Hold the Bible Without Opening It?
MOST EVERYONE KNOWS John 3:16, though most don’t know what it means. But do you know Revelation 3:16? Why, that is the ONLY verse in the entire Bible that contains the word “lukewarm.”
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.”
Because it is biblical TRUTH that salvation is NOT by works but by grace, some take this to mean that Christianity has no place for works, even though James plainly says “Faith without works is DEAD.”
But notice that the verse just before Revelation 3:16 says (and GOD is speaking), “I know thy works, that thou are neither cold nor hot; I would that thou wert cold or hot.”
So there must be a place for WORKS. And works take EFFORT, by the very nature of the word!
Though hard to believe, some carry true doctrine to the perverted understanding of “effortless” spirituality until it becomes false doctrine. There is a ditch on either side of the road of Truth, and false doctrine lies in either ditch. The Road of Truth is a strait and narrow road, needing careful attention to stay on it, and EFFORT to keep from falling off of it.
I see a chapter in the book “Hyper-Grace” entitled “Is Spirituality Effortless?” Some think it is.
This subject is broad one, and often a complex one that takes the volume of words which Michael Brown gives it in his book of nearly 300 pages on “Hyper-Grace.” So I don’t pretend to cover it here. Get the book and read the faithful exposure of error. But this will just give you an idea:
“. . . Unfortunately, because Pastor Prince often does not qualify his words (or sufficiently explain them), his teaching all too often produces an unfocused, undisciplined, unholy spirituality, even if that is the last thing he intends. As a result, many who embrace the message of ‘effortless spirituality’ reject the call to press in to the Lord in prayer to carry His burden or say no to the flesh. After all, with hyper-grace teachers stating that the only work we have to do is believe, it’s no surprise that many hearers become spiritually lazy, and the very fact that you call them to make an effort turns you into a legalistic Pharasee in their eyes. . . .
Benjamin Dunn’s teachings are more extreme than Joseph Prince’s. . . . It is really a shame with all the insights that Dunn shares, that he is so extreme in his attack on making efforts to please the Lord. He goes so far as to say, ‘Those who demand to please the Lord and Law, heartbreakingly miss out on the benefits of being married to grace. Being Christians, they should enjoy being wedded to grace, but instead they are committing adultery with the Law.’
“According to Acts 21:18-26, the Jewish believers in Yeshua with whom Paul sided were ‘all zealous for the law’ (v. 20). Were they committing adultery with the Law? That is what Dunn implies, not to mention his strong statement about ‘those who demand to please the Lord through effort,’ as if making an effort to please God was sinful. . . .
Now take note of this, as Dr. Brown continues:
“Dunn does state that, ‘The effortlessness of the Gospel should not be misunderstood to be apathy. On the contrary, when such bliss and love come to possess our hearts, we cannot stop the divine flow of holy works.’ This is a wonderful truth, for sure. Unfortunately, the repeated resistance to the idea that God requires us to make an effort, coupled with the way he sometimes defines ‘effortlessness,’ easily leads to apathy, and I have seen this attitude in all too many who embrace this message.” (End of quote.)
I will let it go at that for the moment. But get the book if you want to pursue the subject and see what is being wrongly taught to many people.
That wrong teaching, perverted teaching, misleading teaching leads to LUKEWARMNESS and apathy is quite apparent, though not intended. The danger is always there. Remember, on either side of the Road of Truth is a deep ditch, if not a cliff!
The tendency reminds me of a story of a college professor in a classroom. He was having trouble getting his modern students to take education seriously. One day he asked the class, “What is apathy?” One male student, all slumped down in his desk, not really wanting to make the effort to answer the question, inadvertently answered it perfectly anyway. He said with some pain in his voice, “Who cares?” So applying this to “effortless” spirituality and the Christian life that has grown so lukewarm, this is a true picture of it.
I will conclude with another quote from the same book, about yet another “hyper-grace” preacher, who I have observed years ago to be also short on sound doctrine in other areas. Dr. Brown continues (concerning Andrew Womack):
“Some of Andrew Wommack’s statements on this topic are similarly problematic. He writes: ‘Effortless change—it sounds impossible. Yet, that’s what the Word reveals about how the kingdom of God works.’ He continues, ‘In this book, I want to share with you some truths from the Word of God that you can totally transform the way you understand and approach change. If you receive these truths into your heart and apply them to your life, you’ll be able to see change take place in your life effortlessly.’
“But, [replies Dr. Brown] it requires effort to receive biblical truths into our heart and apply them into our lives, doesn’t it? Wommack states that, ‘If you’re struggling with depression, you’re not meditating on the Word of God day and night.’ But it requires determination and discipline to meditate on God’s Word day and night. (By the way, to someone trapped in depression, advice like this might not be as helpful as it appears.)
“Along with Andrew Wommack, I have experienced the reality that ‘when I changed on the inside, immediately everything in my life began to change on the outside.’ But changing on the inside often requires serious spiritual effort.
“Wommack claims that, ‘If you will just cooperate and let the Word of God germinate, you will change effortlessly.’ But this is like saying, ‘If you will be disciplined in your diet and will exercise regularly, you will lose weight effortlessly.’ Right!
“What then are we to make of the message of ‘effortless’ spirituality? Without a doubt, there are important truths that these brothers are bringing, and those truths can be liberating and life-changing. But the message is being presented in such an unbalanced and exaggerated way that, in the end, it often does more harm than good, hurting believers more than helping them.” (End quote.)
I would add that we need to be aware that a half truth is usually a lie, and a basis for false doctrine.
Read our booklet on “Filled with God” and see if that sounds like the “effortless” teaching that the lukewarm Christian would like. Paul says in 1 Cor. 9:27, “But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that my any means, when I myself preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Paul was a red-hot Christian. He was not lukewarm.
“. . . For Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue and people, and nation.” (Revelation. 5:9)
“The voice of my Beloved! Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.”
(song of Solomon 2:8)