Lukewarm Warning!

Revelation 3

Friday, November 18, 2022

A few weeks ago, we got to experience an up-close view of a bit of a twist on the classic caterpillar to butterfly spiritual analogy. Maybe you’ve heard the classic version in youth group, Bible School, or a devotion book….the idea that we are all new creations if we are Christians. That we start as these creepy, crawly, fuzzy little beings and then as a gift of God, through faith in Christ….voila….we are made completely new into creations of beauty and wonder like a butterfly.

Thanks to our friend, Terri Tschaenn, and her milkweed stash….we have gotten to watch this truly amazing experience of God’s creation several times, and it hasn’t gotten old yet. We’ve gotten to feed those adorably cute little caterpillars as they grow at amazing rates each day. We’ve watched the miraculous chrysalis formation, and we’ve gotten to hold brand new monarch butterflies on our pinky fingers before they fly off. It is amazing. It is beautiful. And, it certainly is representative of the hope of new life and transformation God tells us about in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

But. . .does every caterpillar turn into a butterfly? Hmmm.

Terri told us the unfortunate story of one of her baby caterpillars that accidentally met a predator while she was trying to keep it safe in her school classroom….and….chomp. All gone. No butterfly.  And, recently, we watched our caterpillar which we had been watching grow for several weeks, for some unknown reason, never develop his chrysalis at all. Instead, he slowly wasted away and died. It was rather depressing to watch. He had eaten milkweed like all the rest, had gotten to full size, and had looked “just right” to us from the surface. But, inside….something was wrong. He never experienced the stage of transformation. And, instead of achieving beauty and new life, he died a caterpillar. It is common. It is sad. And, it is also certainly representative of what God tells us about in scripture whether or not it makes for as many Sunday School craft ideas on Pinterest.

The Bible warns us about the Christians who look like Christians, but who haven’t experienced a transformation through repentance and faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. These Christians are lukewarm. Just like the caterpillars who die, they lack something inside. But mind you, these aren’t atheist caterpillars or caterpillars who don’t go to church. These are Christian caterpillars. Ones who look just like us. Ones who go to church with us. Maybe us. They haven’t achieved the transformation of repentance and faith in Christ which leads to obedience. And their demise if they don’t repent? “I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16, NASV).

Truth can hurt, but it matters. It matters because God and Jesus love us. And true love includes speaking honestly and intentionally. It also matters because unless we repent, at the judgment day, we do not become “butterflies” to live eternally with God and his son Jesus in the kingdom of God. The alternative to that option is death. Today, we live in a world telling us that almost any belief imaginable is “Christian”, and it can get quite confusing as we seek to be on the narrow road and not in the lukewarm masses. It requires diligent searching of scripture and faithful prayer on our parts. We cannot rely alone on our teachers, our families, our churches, and traditions of men. We must not just believe “in” God and Jesus, but know what they say and apply those words to our lives. So, if we find ourselves lukewarm and amongst lukewarm believers. . .what does Jesus say to us?

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:19-21, NASV).

Let’s seek and pray to be more than lukewarm this week and to be victorious in Christ.

-Jennifer Hall

(posted originally for SeekGrowLove – then named Grow16 – on June 24, 2018)

Reflection Questions

  1. What good things were the churches of Revelation 3 doing? What needed to be changed in these churches?
  2. What do you think Jesus would want you – and your church – to repent of?

Pillars

Revelation 3

Revelation 3 12 .png

I live and work in Louisiana and the land down here is often very wet and soggy. Most of it in fact, is considered to be swamp land.  But nevertheless, people build on this land close to rivers and lakes. For my day job I work on building shorefront and boat houses. In order to do so we must use “piles” or otherwise known as oversized telephone poles and we drive them with a machine into the ground. When we drive 4 to 8 of them for a boat house, they create a pillar like effect which can support up to and if designed well over 15,000-pound boats. Each pile is driven with the machine with over 20,000+ pounds of force. That is really strong.

One of the most encouraging verses I can think of in the Bible is located in Revelation 3:12

“’He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God; and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”

The one who overcomes this world and all of its false hopes and temptations and focuses on Jesus will be like a pillar of faith in the temple and in the New Jerusalem. They will have written on them his own name YHWH. This is something I strive to have every day –  to allow myself to represent the LORD almighty everyday by carrying his name through my actions. Although I fail sometimes with this, I learn a little bit everyday how I can overcome my shortcomings.

Today I want you to focus on how you can be a pillar of faith in your communities and how you can carry the name of God with your actions. Also don’t forget to keep looking up phrases you see and don’t understand!

Jesse Allen

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