“It will come about at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps. And I will punish the men who are stagnant in spirit—who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good or evil!’” (Zeph. 1:12)
“So, because you are lukewarm…I will spew you out of My mouth.” (Rev. 3:16)
The other day while driving a church shuttle in my career as a motorcoach operator, a rather saucy elderly woman got in the van and we immediately engaged in conversation. She said God had recently, at the age of 75, told her “To get off her butt and start living again!” She had become a school bus assistant for a district I used to drive for. Then our conversation turned to church when she asked me if I went to the one I was driving the shuttle for that day? I told her I had checked out of “church” years ago and explained my church had become a men’s fellowship that was modeled upon Paul’s apostolic description of what church should really look like (1 Cor. 14:26-31).
I told her it concerned me that men in the modern church system had fallen asleep because they weren’t challenged to grow, and this because they were never allowed to engage [I discuss this extensively in my new book, The Kingdom Election]. All the engaging was the job of the professionals: the seminary trained pastors who did all the teaching while everyone else sat passively and did all the listening. I explained when men weren’t challenged to engage, they became bored and mentally checked out as is true of over 90% of them today.
She then said something to the effect that what I was saying might explain why all the men in the churches she had attended “were wimps!” and that it was always the women stepping up while the men did nothing. I had to laugh and cry at the same time: laugh at her candor and feistiness but cry over the truth of her words. She nailed it, and this is why my heart forever has been for reawakening those “wimps” in the church who should be the ones stepping up!
As I discuss in my book, Jesus came to earth to find a very similar condition in the synagogues we find today in our temples, where the men had become “stagnant in spirit and lukewarm.” In a word, spiritual wimps, their faith having become largely irrelevant to most of them. He referred to this tragic group of people then as “the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” God’s children had become lost in their own house! Well, if you read the polls today, the same is true of over 90% of those who profess to be born again believers. Among other deceptions, they hold secular world views, don’t believe God’s Word is inerrant, and don’t believe following Jesus should be a top priority in life.
Jesus came to these apathetic, lukewarm children with a message: I call them the nine words that changed everything in my book. That message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Then, with 12 ordinary men taken not from the synagogues but from the marketplace, he built His new church by challenging them all to engage, leaving them so they would be forced to mature on their own, but also indwelling them with the Holy Spirit to carry His message and His example to the world. He ignored religion and all its trappings and simply formed His new church in the marketplace upon the shoulders of those formerly lukewarm sheep.
This Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, one remarkably similar to ours today in America, “I wish that you were cold or hot” (Rev. 3)! Zephaniah refers to such people as, “those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good or evil.’” Jesus was saying there is more hope for someone who is cold to Him than one who is lukewarm! At least one who is cold has a chance to repent and turn to God, but one who is lukewarm, thinking like those in Laodicea did they were good spiritually because they were fat and happy in the world? Such men feel no need for God and know no passion in their souls and would not begin to understand David’s passion for God when he cried out, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God! My soul thirsts for God—for the living God” (Ps. 42)! This is hot!
I now live to do the same thing Jesus did: call the lost sheep—those wimps—in His house out of the kingdom of man, its religions, its temples and the numbness and lukewarmth they have fostered, and into full engagement with the kingdom of heaven on earth and its church that exists anywhere “two or more men of faith get together in Jesus’ name.” When the spiritually numb of religion become passionate men of God’s Ecclesia once again, we will see the true church arise! It sounds like an impossible miracle to ask, but as God’s kingdom arises as Jesus said it would during “the birth pangs” (Matt. 24) such things will be occurring.
Unfortunately, the only way I see Him doing that is by bringing about real and tragic suffering that will come with the stripping away of all our securities, comforts, and freedoms that now keep us from desperate faith and true community. Acts tells us it will be through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14). Jesus says, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10)! What in America has been “hard” since WWII when America established itself as the world’s dominant power? It is all our freedoms and prosperity that have cost us, like they no doubt did the Laodiceans, our passions and purpose.
Nevertheless, I believe and say in my book even now any man can stop being a spiritual wimp—a lost sheep in the houses of religion—and enter the kingdom of God if he will just fully engage in his faith, follow Jesus’ commands to lay his life down for others, be transformed by the renewing of his mind to no longer conform himself to this world, and earnestly, passionately seek the kingdom of heaven on earth! Trust me, if you will just seek, knock, and ask the door will be opened unto you but not without the afflictions necessary to enter.
Men: your fellowships, your wives and children, your households and indeed the world needs you to stop being spiritual wimps and grow up to be the spiritual forces God made you to be! Make a choice today. Make a decision now to become a David or a Paul or a Peter! The same God who fashioned them has not changed and the same Spirit that led and empowered them can lead and empower you. Come out of your temples of religion, embrace the church in the marketplace, find other men who are passionately seeking the kingdom, and “press on towards the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus!” Wimps need not apply.