We are a little behind in our reading, so I just ready Ch 4 last night. (we did ch 5 in SS yesterday)
Ch 4 was about being lukewarm. I just want to list some of the characteristics that he discussed about being lukewarm and the scriptures he included with them.
* Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe "good Christians" do, so they go. (Isaiah 29:13)
* Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church....as long as it doesn't impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? (1 Chron 21:24; Luke 21:1-4)
*Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected,nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. (Mat 10:32-33)
*Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be "good enough" without it requiring too much of them. They ask, "How far can I go before it's considered a sin?" instead of "How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?" They ask "How much do I have to give?" instead of "How much can I give?" They ask, "How much time should I spend praying and reading my Bible?" instead of "I wish I didn't have to go to work, so I could sit here and read longer!" (1 Chron 29:14; Matt 13:44-46)
*Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren't very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn't be more wrong. (Matt 23:25-28)
There were several more that he listed, but I chose these because they got to my core! Lord, help me to be as far from lukewarm as possible!
Now on a slightly different note, I've been ready through Leviticus this weekend. I'm trying to catch up on the read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year thing that I'm doing......almost caught up!
While ready Leviticus, I realized that those people back then sure did have to make A LOT of sacrifices! There was the burt offering, grain offering, fellowship offering, sin offering, and guilt offering. Each had very specific things that were required, and each were required for something totally different.
So, I got to thinking...... Hmm, we have it pretty easy compared to them! I mean, we have direct communication with our LORD. We can go straight to Him in prayer and ask for forgiveness. We can praise Him directly, we can plead with Him for mercy.
But do we do it whole-heartedly? You see, if a sacrifice then was not completely pure or done exactly as commanded, it was impure.....pointless....dishonorable to our God.
Are we giving him lukewarm sacrifices or pure and holy sacrifices????
Our sacrifice to God today is our lives. Luke 9:23 says "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
I've always loved this verse and questioned what "take up his cross daily" meant exactly. It relates back to Jesus taking up his own cross....how he took it and laid down his life voluntarily. We are asked to do the same.
But until this morning, I never really looked at the "deny himself" part except to think that we should put ourselves last. Well, in Leviticus 23: 27 it is talking about the Day of Atonement and the requirements of the people for that day. One of the things is for them to "hold a sacred assembly and DENY YOURSELVES.." It goes on to say in verse 29 that "Anyone who does not DENY HIMSELF on that day must be cut off from his people." (serious stuff, huh?!?!)
So now, I'm like...hmm, that's interesting, that term is used in the New Testament. Well I look in my side notes, and it here is what is says....
How did the Israelites deny themselves?
Typically, this has been understood to mean FASTING-- going without food and beverage. But it may also mean abstentions from things like changing one's clothing, bathing or sex.
Interesting! I just absolutely LOVE it when something from the Old Testament is mentioned in the New Testament.
I may be absolutely wrong in my connection with all of that, so sorry if I am. But that's what the Lord taught me. Thank you Jesus!