28 March 2009

Better to Be Cold than to Warm Ourselves Where We Are Exposed to Temptation

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive.The following excerpt is from "A Sermon for a Winter's Evening," a message on John 18:18, first published in 1910. The text describes a scene in the courtyard outside the High Priest's house on the night of Jesus' crucifixion: "And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals, for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself."

hough no doubt the motives which led both Peter and John into the high priest's house were commendable, Peter's position among the soldiers and hangers-on around the fire was extremely full of peril, and offered no corresponding advantages. Did he not know that "evil communications corrupt good manners"? Did he not know that the men who had taken his Lord prisoner were not fit associates for him? Should he not have felt that, though he might have his hands warmed, he would be likely to get his heart blackened by mixing with such company?

Brethren, I like to warm my hands; but if I cannot warm them without burning them, I would rather keep them cold.

Many things are in a measure desirable; but if you cannot obtain them without exposing yourself to the smut of sin, you had better let them alone. Has not our Lord called us to go without the camp? Are we not warned against being conformed to this world? Deny yourselves the warm place around society's charcoal brazier, for its sulphurous vapor will do you more harm than the cold. Some tell us that we must keep abreast of the times; but if the times run the wrong way, I see no reason why we should run with them. Rather let us leave the times, and dwell in the eternities. If I must, in warming my hands, defile them—I will sooner let them become blue with cold.
C. H. Spurgeon


Sheldon Clowdus said...

Amen and Amen!!

Anonymous said...

"but if the times run the wrong way, I see no reason why we should run with them."

If only more church leaders thought that way.

Sir Brass said...

This is too true, and very applicable. And though part of me wants to say, "Yes, but....", I know I shouldn't.

Good stuff.

Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

Amen, very poignant and true

donsands said...

These words are good words.

How does one stay balanced in living in this world, and not being of the world.

Christians must not be seperated so much, that we are no longer salt and light. The Church needs to be in the world, we need to be with sinners who know not the gospel of grace, and yet never lose our saltiness, or we become good for nothing.

It's a fine line we walk as Christians.

Like Paul said, "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”" 1 Cor. 5:9-13

Jesus went to sit with sinners, and the religious Jews condemned Him. And yet He also went to the Jews house and shared the truth with them as well. And prostitute came to Him there.

It seems to be an ever learning thing for me to walk in faith and love in this world as salt for Christ, and be normal in my love for Christ and the Gospel, and at the same time stay set apart from the world as well.
I struggle with this all the time.

Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

I recently read in "Faith's Checkbook", a daily devotional written by Spurgeon:

"We must not conform to the age, but rather summon the age to pay homage to Christ."

There can be no capitulation to the wickedness of this world; God's judgment is already final against sin in the cross of Christ. It remains only for the wicked unregenerate to be sentenced.

We must declare God's wrath against sin and the hopelessness of human endeavor to attain to God's righteousness. Only the sovereign work of God's Spirit can bring about the miracle of causing a lost sheep to hear and follow the Shepherd, emergent/ing rubbish be hanged.

Anonymous said...

There is, also, a HUGE difference between UNDERSTANDING that a sinner is a sinner and INVITING sinners to sin in our presence by their words and deeds.

F'rinstance: I KNOW that there are people who will be saved out of the film/television industry; I do NOT. however, have to invite what they do on screen into my home and life so that I can dig through the cesspool to find some "nugget" of virtue.

The things that are God-glorifying GLORIFY GOD. The things that are not DO NOT and never will.

There will be those who call me a "legalist" or say I am practicing works-righteousness or some nonsense; I say in response that we have not yet resisted unto blood striving against sin, have we? I know I haven't yet. I say we should treat the things of the world the way a good parent treats the leisure time of their child: When your work is done, honestly, completely and to a degree that you can present it to your Father without having to drop your eye in shame, then you can play.

Is it time to play, or time to work? Night is coming, after all...

Atone said...

What? You think C.H. would actually have a problem with modern day church marketing, purpose driven programs and Finney-esque 'conversions.' Clearly Phil, you must have ripped this out of context.

Jake said...

Love it.

Thanks, donsands...I agree. It is a fine line. The argument I hear often (because I use it often) is: "Yeah, but Jesus hung out with sinners." While true, it totally ignores the fact that he's Jesus and I am, most obviously, not.

I recently read a comment from Tozer that the world needs more prophetic leaders...in 1956...who can look at culture and both diagnose the problem and advise a cure while avoiding the temptation of infection. I think he called them "Moral Physicians."