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A Disgusting Bible Topic!

WARNING: the following graphic words depict a disgusting image which may be inappropriate for anyone with a weak stomach. They picture the Lord Jesus Christ doing something we can hardly think of Him doing. Are you sure you want to continue? Okay, here we go: "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" (Revelation 3:15-16). Those words are part of Jesus' message to the last of the seven churches He wrote to in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 — the congregation at ancient Laodicea. They bring into play a topic we don't even like to think about — let alone talk about and consider as a part of serious Bible study. The topic is vomit. "You've gotta be kidding," somebody says. No I'm serious — it is a Bible topic (see Proverbs 26:11; Isaiah 19:14; 2 Peter 2:22 to name a few). And you can bank on this — Jesus is dead serious when He uses this image to describe His aversion to lukewarm and apathetic Christians and churches. The King James Version says He will "spew" them out while the English Standard Version and others say He will "spit" them out. But "vomit" is a good choice to depict what He meant. The Greek word in verse 16 is emeo, occurs only this single time in the New Testament, and according to A. T. Robertson means "to vomit, to reject with extreme disgust." Now, you may think it disgusting to even be talking about vomit, and I admit that vomiting is undoubtedly one of if not the most unpleasant, despicable, and disgusting things on earth. The sights and sounds and smells and images associated with vomit are not fun to think about. But isn't that the whole point? Something at Laodicea is making Jesus Christ sick to His stomach — gagging Him and causing Him to wretch. What is it? In this text it is not false doctrine and extremists in the church who nauseate the Son of God. It is not unsound doctrine, atheists, or crass materialists opposing God. And it is not gross fleshly sin the form of sexual perversion or deviancy. Be very sure Jesus condemns all these. But He never used the image of "vomit" to depict His reaction to something except this one time. What is it He rejects with extreme disgust? Christians who are lukewarm about Him, the cross, the church, the Gospel, and saving the lost.

A young man wanted duplicate copies of his girlfriend's picture. The photographer saw the following note on back of the original: "My dearest Tom, I love you with all my heart. I am yours for all eternity. Your soul mate, Diane. P. S. — If we ever break up, I want this picture back." Diane wasn't really all that excited about Tom, was she? Not all that committed. Christians who are half-hearted and lukewarm about Christian living and loving, about attending and worshiping and. giving and serving, about praying and Bible reading and about lost souls, and about Jesus are not new problems. Some were in the church at first century Laodicea. But it makes Jesus sick — then and now. You may be able to swallow it, but Jesus will not swallow lukewarm Christianity. He didn't swallow it at 1st century Laodicea, and He won't swallow it today. You may find it insensitive and offensive to find talk about vomit in a religious article. I admit it is disgusting to think about, but Jesus made vomit a Bible topic. Will you think about it?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ