A Washington, D.C. pastor recently warned about the signs of lukewarm Christianity, stressing the dangers of having a "comfortable" faith.
Executive Pastor Kevin Nderitu of The District Church preached a Nov. 13 sermon about the first-century church of Laodicea. Nderitu believes that many Christians today act in similar ways to the church of Laodicea, a community that was blessed in various ways and susceptible to forgetting their need for regular communion with God through prayer, church and Bible reading.
In Revelation 3:14-15, Jesus addresses the Laodicean church, calling them lukewarm believers based on their lack of dedication to their Christian beliefs.
"A lukewarm church becomes a reflection of the culture instead of influencing the culture," Nderitu preached. "And your success is defined by a worldly standard such that we start pursuing those things while still trying to pursue God, and there is no impact from such a life."
The pastor said that when someone is "spiritually hot," they make God the center focus of their lives. But when someone is "cold spiritually," they have abandoned the faith.
Being a "lukewarm Christian" means leading a slightly approvable life to God, according to Nderitu, but not being fully dedicated to God because things of the world have stolen their focus.
"Water that is too hot can have a permanent effect on your body. It can forever change your skin. Cold water can also have an effect. Lukewarm water is neither here nor there. There is little to no impact. It's room temperature," Nderitu said.
"It's comfortable. And when it gets a bit cold, you add some hot water, and again, it goes back to comfort and vice versa. It is comfortable, and that's how we like it."
Nderitu advised believers not to have the tendency that "when everything around you is going so well, God is often pushed to the back" due to the distractions of success.
"If you're knocking it out of the park with your career, you just probably became a partner or team leader. You just bought that house that you have desired or that car that you've always wanted. You finally get married and get children. As pastors, as leaders, you know, we can begin to look at the pews filling up every week. The number of people who are coming to salvation," Nderitu said.
"I could go on and on [about] the things that we define as success. And you and I know that when those things begin to happen, our priorities begin to shift. When you become successful ... God is moved to the back of the room, and the rest of our world has taken center stage."
Nderitu said it's vital for believers to know the warning signs of half-hearted Christianity.
Nderitu listed signs of lukewarm Christianity, which include reaching out to God "only when you need to," viewing church as "another charitable organization," "community without commitment," finding "reasons to sin," and being more "keen on people's opinions" than God's, among others signs.
The pastor said that the Laodicean church lacked adequate access to fresh running water, so they had no choice but to retrieve their water from elsewhere.
Because of this, most often, the Laodiceans drank lukewarm water because the water being shipped to their community from far-off places was not cold.
"When Jesus refers to the church as lukewarm, the [Laodeceans] are familiar with the illustration used because they knew what it meant. Because every day, they were forced to consume this lukewarm water," Nderitu explained.
"Water was neither hot nor cold because they, too, were neither one or the other. In their faith, they were neither hot or cold. And here's the thing that I do not want you to miss. They're being lukewarm was disgusting to Jesus. There is even a sense of anger in His statement."
Nderitu said Jesus tells the Laodicean church that they are being lukewarm because they have become blinded to their own spiritual conditions and needs through material wealth and neglected their need to pursue God wholeheartedly.
The pastor says the Laodiceans were unaware that they were not putting God at the center of their lives because they were too focused on their prestige and wealth.
"Look at from verse 15 to 17; 'I know your works that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you are cold or hot. So, then because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth,'" Nderitu said, referring to when Jesus rebukes the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3.
"You see, their way of life made Him sick. You vomit only what you have consumed. These were church people who were in Jesus. And then, their way of life was so disgusting, that He didn't want anything to do with them."
Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.