John has a message from Jesus to the church of Laodicea that they are "lukewarm" – neither hot nor cold. The temptation is to think that Jesus was telling the church not to be "lukewarm Christians", but the problem is that the context doesn't support that idea. The really understand what Jesus meant you have to understand the culture of Laodicea and their water source. There was a nearby town named Hierapolis that was well known for it's glorious hot springs. Colosse was also close by, and they had a wonderful cool spring running through that provided refreshing, safe drinking water. Laodicea, on the other hand, had stale stagnant water that the people hated. Jesus essentially said, "I think about you the way you think about your water: it's useless, and you want to spit it out of your mouth!" It wasn't good for bathing or for drinking; it had no value. Jesus wasn't saying, "don't be a lukewarm Christian," because the concept of a lukewarm Christian probably wasn't even around at that time. Jesus' desire for them is that they would be useful for something rather than nothing. This is an example of how we have to be really careful when we study scripture to understand the context of what was going on at the time. It might require extra work, but the rewards are enormous!
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.