Serving Leftovers to a Holy God

Crazy Love written by Francis Chan (excerpt from chapter five pages 83-88)

“…now we are going to look at scriptural examples of poor responses to God’s gift of love. Before you discount or ignore what I am about to say, read these passages objectively, without preconceived opinions staunchly in place. My examination of lukewarm Christians in chapter 4 was by no means exhaustive. However, it did serve as a call to examine your heart in light of the points I listed. As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are “lukewarm” are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven.

In Revelation 3:15-18, Jesus says,

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”

This passage is where our modern understanding of lukewarm comes from. Jesus is saying to the church that because they are lukewarm, He is going to spit them out of His mouth. There is no gentle rendering of the word spit in Greek. This is the only time it is used in the New Testament, and it connotes gagging, hurling, retching. Many people read this passage and assume Jesus is speaking to saved people. Why?

When you read this passage, do you naturally conclude that to be “spit” out of Jesus’ mouth means you’re part of His kingdom? When you read the words “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,” do you think that He’s describing saints? When He counsels them to “buy white clothes to wear” in order to cover their “shameful nakedness,” does it sound like advice for those already saved? I thought people who were saved were already made white and clothed by Christ’s blood.

…so I’ve spent the past few days reading the Gospels. Rather than examining a verse and dissecting it, I chose to peruse one gospel in each sitting. Furthermore, I attempted to do so from the perspective of a twelve-year-old who knew nothing about Jesus. I wanted to rediscover what reasonable conclusions a person would come to while objectively reading the Gospels for the first time. In other words, I read the Bible as if I’d never read it before.

My conclusion? Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a “Christian” without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd. But please don’t take my word for it. Read it yourself.

For years I struggled with the parable of the soils. I wanted to know if the person representing the rocky soil is saved, even though he has no root. I then wondered about the thorny soil: Is this person saved since he does have root?

I doubt if people even considered these questions back in Jesus’ day! Is this idea of the non-fruit-bearing Christian something that we have concocted in order to make Christianity “easier”? So we can follow our own course while still calling ourselves followers of Christ? So we can join the Marines, so to speak, without having to do all the work?

Jesus’ intention in this parable was to compare the only good soil to the ones that were not legitimate alternatives. To Him, there was one option for a true believer.

Let’s face it. We’re willing to make changes in our lives only if we think it affects our salvation. This is why I have so many people ask me questions like, Can I divorce my wife and still go to heaven? Do I have to be baptized to be saved? Am I a Christian even though I’m having sex with my girlfriend? If I commit suicide, can I still go to heaven? If I’m ashamed to talk about Christ, is He really going to deny knowing me?

To me, these questions are tragic because they reveal much about the state of our hearts. They demonstrate that our concern is more about going to heaven than loving the King. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). And our question quickly becomes even more unthinkable: Can I go to heaven without truly and faithfully loving Jesus? 

I don’t see anywhere in Scripture how the answer to that question could be yes. 

James 2:19 says, “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” God doesn’t just want us to have good theology; He wants us to know and love Him. First John 2:3-4 tells us, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  Call me crazy, but I think those verses mean that the person who claims to know God but doesn’t obey His commands is a liar and that the truth really isn’t in him.  In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save is life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” And in Luke 14:33, He says, “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”

Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples. I wonder, then, why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded?

You’ll notice that He didn’t add, “But hey, if that’s too much to ask, tell them to just become Christians—you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.”

Pray. Then read the Gospels for yourself. Put this book down and pick up your Bible. My prayer for you is that you’ll understand the Scriptures not as I see them, but as God intends them.


I do not want true believers to doubt their salvation as they read this book. In the midst of our failed attempts at loving Jesus, His grace covers us. Each of us has lukewarm elements and practices in our life; therein lies the senseless, extravagant grace of it all. …His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3). His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). I’m not saying that when you mess up, it means you were never really a genuine Christian in the first place. If that were true, no one could follow Christ.

The distinction is perfection (which none will attain on this earth) and a posture of obedience and surrender, where a person perpetually moves toward Christ. To call someone a Christian simply because he does some Christian-y things is giving false comfort to the unsaved. But to declare anyone who sins “unsaved” is to deny the reality and truth of God’s grace.

From other references in Scripture (Colossians 2:1; 4:13, 15-16), the church at Laodicea appears to have been a healthy and legitimate church. But something happened. By the time Revelation was written, about twenty-five years after the letter to the Colossians, the Laodiceans’ hearts apparently didn’t belong to God—despite the fact that they were still active as a church. Their church was prospering, and they didn’t seem to be experiencing any persecution. They were comfortable and proud.

end of quoting from book…




Dear friend,

My heart has been ever so challenged and extremely rebuked by these few pages. To be lukewarm brings no glory, no honor, no pleasure to God, but clearly demonstrates where the love of my heart truly lives. 

We know that one cannot lose their salvation – once a child of God always a child of God, but just because one claims Christ doesn’t mean they are His. Scripture clearly states that “you will know them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:16-20). This doesn’t give you nor I the authority to cast judgement upon one another, but rather to cast the judgement upon ourselves—to take our own blinding, humongous, pride-centered-filled beam out of our own eye, first and foremost, before we even attempt trying to take out the speck that is in our brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5).

  • So rebuked, yes!
  • Challenged, yes!
  • Warned, yes!
    • Am I lukewarm?
    • Am I cold?
    • Am I hot?

When you ask yourself these same questions, you know the answers, as do I.  The question is what are you and I going to do about it?

  • What does my heart look like–is it filled with gratitude to my Savior or filled with pride because I somehow I think I am entitled to His grace.
  • My actions speak my hearts motives!

We only have but one life to live; it is either all mine or all His.

Blessings to you dear friends. May we be a sweet smelling savor into the nostrils of God and hear, ‘well done’!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}