Away With Lukewarmness!
God wants us for ever off the fence – out of the land of make-believe – either a Christian with a burning heart or else that we quit professing something that we do not possess! We go through a whirl of religious activities – but no results.
We draw our self-righteous skirts about us (Isa. 65:1-5; Luke 18:9-14), and point our finger (Isa. 58:9) at the faults and failures of other professing Christians and at the vile sins of out-and-out sinners, but what are we doing to help those people?
"Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye" (Matt. 7:1-5). The mote ought to be cast out, but in our self-righteous harshness we gouge out people’s eyes. People need to be instructed, but in our self-will we cut off people’s ears (Matt. 26:51) and think we are doing God service!
"The whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart" (Jer. 12:11). If my own loved ones were sick or if my own loved ones were using drugs – I would lay it to heart. But the Lord tells me to love my neighbor as myself. We do not love our neighbor as ourselves or we would do something about it!
"Faith...worketh by love" (Gal. 5:6). We do not love people enough to make our faith work effectively in their behalf. Love puts faith on the battlefield. We would "like" to see souls saved, and to see the saints in victory, but our love is not strong enough to make our faith "work" effectively to get these results.
My precious Southern Methodist mother loved me. She loved me so much that she simply could not and would not let the devil have me. Her love was so strong that it forced faith out onto the battlefield to wrest my poor soul from the cruel clutches of the devil. Her faith worked by love!
At seventeen years of age, I was an ornery fellow, and finally left home in Jackson, Mississippi on July 17th, 1907, and went to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Did my mother just trust that everything would come out all right? Did she just let the devil and me alone? I say not!
She wrote, "Willard, when you left, I just felt like shutting myself in my room and doing nothing but pray for you." And, thank God, on July 27th – just ten days after I left home, I decided to serve my mother’s God! "As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children" (Isa. 66:8). Jesus, the Son of God, saved my poor soul!
We must have the tears! Jesus "offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears" (Heb. 5:7). Paul says, "I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears" (Acts 20:31). Oh, the shame of professing to follow Jesus and yet have no tears!
"No Man Cared for My Soul"
The marginal reading on this clause is, "No man sought after my soul." The thought is of one pursuing after a soul – to rescue it, to save it. On Judgment Day, can anyone point the finger at me and say, "You did not really care for my soul. You did not seek for opportunities to win me to Christ. You did not pursue after my soul to get me saved." "He that winneth souls is wise" (Prov. 11:30). We need to get – and use – all the wisdom God will give us that we may win souls!
"Exhort One Another Daily"
It does not say to criticize one another daily. "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works" (Heb. 10:24). Not to provoke unto pride and self-satisfaction, but try to get everyone to be at his or her very best for God! "That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Col. 1:28). If we love our neighbor as ourselves we will earnestly desire and do all we can to help them make a mighty good landing in heaven as well as trying to make a good landing there ourselves.
Why do we misrepresent what real Christianity is? Why do we go through the forms and ceremonies of Christianity and deny the power thereof – fail utterly to demonstrate the mighty power of God to transform lives (2 Tim. 3:5)?
Do we grieve over the failures of others, or do we gloat over their failures – thinking in our hearts, "We don’t do those things!" Paul told of the failures of others, "even weeping" as he recounted their sad plight (Phil. 3:17-19).
Dare I profess holiness if I have no tears for a lost world and for a backslidden church? Dare I profess to be now filled with the Holy Spirit if I do not have intercessions "with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26)?
Away for ever with the dry-eyed mockery of a professing Christianity, while the world plunges to doom, while the heart of God bleeds, and while the church is at ease (Amos 6:1-8).
"It is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you" (Hos. 10:12).
"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Psa. 126:5-6).