21 Characteristics of Lukewarm People-

21 Characteristics of Lukewarm People
from the One Minute Uplift by Rick Ezell*

 "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
. . . you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold" (Rev. 3:15, 16 NIV).

Jesus is saying that rather than "hot" or its synonym found in verse 19 "earnest" there is lukewarmness. William Hendriksen describes this condition: "The people of Laodicea were lukewarm, tepid, flabby, half-hearted, limp, always ready to compromise, indifferent, listless: that 'we're-all-good-people-here-in-Laodicea' attitude." Shockingly, Jesus prefers coldness to lukewarmness.

How can you tell if a person is lukewarm? Here are twenty-one characteristics of lukewarm people. (Most of these are from Francis Chan in his book Crazy Love).

1. Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them; it is what they believe "good Christians" do, so they go.

Isaiah 29:13 - Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, NASU

2. Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church as long as it doesn't intrude on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so, After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right?

1 Chronicles 21:24 - But King David said to Ornan, "No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing." NASU

Luke 21:1-4 - And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 3 And He said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on." NASU

3. Lukewarm people crave acceptance. They tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives.

Luke 6:26 - Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. NASU

Revelation 3:1 - To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. NASU

Matthew 23:5-7 - "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.  6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues,  7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. NASU

4. Lukewarm people don't really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don't genuinely hate sin and aren't truly sorry for it; they're merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don't really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. Consequently, they tolerate and rationalize unconfessed sin.

John 10:10 - The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. NASU

Romans 6:1-2 - What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? NASU

5. Lukewarm people are moved by stories of people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for "extreme" Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call "radical" what Jesus expected of all his followers.

James 1:22 - But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. NASU

James 4:17 - Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. NASU

Matthew 21:28-31 - But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go work today in the vineyard.'  29 And he answered, 'I will not'; but afterward he regretted it and went.  30 The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, 'I will, sir'; but he did not go.  31 "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. NASU

6. Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion.

Matthew 10:32-33 - Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.  33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. NASU 

7. Lukewarm people gauge their morality or "goodness" by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren't as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street.

Luke 18:11-12 - The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  12 'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' NASU

8. Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and he is, indeed, a part of their lives, their money, and their thoughts, but he isn't allowed to control their lives. They have changed the words of their favorite hymn from "Take My Life and Let It Be" to "Take My Life and Let Me Be."

Luke 9:57-62 - As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow You wherever You go." 58 And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."  59 And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." 60 But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God."  61 Another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home." 62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." NASU

9. Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love him with all their heart, soul, and strength. They would be quick to assure you they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn't really possible for the average person; its only for pastors and missionaries and radicals.

Matthew 22:37-38 - And He said to him, "'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'  38 This is the great and foremost commandment. NASU

10. Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love for others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. Little love is left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached.

Matthew 5:43-47 - You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.'  44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? NASU

Luke 14:12-14 - And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment.  13 "But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,  14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." NASU

11. Lukewarm people, in many respects, are practical atheists. While they believe in God they live as though God does not exist. They do not consult with him much less follow his leading.

12. Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today's to-do list, this week's schedule, and next month's vacation. Rarely, if ever do they intently consider the life to come. In fact, they are prone to say when asked "How are you doing?" "Not well, but better than the alternative," as though the alternative of sending eternity with Jesus is worse than life on this planet. Philippians 3:18-20.

13. Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor.

Matthew 25:34, 40 - Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 40 The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'  NASU

Isaiah 58:6-7 - Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? NASU

 14. Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to alleviate their guilt. They want to do the bare minimum, to be "good enough" without requiring too much of them.

1 Chronicles 29:14 - But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You. NASU

Matthew 13:44-46 - The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls,  46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. NASU

15. Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them sacrificing and risking for God.

Matthew 10:28 - Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. NASU

16. Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America.

 17. Luke warm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens-they have their savings account. They don't need God to help them-they have their retirement plan in place. They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live-they have life figured and mapped out. They don't depend on God on a daily basis-their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God.

Luke 12:16-21 - And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive.  17 "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?'  18 "Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."'  20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'  21 "So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." NASU

18. Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren't very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn't be more wrong.

Matthew 23:25-28 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.  26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.  28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. NASU

Luke 14:34-35 - Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?  35 It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. NASU

19. Lukewarm people pray more in public and when called upon than they do in private. Prayer means little to them. If it means anything to them it is a help line to God when things go wrong in their lives not a private conversation to know the God of the Universe.

20. Lukewarm people rarely read the Bible. They have plenty in their homes, mind you, but they seldom pick it up to read, let alone study or meditate on or follow its commands.

21. Lukewarm people get upset about the little stuff while being unconcerned about the big issues. In other words, they will get angry over being personally inconvenienced-especially at church-while indifferent to the plights of injustice, ethnic cleansing, and racial hatred that exist in the world.

Ø Francis Chan in his book Crazy Love adds: "As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there's no such thing. To put it plainly, church goers who are lukewarm are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven."

That's a frightening thought.

*Used by permission.

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  February 2020  
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