I was preparing for my guys' small group, and just felt compelled to share the insights Francis Chan shares in his book Crazy Love. This week's discussion is entitled Profile of the Lukewarm. Chan throws down the gauntlet on believers who talk the talk, but don't walk the walk.
I gotta admit that this stuff isn't easy to read. It'll convict you and make you squirm a little. It did me. I'd like to challenge you to read through it and let it linger a little bit. Think about it, pray about it, and do something about it. That's the challenge I have as well!
In Chan's words, LUKEWARM PEOPLE...
· Attend church regularly. Is what “good Christians do,” so they go.
The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)
· Give money and to the church…as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living.
"I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." Luke 21:3-4 (NIV)
· Choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside the church.
"I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you're dead, stone-dead. Rev. 3:1 (MSG)
· Don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Romans 6:1-2 (NLT)
· Are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22 (NLT)
· Rarely share their faith with their neighbors, co-workers or friends for fear of rejection.
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33 (NLT)
· Gauge their morality or goodness by comparing themselves to the secular world. We’re not as “hard core” as so-and-so, but nowhere near as horrible as the guy down the street.
The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ Luke 18:11-12 (NLT)
· Say they love Jesus and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part.
Read Luke 9:57-62
· Love God, but not with all their heart, sould, and strength. They say they “try to,” but is only possible for pastors, missionaries, and other super-spiritual people.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37-38 (NLT)
· Love others, but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return.
Read Matthew 5:43-47
· 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.
When Jesus heard this, he said, "There is one thing you still need to do. Go and sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower." When the man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich. Jesus saw how sad the man was. So he said, "It's terribly hard for rich people to get into God's kingdom! In fact, it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God's kingdom." Luke 18:22-25 (CEV)
· Think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven.
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. – C.S. Lewis
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2 (21st Cen. KJV)
· Are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider giving as much as possible to the poor. Few feel “called” to minister to the poor.
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40 (NLT)
· Do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty.
But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 1 Chronicles 29:14 (NLT)
· Are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control.
But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 1 Timothy 6:17-18 (NIV)
· Feel secure because they attend church, make a profession of faith at age 12, were baptized, vote Republican…etc…
"Knowing the correct password—saying 'Master, Master,' for instance— isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. Matthew 7:21 (MSG)
· Do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to.
Read Luke 12:16-21
· Really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever.
Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. Matthew 23:28 (NLT)
“Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away.” Luke 14:34-35 (NLT)
Jesus…is saying that lukewarm, half-hearted following is useless, that it sickens our soul. How would you like the Son of God to say to you, “You would ruin manure?”