CHOOSING TO BE HOT NOT LUKEWARM
March 8, 2015
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or else hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth.”
– Revelation 3:15- 16
These are the words of our Lord Christ Jesus to the 1st century congregation of Laodicea. The Laodiceans were not bold, courageous disciples, nor were they anti-Christs. These brothers and sisters had somehow fallen into mediocrity. They were disciples of Christ in name only and their presence in the congregation was not sitting well with Jesus. He wanted them to take a side – either make a bold stand with him or completely turn away. And if they could not make a decision, he was going to forcibly eject them out of the body.
Although these words were for a specific group of people in the 1st century, it seems that the attitude of the Laodiceans infects Christian congregations in this 21st century. And since Jesus does not change (Hebrews 13:8), we suspect that his feelings for such timid, indecisive people has not changed. He would prefer that we either take a bold and courageous stand with him, or be unhypocritical and voluntarily leave the congregation to serve another master.
This counsel is especially important during this Memorial season. The Memorial Supper is our opportunity to take a bold stand in union with Christ Jesus. It is not a time for lukewarm ambivalence which results in Christ rejecting us, and it is certainly not the time to give Jesus a ‘cold’ reception.
So it is appropriate to ask: Will my actions at the upcoming Memorial Supper show that I am hot or lukewarm? Will I stand firmly with Christ, or will I merely giving him lip service? When Christ is present in my Memorial Supper, will he ‘know me’ (Matthew 7:21-23) or will he vomit me out?
A Cold Supper
The Memorial Supper is the one and only religious observance Jesus asked us to remember. (Luke 22:19-20) Many Christians throughout the centuries have honored his request and regularly partake of the Memorial emblems of bread and wine when they gather together with those of like faith. Many take this opportunity to remember the glorious life and magnificent teachings of Jesus and to demonstrate their allegiance to him, his message and his cause. The partakers understand that taking the emblems is a public acknowledgment that they have been baptized into Christ’s death and will share a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:3-5)
But not all who gather together for a Memorial Supper do so to honor Jesus. There is a strange observance where people gather together, ostensibly for a Memorial Supper, for the sole purpose of rejecting and dishonoring Christ. Our regular readers may think we are referring to the Memorial Suppers hosted by the Watchtower Society as we explained in the article A Memorial of Offense. But it was brought to our attention that there is another group who conduct remembrance suppers in a way that should give Jehovah’s Witnesses a wake up call. Here is the email we received:
“I recently came across someone who said that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only Christian religion who do no partake in some way, shape, or fashion of the body of Christ. In fact, the only other group of people besides Jehovah’s Witnesses who do not partake of the body of Christ are Satanists! They actually have a ritual called the Black Mass, a mockery of the memorial supper, where they will pass the bread and wine and, among other things, formally reject it in symbolism of their rejection of the Christ! Brothers, the first time I heard this, chills went down my spine. It upset me so much to think that I was ever remotely in company with such ones by refusing to partake of the body of our Lord.”
In response, we did a little research on the Black Mass and, to put it mildly, we were appalled. Without getting into any detail, it is clear that these events are held for the distinct purpose of expressing their unequivocal rejection of Christ. They are not content to ignore the command to conduct a remembrance supper and to ‘take and eat’ of him. (Matthew 26:26) They take great pains to use the event to let Jesus know in no uncertain terms that they have no love for him or for anything he accomplished during his earth ministry. They stand apart of Christ, they stand outside of the body of Christ, and they make it clear that they will not take into themselves any portion, not even symbolically, of Christ. We believe a Black Mass would certainly qualify as a ‘cold’ supper. It is about as anti-Christian as one could imagine.
But is it necessary to go to such extremes to show one’s rejection of Christ? What if a participant in a Black Mass simply frowned his nose upon the emblems? What if a participant refused to even touch the plate or cup containing the emblems? What if the participant had no desire to be in heaven or in any place Jesus prepared? Would such a person be welcomed at a Black Mass? We believe anyone who is willing to reject what Jesus offered to mankind would be welcomed at such a ‘cold supper.’
We are not saying that the Memorial Suppers hosted by the Watchtower organization are Black Masses, but it should make every Jehovah’s Witness think about their own view of the Memorial emblems. Are you afraid to take them into their bodies – afraid to even touch them? Do you outright reject the heavenly hope? Do you willingly and publicly state that you are not going to the places Jesus prepared for you in the Father’s heavenly abode? Do you believe the ‘god’ you serve would judge you adversely for sharing the Memorial Supper with Christ? Like the brother who sent us the above email, the similar intentions between the Watchtower Memorial Suppers and the Black Mass of having no sharing with Christ are chilling.
A Lukewarm Supper
But even if one does not see the similarities between a Black Mass and the Memorial Suppers hosted by the Watchtower organization, could one honestly say that the Watchtower Memorials are ‘hot’ suppers – suppers that boldly, courageously and zealously demonstrate an unequivocal stand with Christ? We don’t think so. At best, they are in between hot and cold. They would more likely be referred to as ‘lukewarm’ suppers.
At a Watchtower Memorial Supper, the participants give lip service to the importance of Jesus’ life and ministry. They speak of him as an important part of Jehovah’s plan and as the one who is directing the Watchtower organization. Yet when the time comes to demonstrate their union with Christ by ‘eating and drinking of him,’ practically everyone in attendance fails and refuses to do so. In fact, in some instances when the attendants believe a person might partake, they make sure not to pass the emblems to them!
They believe the teachings of their organization that: (1) they are not in the ‘new covenant’ with Jesus; (2) they are not sons of God; (3) they are not brothers to Christ Jesus; (4) they are not members of the body of Christ (the Christian congregation); (5) they are not baptized with holy spirit; (6) they are not baptized into Christ’s death; (7) they do not hope for a ‘resurrection like Jesus;’ and (8) they do not want to inherit the kingdom of the heavens.
They surely do want some of the benefits Jesus offered – a clean conscience and life everlasting – but not according to the way Jesus promised it. They want everlasting life on the terms explained by their Governing Body – on earth rather than in heaven. They are not willing to lay down their lives for Christ or for anyone else. They hope to gain their reward without ever tasting death. We wonder how many Jehovah’s Witnesses would continue to reject the heavenly hope if they believed ‘the end’ was not going to come until the year 2914. How many would so firmly reject Jesus’ invitation into the heavens if they knew, without a doubt, that they would have to experience death first?
Really, it is the hope that they would not have to give up the flesh that motivates most Jehovah’s Witnesses to hold onto the so-called ‘earthly hope.’ The desire to save their physical lives is the whole motivation behind the slogan “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” that initiated and created the entire ‘earthly hope’ doctrine. They reject the heavens, but they also reject death, so they created a middle ground – a lukewarm hope. And they carry that mediocrity into their Memorial Suppers. They won’t partake and they won’t stay home. They won’t be hot, and they won’t be cold. It is no wonder then that Jesus said he would vomit such half-hearted, lukewarm people out of his mouth!
In the final analysis, they will find themselves with the same outcome as those who participate in a Black Mass:
“For setting the mind on the flesh means death, but setting the mind on the spirit means life and peace; because setting the mind on the flesh means enmity with God, for it is not in subjection to the law of God, nor, in fact, can it be. So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God.”
– Romans 8:6-8
But there are those who are not ‘setting their minds on the flesh’ and are instead joining with Christ and being led by spirit:
“However, you are in harmony, not with the flesh, but with the spirit, if God’s spirit truly dwells in you. But if anyone does not have Christ’s spirit, this person does not belong to him.”
– Romans 8:9-10
The Memorial Suppers hosted by those who have the spirit of the Father and of the Christ are quite different!
A Hot Supper
For those who follow Jesus, who accept his teachings over man’s doctrines, their Memorial Suppers are vibrant, joyous events where the sons of God unite in purpose and intent to honor and remember Jesus in the way he requested. They gladly partake of the Memorial emblems symbolizing their total acceptance of all that Jesus taught. They completely consume the Christ (John 6:53-56) and become steadfast, unmoveable, unshakeable.
Those who participate in such a Memorial Supper know that: (1) they are in the ‘new covenant’ with Jesus; (2) they are sons of God; (3) they are brothers to Christ Jesus; (4) they are members of the body of Christ (the Christian congregation); (5) they are baptized with holy spirit; (6) they are baptized into Christ’s death; (7) they hope for a ‘resurrection like Jesus;’ and (8) they want to inherit the kingdom of the heavens.
They are the ones who are led by the spirit. (Romans 8:14) They are the ones who walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), and who ‘obey God as ruler rather than men.’ (Acts 5:29) They do not let anyone separate them from the love of the Christ. (Romans 8:35) They are worthy of salvation because they do not allow father, mother, son or daughter to shame them into disowning Christ. (Matthew 10:37) And when brothers and sisters of this type join together to honor Jesus, the brilliance of their combined light (Matthew 5:14-16), surely causes the heavens to rejoice!
This is the type of Memorial Supper we hope all of our brothers and sisters will have. If you have been lukewarm in the past, you can ‘heat up.’ You can reject the commands of men and obey Jesus’ humble and unambiguous request to ‘take and eat’ of him and thereby become ‘hot’ in your faith.
Going From Lukewarm to Hot
In 2015, we look forward to millions of new sons of the kingdom taking their stand with Christ, including large numbers of our brothers and sisters among Jehovah’s Witnesses who refuse to participate in any more lukewarm Memorial Suppers that sicken Christ Jesus. They are gaining the courage to act in their own best interests in spite of the medocrity of their associated organization.
We recently received an email from another brother that offers encouragement to those who are building their spiritual courage to stand with Christ. Here are his comments:
Dear Brothers in Christ,
I deeply appreciate the amount of time you have expended laboring in behalf of our brothers and sisters who have been reluctant to accept the free gift of salvation extended by Christ Jesus primarily out of fear of man.
The February 12th article “Who Should Partake of the Memorial Emblems?” and the illustrative posters on the Memorial articles have heightened my own sense of courage but more importantly appreciation for what the Master has made possible even though I am a public partaker.
I have recently been reading a book which has provided an number of insights on getting motivated. Its titled “The Motivation Manifesto.” While reading the opening paragraph I could not help but reframe the introductory questions to those of us who have allowed ourselves to become neither hot nor cold. (Rev. 3:15). It puts so succinctly what is required for the "would be" follower of Christ to do if they truly desire spiritual advancement by not allowing the Watchtower Organization unimpeded control of their lives. If you will allow me I would like to quote from that book:
“THERE COMES A TIME IN THE LIVES OF THOSE DESTINED for greatness when we must stand before the mirror of meaning and ask: Why, having been endowed with the courageous heart of a lion, do we live as mice?
"We must look squarely into our own tired eyes and examine why we waste so much time sniffing at every distraction, why we cower at the thought of revealing our true selves to the world, why we scurry so quickly from conflict, and why we consent to play small. We must ask why we participate so humbly in society’s frantic race, allowing ourselves into its mazes of mediocrity and settling for scraps of reward when nature has offered unlimited freedom, power, and abundance to the bold, the determined, the creative, the independent—to each of us. We must ask if our desires to feel safe and accepted are in fact enslaving us to popular opinion—and to boredom. We must ask: When will we be ready to ascend to another level of existence?”
“Most of us are not maturing as fast as we are able. We are on constant pause; we wait and we wait, to find out who we are, to declare our dreams, to struggle for what we want, to open ourselves fully to love and to life. We await personal courage to arise within us, or for society to grant us some ill-defined permission to activate our potential. We have forgotten that courage is a choice, and that permission to move forward with boldness is never given by the fearful masses. Most have forgotten that seeking change always requires a touch of insanity. If taking action before the perfect conditions arise, or before we receive permission, is unreasonable or reckless, then we must be unreasonable and reckless. We must remember we are not the sum of our intentions but of our actions. Bold and disciplined initiative is our savior; it allows us to rise, to leap, to soar to the heights of true greatness. We must not lose the urgency of this moment as it begs for us to begin something grand and important. For this, we now declare: WE SHALL ADVANCE WITH ABANDON.
This snippet illustrates even crudely what potential lays dormant in those fearing to accept becoming Christ’s brothers in comparison to that higher level of existence that awaits those who break from the hold of fear thereby transcending mediocrity.
What greater position can one have than being a bonafide spirit anointed follower of Christ and Son of God? Partaking of the memorial supper gives us entrance to the kingdom of the heavens and the body of Christ where we find true security and real peace of mind that surpasses all understanding.
May our brothers and sisters "Advance With Abandon" this memorial season by boldly and fearlessly proclaiming your rightful place in Christ’s family as a partaker of the Remembrance Supper. Yours truly,
We wholeheartedly agree with our brother and with those excerpts. We all need to ‘advance with abandon’ – abandoning the fear of men that only serve to freeze the potential manifestations of the spirit in our lives. We all have a divine right to exercise our voice of freedom and live our religious beliefs out loud. But when that precious voice is muted by those who claim exclusive religious authority to determine whether you are a son or a slave, you get in the way of your own salvation. All forms of religion that interferes with, or attempts to mediate between, one’s personal relationship with the Father and Christ Jesus are delaying the end of a system of false liberty that the Adversary perpetuates. Such antiquated religions are the reason the Kingdom has been so slow in coming!
We pray that our brothers and sisters, of all denominations, refuse to let misleading teachings of men deny them of the glorious heavenly life that awaits all of us who desire it, young and old, male and female, Jew and gentile, slave and freeman. (Galatians 3:28)
At this year’s Memorial, take a stand! Be hot, not lukewarm! And rejoice with each step forward in your faith. For doing so, you will eventually stand face to face with the Heavenly Father who will say to you "I am proud of you and your courageous freewill choice to follow the Lamb and to be perfect as I am perfect!"
We welcome your comments.