T. PIERCE BROWN
Over 40 years ago, before my youngest son was ready for preschool, he seemed to be unusually word conscious. He wanted to know the difference between a rock and a stone, a graveyard and a cemetery. As we were eating, I noticed some milk left in his glass. Thinking he may have left it because it had become warm, I asked, “Is it lukewarm?” He replied, “No, sir. It is lukecool.” He may have coined a new word, but it may have made better sense, for the milk did not taste warm to him. However, since it was not as cool as it should have been, he thought it was lukecool.
As I was studying the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 and comparing it (wishing we could say “contrasting it”) to many churches today, the terrible thought came to me that we may have some that could not even be properly classified as lukewarm, for they may not even be as good as the church in Laodicea.
I am glad that I am not the judge of the eternal destiny of a person, for when I see a church where more than half the members who are there Sunday morning do not come to Bible study nor come back Sunday night, and even fewer for mid-week Bible study, I have a tendency to feel that if they do not love the Lord and His family enough to want to have fellowship with them that much, they would not enjoy heaven.
When I see numbers of church members, including deacons and elders, who would drive 100 miles and sit for three hours in the cold to look at a ball game, but who never find time to try to win a soul to Christ, I have to remind myself that only Christ knows their hearts. I may think they are lukecool, whereas he may realize they are lukewarm.
When I see church members who have houses, cars and boats and seem to have need of nothing, but their contribution is not even 10% of their income, I may think they are lukewarm and should be spewed out of His mouth. However, He may know they are not even lukecool, and may never have been Christians in the first place. We may have baptized many persons who really never died to self and wanted Christ to be Lord of their lives. On the farm I have often planted things that never did come up. I have an idea that we have planted many persons in baptism that we thought would rise to walk in newness of life, who never really came up.
Christ told thechurchofLaodiceato be zealous and repent. The word “zealous” comes from a Greek word that means “to be heated or to boil.” If a person never had any zeal from the beginning, perhaps he never got warm enough even to be lukewarm. He might be lukecool.
What the Crossroads andBostonmovements call “lordship baptism” involves the necessity of being baptized again if in your more mature years you realize that you did not understand all that is involved in real commitment to Christ. It is ridiculous and false to teach that a person who is a newborn baby has to be born again each time he grows to a more mature state. No person who ever lived understood as much about what real Christianity involves when he obeyed the gospel as he does in his more mature years. However, if you were baptized without really meaning to give your life to Christ and let Him be your lord, you may have just gone into the water a dry sinner and have come up a wet one. It is my opinion that is the condition of many connected with the church, who at the best are lukecool.
Any person who tries to build a house should make sure he is on a good foundation. If you were baptized without being convinced that Jesus is the Christ, surely no one who claims to know anything about the New Testament would assume you were a Christian. If you were baptized just because your preacher, mother, or mate thought you should, surely no one would assume your baptism is valid. If you find yourself lukewarm, you need to repent, be zealous, and do what you had committed yourself to do in the beginning. If you find yourself lukecool, perhaps you need to realize that you were never born again in the first place and start again.