Chapter 4 Crazy Love: “Profile of the Lukewarm”

Posted: July 7, 2009 by kylejackson10 in CRAZY LOVE

This is the most challenging Chapter in the entire book, hands down. I felt as if God was slapping me over and over again as I read what Francis Chan has to say about “Lukewarm Christians.”

Chan says,”In my opinion, lukewarm christians will NOT go to heaven.” WOW…What a bold statement! What if he is right. Jesus says it pretty clear when he states “the lukewarm will be spit out of my mouth.” Jesus is saying that halfhearted followers of him are useless, that it sickens his soul. (Luke 14:34-35) The fact of the matter is, Jesus is not pleased with christians who talk the talk but do not walk the walk.

“Crazy Love” says, “A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams addictions or commitments are piled on top of it.” Chan says, “The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who do not swear and good church attendance. Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered.” Would you consider yourself as totally in love with Jesus Christ? Or do the words halfhearted, lukewarm. and partially committed ring a bell? “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22. “Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, sins.” James 4:17

Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, friends or co-workers. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people feel uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion.

Lukewarm people do not really want to be saved from their sins; they only want to be saved from the penalty of their sins. They do not hate sin and are not truly sorry for it; they are merely sorry because God is going to punish them for it. 

Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love them more than they love themselves. Their love is only for family, friends and other people they know and connect with; not for everyone.

Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there is a limit to how far they will go or how much time, money or energy it will require.

C.S. Lewis writes, “If you read history you will find that Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that that they have become so ineffective in this one.” Lukewarm Christians think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do-list, this week’s schedule, and next months vacation.

Lukewarm people ask these kinds of questions: “How far can I go before it is considered a sin?” “How much do I have to give?” (Instead of how much can I give?) “How much time do I need to spend reading my Bible and praying?” (Instead of not wanting to go to work in the morning so you could spend more time).

Chan says, Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age 12, were baptized, come from a Christian family,  vote Republican, cuss less than their friends, drink less than other people they know or because we live in America. All of these things are great, but what do they have to do with having a “crazy love” relationship with Jesus Christ? Matthew 23:25-28 says, “On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Revelations 3:1 says, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”

Lukewarm people gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel safe if they are not as radical for Jesus as so-and-so, but much better than the guy down the street that goes to that other church.

Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves of the god of control. Their focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God.

I had so many of these statements hit me right in the face. What if Francis Chan is right about the Lukewarm Christians not going to heaven? Does that mean only radical, hard-core Christians that really take scripture and what Jesus teaches in the New Testament literally are the only people that go to heaven? Jesus does says God will “spit” the lukewarm out of his mouth for they are worthless. Are you willing to take a chance on being “lukewarm?”

I struggle with so many of these things. When is the last time I turned a football game off to spend time with God? Could I turn an Auburn game off to spend time with Jesus? (even though deep down I know God has to be an Auburn fan). When is the last time I got off of Facebook to spend time reading my Bible. (why am I so concerned with what everyone else is doing?) When is the last time I got up 45 minutes early and really spent time in prayer over my wife and our needs as a family? (do I really need 45 more minutes of sleep?) When is the last time I took the time to witness to someone I do not even know just by acting like Jesus to them? (But I have to get back to work). I could go on and on about things I do to spend my time. The truth of the matter is by putting Jesus on the back burner for everything else in my life makes me Lukewarm. “God will spit out the lukewarm, for they are useless.” What if Jesus would have come to earth and put us on the back burner? I am trying to take scripture literally for the 1st time in my life. I know we are covered by God’s grace. I know that we can not be perfect. But a lot of the characteristics of being Lukewarm can be handled by taking a long look at our life. What have we done for the Kingdom of God today? I posted a song by Kari Jobe again called, “The more I seek you.” Listen to the words again. They touch me every time I hear it. I would challenge you to one time this week, put something aside that you would normally do because it is a part of your weekly routine, (Monday night baseball, The bachelorette, Jon and Kate + 8, slow pitch softball game, creating a new album on facebook) whatever it might be, and go spend some time with God. I promise you that you will get more out of that time than anything you will get out of the other activity that are so important.

Have a great week!!  -Kyle

  1. Rob says:

    In Chapter 4 there is a repetitive theme throughout the whole chapter. Francis Chan talks about lukewarm Christians. Something y’all should know about me is that I enjoy teaching. I have grown to love teaching and using different visual aids to help address what the Spirit wants me to talk about. Kyle mentioned something in his blog that makes a great illustration. This illustration is the term back burner. A backburner is an eye on the stove that is set a low temperature keeping food warm. Before food is cooked it is placed in the freezer or the refrigerator. During that time, food is cooled down. One thing I can’t stand is when stove top food is cold and not cooked. It is one of the worst tasting experience I can think of. Sometimes depending on the food, I just want to spit it out. On the other side of the coin is the food that has been sitting on the backburner for a while. The longer it sits, the nastier it gets, the colder on top it gets, and it is harder to clean up. At the same time, imagine the happy medium. Imagine your favorite stop top dish and it just got done cooking. You sit down to eat and bless the food. As your head is bowed you can smell the aroma the food is giving off. Because its your favorite dish, you can’t wait till you are able to dive in and savor each bite.

    THe same can be said for our Heavenly Father. He hates lukewarm people. Christians in today’s world struggle with this attitude. It seems like the settle for mediocrity instead of greatness. Because we are created by God, we are viewed as majesty by our Heavenly Father and He wants us to do great things. If we are to do geat things, we can’t be lukewarm Christians. We have to be Christians that are so on fire for God. I attended a conference a few years ago called 212. At 212 degrees water boils. At 211 degrees it is just hot, grant it very hot, but there is no change from mediocrity. As Christians we need to turn it up that extra degree. So many times, I find myself sinking down below 212 degrees, and settling for less than great. I settle for less in areas of prayer, spending more time with God instead of watching TV, focused so much on how I am going to raise money to go to seminary instead of trusting on God to provide. It seems like so many things try to get attention, even though some things may be good in intent, but get our focus off what is most important in life and what we have fallen in love with first. Our first love is not our wives, g/f, jobs, school, etc but it is Christ, the person that has paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. I question I am asking myself is “doesn’t Christ deserve more of me than what I am giving Him?”

    My fellow believers, lets stop settling for mediocrity and being lukewarm Christians. Let us turn our attention to the one who died for our sins, the Lamb who was slain, and is worthy of all power, honor, praise, riches, and majesty. Lets turn it us past that 212 degree mark and be so on fair for Christ that nothing else matters, my self is included in this challenge.

  2. Kyle, your comments regarding Ch. 4 have compelled me to go get three copies of the book use as a central tool on the missions trip I am taking – 3 dads, 3 sons, two weeks. Laos and Thailand. I believe God’s timing is PERFECT in this. Thank you for your FAITHFULNESS in sharing.

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