We recently heard a speaker who preached that to be "lukewarm" is to be a Christian who is neither hot nor cold spiritually. He proceeded to give his definition of a "hot" Christian and a "cold" Christian. I found at www.Bible.net that "lukewarm" did not refer to spiritual fervor, but rather it was used to help the Laodicean members see that they were being neither spiritually refreshing nor spiritually healing to others in their lives. "Hot" and "cold" referred to the surrounding cities' water supplies. Is this accurate?—Stephanie Hodges

"Lukewarmness" in Laodicea alludes to the hot and cold springs in the general geographical area. Each of the seven letters in Revelation 2-3 has multiple allusions to ancient and local culture, and studying them enriches our appreciation of these letters.

I doubt that how members' commitment affects the congregation is the primary consideration in view, though doubtless it is related. Lukewarmness, like bitterness, tends to spread. But the real sin at issue in Laodicea is materialism, which Jesus makes quite clear. Materialism leads to spiritual indifference.

Hot and cold refer most naturally, I believe, to the level of energetic commitment to Christ, with a love/faith relationship. I see a parallel in Revelation 2:4-5. "Remember the height from which you have fallen... repent and do the things you did at first" indicates deeds. Jesus in these seven letters often says, "I have not found your deeds complete..."

So whether or not your preacher pointed out the special allusion to the water springs near Laodicea, I think he was on target. He was teaching correctly when he insisted that hot and cold refer to how we are doing spiritually, to our commitment. Quantifying it all—trying to determine where the borderline is between lukewarm and hot—is another matter entirely.

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