Living lukewarm?


I spoke yesterday on the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3. I closed the message by quoting Francis Chan, of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA. Chan has offered 18 signs that you are a lukewarm Christian. I thought they were powerful enough that I would reproduce them here. Be warned, however, that they can be very convicting.

1. Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly.  It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go. Isaiah 29:13

2. Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living.  If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so, After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? 1 Chronicles 21:24, Luke 21:1-4

3. Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict.  They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. Luke 6:26, Revelation 3:1, Matthew 23:5-7

4. Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.  They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them.  Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. John 10:10, Romans 6:1-2

5. Lukewarm people are moved by stories of people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act.  They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones.  Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers. James 1:22, James 4:17, Matthew 21:28-31

6. Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends.  They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. Matthew 10:32-33

7. Lukewarm people gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world.  They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. Luke 18:11-12

8. Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives, their money, and their thoughts, but he isn’t allowed to control their lives. Luke 9:57-62

9. Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him all their heart, soul, and strength.  They would be quick to assure you they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; its only for pastors and missionaries and radicals. Matthew 22:37-38

10. Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves.  Their love for others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with.  There is a little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, who kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable.  Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached. Matthew 5:43-47, Luke 14:12-14

11. Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give. Luke 18:21-25

12. Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven.  Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule, and next month’s vacation.  Rarely, if ever do they intently consider the life to come. Philippians 3:18-20

13. Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. Matthew 25:34, 40, Isaiah 58:6-7

14. Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty.  They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without requiring too much of them. 1 Chronicles 29:14, Matthew 13:44-46

15. Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control.  This focus on safe living keeps them sacrificing and risking for God. Matthew 10:28

16. Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America.

17. Luke warm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to.  They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens-they have their savings account.  They don’t need God to help them—they have their retirement plan in place.  They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live—they have life figured and mapped out.  They don’t depend on God on a daily basis-their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health.  The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God. Luke 12:16-21

18. Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever.  They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Matthew 23:25-28, Luke 14:34-35

Thanks to Don Brown who pointed me to the quote.

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He's Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he's a debtor to grace.

9 thoughts on “Living lukewarm?

  1. I thought I may use the list as well. Providing the source will enable me to give credit. It looks like a good book to read if the rest is a meaty as the list.

  2. Wow Micah! Preach it! This is so true. In fact God has been speaking to me about some of these very things. I am going to try to blog soon about it also. To make a long story short, even those of us who may call ourselves career/full-time ministers can find ourselves in our comfort zones too often. Thanks for posting this Micah! Even though it is convicting, it is also encouraging for those who want to be found in the “CENTER” of God’s Will!

  3. Ok. I bought a copy today. Through chapter one, all I can say is “WOW!”

    Thank you, for bringing this book to my attention. It is quite needful and timely for me.

  4. At first I didn’t realize this was a book quotation, so I scrolled through Chan’s past sermons and found one entitled, “Lukewarm and Lovin’ It!” (October 1, 2006). I thought, this must be the source! Chan is an incredible communicator and extremely transparent in this message. Eventually I discovered that the “18 Signs” were from his book, but I don’t regret listening to this incredible brother in Christ. Wow!

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