As we slip past the Easter weekend, which marks the greatest event in human history — the rising of our Savior, Jesus Christ, from the dead —we are moving toward the next big event on the Christian calendar: Pentecost and the presence of the Holy Spirit. With the ammunition of a risen Savior, a loving Father, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we are well armed to do battle by sharing our faith — the story of forgiveness and redemption, the granting of peace and joy, and the promise of eternal life — with a disbelieving world. We can do this if we’re fired-up for the Lord, not “lukewarm” as are so many so-called Christians.
Daniel 12:3 (NCV): The wise people will shine like the brightness of the sky. Those who teach others to live right will shine like stars forever and ever.
Revelation 3:16 (ESV): So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST does not like lukewarm, uncommitted, lackadaisical, worldly Christians claiming to represent Him and His message of redemption to the world.
Instead, He wants us to be as committed to the saving power of the Gospel as He was committed to dying on the Cross for our salvation.
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus said to the church in Laodicea that their lack of passion and zeal for the Gospel was annoying. He wanted them fired-up for the Good News! He wanted them to sing His praises!
Instead, He found the Laodiceans to be, like many Christians today, indifferent to the message of salvation. Too many Christians, He is saying, occupy the pews on Sunday morning, then return to their secular lives after the Benediction.
EVANGELIST WILLIAM FAY calls this indifference “living in the middle.” Here’s what he writes:
“Trying to live in the middle is living a lie. The truth is, either you follow God, or you follow Satan. Either you are in a relationship with Christ, or you’re not. You are either God’s child or God’s enemy. … No one is in the middle. … Those who have chosen to reject Christ are condemned.” (William Fay, Share Jesus Without Fear Workbook, B&H Publishing, Nashville, Tenn. 2019, p. 13)
In his book Crazy Love, pastor and author Francis Chan says this about lukewarm Christians:
“As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are ‘lukewarm’ are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven.” (Francis Chan, Crazy Love, Chapter Five, Kindle edit., Loc. 793)
Chan writes that Jesus is clear in His denunciation of indifferent Christianity. He says that Jesus “wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a ‘Christian’ without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.” (Ibid., loc. 820)
THIS BRING US to our most important question: So What?
Where are we in this equation? Are we sold-out for Jesus Christ or are we indifferent, casual, part-time Christians who neither follow our Lord with passion nor share our faith with those He places in our lives?
If we are committed to following Jesus, really following Him, then how committed are we to sharing the Gospel message with others?
How often do we pray God will give us an opportunity to share? How prepared are we when given that opportunity to share what we believe to be true, that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? Or that Jesus Christ has forgiven us and transformed our lives?
When we do share the Message, how often do we pray afterward for the people we talked to, give them our names to answer any questions they might have, or follow up with them?
How many of us actually know how to do any of this … or really care to learn?
POSTSCRIPT: Our Lord has given us both a commandment and an encouragement to do this very thing.
In Matthew 28, Jesus gives us the commandment, known as the Great Commission, to go into all the world and tell people to do “all that I have commanded you.”
Jesus also has given us encouragement. In our text source today from Daniel 12, He tells us those who teach others the message of salvation “will shine like stars forever and ever.”
He tells us in His Word what He wants from us. It’s this:
“Come, Follow Me.”
Our Heavenly Father, forgive us for our lack of commitment to Your commandment to tell others about Jesus Christ, the Good News of the Gospel and our salvation. Forgive us, please, for our failure to share the story of forgiveness, compassion, and love with those we meet. Our excuses, which seem so real to us in the moment, vanish into thin air when compared with reality, that those who don’t know You or who know of You but have rejected Your offer of grace, are doomed to an eternity of pain. While that should burden our hearts, Lord, somehow we can live without the trouble. Forgive us, Lord, and change our hearts to care for those You call. When You give us that chance, that moment to share, may we call on Your power and speak from our hearts to their hearts. Lord, we pray our words, like seed on rich soil, will fall on open hearts. For this, we thank You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN