Bible Ballistics: BBs #427 Staying Warm In The Cold???
“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Matthew 15:7-8
There is a story told of an old man who had drawn away from the church for his own reasons, and the pastor went to visit him to encourage him to return to the fellowship of believers. The gentleman gave all his reasons to the pastor and made it clear that he could be a Christian without being a part of the ‘church’! As they were sitting in front of a warm roaring fire in the fireplace, the pastor simply walked over to the fireplace and took the poker and slid one of the coals out toward the edge away from the fire and continued his conversation with the man. After a few minutes the man asked the pastor why he did that, and in reply the pastor pointed to the coal and said, “As long as that coal was in proximity of the fire it stayed warm and glowing, but as it was pulled away from the fire it has begun to loose its warmth and glow. It’s the same way with believers; when we draw off by ourselves, and away from the fires of sharing The Word together, worship and fellowship we are likely to grow cold, simply because we aren’t ‘near the fire’!”
I’ve always loved that story for the beauty of the powerful picture it paints, and Jesus painted that same kind of picture for the religious leaders of His day. He told them that their service to God consisted of “lip-service” only for “their heart is far from me”! And that is what I’d like to consider this morning—are we close to the fire and glowing with the ‘fire’ of God or have we grown cold and settled for ‘lip-service’ instead of true fellowship with God and those of like mind and faith?
James reminds us that we are to willfully stay close to the “fire” and not loosing our ardor toward God, His Word and His people.
“Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain,
The spirit that dwelleth in us
lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace.
Wherefore he saith,
God resisteth the proud,
but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil,
and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God,
and he will draw nigh to you.
Cleanse your hands,
and purify your hearts,
ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted,
let your laughter
be turned to mourning,
and your joy
10 Humble yourselves
in the sight of the Lord,
and he shall lift you up.” James 4:5-10
If I might presume to summarize what James is telling us; we are to not be exalted in our opinion of ourselves—thinking we can make it on our own—but we are to humble ourselves before God, and mourn for our own sin and for the sin of those around us—our close associates, our nation and our world! And as we mourn for the needs of our self, our close circle, and our world, we are to bring everything to our Lord, seeking His face to know what to do to minister HIS truth, grace and love to those whom He brings into our circle of influence.
So on these cold days of winter, we can stay warm in the presence of our Lord and King, who is ever with us in the person of the Holy Spirit. So stay warm, my friends—stay close to the fire of God’s presence, God’s Word and God’s people!! “Think on these things….” (See Phil. 4:8-9)!
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith
(for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love
and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves
as the manner of some is;
but exhorting one another:
and so much the more,
as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25
“Let your conversation
be without covetousness;
and be content
with such things as ye have:
for he hath said,
I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say,
The Lord is my helper,
and I will not fear
what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6
Amen and Amen!