Avoiding a Lukewarm Life part 1 – Sacrificing it all
Laodicea, a city in Asia which is known for having a lukewarm church because of a letter written to them in Revelation 3. I wonder if America will go down in history known for being the modern day luekwarm church?
Revelation 3:15-16 says “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
God wants you to be hot, to be on fire for him, if not you are so distasteful to him that he wants to vomit you out of his mouth! Why would God have such a severe reaction lukewarmness? Because God is so holy, and so worthy of every bit of worship and praise we can give him, and when we take our eyes off of Jesus just to focus on the things of the world, it is disgusting to God.
Jesus, a treasure worth sacrificing for
Jesus told a parable of a man who found a treasure in a field, and was so excited to get the treasure that he went and sold everything he had so he could buy the field and get the treasure. (Matthew 13:44) This, Jesus says, is how we need to seek the kingdom of God. We need to seek Him so fervantly that we are willing to sacrifice anything to get Him because we know He is worth it.
Imagine you being this person, following a map that is promised to lead to riches. You get to a clearing in the trees and you see an obscure X on the ground. So you dig, and you find a stock pile of bars of gold worth billions of dollars. And then you burry the bars of gold, and you go off to live your life. You could buy that plot of land and take ownership over the treasure, but to do that you would have to sell your car, your tv, or even your house.
If any one of us saw a person give up this treasure we would try to knock some common sense into them, say “come on, that treasure is worth so much more than all of your measly possessions combined!” But this is us! We are satisfied with knowing Jesus exists and maybe even going to look at the treasure every Sunday, but we refuse to take any action that could give us possesion of this treasure.
A rich man once came go Jesus and asked “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” and Jesus responded “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Luke 18:18-23) What did the guy do? “But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.” This guy let his earthly possessions stop him from having eternal life, from having a relationship with Jesus. And this is disgusting to God!
But we do the same thing…
Your head fights that idea instantly by saying “but I’m not rich, I live pay check to pay check and sometimes can’t pay my utility bill.” Don’t be blind to what you do have. Most of the world lives off of $2 per day. Your brain is smart and fires back “but the cost of living is so much more here, it is impossible to live off of $2 per day.” Well yes, it is true that two dollars will get you more in other countries than in the U. S. but think about this. If you have a roof over your head, a form of transportation (even a public bus), and food on your table every day, you are richer than 80% of the world. If you make just $50,000 a year you are in the top 99% of the richest people in the world. We have so many posessions we cannot even name them all, and we think we are poor? It was after this that Jesus said it is impossible for a rich man to get into heaven. Billions of people live in slums and have to live off a diet of rice to survive and we consider ourselves “poor” because we can’t afford to go out for a steak dinner this weekend.
Are your riches getting in the way of you coming to God? Would you be willing to sell everything you have to follow Jesus? Instantly your mind races for a reason to hold on to what you have. You think “God has not asked me to give away my posessions” or “God wants me to enjoy this life and has given me my money to enjoy, not to live in poverty so I can give it all away.” My question to you is, have you ever asked Him what He wants from you?
But that is legalistic!
The common defense for the church in America when they are told to do something hard. Throw down the Legalism card as a “get out of conviction free” card. But is what I am saying legalistic, or is it Biblical? Reading the passages above it seems pretty clear that we are to sell everything we have and give to the poor, to get rid of everything that could be standing in the way of you being on fire for God.
There are many places in the Bible where Jesus gives very hard commands that show us that being a Christian involves more than going to church, singing a few songs and hanging around Christians when you play games or spend time on the computer. “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:26
And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:27
In Luke 14 Jesus commands people to consider the cost to following Him before you begin, becasue it is costly. Does not a builder consider if he can afford to build a tower before he starts? Does a king not consider if he is able to defeat an army before he goes to war? “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14:33)
As Christians we are the salt of the earth, but if we are lukewarm then we lose our flavor and Jesus says that salt that has lost its flavor is not even fit to be thrown in the manuer pile. (Luke 14:34)
Revelation 3:17 God says “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Wretched, miserable, are these words you want God to use when describing you?
Do you get it yet?
Do you understand? God does not want people sitting around being holy couch potatoes. God wants people that are so devoted to serving him they are willing to sacrifice everything, money, power, family, even their own life. These are the people God wants to follow Him!
Notice who had joy and who did not in Jesus’ parables. The man that sacrificed everything to buy the field with the treasure “in his joy went and sold all he had” while the rich man “became very sorrowful.” Who has more joy, the one holding on to the things of earth or the one reaching for the treasure?
So I must give away everything?
I’m not saying you have to give away everything, but why not? What is keeping you from doing it? Is it because it is an idol? I know my money has been an idol to me many, many times and I still struggle with this, but I know in the end it is worth whatever sacrifice I give, and more.
What I am trying to say, is that you need to seek God, but not in a casual way, in a way where you are willing to sacrifice everything for Him! I guarantee the instant you enter into eternity you will wish you had sacrificed more!
So what makes God so great to deserve this kind of all-in sacrifice? I will answer that in part 2.
Leave a comment below telling us how God has asked you to sacrifice to serve Him!
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