It seems that one of the church’s greatest challenges, regardless of time and place, is the struggle against worldliness. The church is made up of people and people tend to adopt the mentality, culture, and practice of the time and place in which they live. To “come out from among them” (2 Cor. 6:17) that we may influence the world (Matt. 5:13-16), instead of the other way around, is a constant struggle. A sign that we are losing the battle, is an indifferent congregation.
Laodicea was a wealthy resort town known as a retreat city for the wealthy. It was well-known for its black sheep wool, eye salve, and hot spring bath houses. The congregation had obviously developed the laid back attitude of the city. They were completely indifferent to the Lord and His work. Such an attitude made the Lord sick. “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you our of My mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16).
A lukewarm congregation is one that simply exists. The people go through the motions and trappings of Christianity without any care or passion one way or the other. Evangelism is haphazard, worship is just a duty, and when the final “Amen” is uttered, the people race to see who can exit the building first. Such is the same mentality which existed in the children of Israel when Elijah asked, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21). A lack of enthusiasm for the Lord is a sure sign of inward decay.