COLUMNS

Lukewarm

Karen Thornton
St.Paul, front of St.Paul's Basilica, Rome

Senators use bad faith arguments to block the government from getting anything done. An autocrat rigs elections and gives himself complete control over the government. Even stranger, many voters subscribe to the autocrat’s personality cult and agree he should have absolute control. Welcome to Rome AD60. The republic reigning over more than 40 countries, existed for over 400 years had finally hit a crisis it couldn’t overcome. Rome itself wouldn’t fall, but during this period it lost its republic forever.

There were fourteen letters written by the Apostle Paul to the church. This constitutes two-thirds of the New Testament writing from the Greco Roman period of Paul’s day. You have heard the term, “history repeats itself”… One of Paul’s letters was written to the Colossians in AD60. Paul was addressing the saints & faithful believers in Christ from prison. The letter was hand delivered by one of Paul’s traveling companions who lived in the neighboring area of Colossae. He had been apprised of the Colossians’ commitment to the Lord. He also directed the believers there to share the letter with Laodicea, a neighboring town about 10 miles away. Paul was concerned about the lukewarm commitment of some of the areas in Asia Minor. The town of Laodicea was a triangle of three cities, Hierapolis, Laodicea and Colossae. The church in Laodicea is accused of being neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. This spiritual insight used a historical reality by comparing the water of Laodicea to the hot springs of nearby Hierapolis and the cold mountain water of nearby Colossae. Water was piped in thru an aqueduct system. By the time water reached Laodicea, it was lukewarm and full of mineral deposits.

Domitian was the Roman emperor from 81AD to 96AD. He was known for the reign of terror under which prominent members of the Senate lived during his last years. Domitian’s victims were the Christians. His policy was established by Nero. Domitian, with a sharp eye for treason and enthusiastic for the Caesar-cult, justly ranks with Nero as a systematic persecutor. The Christians at Laodicea were affected by his decrees and persecutions, even controlling their ability to buy and sell. Laodicea had allowed their wealth to attribute to the decline of their spirituality. Consequently Christ’s letter (thru Paul) some 35 years later, to Laodicea represents one of only two Revelation churches which the Lord had nothing good to say. Our understanding and appreciation of these valuable teachings is deepened as we learn the history, geography, culture and predominate social attitudes Christians were exposed to. Such as what the believer is exposed, thus, being applicable to the church body and walking with the Lord Jesus today.

Paul always meant for his letters to be an encouragement to the church body. Revelation 3:15; “I know all the things you do, you are neither hot nor cold, I wish you were one or the other. Since you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Ref:  Colossians 1 & 4; Revelation 3