2135. The Warnings And The Rewards Of The Word Of God

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No. 2135-36:157. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Morning, March 16, 1890, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

Moreover by them your servant is warned: and in the keeping of them there is great reward, {Ps 19:11}

For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2135, “Warnings and the Rewards of the Word of God, The” 2136}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2775, “David Warned and Rewarded” 2776}
   Exposition on Ps 19 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2775, “David Warned and Rewarded” 2776 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 19 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2870, “Revelation and Conversion” 2871 @@ "Exposition"}

1. This is the declaration of one of God’s servants: “by them your servant is warned.” Only for men made obedient by divine grace is this passage written. My hearer, are you God’s servant? Let us begin with that question. Remember that if you are not God’s servant, you are the bondslave of sin, and the wages of sin is death.

2. The Psalmist, in this psalm, has compared the Word of God to the sun. The sun in the heavens is everything to the natural world; and the Word of God in the heart is everything in the spiritual world. The world would be dark, and dead, and fruitless, without the sun; and what would the mind of the Christian be without the illuminating influence of the Word of God? If you despise Holy Scripture, you are like one who despises the sun. It would seem that you are blind, and worse than blind; for even those without sight enjoy the warmth of the sun. How depraved you are if you can perceive no heavenly lustre about the Book of God! The Word of the Lord makes our day, it makes our spring, it makes our summer, it prepares and ripens all our fruit. Without the Word of God we should be in the outer darkness of spiritual death. I do not have time this morning to sum up the blessings which are showered upon us through the sun’s light, heat, and other influences. So it is with the perfect law of the Lord; when it comes in the power of the Spirit of God upon the soul, it brings unnumbered blessings: blessings more than we ourselves are able to discern.

3. David, for a moment, dwelt upon the delights of God’s Word. He said, “More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” The revelation of God enriches the mind with knowledge, the heart with comfort, the life with holiness, the whole man with divine strength. He who studies, understands, and appropriates the statutes of the Lord is rich in the truest sense — rich in holiness for this life, and rich in preparedness for the life to come. You have mines of treasure, if you have the Word of God dwelling richly in your heart. But in the sacred Book we find not only an enrichment of gold laid up, but a present abundance of sweetness to be enjoyed now. He who lives on God’s Word tastes the honey of life — a sweetness far superior to honey; for honey satiates, though it never satisfies, it cloys and never make one content. The more you have of divine teaching, the more you will wish to have, and the more you will be capable of enjoying. He who loves the inspired Book shall have wealth for his mind and sweetness for his heart.

4. But David is mainly aiming at the practical; so, having introduced the sun as the symbol of God’s Word because of its pleasurable influence, he adds, “Moreover by them your servant is warned: and in the keeping of them there is great reward.” On these two things we will meditate under the following points: — First, their keeping us — “By them your servant is warned”; secondly, our keeping them — “And in the keeping of them there is great reward.”

5. I. First, THEIR KEEPING US: “By them your servant is warned.”

6. We are in an enemy’s country: we are always in danger; we are most in peril when we think ourselves most secure. You will find in the histories of the Bible that the most crushing defeats have fallen upon armies suddenly, when they were off their guard. The army of Christ always has need to send out its scouts and appoint its sentinels, lest the adversary takes us unawares. We can never tell when we are likely to be assailed: we shall be wise to assume that we are always surrounded by enemies. God’s Word is our keeper, the watcher of our souls; and when a danger is approaching, it rings the alarm and gives us warning. The different parts of Scripture, the statutes, the doctrines, the ordinances, the promises, the precepts — all of these act like scouts for the army, and arouse the Lord’s soldiers to resist sudden assaults: “By them your servant is warned.”

7. In what way does God’s Word warn us? In many forms it operates like this. I would say, first of all, by pointing out sin and describing its nature and danger. We have here the mind of the Lord concerning moral conduct, and so we are not left to guess-work; but we know by unerring teaching what it is that the Lord abhors. Those ten commandments are the lanterns set around a hole in the street, so that no traveller may drive into danger. God only forbids what would injure us; and he only commands what will be for our lasting good. Spread out before you the law of God, and you may say of it as you read it, “By these commandments your servant is warned.” In my walks I see notices bearing the words “TRESPASSERS BEWARE!” and I am kept from wandering.

8. It is good to be acquainted, not only with the letter of the law of the Lord, but with the spirit of it. Numerous sins are condemned by the ten commandments: truly we may say of the law of God, “Your commandment is extremely broad.” All of these are fog horns warning us about dangers which may cause shipwreck to our souls.

9. Studying the Word of God, we are made to see that sin is extremely sinful, since it dishonours God, makes us enemies to our best friend, yes, and drives us madly to destroy our own souls. Sin, according to God’s Word, is murderous: it slew the Saviour of men. Wherever sin comes, death follows it. Sin may bear pleasure in its face, but it has ruin at its heel. Eternal destruction is the finishing of the work of sin. God’s Word is very plain and explicit about these grave facts; it forbids our trifling even with the appearance of evil; it warns us against sins of thought and temperament, as well as against transgressions of speech and act. He who is graciously familiar with his Bible will be preserved from those pitfalls into which so many have rushed, in their careless contempt of God’s Word and holy commandment. A precept of Scripture is like a lighthouse upon a quicksand or a rock; it quietly warns the wise helmsman to steer his vessel another way. The whole coast of life is guarded by these protecting lights, and he who will take note of them may make safe navigation; but remember, it is one thing for the Scripture to give warning, and another for us to take it; and if we do not take warning, we cannot say, “By them your servant is warned.” Oh, that our hearts may be in such a state that a hint from the Word may set us on our watch against evil!

10. Next, the Word of God warns us by reminding us of our duties. We are not only taught negatively what we should not do, but positively what we ought to do; and so we are warned against sins of omission. I wish that professors who are neglectful of many points in the Saviour’s example would study his character more, marking down the points where they come short of it. If we were to read the lives of holy men recorded in Scripture, and notice where we fail to be like them, it might do us much good. Truly, Lord, your servants would be profitably warned if we more frequently enquired, “Lord, what would you have me to do?” Turning over these sacred pages we notice a choice blessing coming upon a man of God, in connection with a certain virtue; then we are warned to cultivate that virtue if we would have that blessing. The Lord does not pay us for our work as though we were hirelings and our labour meritorious; but still, according to his grace he rewards his faithful servants, and so encourages them diligently to obey. Every Bible precept should be an arrow aimed at the heart of our carelessness and forgetfulness. Then we should often say with David, “By them your servant is warned.” Like our Lord in his youth, we must be about our Father’s business; and we must continue in it until, like him, we can say, “I have finished the work which you gave me to do.”

11. The Word of God also warns us of our weakness in those duties which it commands, and of our tendency to fall into those sins which it forbids. It sets before us a noble example, but it warns us to remember that only by divine power can we follow it. It spreads before us a programme of perfect holiness, but it does not flatter us with the notion that by our own strength we can carry it out. It humbles us by showing that we cannot even pray as we ought without the Spirit’s teaching, nor so much as think a good thought without his aid. Scripture is continually warning us of the deceitfulness of our hearts, and of the tendency of sin to advance from one stage of evil to another. Holy Scripture shows us our spiritual inability, apart from the Divine Spirit; and greatly do we need warnings in this way, for we are prone to be self-sufficient. Pride will spring up with the very least encouragement. We buckle on our harness, and begin at once to shout as if the battle were won. How soon we think ourselves near perfection when indeed we are near a fall! We are apt to sit down and imagine that we have won the race, whereas we have not yet traversed one half of the way. The Word of God continually checks our carnal confidence, and disturbs our self-satisfaction. It bears constant protest against our imagining that we have already attained, when we are as yet only babes in grace. How plainly it tells us, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool!” It shows us where our great strength lies; but it calls us off from all trust in our own past experience, or firmness of character, or strength of determination, or depth of sanctification, to lean solely and only upon heavenly grace, which we must receive hour by hour. If we give way to pride, it is against the admonitions of the divine statutes; for in this matter, “By them your servant is warned.”

12. So the Word continually warns us against the temptations which are in the world in which we live. Read its story from the first day of Adam’s fall to the last chapter of its record, and you shall find it continually representing the world as a place of trial for the heir of heaven. It is indeed like a sieve, in which the true grain has no rest, but much tossing to and fro. Christ seems to be praying over us every day as we read the Scripture, “I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil.” If you imagine that your position in life puts you beyond temptation, you are sadly deluded. Poverty has its evil side, and riches are full of snares. Even in a Christian family we may be seduced into great sin, as well as among the ungodly. There is no place under heaven where the arrows of temptation cannot reach us. With this also comes persecution; for because we are not of the world, the world hates us. “In the world you shall have tribulation,” is a sure prophecy. If you encounter no persecution, you should remember that the smiles of the world are even more dangerous than its frowns. Beware of prosperity! Thank God if you have the world’s wealth; but hold it tenderly, and watch over your heart carefully, lest you bow before the golden calf. Adversity has less power to harm than prosperity. Of the evils particular to various positions, the Holy Spirit tells us in these sacred pages: “By them your servant is warned.” We are continually warned to put on the whole armour of God, and not to lay aside the shield of faith for a moment. We are urged to watch at all times, and to pray without ceasing; for in the most quiet life, in the most pious company, and in the regular work of the day, dangers are lurking. Where we think we may be very much at ease, lying down as on a bed of flowers, we are most likely to be stung by the deadly serpent. We are like the first settlers in America: the cunning Red Indians of temptation may be upon us with the deadly tomahawk of lust while we are dreaming of peace and safety.

13. Here, let me add, we are warned over and over again against the temptations of Satan. Certain theologians, nowadays, do not believe in the existence of Satan. It is exceptional when children do not believe in the existence of their own father: but it is so, that those who are most deluded by him are the loudest in repudiating all faith in his existence. Any man who has had experience of his temptations knows that there is a certain mysterious personage, invisible, but almost invincible, who goes around seeking whom he may devour. He has a power far beyond what is human, and a cunning that is equal to that of a thousand of the most clever of men. He will endeavour to influence our minds in a way which is contrary to their true intent; to turn our thoughts in directions which we abhor; to suggest questions about truths of which we are certain, and even blasphemies against him who, in our heart of hearts, we worship lovingly. But, beloved, the power of Satan in a Christian man’s life is a force with which he must reckon, or he may fail through ignorance. Some especially have had severe conflict with this evil one, and certain tried ones are scarcely a day without being tormented either by the howling of this dog or else by his snapping at their heels. He cannot possess us as he possesses many of the ungodly; but he worries whom he cannot devour with a malicious joy. Whatever “modern thought” ministers may have to say about him, the inspired Scripture does not leave us ignorant about his devices, but sets us on our guard against his terrible power, telling us to pray, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One.” The temptations of the world, and of the flesh, are more on our level than the assaults of Satan: he is the prince of the evil forces, and his attacks are so mysterious, so cunningly adapted to our infirmities, and so ingeniously adjusted to our circumstances, that unless the Lord the Holy Spirit shall daily cover us with his broad shield of grace, we shall be in the utmost jeopardy. Oh Lord, by these words of yours your servant is warned to resist the enemy and escape his wiles! Glory be to your loving care!

14. The teachings of the Lord also warn us to expect trial. The Bible never promises the true believer an easy life: rather it assures him that he is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. There is no soaring to heaven on the wings of luxurious ease: we must painfully plod along the pilgrim way. We see on the page of inspiration that we cannot be crowned without warfare, nor honoured without suffering. Jesus went to heaven by a rough road, and we must follow him. Every believer in the cross must bear the cross. If things go easily with you for a long time, do not, therefore, say, “My mountain stands firm, I shall never be moved”; for God only has to hide his face, and you will be troubled. Those happiest of men, of whom it could be said that God had set a hedge around them and all that they had, these, in due course, had to take their turn at the whipping post and smart under the scourge. Even Job, that perfect and upright man, was not without his troubles. Beloved, expect to be tested; and when the trial comes, do not consider it a strange thing. Your sea will be rough, like what tossed your Lord. Your way will be hot and weary, like what your Master trod. The world is a wilderness to you, as it was to him. “It shall also produce thorns and thistles for you.” Do not seek to build your mansion here; for a voice cries to you out of the Word, “This is not your rest, for it is polluted.” Think of that verse of our favourite hymn —

   Why should I complain of want or distress,
   Temptation, or pain? He told me no less.
   The heirs of salvation, I know from his Word,
   Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.

Therefore, beloved, you are forewarned so that you may be forearmed.

15. God’s Word also warns us by prophesying to us of things to come. I cannot enter just now into what is a very interesting point of experience, namely, the unique fact that the Bible is used by God to warn individuals of events about to occur to them. The Book is full of prophecies for nations, but at times it becomes prophetic for individual believers. Have you never had impressed upon your mind a passage of Scripture which has followed you for hours, and even days, and you could not tell why, until an event has happened which has so exactly tallied with that Scripture, that you could only remark that it has prepared you for the circumstance? Will not your morning reading sometimes anticipate the sorrow or the duty of the day? Have you not often found that if you read the Bible consecutively, somehow or other, the passage which comes in due course, will prove to be as truly a lesson for the day, as if it had been written on purpose to meet your case? I am far from being superstitious, or wishful to encourage faith in mere impressions, but I cannot shut my eyes to facts which have happened to me. I know that I have received, through this Book of God, messages to my heart, which have come with unique power and suitability; so that I have been compelled to say, with emphasis, “Moreover by them your servant is warned.”

16. But the Bible warns us all about certain great events, especially of the Second Advent of the Lord and the coming judgment. It does not clearly tell us when our Lord will appear, but it warns us that to the unprepared he will come as a thief in the night. It warns us of the general judgment, and of the day when all men shall live again, and stand before the great white throne. It warns us of the day when every secret shall be revealed, and when every man shall receive for the things that he has done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it is good or evil. “By them your servant is warned.” If I live like one of those cattle, in the immediate present, if I have no eye for the future that is hurrying on, if my soul never places herself in vision before the judgment seat of Christ, if I never foresee the day when heaven and earth, before the presence of the great Judge, shall flee away; why, then I cannot be a diligent reader of the Word of God. If I search the Scriptures I shall be called to walk in the light of the last day, and shall be made to gird up my loins to face the dread account. Oh, that we might all be warned to be ready, so that we may turn in our account with joy! Oh, that we may so take the warnings of holy writ as to be ready for death, ready for judgment, and ready for that final sentence which can never be reversed! If we were truly wise, these warnings would put salt into our lives, and preserve them from the corruption which is in the world through lust.

17. Beloved, I trust that every one of us who knows the Lord will use his holy Book as the constant guard of his life. Let it be like a fog horn to you, going off in warning when the road is hidden by a fog. Let it be like the red light on the railway, suggesting to you to come to a stop, for the road is dangerous. Let it be like a dog at night, waking you from sleep because a robber is breaking in; or as the watch on board a ship, who shouts aloud, “Breakers ahead!” Let the Word of God be like one who, during the great flood in America, {a} rode on a white horse down the valley, crying out, as he rode along, “To the hills! To the hills! To the hills!” The waters were following fast behind him, and he would have the people escape to the mountains, lest they should be drowned. Oh precious Book, warn me to seek the hills like this! Ring the alarm-bell in my ear, and compel me to flee from the wrath to come. Day and night, wherever I may be, may a word from the oracle of God sound in my ears, and keep me from sleeping on the brink of the abyss! May no enemy be able to steal upon us when sleeping in false security; for it is high time that we awaken out of sleep; and this Book tells us so.

18. So far we have spoken upon the Word as keeping us.

19. II. And now, secondly, I have to speak to you on OUR KEEPING THE WORD OF GOD.

20. “In the keeping of them there is great reward.” What is meant by keeping the testimonies of God’s Word? You know very well that it will not suffice to have the holy Book in your houses, to lie on the table, so that visitors may see that you have a family Bible. Nor is it enough to place it on the bookshelf where the dust may thickly cover it, because it is never used. That is not keeping the Bible, but burying it. It does not warn you, for you smother it; you do not keep it, for you dishonour it by neglect. You must have a reverent esteem for it, and a growing familiarity with it, if you would keep it. “Let the Word of God dwell in you richly.”

21. To keep the Word of God is, first of all, to earnestly study it so as to become acquainted with its contents. Know your Bible from beginning to end. I am afraid there is very little Bible searching nowadays. If the Word of God had been diligently studied there would not have been so general a departure from its teachings. Bible-reading people seldom go off to modern theology. Those who feed on the Word of God enjoy it too much to give it up. Comparing spiritual things with spiritual, they learn to prize all revealed truth, and they hold firmly the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. Dear young people, if you never read a single book of romance you will lose nothing; but if you do not read your Bibles you will lose everything. This is the age of fiction, and hence the age of speculation and error: leave fiction, and give yourself entirely to the truth. Eat what is good, and do not spend your money on what is not bread. The Bible is the Thesaurus of heavenly knowledge; the Encyclopedia of divine science: read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the same, and then you will be keeping the sayings of God.

22. But we cannot keep them without going further than this: we must be zealous in their defence. May it be said of each one of us, “You have kept my word.” When you find others denying God’s truth, hold it more firmly. When they argue against it, be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. It is not an easy task to stand firm in the faith today; for the current which runs towards unbelief is as strong as a torrent, and many have been swept off their feet by it, and are being carried down to the cataracts of error. May God help you to say with the pilgrims in Vanity Fair, “We buy the truth!” Buy it at any price, and sell it at no price. It ought to be dearer than life, for it was so to the martyrs of our own country, and to the Covenanters of Scotland, in whose steps we would tread. They cared little whether their heads were cut off or not; but they cared deeply for King Jesus and the statutes of his Word. Beloved, happy in the end will that man be who for a while has suffered contempt, and misrepresentation, and separation from his brethren, because of fidelity to the truth of God! Come what may, he who sides with truth will be no loser in the end. Oh, for more Luthers nowadays: we need them! Those who pander to error are everywhere: even those in whom we trusted have betrayed their Lord.

23. But this is not all, we must get much further: there must be a careful observance of the law of the Lord. We cannot be said to keep God’s Word if we never carry it out in our own lives. If we know the commandments, but do not obey them, we increase our sin. If we understand the truth and talk about it, but are slow to live according to it, what will become of us? This is not to keep God’s Word, but to hold the truth of God in unrighteousness. This may, in some cases, be a presumptuous sin. When your knowledge far exceeds your practice, take heed lest you are guilty of sinning wilfully. We must keep the Word of God in the sense in which our Lord used the word when he said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

24. Once more, even this is not enough: we are to keep the truth of God, not only by reverent study of it, by zealous propagation of it, by careful observance of it, but also by an inward cleaving to it in love, and a cherishing of it in our heart of hearts. What you believe you must also love if you are to keep it. If it comes to you in the power of God, it may humble you, it may chasten you, it may refine you as with fire; but you will love it as your life. It will be as music to your ear, as honey to your palate, as gold to your purse, as heaven to your soul. Let your very self be knit to the faithful Word. Just as new-born babes desire the unadulterated milk, so you desire the teachings of the Spirit, so that you may grow by them. Every word of God must be bread to us, after which we hunger, and with which we are satisfied. We must love it even more than our necessary food. For what God has spoken, we must have an ever-burning, fervent love, which no floods of destructive criticism can quench, or even dampen.

25. But now the text says, “In the keeping of them there is great reward”; and here you must have patience with me while I set out the great reward which comes to obedient believers. There are many rewards, and the first is, great tranquillity of mind. “Great peace have those who love your law: and nothing shall offend them.” When a man has done what God tells him to do, his conscience is at peace; and this is a choice blessing. I can tolerate anyone to be my foe rather than my conscience. We read of David, “David’s heart struck him.” That was an awkward knock! When a man’s own conscience is his foe, where can he run for shelter? Conscience strikes home, and the wound is deep. But when a man can conscientiously say, “I did the right thing; I held the truth; I honoured my God”; then the censures of other men go for little. In such a case, you have no trouble about the consequences of your action; for if any bad consequence should follow, the responsibility would not lie with you: you did what you were told. Having done what God himself commanded you, the consequences are with your Lord, and not with you. If the heavens were likely to fall, it would not be our duty to shore them up with a lie. If the whole church of God threatened to go to pieces, it would be no business of ours to bind it up by an unhallowed compromise. If you should fail to achieve success in life, as men call success, that is no fault of yours, if you cannot succeed without being dishonest. It will be a greater success to be honest, and to be poor, than to grow rich through trickery. If, through grace, you have done the will of God, your peace shall be like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Can you think of a greater reward than this? I cannot. A quiet conscience is a little heaven. A martyr was fastened to the stake, and the sheriff who was to execute him expressed his sorrow that he should persevere in his opinions, and compel him to set fire to the pile. The martyr answered, “Do not trouble yourself, for I am not troubling myself. Come and lay your hand upon my heart, and see if it does not beat quietly.” His request was complied with, and he was found to be quite calm. “Now,” he said, “lay your hand on your own heart, and see if you are not more troubled than I am; and then go your way, and, instead of pitying me, pity yourself.” When we have done right we need no man’s pity, however painful the immediate consequence. To do right is better than to prosper. A heart sound in the truth is greater riches than a houseful of silver and gold. There is more honour in being defeated in the truth than in a thousand victories gained by policy and falsehood. Though fame should give you the monopoly of her bronze trumpet for the next ten centuries, she could not honour you so much as you will be honoured by following right and truth, even though your integrity is unknown to men. In keeping the Word of the Lord there is great reward, even if it brings no reward. The approbation of God is more than the admiration of nations. Truly this is great reward.

26. The next great reward is increase of divine knowledge. If any man will know the will of Christ, let him do that will. When a young man is apprenticed to learn a trade, he does so by working at it: and we learn the truth which our Lord teaches by obeying his commands. To reach the shores of heavenly wisdom every man must work his passage. Holiness is the royal road to scriptural knowledge. We know as much as we do. “If any man will do his will, he shall know concerning the doctrine.” It may be, you sit down and consider the doctrine, but you cannot understand it. You think it over and consult a learned divine; but you still cannot understand it. Be obedient, pray for a willing heart to do the will of God, and you have already received enlarged capacity, and with it a new light for your eyes: you will learn more by holy practice than by wearisome study. May the Lord help us to follow on to know the Lord, for then we shall know! Practice makes perfect. Obedience is the best of schools, and love is the ablest of teachers. To know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, is the gift of grace to the faithful: is this not a great reward?

27. Moreover, in keeping the commandments we increase in conformity to Christ, and subsequently in communion with God. He who does as Christ did is like Christ; for our likeness is moral and spiritual. In measure we receive his image as we work his deeds; and then, just as Christ lived in constant fellowship with God, because he always did the things that pleased God, so we walk in the light, as God is in the light, when we yield obedience to the divine will. If you walk in sin, you cannot walk with God. If you will be obedient, then all clouds shall be chased away, and your light shall shine brighter and brighter to the perfect day. Sinning will make you stop having communion with God, or else communion with God will make you stop sinning: one of the two things must occur. If you are kept from sin and made to be obedient, you shall bear the image of the heavenly, and with the heavenly you shall have daily communion.

28. This will be followed by the fourth great reward, namely power in prayer. Jesus says, “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall ask what you wish, and it shall be done for you.” If you will read in the Gospel of John, you will frequently see how success in prayer is, in the case of the believer, made to depend on his complete obedience. If you will not listen to God’s Word, neither will he listen to your word. Some people complain that they have no power with God: but has God any power with them? Look to the faultiness of your lives, and cease to wonder at the failure of your prayers. An inconsistent life downstairs means unprofitable prayer upstairs — if indeed there is any prayer at all. You cannot have God’s ear in the closet if he never has your ear in the shop. If you live as worldlings live, the Lord will treat you as he did Cain, to whose offering he had no respect. Do not wonder about your leanness in private devotion, if there is licence in your public life. Oh Lord God the Holy Spirit, sanctify us in our daily lives, so we shall obtain access to God through Jesus Christ, and our pleading shall be accepted in him.

29. One great reward is the habit of holiness. The man who has, by divine grace, long kept the way of the Lord, finds it more easy to do so, because he has acquired the habit of obedience. All things are difficult at the beginning, but all things grow easy as we proceed. I do not say that holiness is ever easy for us: it must always be a labour, and we must always be helped by the Holy Spirit; but at the same time, it is far easier for a man to obey who has obeyed, than for one to obey who has lived in constant rebellion. If you have faith, you will have more faith almost as a necessary result. If you pray much, you will pray more: it is all but inevitable that you should do so. There are believers whom the Lord has put on the rails of life; they do not run on the road, like common vehicles; but they are placed on tram-lines of habit, and so they keep the ways of the Lord. Sometimes a stone gets on the rails, and there is an unhappy jolt; but still they do no iniquity, but keep on in one straight line even to their journey’s end. This is a great reward of grace. If you are obedient, you shall be rewarded by being made more obedient. As the diligent workman becomes expert in his craft, so you shall grow skilful in holiness. Use is second nature. What a joy it is when holiness becomes our second nature, when prayer becomes habitual as breathing, and praise is as continual as our heartbeats! May hatred of sin be spontaneous, and may desire for the best things be the habit of our soul! I scarcely know of a greater reward than this habit of holiness which the Lord in his grace bestows on us.

30. This will generally be followed by another great reward, namely, usefulness to others. He who keeps the commandments of the Lord will become an example that others may copy, and he will wield an influence which shall constrain them to copy him. Do you not think that many Christians are spiritually childless because they are disobedient? How can God permit me to bring others to himself if I myself backslide from him? The power to bless others must first be a power within ourselves. It is useless to pump yourself up into a pretended earnestness at a meeting, and then to think that this kind of thing will work a real work of grace in others: the seed of pretence will yield a harvest of pretenders; and nothing more. Nothing can come out of a man unless it is first in him; and if it is in him it will be seen in his life as well as in his teaching. If I do not live as I preach, my preaching is not living preaching. I could name men of great talent who see no conversions; and one does not wonder, for in their own lives there is no holiness, no spirituality, no communion with God. I could mention Christian people, with very considerable gifts, who have no corresponding measure of grace, and hence their labour comes to nothing. Oh, for more holiness! Where that is obvious there will be more usefulness.

31. Lastly, we shall have the great reward of bringing glory to the grace of God. If we are made holy, men, seeing our good works, will glorify our Father who is in heaven; and is this not the very purpose of our existence? Is this not the flower and fruit of life? Therefore, please walk humbly and carefully with God, so that he may be honoured in you.

32. There are two things I want to say before I sit down. The first is, let us hold firmly, tenaciously, doggedly, with a death-grip, the truth of the inspiration of God’s Word. If it is not inspired and infallible, it cannot be of use in warning us. I see little use in being warned when the warning may be like the idle cry of “Wolf!” when there is no wolf. Everything in the railway service depends on the accuracy of the signals: when these are wrong, life will be sacrificed. On the road to heaven we need unerring signals, or the catastrophes will be far more terrible. It is difficult enough to set myself right and carefully drive the train of conduct; but if, in addition to this, I am to set the Bible right, and so manage the signals along the permanent way, I am in an evil plight indeed. If the red light or the green light may deceive me, I am better off without signals than to trust in such faulty guides. We must have something fixed and certain, or where is the foundation? Where is the fulcrum for our lever if nothing is certain? If I may not implicitly trust my Bible, you may burn it, for it is of no more use to me. If it is not inspired, it ceases to be a power either to warn or to command obedience. Beloved, others may say what they wish, but here I stand bearing this witness: “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”

33. While you firmly hold its inspiration, pray God to prove its inspiration to you. Its gentle but effective warning will prove its inspiration. This precious Book has pulled me up many times, and made me stop, when otherwise I would have gone on to sin. At another time I should have sat still had it not made me leap to my feet to flee from evil or seek good. To me it is a monitor, whose voice I prize. There is a power about this Book which is not in any other. I do not care whether it is the highest poetry, or the latest science; each must yield to the power of the Word of God. Nothing ever plays on the cords of a man’s soul like the finger of God’s Spirit. This Book can touch the deep springs of my being, and make the life-floods to flow out. The Word of God is the great power of God; and it is good that you should know it to be so by its power over you. One said, “I cannot believe the Bible.” Another answered, “I cannot doubt it.” When this question was raised: “Why can you not doubt?” the believer answered, “I know the Author, and I am sure of his truthfulness.” There is the point; if we know the Author, we know that his witness is true, and knowing it to be true, we take his warnings, and follow his commands. May the Lord work in us to will and to do his own good pleasure; then the Book shall be more and more precious in our eyes; and this sense of its preciousness will be one of the rewards which comes to us in keeping the statutes of the Lord. May it be so for you through Christ Jesus! Amen.

[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ps 19]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Lord’s Day — The Joyful Morn” 908}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Holy Scriptures — The Bible, The Light Of The World” 479}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 19” 19}


{a} The Johnstown Flood (or Great Flood of 1889 as it became known locally) occurred on May 31, 1889. It was the result of the catastrophic failure of the South Fork Dam situated on the Little Conemaugh River 14 miles up-stream of the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA, made worse by several days of extremely heavy rainfall. The dam’s failure unleashed a torrent of 20 million tons of water from the reservoir known as Lake Conemaugh. With a flow rate that temporarily equalled that of the Mississippi River, the flood killed 2,209 people and caused $17 million US of damage (the equivalent of about $425 million in 2012 dollars). See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnstown_Flood"

Just Published. Price Sixpence.

The Book Fund and its Work for 1889.

By Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.

“We feared that there would be no report of ‘The Book Fund’ this year, for our beloved wife was so suffering in body that her mind could scarcely bear the burden of composing a book. Now our wonder is, that anything so pleasant could come out of such a furnace of pain. The record for the past year has about it the charm of the former ones. It is not only a powerful plea for poor ministers, but there is in it a force of spiritual feeling, and poetic expression, which will win the reader’s attention at the first, and hold it to the last. We cannot, of course, pretend impartiality; and therefore we refer the task of criticism to our readers. If they do not say that this little sixpenny book is sweetly written, we shall be disappointed concerning their clarity of judgment. We confess our own delight in the perusal of this Report, which we did not see until it came to us complete from the publishers.” — C. H. S.

Passmore & Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.

Public Worship, The Lord’s Day
908 — The Joyful Morn <8.8.6.>
1 The festal morn, my God, has come,
   That calls me to thy honour’d dome,
      Thy presence to adore;
   My feet the summons shall attend,
   With willing steps thy courts ascend,
      And tread the hallow’d floor.
2 Hither from Judah’s utmost end,
   The heaven-protected tribes ascend,
      Their offerings hither bring:
   Here, eager to attest their joy,
   In hymns of praise their tongues employ,
      And hail th’ immortal King.
3 Be peace by each implored on thee,
   Oh Sion, while with bended knee,
      To Jacob’s God we pray;
   How blest, who calls himself thy friend!
   Success his labour shall attend,
      And safety guard his way.
4 Seat of my friends and brethren, hail!
   How can my tongue, oh Sion, fail,
      To bless thy loved abode?
   How cease the zeal that in me glows,
   Thy good to seek, whose walls enclose
      The mansions of my God!
                  James Merrick, 1765, a.


Holy Scriptures
479 — The Bible, The Light Of The World
1 A glory guilds the sacred page,
      Majestic, like the sun:
   It gives a light to every age;
      It gives, but borrows none.
2 The hand that gave it still supplies
      The gracious light and heat;
   It truths upon the nations rise;
      They rise, but never set.
3 Let everlasting thanks be thine
      For such a bright display,
   As makes a world of darkness shine
      With beams of heavenly day.
4 My soul rejoices to pursue
      The steps of him I love,
   Till glory breaks upon my view
      In brighter worlds above!
                     William Cowper, 1779.


Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 19
1 The heavens declare thy glory, Lord;
   In ev’ry star thy wisdom shines;
   But when our eyes behold thy word,
   We read thy name in fairer lines.
2 Sun, moon, and stars convey thy praise
   Round the whole earth, and never stand;
   So when thy truth began its race,
   It touch’d and glanced on ev’ry land.
3 Nor shall thy spreading gospel rest,
   Till through the word thy truth has run;
   Till Christ has all the nations blest
   That see the light, or feel the sun.
4 Great Sun of Righteousness, arise,
   Bless the dark world with heavenly light;
   Thy gospel makes the simple wise;
   Thy laws are pure, thy judgments right.
5 Thy noblest wonders here we view,
   In souls renew’d, and sins forgiven:
   Lord, cleanse my sins, my soul renew,
   And make thy word my guide to heaven.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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