2.7  Escaping the Perils of the Lukewarm Path

Jesus said, "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, 

I will vomit you out of my mouth."

Revelation 3:15-16

When I was young I was told that "moderation is the key to longevity". That was recommended to me for a wide variety of life experiences. I have usually found that advice to be sound in regard to nutrition, alcohol and investments. But in spiritual matters it turns defeat into a foregone conclusion. When moderation is built into our relationship with God, disaster is always just around the corner.

Over the years I have known very nice people who live by a moral code selected by their society. Then when their backs were against a wall they behaved in extraordinarily wicked ways. Fraud, bribery, extortion and violence were the result.

Anything that falls short of walking by faith with God is sin. Romans 14:3 says "whatever is not of faith is sin". Moderation in our walk with God is not safe. It's a dangerous path. The Lukewarm Path is one of moderation. Its not as easy to identify as open rebellion. But the Lukewarm Path, the path of moderation, is not part of fellowship with God. It is not part of the Sixth Path.

The Lukewarm Path:

  • "15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:15-16).

Prayerful Observations:
The children of God possess eternal life. But though having eternal life, they may be lukewarm. God allows this in the present age. A cold drink in the heat of the day is refreshing. A hot drink in cold weather is a comfort. But the lukewarm... Jesus will vomit from His mouth. This does not indicate loss of eternal life. But a loss of fellowship is clearly presented by the passage. The powers and joys of fellowship with God in the Sixth Path disappear when one departs into the Lukewarm Path. This passage must be prayerfully considered within its context. Accordingly, verses 14-24 are presented below.

Escaping the Lukewarm Path:

  • "14 To the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write:
  • 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.
  • 17 Because you say, 'I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;' and don't know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent.
  • 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me. 21 He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies" (Revelation 3:14-24).

Prayerful Observations:
These words of Christ are directed to believers, the church at Laodicea (v 14). Jesus wanted them to be hot or cold (v 15). In verse 19 He uses the word "zealous". So, He presents two states, lukewarm or zealous. Their attention was on their temporal comfort (v 17). To escape the perils of the Lukewarm Path, they must "buy... gold refined by fire" (v 18). The refined gold represents fellowship with Christ. Fellowship with Him makes one truly "rich" (v 18), results in good works symbolized by "white garments" (v 18), and eyes that they "may see" (v 18). 

In the previous sentence I stated that fellowship results in good works and eyes that "may see". Refined gold would certainly purchase "white garments" and "eye salve". In this way, good works and eyes that "may see" can be seen as a result of fellowship with Christ. In my life I have seen intense, prolonged, physical pain result in deep fellowship, good works and spiritual insight.

Suffering (fire) produces fellowship (gold) since 1 Peter 4:1-2 reveals that "he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin (walks in fellowship with God). Click here to read more on this from subchapter 5.3. God's purpose in the passage according to verse 19 is to "chasten" (discipline) and "reprove", rather than convert, so we know that the goal of the passage (refined gold) is fellowship rather than conversion. Zechariah also relates "refining" to restoration of fellowship:

"I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will test them like gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will hear them. I will say, 'It is my people;' and they will say, 'Yahweh is my God.' " (Zechariah 13:9)

Refining by fire does not symbolize conversion. An example of a metaphor for conversion would be the conversion of manure to gold. But, the word refine is not a word of conversion, but instead indicates a purification... This passage from Zechariah says that they will call on His name. He will hear them. This is restoration of fellowship. 

Refining as gold also restores fellowship in Malachi 3:1-4. so that their offerings may be presented in righteousness (v 3) and be pleasing to the Lord (v 4).

We know that "white garments" represent good works since Revelation 19:8 reveals that clothing of "fine linen" represents the "righteous acts of the saints" (good works) and Revelation 19:14 reveals that the "fine linen" is white. Well, clothing of white linen is a white garment. So, it is appropriate to interpret the metaphor "white garment" as indicating good works.

The fire is the fire of God's loving discipline (v 19). Click here and read 5.2c to see that suffering can be caused by God as discipline.

How does one "buy" this "gold"? The gold of fellowship is bought with repentance (v 19). To repent (v 19) is to turn to Him, to follow Him, to do what Jesus admonished in verse 18. The fire of suffering encourages us to repent (turn to Him). So it is our repentance, the turning and following Him, which purchases the refined gold of fellowship, good works and eyes that see. Those who will obey will understand (John 7:17). Repentance is all we have to offer as the purchase price. The Endorsed Prayer of Confession is the prayer that should accompany this repentance. 

They were out of fellowship with God as Jesus is outside of their hearts (v 20). He is desiring to be in their intimate presence and is knocking at the door of their presence. Each knock on the door of their presence is the loving discipline (suffering) mentioned in verse 19. They were to "open" the door (v 20) as their act of repentance (v 19) to buy the gold of fellowship. The result of opening the door is fellowship as Jesus comes into their intimate presence ("come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me", v 20).

What is meant by "he who overcomes" in Revelation 3:21? 

  • 1 John 5:5 defines "overcome" as one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God: "Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:5). 
  • Revelation 12:9-11 defines "overcame" as those who overcome Satan's accusations of sin by the blood of Christ and their testimony of Him: "They overcame him because of the Lamb's blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn't love their life, even to death" (Revelation 12:11). Those who are bought with His blood will testify of His blood. Click here to see that all Christians are supposed to make disciples. For a complete explanation of Revelation 12:9-11, click here.
  • Both passages link overcoming with conversion. It is my belief that one who will not testify of the blood of Christ, is not a convert. Testimony is the observable evidence of and an irresistible, natural reflex of true conversion faith (Romans 10:9-10). 


Fellowship with God is a two way conversation in the spiritual realm, as we Follow Christ, bearing His yoke in the world. This communion is broken by being lukewarm instead of zealous. God will respond to lukewarm believers with discipline to bring them back into fellowship. 

But all suffering is not discipline. The subchapters on suffering will reveal this truth. We may actually suffer because we are following Christ wherever He goes. But suffering may also be the result of a lukewarm state. One may transition in and out of fellowship many times during a single day. 

You will know if you are in fellowship with God or not. Remember that Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." If you are not in fellowship with Him, then turn to Him and open the door. The answer is Turn, Turn, Turn and Behold the Lord... the Sixth Path. 


The last seven subchapters have explained the Sixth Path. Much has been written about the Endorsed Prayers in these subchapters. You may be expecting the next chapters to reveal and discuss these Endorsed Prayers. But the Endorsed Prayers reveal how we interact with God and execute His authority in the spiritual realm.

To fully digest these prayers, one must understand the workings of the spiritual realm. Therefore, the next chapter will reveal fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit (chapter 3). Chapter 3 has six subchapters. After those six subchapters, the Endorsed Prayers will be revealed from the scriptures.

Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock."
Revelation 3:20

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