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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Consider The Dangers Ahead!

I once heard a man, who when asked “Don’t you want to grow as a Christian and in your faith?” he replied “No! I am satisfied where I am right now!” I am not sure what the satisfaction was like that he was enjoying, but I know that I never want to stop growing in holiness and the knowledge of my God. I have faltered many times and sinned many times along the way, but through Christ my God has held on to me and does not let me slip too far. What a glorious God! I want to grow in my knowledge of Him and enjoy Him forever. Samuel Davies writes below on the indifference of those who do not see the danger ahead:

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)

Ye modern Laodiceans, are you not yet struck with horror at the thought of that insipid, formal, spiritless religion you have hitherto been contented with? And do you not see the necessity of following the advice of Christ to the Laodicean church, be zealous, be fervent for the future, and repent, bitterly repent of what is past. . . . Consider the difficulties and dangers in your way. Oh, sirs, if you know the difficulty of the work of your salvation, and the great danger of miscarrying in it, you could not be so indifferent about it, nor could you flatter yourselves such languid endeavors will never succeed. It is a labor, a striving, a race, warfare; so it is called in the sacred writings: but `would there be any propriety in these expressions, if it were a course of sloth and inactivity? Consider, you have strong lusts to be subdued, a hard heart to be broken, a variety of graces, which you are entirely destitute of, to be implanted and cherished, and that in an unnatural soil, where they will not grow without careful cultivation, and that you have many temptations to be encountered and resisted. In short, you must be made new men, quite other creatures than you now are. And oh! Can this work be successfully performed while you make such faint and feeble efforts? Indeed God is the Agent, and all your best endeavors can never affect the blessed revolution without him. But his assistance is not to be expected in the neglect, or careless use of means, nor is it intended to encourage idleness, but activity and labor: and when he comes to work, he will soon inflame your hearts, and put an end to your lukewarmness. Again, your dangers are also great and numerous; you are in danger from presumption and from despondency; from coldness, from lukewarmness, and from false fires and enthusiastic heats; in danger from self-righteousness, and from open wickedness, from your own corrupt hearts, from this ensnaring world, and from the temptations of the devil: you are in great danger of sleeping on in security, without ever being thoroughly awakened; or, if you should be awakened, you are in danger of resting short of vital religion; and in either of these cases you are undone for ever. In a word, dangers crowd thick around you on every hand, from every quarter; dangers, into which thousands, millions of your fellow-men have fallen and never recovered. . . . Oh that you knew the true state of the case! Such knowledge would soon fire you with the greatest ardor, and make you all life and vigor in this important work. (“The Danger of Lukewarmness In Religion”)

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Lukewarm Christianity

Samuel Davies (1723-1761)

Samuel Davies

Have you added the sin of a hypocritical profession of faith to your other sins? Do you falsely pretend to be religious? Do you flatter yourself through presumption and pride, imagining you are safe and in favor with God? The lukewarm professor is in the most dangerous condition because of lack of conviction and will not likely be brought to repentance. Samuel Davies explains why this is true:

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. (REV. 3:15-16)

[Although] this church has been demolished for so many hundreds of years, that lukewarmness of spirit in religion which brought this judgment upon them, still lives, and possesses the Christians of our age; it may therefore be expedient for us to consider Christ’s friendly warning to them, that we may escape their doom.

The epistles to the seven churches in Asia are introduced with this solemn and striking preface, “I know thy works:” that is to say, your character is drawn by one that thoroughly knows you; one who inspects all your conduct, and takes notice of you when you take no notice of yourselves; one that cannot be imposed upon by an empty profession and artifice, but searches the heart and the reins. . . .

I know thy works, says he to the Laodicean church, that thou art neither cold nor hot. This church was in a very bad condition, and Christ reproves her with the gravest severity; and yet we do not find her charged with the practice or toleration of any gross immoralities, as some of the other churches were. . . . What then is her charge? It is a subtle, latent wickedness, that has no shocking appearance, that makes no gross blemish in the outward character of a professor in the view of others, and may escape his own notice; it is, Thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor not: as if our Lord had said, Thou dost not entirely renounce and openly disregard the Christian religion, and thou dost not make it a serious business, and mind it as thy grand concern. Thou hast a form of godliness, but deniest the power. All thy religion is a dull languid thing, a mere indifferency; thine heart is not in it; it is not animated with the fervor of thy spirit. Thou hast neither the coldness of the profligate sinner, nor the sacred fire and life of the true Christian; but thou keepest a sort of medium between them. In some things thou resemblest the one, in other things the other; as lukewarmness partakes of the nature both of heat and cold. . . .

When Christ expresses his abhorrence of lukewarmness in the form of a wish, I would thou wert cold or hot, we are not to suppose his meaning to be, that coldness or fervor in religion is equally acceptable, or that coldness is at all acceptable to him; for reason and revelation concur to assure us; that the open rejection and avowed contempt of religion is an aggravated wickedness, as well as an hypocritical profession. But our Lord’s design is to express, in the strongest manner possible, how odious and abominable their lukewarmness was to him; as if he should say, “Your state is so bad, that you cannot change for the worse; I would rather you were any thing than what you are.” You are ready to observe, that the lukewarm professor is in reality wicked and corrupt at heart, a slave to sin, and an enemy to God, as well as the avowed sinner; and therefore they are both hateful in the sight of God, and both in a state of condemnation.

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