Malignant Mixture
by Stan Holder
W

e are all a product of our choices in life. The people addressed in Revelation 3:16 did not realize they had a big problem until the Lord pointed it out to them. Their message was out of balance with their actions. It was hard to tell whose side the church in Laodicea had chosen. Jesus said they were no longer a reflection of what His church should look like.

Archaeologists have discovered the town of Laodicea had no local water supply. In order to obtain water, an aqueduct system from the hot springs at Hierapolis was installed. Water traveled six miles from Hierapolis to Laodicea. If someone in Laodicea desired a cold drink of water, too bad: By the time it traveled six miles, the water would be warm. This made the water nauseating and repulsive.

The spiritual status of this church was so distasteful to the Lord that He compared it to drinking lukewarm water, and the thought of it made Him sick. What created this condition? Comfort and compromise! These dangerous twins always lead to conflict in one’s spiritual standing.

    Comfort

Most of us have a thermostat in our home. Since we don’t like it to be too cold or too hot, we mix the two together. We come out with an atmosphere comfortable to us.

That is what was happening at Laodicea. They were compromising spiritually for comfort’s sake. It is much more comfortable to attend a church where nobody takes doctrinal issues very seriously—where, for comfort’s sake, we avoid discussions about sin, sanctification, and holiness. Many times out of fear of losing someone to our church, we avoid subjects that confront issues of the heart. Instead of “rocking the boat,” we choose to avoid what God has called us to defend and proclaim.

    Compromise

The Laodicea church was compromising its teachings for the sake of peace and comfort. They had enough truth to salve the conscience, but enough coolness to calm their wills without freezing people out. People could be comfortable there. They would not be rebuked, corrected, or even convicted of sin, but only encouraged and respected. The church compromised for the sake of personal comfort.

What does Jesus think of a church like that? It’s nauseating! Repulsive! The compromise that made them comfortable made Him sick!

The Word of God will bless you, and it will blister you. The Word of God can pat you on the back, and it can slap you in the face. Note that the Lord did condemn the “works” of the Laodiceans as being evil
(v. 15). But this was not enough. Human wisdom interfered with divine truth at Laodicea. The members were listless and apathetic. Something was missing at Laodicea, and the Lord called them out on it.

    Conflict

Recent decisions by the Supreme Court confirm that we are in a conflict. People want to be comfortable with their sins. People want no rebuke, correction, or conviction. But the Church cannot compromise truth.

This week in my city, a group of self- proclaimed “Christians,” led by their minister, were at the courthouse celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold same-sex marriage. Really? I think the Lord just vomited again!

Biblical Christianity has always been threatened by worldliness and false doctrine. Doing what is right in the eyes of God conflicts with what is acceptable in the eyes of people. The Bible demands that people acknowledge their sin and spiritual impotence—the gospel demands a verdict.

Paul taught that our minds needed to be renewed (Rom. 12:2) and we should “set [our] mind on things above” (Col. 3:2 NKJV) because, naturally, we were not born to think spiritually. Doing so requires a choice, and a by-product of that choice is changed behavior.

Changed behavior, or “new creation” status (2 Cor. 5:17 NKJV), makes us “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-14). A lukewarm message is conflicting to a lost world looking for hope. Like Joshua, we must take a stand and decide “this day whom [we] will serve” (Josh. 24:15).

God has called us to be faithful. The words we should long to hear are “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23). The absence of faithfulness is a prescription for disaster for Christianity. Being faithful to the Word of God will not always make us popular, but it is the remedy for what is sickening to God.