The Mediocre Christian

SERMON TOPIC: The Mediocre Christian

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 11 December 2022


Sermon synopsis: Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

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The Mediocre Christian.

Revelation 3:16.

So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Joshua 1:1-9.

After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord,  the Lord said to Joshua, son of Nun, Moses’ aide: Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them, to the Israelites. 

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates, all the Hittite country, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 

Joshua 1:1-9.

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Be strong and courageous,  because you will lead these people to inherit the land, I swore to their ancestors to give them.

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 


Joshua 1:1-9.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.

Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you?

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.


Cambridge dictionary definition and usage.

Just acceptable but not good; not good enough.

The movie's plot is predictable, the dialogue is second-rate, and the acting is mediocre.

Is that the kind of Christianity that you aspire to?

Mediocrity exists all around us. The greatest danger of mediocrity is that it is highly contagious and spreads quickly. In a company with mediocre managers, you have to work hard to fight it, there is no known antidote available once your organization becomes mediocre.

I love working in an amazing company because it makes it so easy to shine in our customer’s eyes when they have experienced mediocre service before coming to us. Disturbingly mediocre service is so much more common than amazing service.

Average. Mediocre. Run-of-the-mill. Those aren’t terms you would want applied to your life or your work, are they? In fact, I bet they diametrically oppose the fire you had in your heart when you were called into ministry.

Though you wouldn’t want to admit any association with average thinking or mediocrity, you may have felt their subtle pull. They tiptoe in and whisper to you through your frustration, your uncertainty, your lack of time.

Before you know it, they have you shifting away from your pursuit of excellence for God’s glory, focusing you instead on doing what it takes to get by from day to day.

When you understand the state of the average church and the personal wellbeing of the average pastor, it’s not hard to see why the devil wants you to be average.

The average church begins a search for a new pastor every 18 months.

Sometimes finding a new pastor is easier than dealing with the underlying problems that keep the church caught in the cycle of mediocrity, but a new pastor never solves the problem for long.

Average or Mediocre.

Given these realities, do you think God has any desire for you to be average? You carry the awesome responsibility of introducing people to the Savior and discipling them to be more like Him. When it comes to that task, average doesn’t cut it.

Average doesn’t lead to life change. Average is where the enemy wants you to live, because it is the precursor of ineffectiveness. Average is exactly what God is calling you to abandon.

Average or Mediocre.

The difference between people who strive for excellence and those who settle for mediocrity is that while mediocre people depend on external pressure or motivation to perform, people who value excellence draw from internal motivation and drive. They don't wait for or depend on situations or people to be productive.

Mediocrity verses “Excellence.

The Bible has another word for mediocrity and that is “Lukewarm”.

If you were thinking about getting involved in running, would you make that decision to start training because you met someone who was a runner but didn’t really enjoy it.

Their aim was never to win but just finish. That is bare minimum, that is not even mediocre, and yet some Christians fit into that category. Their aim is just to make it into heaven, even if it is as by fire 1 Corinthians 3.

The Bible has another word for Mediocre.

Salvation is a beautiful gift. Although God did His part to make it available to everyone, scripture makes it very clear that there will be people who miss out on it.

In Matthew chapter 7 Jesus is talking to His disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven and He says to them,

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

Shortly after that Jesus warns again,

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21

A lukewarm church is a church that believe a polluted gospel, one that leads them away from doing the will of God and away from a relationship with Jesus.

If a relationship with Jesus and commitment to walking with God’s are two essentials for salvation (see John 14:6, Matthew 7:21, Revelation 3:15-16) then lukewarm church has a big problem!

I believe that’s why God had this message writing to the church of Laodicea and preserved through the Bible.

He wanted to warn them that complacency and compromise could cost them more than they could imagine. This is why in the next portions of Revelation chapter 3 He offers the people both correction and hope.

You’re content without Jesus. A lukewarm Christian doesn’t have any desire to spend time with Him in prayer, worship, in the Bible, or to serve alongside Him.

You ignore teaching and conviction. You don’t allow others, Holy Spirit, or even the Bible to counsel you.

You welcome and value teachings of philosophers and thought leaders over the full counsel of God. A lukewarm Christian allows philosophies and ideologies to be the foundations of their choices. They expect God’s grace to uphold them even when they oppose Him with their choices.

Your confidence lies in your possessions, connections, and influence instead of in the Lord.

You would rather remain neutral than live “set apart.” A lukewarm Christian will not pick sides. They’ll run from the responsibility of choosing between righteousness and worldliness and will fight to create a middle ground. They remain neutral in an attempt to gain the best of both worlds.

You use your voice to advocate for your preferences even when those preferences cause you to oppose God’s moral standards.

You expect God to conform to the will of people instead of encouraging people to conform to the will of God. What God has spelled out clearly, a lukewarm Christian will allow society to alter and redefine. A few examples, the definition of marriage, gender identity, social justice and reformation.

Is what you have worth dying for?

On January 19 Open Doors presented its 2022 World Watch List (WWL) which ranks the top 50 countries where Christians experience the worst persecution for their faith.

The survey, covering a period from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021, shows that persecution continues to rise especially in Asian and African countries and that the COVID 19 pandemic has further exacerbated discrimination.

According to its findings, which have been thoroughly analyzed by the independent International Institute for Religious Freedom (IRF), over 360 million people (that is 1 out of 7 globally) endured persecution and discrimination in their country last year.

Overall, 5,898 Christians were killed (up 23,8 % versus 2020), 5,110 churches were attacked or closed (up 13,8 %), 6,175 were Christians arrested without trial (up 44,3%) and 3,829 kidnapped (up 123,9%).

Matthew 24:7-14.

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.

Matthew 24:7-14.

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Revelation 20 v 4, 5 & 6.

And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the Word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or hands.

They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended)

Some people just want to do the least that they can do to get by. This happens in school, at the workplace, and even in people’s spiritual lives. They ponder questions about what is the minimum that is required of them.

How often do they have to assemble with the church?

How much do they have to give?

How many people do they have to teach about the gospel?

This was the attitude of the rich young ruler (Matt 19:16-22).

He asked Jesus, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?”

When Jesus told him to “keep the commandments,” he immediately asked, “Which ones?” When Jesus listed a few of them, he said, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?”

With every question, he was looking to establish the minimum requirement that would still lead to eternal life.

Finally, Jesus said, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

When he could focus on doing the minimum, he was interested. When he learned that there was no “minimum” – that he had to be willing to give up what he loved and give his life over to Jesus completely, he left.

Comfort, luxury and Christianity do not go hand in hand in Scripture and yet it is the Gospel that is preached and welcomed in the Western Church.

Will the brand of Christianity that you have embraced with your heart and not your head be sufficient to take you to Heaven?

1 Corinthians 3:11-15.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.

It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.

If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved, even though only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

How will you be a witness to others if you are not all that interested in serving the Lord yourself?

I was watching the news last Monday and saw the reaction of the English fans as England beat Senegal in the Soccer World Cup and I thought of how subdued we are about our Salvation and so lacking in general in emotions.

Our praise and worship is an opportunity for us to express our thanks to God and even that many times is just a thing we see as something to get out of the way so that we can hear the sermon and get home to things which are more meaningful and excite us more.

How come is it okay to act like a clown as a sports fan and shouting and even crying, but we come to church and we are dead?

The Miriam Webster dictionary says this.

The meaning of MEDIOCRE is of moderate or low quality, value, ability, or performance : ordinary, so-so.

Do you think that this is the description of the majority of born-again believers?

Do you wonder why people don’t ask you about your faith when it is not very evident or inviting?

I am mediocre …. at Best

At least you’re best …. at something

Matthew25: 23-30.

His master said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.

Matthew25: 23-30.

But his master answered him, You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

So, take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Luke 17:7-10.

Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, Come at once and recline at table Will he not rather say to him, Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink?

Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So, you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

2 Timothy 4:7-8. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Peter 1:3-11.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Peter 1:3-11.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

2 Peter 1:3-11.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 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.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

2 Corinthians 5:17.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Matthew 18:9.

And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Ecclesiastes 9:10.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

Ephesians 6:7-8.

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

Colossians 3:23-24.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Paul never glamorized the gospel. It is not success, but sacrifice. It’s not a glamorous gospel, but a bloody one, a gory gospel, and a sacrificial gospel.

Five minutes inside eternity and we will wish that we had sacrificed more, wept more, grieved more, loved and prayed more, and given more.

~ Leonard Ravenhill