Moderation definitely has its downfalls when it is applied to church life. I know you are probably thinking to yourself, “when do we ever use the word moderation and church in the same sentence?” We don’t say the word; we demonstrate it. We have a mediocre attitude about God at times. We want to go to church when we feel like it, serve when it’s convenient, minister to people if it doesn’t put us out, give if we feel we have enough, and use our spiritual gifts when we choose. Basically we have brought our attitude of moderation to the church, and God. The Bible speaks very clearly, and harshly about this very subject.
Revelation 3:15-16 ESV
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
We have all drank water that is considered lukewarm. When you put it in your mouth it is neither refreshing like a cold drink, or soothing like a hot cup of tea, it is just somewhere in the middle. Many people, if they were being honest, would find themselves in this area. We find ourselves on the fence wanting to go to church and serve God, but not wanting people to think we are too radical in our beliefs. So I wonder today if God visited our home, our church, our place of work, would he spit us out of His mouth? In some versions of the Bible it uses the word vomit. This visual makes me want to be sick myself. I mean imagine that God would be so disappointed, disgusted, ashamed, whatever word you choose to use, that he would vomit us out of His mouth. If we answered yes; the next question is how did we get to this point? In verse 17 it talks of being rich and prosperous, and the attitude that we are in need of nothing. The problem is that although money can be helpful, it is not the cure all. Hollywood is a perfect example that money does not always lead to happiness. God is sending a warning that just because we may think we have everything we need materially; we are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. So as churches boast of their numbers rising, build bigger buildings, and invest in more stuff, where are we spiritually? Stanley High said these words:
The church has failed to tell me that I am a sinner. The church has failed to deal with me as
a lost individual. The church has failed to offer me salvation in Jesus Christ alone. The church has failed to tell me of the horrible consequences of sin, the certainty of hell, and the fact that Jesus Christ alone can save. We need more the last judgment and less of the Golden Rule, more of a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. The church must bring me not a message of cultivation but of rebirth. I might fail that kind of church, but that kind of church will not fail me.
How sad if his words were about us, or our church.
In His Word, the Lord is telling us that although we may have material wealth, we have missed Him. He is offering us all we will ever need to be rich, to be clothed, and to have eyes to see the truth. The irony of this passage is Laodicean, to whom the letter was written; was known for their medical school, and eye anointment. Although they had the best salves in the world, they were still blind to the truth. Sometimes as Christians we find ourselves in this boat. We have the Word of God all around us, in every possible language and translation, but still are not seeing God for who he really is.
I ask you today. Does God drink you in as a refreshing drink, or does he want to vomit your actions and deeds out of his mouth? God has called us to serve Him with all our heart, mind, and soul---not moderation.