What Does Revelation 3:15 Mean?

'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.

Revelation 3:15(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

The letter to the 'Church of the Laodiceans', is perhaps the most solemn and thought-provoking of all of Christ's post-Resurrection communications to Church-age believers. This letter is the last of seven letters to different churches in Asia Minor.

Jesus is the omniscient God Who knows the very thoughts of our inner heart - and He did not give one word of commendation and praise to these Laodicean believers. The condemnation that Jesus gives to these believers is graphically described as, "I know your deeds. I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot."

As we read through Christ's criticism of these people in Laodicea, we discover that they made Him sick to the stomach - to the extent that He threatens to, "vomit you out of my mouth!"

These apathetic believers were indifferent to the high price that Christ had paid for their salvation. They were not loving their Lord with all their heart nor were they spiritually on fire for Him. As a result, Jesus labelled them as, "wretched and miserable, poor, blind, and naked."

What a shocking description of those that had been commissioned to go into all the world and preach the good tidings of great joy to a lost and dying world! What a disgraceful legacy and deplorable example this church left for all that would come to faith in Christ after them. What an important lesson we can all learn from their apathy, indifference, and lack of enthusiasm, for the glorious gospel of grace.

Not only were these believers not on fire for Jesus - but neither were they icy cold against Him! Those that spit out hatred for God and display animosity towards Christ and His people, do at least give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to stop them in their tracks and bring them, in repentance, to the foot of the Cross by convicting them of sin, righteousness, and judgement - as happened with Saul of Tarsus who was wonderfully converted to become Paul, God's chosen apostle to the Gentiles.

Whether the attitude of these believers was a total indifference to Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, a general disinterest in getting to know the Lord Jesus and the power of His Resurrection, or simply a lukewarm spirituality due to a carnal, self-inflated ego and self-satisfaction in their own abilities, these believers were the group that disgusted the Lord Jesus more than any other Church that is listed in the book of Revelation.

No matter what the temperature of our own spiritual walk, we would all do well to consider some of the serious accusations the Lord Jesus uttered to these lukewarm Christians. "I know your deeds. I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth."

These believers did not realise their condition. They thought they were rich, but Jesus tells them of their true state. He tells them to, "be earnest and repent," and gives them an astonishing exhortation, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."

May we learn important lessons from this letter to the Laodicean church and examine our own lives to see if there are any areas where we have become lukewarm. May we become like those that are on fire for the Lord and in love with our precious Saviour, exhibiting the characteristics of Christ in our daily life, walking in Spirit and truth, bearing much fruit-of-the-Spirit for His praise and glory. 

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that I have the opportunity to learn a spiritual lesson on how to live godly in Christ Jesus, through the failure of these people at Laodicea. I am sorry for any areas of my life that I have allowed to become lukewarm to You and ask that I would live a life that is on fire for the Lord. I pray that I would keep the door of my heart ever open to You and that my communion with You would overflow into blessings for those I come into contact. I pray that my life may become a light in a darkened world and that my word may be witness to the goodness and grace of God to all with whom I come in contact, for Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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