I read an interesting example in my Hermaneutics textbook this afternoon. In Revelation 3:14-22, John records a message to the church at Laodicea. He writes:
14"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
15'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
16'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
This Laodicean church is useless; it is not like hot water (for taking a bath) or like cold water (for a refreshing drink). We must interpret the "hot" and "cold" water in light of the archaeological background. Laodicea was located close to the hot springs by Hierapolis and a cold stream by Colossae. Both hot water and cold water are desirable and useful. But the spiritual condition of Laodicea is neither. It is tepid and lukewarm. We have to guard against quick misinterpretations: Jesus is not saying that active opposition to him is better than being a lukewarm Christian.