By Meredee Berg -May 24, 2017
Is there such a thing as a lukewarm Christian? Every week, millions of Americans line the pews of churches, hearing messages of hope, encouragement, and exhortation to go out and make disciples. Ideally, we spend the rest of the week making connections with others, sharing our lives and the gospel with those who need it. But what if we are missing a segment of people who need saving—inside the church?
What a tragedy it would be to see those who think they are Christians ultimately spit from the mouth of God at the end of days.
In this short video from Kingdom Warriors, Francis Chan is posed with the question: Are lukewarm Christians saved? He speaks humbly but challenges us to look at what the Bible says about those who are lukewarm in their faith, and calls them out as unbelievers.
He says, “Even that phrase, ‘lukewarm Christian’ … I don’t see that in the Scripture. He refers to these people as lukewarm. He also refers to them as blind, naked, poor, wretched, pitiable, and he says, ‘I’m going to spit you out of my mouth because you’re lukewarm.’ Now, I don’t see that as a description of a believer … as a Christian.”
Chan continues, “That’s what I see in Revelation 3. I don’t know how you can read that passage and call that person a Christian. Because a Christian’s not going to be spit out of the mouth of God.”
Chan is citing the message to the church in Laodicea found in Revelation 3:14-17: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
The interviewer continues, “That’s quite a significant statement then because it would suggest that … you see a lot of churches in America that are simply full of people who aren’t actually Christians.”
“Absolutely,” Chan says. “It’s always been that way. And Jesus explains, it’s going be the wheat and the tares. And at the time of harvest he’s going show who’s for real. There are millions and millions of people gathering in what we call these church buildings—those aren’t all followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus says you look at their lifestyles and you can tell that.”
Next, Chan refers to 1 John 2:4, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.”
“[The Scripture] doesn’t say, ‘Oh maybe they’re believers that haven’t changed yet.’ He just says you can look at their lifestyle and know that they’re liars.”
He concludes with the most convicting part—one that should concern those of us who go to church.
“There’s this wide road that leads to destruction and many will go through it, but there’s this narrow road that leads to life, and few will find it. The world wants to say everyone’s going to heaven, there is no hell, and the church almost follows suit with that of saying, ‘We’re all believers, you know, in this room because we all prayed a prayer at some point in our life.’ I just don’t see that in the Scriptures.”
Meredee Berg is Editorial and Circulation Coordinator for Outreach magazine and has experience writing and editing for magazine, newspapers, and the web. Her interests include the church and culture, singles and marriage ministry, and she’s a passionate pro-life advocate. When she’s not writing for work, she loves to get her thoughts down through blogging.