either hot, or you’re cold. But in Revelations 3:15, we aren’t just talking about repentance and salvation, we’re talking about a lifestyle. Specifically a lifestyle that is in direct opposition to the kind of church we see in Acts 4.
In summary, Acts 4 sees the church persecuted for the boldness with which they have proclaimed the gospel and in verse 29, they gather together and pray “Lord, grant your servants favor that we may proclaim your word with fearlessness” or boldness depending on your translation.
But that’s the whole point don’t you see? They were so madly in love with Jesus, and so devoted to Him, that they walked with a boldness that comes only from faith. It is a hard and difficult faith we follow. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different. Yes, His yoke is easy and His burden light, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t have trouble in this world. That doesn’t mean that we are excused to just sailing through life.
Now a lot of people don’t want to just jump into the fray or dive into the deep end out of a fear of doing so incorrectly. Boldness, when enacted without God’s will and timing and spirit, can cause problems. I’ve seen it happen and it sucks. No two ways about it, it sucks. But that doesn’t mean God can’t straighten things out. That doesn’t mean God can’t fix you up.
Even if it takes you into sin and you’re worried about a massive Babylonian Exile kind of punishment from God, don’t you know that God first asked them to repent?
Yes boldness is hard, it’s frightening, but it’s also equally necessary. That’s why the early church had to pray for it.
- Ever had a time when greater boldness was called for? What happened?
- What do you need from God to feel empowered to fearlessness?
- If you already live that life, what was the turning point? Was there a turning point or were you always like that?