The Temperature of the Church
January 03, 2016
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. - Revelation 3:15, 16
When the Lord Jesus said to the Laodicean church, “You are neither cold nor hot,” they knew exactly what He was talking about. They had been drinking lukewarm water for years. Water left the mountains ice cold, and it left the springs steaming hot, but when they got it, both were lukewarm, and it was sickening. The Lord Jesus said that this church was neither cold nor hot and He would spew it out of His mouth.
A cold church actually means a church that has denied every cardinal doctrine of the faith. It is given over to formality and is carrying on in active opposition to the Word of God and the gospel of Christ. You find today in liberalism that they are in active opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Hot speaks of those with real spiritual fervor and passion like the Christians in Ephesus, although they were even then getting away from their best love. Oh, the Spirit of God had brought them to a high pitch in their personal relationship to Christ!
Between those positions of hot and cold, you have this lukewarm state. Many churches attempt to maintain a middle-of-the-road position. They do not want to come out flatfootedly for the Word of God and for the great doctrines of the Christian faith. And at the same time, they do not want to be known as a liberal church. So they play footsie with both groups. To my judgment this middle-of-the-road position is the worst kind of hypocrisy there is. This is the thing that makes the Lord Jesus sick. He very frankly says that He will spew them out of His mouth.
In its beginning Protestantism assumed the position of believing all the great doctrines of the Christian faith. The creeds of all the great historic denominations are wonderful creeds. Who believes these wonderful creeds in our day? The churches have a form of godliness but are denying the power thereof. They have a name that they live, but they are dead. They are neither hot nor cold—they are lukewarm.
But the thing that is absolutely startling and frightening and fearful is that He says, “I will vomit you out of my mouth.” Does that sound to you like the church which He’s going to rapture, to whom He says, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2, 3)? I don’t think so. I am of the opinion that if He spoke to a lot of churches today, He would say, “You make Me sick at My stomach. You’re professed Christians. You say you love Me, but you don’t mean it.”
This is a heart-searching message for this hour because we are living in the time of the Laodicean church and of the Philadelphian church. Both of them are side by side, and there is a great bifurcation in Christianity today. It is not in denominations, and it is not Romanism and Protestantism. The great bifurcation consists of those who believe the Word of God and follow it, love it, obey it, and those who reject it. That is the line of division today.
- Dr. J. Vernon McGee, from Edited Messages on Revelation