The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHAPTER 8. HOT SAINTS
REV. iii. 15.--"I would thou wert cold or hot."
WHY does God like people to be hot in His service? For the same reasons that we like people to be hot in ours. We have no confidence in half-and-half, fast-and-loose friends; milk-warm adherents who in times of danger wait to see which way the wind blows before they commit themselves to our views or interests--servants who will serve us, while at the same time they can serve themselves, but the moment our interests arid theirs appear to clash will leave us to cur fate. We like thorough, whole-hearted, all length friends and servants, and to such only do we confide our secrets, or trust our important enterprises. We may use the half-hearted as far as they serve our purpose, but we, have no confidence in them--no heart-fellowship with them, no joy over them: we would rather they were hot or cold-out-and-out friends or foes.
Read in your own heart and mind, in this respect, a transcript of His, and see the reason why He says, "I would thou wert cold or hot." I want you to note two or three characteristics of hot saints so that you may know whether you belong to the number. To be hot implies the possession of
--I. Light; II. Purity; III. Pungency; IV. Power.
I. Light.--Hot saints have such a halo round about them that they reveal--make manifest sins in others.
They do this--1st, by contrast. "What fellowship hath light with darkness?" The light of God flashed from a hot saint on the dark consciences of sinners makes them feel their sin, misery, and danger, and if they will receive it, leads to their conversion. It "opens their eyes," and if they will follow it, leads them to Jesus. "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." "Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did." "Ye are the light of the world." If sinners reject this light their rejection seals their sins upon them, and renders their condemnation double. "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin." What a fearful responsibility rests on all sinners who are brought into contact with saints who are filled with the light of God. Some of you here are living under this light: How are you using it? Beware!
2nd. Light reveals sin by antipathy. "Everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." The presence of a certain degree of spiritual light must produce either repentance or opposition. A dark soul cannot dwell in the presence of a soul full of light without either repenting or opposing, if it does not submit it will rebel. It was under the hot blaze of this light that the Jews round about Stephen "were cut to the heart, and gnashed upon him with their teeth." The effect of his light on their darkness was to reveal their enmity and scorch them into a fury of opposition. When intense spiritual light and darkness are brought in contact, their innate antipathy makes them reveal each other. The Devil could not endure the presence of Jesus without crying out, "I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God."
How is it with you saints here in this respect? Can you get along with dark souls without eliciting their enmity? If so, depend upon it you have not much light--not that light which accompanies great heat. If you don't want to be spewed out of the mouth of God, see to it, that you get it!
3rd. Light reveals sin by reproof. Hot saints will "rebuke their neighbour and not suffer sin upon him." They are full of zeal for the glory of God, and jealousy for His honour; it breaks their hearts because men keep not His law. They know that they have the light of life, and they feel that they must hold it up over the wrong-doing, deception, and hypocrisy of their fellow-men in order to "I open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light." You never hear them apologising for sin, or calling it by smooth names; they feel towards sin, in their measure, as God feels towards it. It is the abominable thing which they hate, and therefore they cannot in any case allow it, pander to it, or excuse it. Most saints will mercilessly turn the blazing lamp of God's truth on the conscience of a sinner with reproof as pungent, pointed, and personal, as Nathan gave to David, Jehu to Jehoshaphat, or Jesus to the Jews.
II. Purity. Heat cleanses, purges away dross, destroys noxious vapours. So the burning fire of the Holy Ghost purifies the soul which is filled, permeated with it, hence hot saints are pure. They purify themselves, as He is pure. Their garments are white, they keep themselves "unspotted from the world."
They improve the moral atmosphere wherever they go. Their very presence reproves and holds in check the unfruitful works of darkness, and sinners feet as Peter felt when he said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
III. Pungency. Heat burns. Hot saints set on fire the hearts of other saints. They singe the consciences of' sinners, burn the fingers of Pharisees, melt the hearts of backsliders, and warm up those who have left their first love.
IV. Power. Hot saints are mighty. The Spirit is not given by measure unto them. They may not be very intellectual or learned, but their heat makes more impression on the hearts of sinners, and stirs more opposition from hell than all the intellect and learning of a whole generation of lukewarm professors. The fishermen of Galilee produced more impression on the world in a few years, than all the learning of the Jews had done in centuries, because they were hot in the love and service of God. Hot saints are more than a match for their enemies. Satan himself is afraid of them. "Paul I know," said he; yea, and he knows and fears all such. Wicked men cannot stand before them; the power of their testimony cuts them to the heart, and makes them either cry out, "What must we do to be saved?" or, "Away with him! away with him." Hot people are not only able to work, but to suffer. They can endure hardness, suffer reproach, contend with principalities and powers, fight with wild beasts, hail persecution and death!
V. To be hot ensures opposition--1st, from Pharisees. They look with contempt on hot people, call them fanatics, extreme people, troublers of Israel, disturbers of the peace of the Church, occasions of reproach to the respectable and reasonable part of the Church.
The Pharisees were the bitterest enemies of Him who said, "The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up." And they are still the bitterest enemies of those who are filled with His Spirit. It matters not that they have now a Christian creed instead of a Jewish; the spirit is the same, and will not, tolerate "God manifest in the flesh." A formal, ceremonious, respectable religion they do not object to; but a living, burning, enthusiastic Christianity is still Beelzebub! to them.
2nd. To be hot ensures opposition from the world. The world hates hot saints, because they look with contempt on its pleasures, set at naught its maxims and customs, trample on its ambition and applause, ignore its rewards, abjure its spirit, and live altogether above its level. "Because ye are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you." It can tolerate luke-warm religionists--rational, decent people, who appreciate this world as well as the next, and can see bow to make the best of it; but these "hot," "pestilent," "mad" "fools," who obtrude their religion everywhere, who are at everybody about their souls, who are always talking about God, death, judgment, heaven, and hell--"Away with them! they are not fit to live."
3rd. To be hot ensures opposition from the Devil. Oh, how he hates these hot saints! What trouble he takes to trip them. He knows they are worth it. Many a council is held in hell over these. They set fire to his standing corn. They rout his best trained legions. They shake the foundations of his throne. They take the prey out of his very jaws; they pull it out of his fires. He must do something! He sets his principalities and powers to work on them. Loose and feeble fiends will do for lukewarm people, but these he must take in hand himself, and try all the guile and force of his gigantic intellect on them. He troubles them on every side, and at last, when God permits, he has their heads off. He got Paul's, but they defy him even when they are between his teeth; he cannot swallow them; they escape out of his very jaws to glory, and who knows the mischief they work his kingdom, up there. Hallelujah! our arch enemy is a conquered foe. Let me remind you, in conclusion, that to be hot ensures God's special favour, protection and fellowship, and our final victory. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.." Whereas to be lukewarm is to be spewed out of His mouth, which indicates special dislike, disgrace, and final abandonment.
WHICH WILL YOU BE, HOT OR LUKEWARM?
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