Gentle Jesus said those words. You can find them in Revelation 3:16.
Have you ever had someone you loved deeply lead a life of self-harm?
A wife who binges and purges?
A husband who won’t stop screwing around?
A daughter who cuts herself?
A son addicted to meth?
Have you had someone for whom you wanted so much, who settles for so little? People you love who destroy themselves and those around them in the process? It’s pretty disturbing, disappointing and infuriating to watch someone die when you so desperately want them to live. That’s why Jesus reacts to lukewarm Christians in the manner He describes.
In Revelation Jesus was talking to / about people in the Church who refuse to be totally sold out for Him. He was talking about people who are just going through the motions of Christianity which, in the context of eternity, is the most self-destructive thing a person can do. Jesus was talking to Church goers who might present the following characteristics.
. They go to Church fairly regularly, at least more than just Christmas and Easter. It makes them feel pretty good about their relationship with Jesus.
. They give money to needy causes - if it won’t mean they have to miss a sporting event or a holiday or a meal out after Church.
. These people are very in tune with what the majority of people think on any given topic and they go with that as an indication of what is right. Fitting in and not being noticed is really important to these people. In fact, what the neighbours think is so important that these people aren’t sure anymore if Jesus really is the only avenue through which God has provided reconciliation for us with Him.
. Jesus creating a radically changed character in them is a foreign concept. Jesus is more of an accessory to their lives than the most important thing in their lives.
. They avoid becoming Christian fanatics to the same degree they avoid getting H1N1, i.e., they’ll avoid getting to know Jesus lest He give them something they don’t want. As my mother-in-law once said, regarding her relationship with Jesus, “I don’t want to over do it.”
. They never talk to anyone about their relationship with Jesus because they don’t have a relationship worth sharing. Besides, their co workers or neighbours might think less of them if them if it ever got out that they were Christians.
. “Well, I haven’t killed anybody,” is how they’d answer the question, “Are you a good person?”
. A two or three minute prayer as their fall asleep is considered staying in touch with God. This is often skipped because they’re just too tired. The thought that Jesus ought to have control over one’s life is a way radical, fundy kind of thinking. That is not a good thing.
. If honest with themselves they would agree with, “I know that God is good but for the life of me, I can’t think of what He’s good for.”
. They give others and God the left-overs of their lives. Sacrifice is just not in the play-book. “Dying to self? Oh my goodness. What does THAT mean? You don’t expect me to put my security in jeopardy. Do you?”
. These people always “compare up” to those who have more when deciding if they “love money and possessions too much.”
. They have “catch and release” friendships. A show of love to a needy person must not get too intense or “S/he might think we should to be friends.” These people are always in control of who gets into their lives. As one told me, “You have to be careful with needy people or they’ll just want more of you.”
. “I was baptised, gave my confession and go to Church. I’m set!”
. Living by faith is something that these people make sure they NEVER have to experience. In fact they organise their lives as though God does not exist. Big bank accounts, retirement savings plans, equity. These are very important words in the vocabulary of these people. Very important!
. If they stopped believing in God tomorrow, there would be little change in the life-style of these people, save perhaps sleeping in on Sunday morning.
. These people feel as though their future with Jesus is secure. They are, let me see, how does it go? Ah yes, here it is. Revelation 3:15-18, “I am rich. I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.”
And Jesus said, “You are poor, blind, wretched and naked. You guys make Me wanna puke.”