It’s a funny-named hometown.
It’s a funny-named hometown. But could it be we’re all from there—that little berg with its lonely water tower? Known for miles around, the water tower was fed by an aqueduct from hot springs a few miles away. Naturally, the water started out piping hot, but by the time it spilled into the water tower it was lukewarm. So it’s no surprise that when the risen Christ sends a communiqué to the church in that town of Laodecia, he seizes the city’s trademark lukewarm water to shape his appeal to all of us. “I wish you’d make up your mind—be hot for Me or be cold toward Me—but don’t give me this tepid, half-hearted lukewarm commitment stuff. It’s enough to gag you!” Or as he put it in Revelation 3, “‘Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth’” (Revelation 3:16). Yuck!
But hold on! In this campus-wide season of 40 Days of Prayer, I was especially blessed by Dennis Smith’s reading this week for Day 22. Watch what he does. Linking Jesus’ invitation to the Christians in Laodecia—“‘Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends’” (v 20 NLT)—with I John 3:24’s observation—“And we know he [Christ] lives in us because the Holy Spirit lives in us”—Smith concludes that the divine solution for my and our lukewarm apathy is to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. “What will the baptism of the Holy Spirit do for a lukewarm Christian? The infilling of God’s Spirit will bring revival to the recipient, and revival is the only answer to Laodecia’s [lukewarm] problem. . . . Only by revival will the church come to a spiritual condition such that God can use her in a mighty way as a means of delivering men and women from the powers of darkness” (40 Days p 76, emphasis supplied).
We need that revival! It’s the only cure for our church and campus. No wonder a century ago these words were written: “A revival of true godliness among us [piping hot commitment to God] is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work” (1SM 121, emphasis supplied). For that very reason on September 1 we began 40 Days of Prayer at Andrews and Pioneer—earnestly asking God to pour out his Spirit upon us individually as well as institutionally. Won’t you join us? We’ve handed out 2,000 40 Days books, because there are many, many of the young and the not so young who are convicted that our deepest need around here is for the outpouring of the Spirit of Christ among us. So today at the foot of the cross, let us plead:
Baptize us anew with power from on high,
With love, O refresh us! Dear Savior, draw nigh.
We humbly beseech Thee, Lord Jesus, we pray,
With love and the Spirit baptize us today.
—W. A. Ogden