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What Jesus Can't Swallow!

A young man wanted duplicate copies of his girlfriend's picture. The photographer noticed the following note on the back of the original: "My dearest Tom, I love you with all my heart. I love you more and more each day. I will love you forever and ever. I am yours for all eternity. Your true love, Diane. P. S.- If we ever break up, I want this picture back." Diane sounds like the kamikaze pilot who flew 50 missions-he was involved, but never really committed. In Revelation 3:15-16 Jesus addresses a group of Christians who had a similar approach to Christianity. To the church of Christ at first century Laodicea we hear the Savior saying shocking words: "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." The King James Version says He will "spew" them out, while the New International Version says He is about to "spit" them out. The image is a graphic and disgusting one. The Son of God pictures Himself as gagging and choking on something to the point He involuntarily spits it out; nauseated to the point He is about to throw up. Something is making the Great Physician sick. He is choking on something He just can't keep down. It is something He just can't swallow.

What is it? What is so nauseating Jesus is gagging and choking and spitting and throwing up? In this instance at least, it is not what many would think it is. In this text it is not extremists or change agents in the church who are nauseating the Son of God. It is not false teachers, unsound doctrine, atheists, or crass materialists who oppose God and deny His existence who are making Jesus sick. It is not gross immorality in the form of sexual perversion or deviancy. The horror in this disturbing scene is magnified a hundred times over when we realize Jesus is sickened, gagging, choking, and throwing up His own lukewarm and apathetic church. Lukewarm Christianity is what He cannot and will not swallow.

Christians who are half-hearted and lukewarm about Christian living and loving, about attending and worshiping and giving and serving and praying, and apathetic about Jesus are not new problems. They were at first century Laodicea. While not new, half-hearted, sub-par, lukewarm Christianity is a serious problem. It makes Jesus sick. You may be able to stomach it, but Jesus cannot and will not swallow lukewarm Christianity. He didn't swallow it at first century Laodicea, and He won't swallow it today.

Dan Gulley
for the Smithville church of Christ