2474. The Great Change

by on

No. 2474-42:337. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, July 18, 1886, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, July 19, 1896.

Ephraim shall say, “What have I to do any more with idols?” I have heard him, and observed him: I am a green fir tree. From me is your fruit found. {Ho 14:8}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 557, “Where to Find Fruit” 548}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1339, “Idols Abolished” 1330}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2474, “Great Change, The” 2475}
   Exposition on Ho 11; 14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3005, “Silken Cords” 3006 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ho 14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2742, “Interrogation and Exclamation” 2743 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ho 14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2981, “Safeguards of Forgiveness, The” 2982 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ho 14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3175, “ ‘Peace! Perfect Peace!’ ” 3176 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 34 Ho 14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2474, “Great Change, The” 2475 @@ "Exposition"}

1. This passage is in very vivid contrast to what Ephraim had previously said, as it is recorded in the early part of Hosea’s prophecy. If you turn to the second chapter, you will find this same Ephraim saying, “I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.” {Ho 2:5} These lovers were the idol-gods, and Ephraim was determined to go after them, for she ascribed to them her various comforts, her bread and her water, her wool and her flax, her oil and her drink. So desperately set was this Ephraim on going after her idols that God had much ado to drag her away from them, for that second chapter continues, “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and make a wall, so that she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them.” So, you see, this people had been desperately set on following after idols; yet, before the prophecy is ended, we find this same Ephraim saying, “What have I to do any more with idols?” What a change the grace of God works in the heart! It reverses the action of the entire machinery of our being. It puts, “No,” for “Yes,” and “Yes,” for “No.” It is a radical change; what we hated, we come to love; and what we loved, we come to hate. Whereas we said, concerning this and that, “I will,” and “I shall,” the grace of God makes us change our note and we say, “I will not; by God’s grace, I will not act as I said I would, for what have I to do any more with idols?”

2. At the beginning of this discourse, I would ask this question of everyone here, “Have you, my friend, ever experienced this great and total change?” Remember, if you have not, it is imperatively necessary that you should if you desire to be numbered among the Lord’s people. “You must be born again,” and this being born again is not the evolving of some good thing out of you that is already there hidden away, but the putting into you of something which is not there. It is the quickening of you from your death in sin. It is a change in you as great as was performed on the person of our Lord Jesus when, after lying in the grave dead, he was brought to life. Nothing short of this new birth, this resurrection, this thorough, total, radical change will prepare you to enter heaven. You have no right to expect that you will ever stand within those gates of pearl unless you have been created anew in Christ Jesus. He who sits on the throne says, “Behold, I make all things new”; and he must make you new, or else, into the new kingdom where there is a new heaven and a new earth, you can never come; indeed, you cannot even see that kingdom, for our Lord’s words are as true today as when he said to Nicodemus, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Let that searching thought remain with you, and test yourselves by it.

3. But now I shall take you at once to the words of the text, so that we may think of the change which was performed on Israel, or Ephraim. We will consider, first, the character of this change: “Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do any more with idols?’ ” Then, secondly, let us note the cause of this change; and, thirdly, the effect of this change.

4. I. First, then, we are to consider THE CHARACTER OF THIS CHANGE.

5. Ephraim had been besotted with her idolatry. The Israelites were never contented with idols of one kind; they went to Moab, to Egypt, to Philistia, to Assyria, to the Hittites, and to any other “ites,” to borrow idols. They introduced new idols from distant countries, they were never satisfied with the number of their images; yet now, when God has powerfully worked on their hearts, they say, one voice speaking for all, “What have I to do any more with idols?”

6. Notice, that this change was a very hearty and spontaneous one. Ephraim did not say, “I should like to worship idols, yet I dare not.” She did not say, “I should like to set up carved images, but I must not.” On the contrary, she herself said, “What have I to do any more with idols?” I wish that some people whom I might mention understood what conversion means. They say to us, “So you do not attend the theatre; what a denial it must be for you!” It is nothing of the kind, for we never have a wish or a desire to go there. What have we, the twice-born, to do with these vain things of the world? “Oh, but the drunkard’s cup — it must be a very great piece of self-denial to you to renounce it!” On the contrary, it is loathsome to us; we have come to feel as if the most nauseous medicine that could be mixed would be sweeter to us than that cup. What have we to do any more with idols?

7. So, each thing that is evil becomes for the real convert a disgusting and distasteful thing. He does not say, “Oh, how I should like it! How I long for it! What a hungering I have for it!” If he detects in himself the least hankering after evil of any kind, he cries out, “Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” But as far as the work of God’s Spirit has worked on him, he has a thorough hearty severance and divorce from those things which he once loved, and he has as great a horror of them as once he had a desire for them. Now he sings, —

    Let worldly minds the world pursue,
       It has no charms for me;
    Once I admired its trifles too,
       But grace has set me free.
    Its pleasures now no longer please,
       No more content afford;
    Far from my heart be joys like these,
       Now I have seen the Lord.
    As by the light of opening day
       The stars are all conceal’d;
    So earthly pleasures fade away,
       When Jesus is reveal’d.

8. I say again, the change is a very spontaneous and hearty one. Ephraim herself shall freely say, “What have I to do any more with idols? I have finished with those things, and I am glad to be rid of them. Oh, that I had been finished with them once and for all!” I asked a convert, this last week, perhaps almost a dozen I have asked the same question, “My dear brother, are you perfect?” “No, sir,” each one has said, “I am not.” Then when I have enquired, “Would you not like to be perfect?” the answer in every case has been, “Yes, indeed I would; it would be heaven on earth if I could only be perfectly holy. Oh, that I were completely rid of sin!” So we sing, with Cowper, —

    The dearest idol I have known,
       Whate’er that idol be,
    Help me to tear it from thy throne,
       And worship only thee.

9. Let the idols go; smash them all up, break them in pieces like potters’ vessels. If there is a lust, if there is a passion, if there is a joy, if there is a desire, that is not according to the mind of God, away with it. We cannot endure the evil thing, and want to get rid of it. Ephraim shall say, and shall say it cheerfully, spontaneously, heartily, “What have I to do any more with idols?”

10. Observe also, that this change is the work of God’s effectual grace. Notice the wording of the text: “Ephraim shall say.” It is God who says, “Ephraim shall say.” Perhaps you ask me, “Did you not say that Ephraim said this voluntarily, spontaneously, with all her heart, and of her own free will?” Yes, that is so; but the Holy Spirit, without violating the freedom of man’s will, is the Master of that will. There used to be great wars and fightings among Christian people about free will and free grace; and when I read the reports of those controversies, I am struck with the great amount of truth that was spoken on both sides. When I hear a man stoutly affirm that, if there is any good thing, it is all of the grace of God, I know that it is so; but when another declares that man is a free agent, and that, if he acts virtuously at all, his free will must consent to it, and that this condition is essential to the very making of virtue, is that not also true? Certainly it is, and why should we not believe both? Ephraim cheerfully says, “What have I to do any more with idols?” and yet, behind that, is the great mysterious energy and work of the Holy Spirit bringing to pass the eternal purpose and decree of God, so that they are fulfilled. For God to work his will with mere materialism, with dead blocks of wood or stone, with rivers or with tempests, is only ordinary omnipotence; but for God to leave men absolutely free and responsible agents, and never to interfere with the freedom of their agency, and yet for him to accomplish his eternal purposes concerning them to every jot and tittle, this is, if I may say so, omnipotent omnipotence, this is almighty power carried to a climax. It is just so with the grace of God; we spontaneously leave our sin, but it is because almighty grace is working within us to will and to do of God’s own good pleasure. “Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do any more with idols?’ ” because God in his effectual grace has weaned her from her idols.

11. Notice next, dear friends, that this change is always a very personal one. Ephraim says, “What have I to do any more with idols?” She does not say, “What have the nations to do with idols?” That would be a wise question; but, as a rule, national or general religion does not amount to much; we say, with Mr. Bunyan, “Those are generalities, man, come to particulars.” Believe all truth with the general company of those who hold it; but mind that you come to particulars, and say, “What have I to do any more with idols?” Do not ask, “What has my mother to do with idols? What has my brother to do with idols? What has my neighbour to do with idols?” but, “What have I to do with idols?” If all other men go into sin, I must not. I ask each believing one to whom I am speaking to feel, “God has done so much for me that I must turn away from sin. To me, wilful wickedness would be a horrible thing. I must quit all iniquity. Whatever all the rest of the world may do, I must not go with the multitude to do evil; I must loathe it and leave it. ‘As for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ ‘Ephraim shall say, "What have I to do any more with idols?"’ ” Abhor selfishness and egotism; but, at the same time, be very personal and individual about your own religion. You were born alone, and you will die alone, and you have need to be born again individually and personally; and it must come to a personal transaction between yourself and God, so that you can for yourself say, as we did in our singing, —

    ’Tis done! the great transaction’s done;
    I am my Lord’s, and he is mine:
    He drew me, and I follow’d on,
    Charm’d to confess the voice divine.
    High heaven that heard the solemn vow,
    That vow renewed shall daily hear;
    Till in life’s latest hour I bow,
    And bless in death a bond so dear.

12. “What have I to do any more with idols?” The change implied here must be spontaneous and hearty; it must be the result of divine grace; and it must be personal.

13. And then, dear friends, it must also be a truly repentant change: “What have I to do any more with idols?” There is in that question a confession that the speaker has been involved with idols already. Let the time past suffice us to have done the will of the flesh. Brother, if you are resolved to serve God, through his grace, yet before you begin that service, remember how you have served the devil in the past. Do not quit your old way without many a tear of regret, and many a blush of deep humiliation, for whatever you may do in the future, you cannot undo the past. Your wasted time, your injured faculties, your angered God, your friends around you influenced for evil by your example, you cannot blot out all these; therefore, at least stop for a while, and shed penitent tears over the graves of your dead sins, and ask your God to help you to feel that you have had enough of your evil ways, and sin, and neglect. Say, “What have I to do any more with idols? I have had far too much to do with them already. Oh Satan, oh self, oh world, I have served you all too long; and now, my God, with deep regret for all the past, I turn my face to you!”

14. This change must also be, dear friends, lifelong. Notice two words in our text, “What have I to do any more with idols?” Where the grace of God really converts a man, he is not converted merely for the next quarter of a year, with the possibility of falling from grace afterwards. That is a human conversion which can ever come to an end; but if God converts you, you never can be unconverted. Since conversion is the work of the Spirit of God, it is clear that it must need the same power to undo it as first did it. He who has made you a Christian will keep you a Christian; and unless a stronger than he shall come in, and undo his work, you shall never go back to your old idols again.

    Where God begins his gracious work,
       That work he will complete,
    For round the objects of his love,
       All power and mercy meet.
    Man may repent him of his work,
       And fail in his intent;
    God is above the power of change,
       He never can repent.
    Each object of his love is sure
       To reach the heavenly goal:
    For neither sin nor Satan can
       Destroy the blood-wash’d soul.

Oh, how I love to preach this glorious doctrine of everlasting salvation! The salvation that only carries you a little bit of the way to heaven, I never thought worthy of my acceptance, I would not have it as a gift, and I never thought it worth preaching to you. I remember hearing one of the revival preachers say that there are some who go on the road to heaven, and just take a ticket to the next station; then they get out, and take a new ticket, and rush back to the train; and so they keep on. “But,” said the man, “when I started, I took a ticket all the way through.” That is the way to travel to heaven; when you start, get a ticket all the way through. Listen to these words of Christ: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Listen also to these words of our Lord to the woman of Samaria: “Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Oh my brothers, God does not play at saving men; first doing the work, and then undoing it. If he saves you, you are saved. “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” There is the gospel which we are sent to preach to you; so that, when once converted, truly converted, you will say, “What have I to do any more with idols?”

15. Perhaps someone asks, “Indeed, but do not some professors go back, and do you say that, if men, after making a profession of religion, live in sin, they shall be saved?” Certainly we say nothing of the kind; we say, on the contrary, that if truly converted they will not live in sin, but if the work of grace is worked in them, they will be kept from sin; or if they shall, through sudden temptation, fall, they shall be speedily restored; weeping and sighing, they shall be brought back again to the good way. We never said that men could live in sin, and yet go to heaven. That would be damnable talk, not fit for a Christian to utter; but he who is truly saved is saved once and for all, and he can say, “What have I to do any more with idols?” Throughout the rest of his life he will be finished with them, he will have left them. He will burn his bridges behind him, never to go back to the country which he has left once and for all. This is a salvation worth having; therefore, please, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and be a partaker of it.

16. Yet once more, notice that this is a very thorough change: “What have I to do any more with idols?” Oh you who are finished with idols remember that you are also finished with the idol temples, you are finished with the false priests, you are finished with the so-called “sacred thread” and other idolatrous signs; you are finished with everything pertaining to idolatry! You who once were drunkards are finished for ever with the public house and the drunkard’s cup. You who once were immoral, if the grace of God has changed you, what have you to do with fornication, what have you to do with any kind of uncleanness? You who were previously dishonest, if the grace of God has changed you, what have you to do with the tricks of the trade? What have you to do with fraudulent bankruptcies? What have you to do with cheating and lying? Let each true believer cry “What have I to do any more with idols?” Begone, sin and Satan, bag and baggage! What has a man, who is bought with the blood of Christ, to do any more with idols? He quits them once and for all, by God’s good grace.

17. I find that the rest of my text would take up far too much time for me to expound it fully, so I shall have to satisfy myself with the second division of the subject.

18. II. This was to be, you will remember, THE CAUSE OF THIS GREAT CHANGE.

19. The first cause of this change is the grace received. In the previous part of the chapter, we find the Lord saying, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for my anger is turned away from him.” Then our text naturally follows, “Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do any more with idols?’ ” We cannot get you to give up sin, however earnestly we may exhort you to forsake it; but if, by God’s grace, you receive Christ as your Saviour, then you will abandon sin as a natural result. What is the best way to keep chaff out of a bushel measure? Fill it full of wheat; and when the heart of a man is full of Christ, there will be no room for the world, the flesh, and the devil. These evil things cannot find an entrance where Christ has full possession. When God is as the dew of our soul, and we receive freely from his grace, then we do not need telling, and urging, and driving, but we at once say, “What have I to do any more with idols?”

20. Another cause of this great change lies in our perception of the beauties of the Lord. I do not quite know whether what I am going to say is the exact teaching of the text, but I think it is. It is very difficult, sometimes, in these prophecies to know who is speaking. There are often dialogues, and the dialogues are not always so clearly marked that we can tell who is the speaker. I have always thought, when I have read this chapter, that it was the Lord who said, “I have heard him, and observed him”; but on thinking the passage over very carefully, I am not quite sure that it is so. Let me give you another version, which I read in two verses by an unknown poet; and then see whether this is not the meaning of the passage: —

    I have heard him, and observed him,
       Seen his beauty rich and rare,
    Seen his majesty and glory,
       And his grace beyond compare.
    What have I to do with idols,
       When such visions fill my eye?
    How be occupied with shadows
       When the substance passes by?

21. Does the text mean, then, “I will have nothing more to do with idols, for I have heard my God, and I have observed him; I have heard Christ speak, and I have observed the excellency of his character?” This much I know, — whether that is the teaching of this passage, or not, — nothing weans the heart from idols like a sight of Christ. Oh you worldly Christians, who are getting to be so fond of this world, I am sure that you have not seen your Master recently! If you had, the world would sink in your esteem. Oh you who are beginning to be fond of human wisdom, you cannot have heard him speak recently, or else he would be made wisdom to you by God, and everything else would be folly! Oh you who are seeking to live for self and for earthly gain, your heads have not been recently pillowed on the Saviour’s bosom, you have not recently looked into those dear eyes which are more radiant than the glories of the morning! You cannot have known the fragrance of those garments which smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, or you would never be enamoured by this poor, foul, unsavoury world. “I have heard him, and observed him: what have I to do any more with idols?” “I have heard him say, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.’ I have observed him go up to the cross, and lay down his life for me; ‘what have I to do any more with idols?’ ” When you, as the bride of Christ, love your first Husband as you should love him, then your wanderings will be over. When all your heart goes after the Well-Beloved, and he enraptures you with displays of his love and of his grace, then you will say, “What have I to do with idols, — I who am so favoured, I who am so enriched with divine blessings, I who am on the road to heaven, I who am so soon to see the face of him whom I love, — what have I to do with idols?”

22. That seems to me to be a grand meaning perfectly consistent with earnest Christian experience, so I leave it with you. This great change, then, is accomplished in us by the grace of God, and by a sight of the true beauties of our Lord.

23. But now, taking the text as it is generally understood, you will get another meaning. One cause for this great change is the sense of answered prayer: Ephraim shall say, “What have I to do any more with idols?” And God says of Ephraim, “I have heard him.” I remember, even as a child, God hearing my prayer; I cannot tell you what it was about, it may have been concerning a mere trifle, but to me as a child it was as important as the greatest prayer that Solomon ever offered for himself, and God heard that prayer, and it was so early established in my mind that the Lord was God. And afterwards, when I came to really know him, — for, like the child Samuel, I did not then know the Lord, I only felt after him in prayer, — afterwards, when I came to cry to him intelligently, I had this prayer answered, and that petition granted, and many a time since then, — I am only speaking what any of you who know the Lord could also say, — many a time since then he has answered my requests. I cannot tell you all about this matter; there is many a secret between me and my dear Lord. This very week, I have had a love-token from him which, if I could tell you about it, would make your eyes wonder and fill with tears. I asked, and I received, as obviously as if I had spoken to my brother in the flesh, — and he had said, “Yes, there, take all you need.” Well now, I always find that, in proportion as I am conscious that God is hearing my prayers, my heart says, “What have I to do any more with idols?” If I can have from my God whatever I ask for, why do I need cringe and bow my knee to men? If I have only to go to God, and wait on him, and he will give me the desire of my heart, what have I to do with fretting, and fuming, and being anxious? What have I to do with idols? If there is everything in Christ, and that everything is to be had for the asking, what have I to do with idols? It is wonderful how you are weaned from the dry breasts of the world when you can drink in all that your soul desires from the living God. If God, the Jehovah of hosts, is no more to you than the gods of the heathen, or the gods of the men of the world, why then you will have to deal with idols; but if your God is the God who hears prayer, and if you live in his presence, and you speak to him, and he speaks to you, if you keep up perpetual communion with him, so that God can say to you, “I have heard him, and observed him,” then I am sure that you will also say, “What have I to do any more with idols?”

24. If I am addressing any poor soul that has been craving mercy from God, one who has been crying for months to God to give him forgiveness through Jesus Christ, why, dear heart, if you will only believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall get all that you are asking for, you shall receive peace, and pardon, and joy, and rest; and then you will say, “What have I to do any more with idols?”

25. “Oh!” one says, “my dear sir, I have been trying to overcome sin, and I cannot.” I know you cannot; but if you begin by receiving Christ, by praying to God, and getting the answer, then you will be able to say, “What have I to do any more with idols?” You want to wash yourself first, and then to come to the fountain. That will not do; you must come, black as you are, and wash, and be cleansed. You want to get rich spiritually, and then to come to God to enrich you. No; you must come to him poor, come without anything of your own, just as you are, and trust the boundless mercy of God in Christ Jesus, he will give you all you need, and then you will say, “What have I to do any more with idols, for God has heard me, and he observes my soul?”

26. You see, then, some of the ways in which this very great and wonderful change is accomplished. I have had to omit many other points on which I meant to speak, but I pray that this change may be performed in every one of you. Do not wait to have the change done, and then come to God, but come to God for it. If you have a broken heart, come to Christ with it; but if you do not have a broken heart, come to Christ to break your heart. If you feel your sin, come to Christ to have it forgiven; but if you do not feel your sin, come to Christ so that you may be made to feel it. If there is any good thing in you, thank God for it, and come to him for more; but if there is no good thing whatever in you, come without any good thing, and let Christ begin at the very beginning with you, in all your emptiness, and need, and spiritual beggary and loathsomeness. Come to him just as you are, for he still says, “Whoever comes to me, I will in no wise cast out.” May his sweet Spirit graciously attract every one of you until you shall be drawn to him, and so drawn from your idols, and to him shall be glory, for ever and ever! Amen.

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 34 Ho 14}

Ps 34:1. I will bless the LORD at all times:

“At dark times, and bright times when I am alone, and when I am in company; when I feel like doing it and when I do not feel like doing it: ‘I will bless the Lord at all times.’ ”

1. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

“I will not only feel it in my heart, but I will give expression to it with my mouth. Those who do not care for this blessed pleasure may leave it alone; but as for me, ‘his praise shall continually be in my mouth.’ ”

2. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear about it, and be glad.

“I will ride the high horse when I begin to talk about the goodness of God: ‘My soul shall make her boast in the Lord’; and whereas boasters are generally very vexatious to humble-minded people, this kind of boasting shall please them: ‘the humble shall hear about it, and be glad.’ ”

3. Oh magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Come, my brothers and sisters, I cannot perform this happy service alone; it is too much for me all by myself. This bunch of grapes is too heavy to be carried by one. “Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.”

4. I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Should not the prayer-hearing God be praised? If he hears the cries of his people, should he not also hear the praises of his people? It is not one only to whom God has listened, but many can say with the psalmist, “I sought the Lord, and he heard me.”

5, 6. They looked to him, and were enlightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

It is God’s delight to hear the cry of poor men. Sometimes, he passes by the rich and great, and gives heed to the poor and desolate. It is our need that has the loudest cry with God; if our necessities are urgent, our prayer will be powerful.

7. The angel of the LORD camps all around those who fear him, and delivers them.

God’s children are always accompanied like princes are, legions of angels form their body-guard. The angel of the Lord, and companies of holy angels with him, pitch their celestial tents all around those who fear God.

8. Oh taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man who trusts in him.

Do try him, dear friends, and prove for yourselves how good and gracious he is: “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man who trusts in him.”

    Oh, make but trial of his love;
       Experience will decide
    How blest are they, and only they,
       Who in his truth confide!

9. Oh fear the LORD, you his saints: for there is no lack for those who fear him.

He will supply all their needs. You need not fear for anything else when once you fear God.

10. The young lions lack, and suffer hunger:

They are strong, and fierce, and crafty, and unscrupulous, yet still they suffer hunger: —

10. But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.

Though they are neither cruel, nor cunning, nor strong, “those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” What a promise for you to plead in prayer, dear friends! If you are in any need, do not hesitate, but by an act of faith take this gracious word, and plead it with the promise-keeping God: “Have you not said that, ‘those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing’? Then, Lord, do as you have said.”

11-13. Come, you children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. What man is he who desires life, and loves many days, so that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile.

He who can manage his tongue can manage his whole body; for the tongue is the rudder of the ship, and if that is properly held, the vessel will be correctly steered. If you would escape the quicksands and the rocks, look well to your tongue; keep it from evil, so that it speaks neither blasphemy against God nor slander against your fellow men; and keep your lips from guile, that is, from deceit, from double meanings, from saying one thing and meaning another, or making other people think that you mean another, — an art all too well understood in these days. May God make us plain-speaking men, who say what we mean, and mean what we say! When, by the grace of God, we are taught to do this, we have learned a good lesson.

14. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

If it runs away from you, run after it. Never run into or after a quarrel, but always run after peace: “Seek peace, and pursue it.”

15. The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.

The Lord is always watching them, and he is always listening so that he may hear everything they say, especially when they cry to him.

16. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

He will not only destroy the wicked, but he will blot out the very memory of them. They may become great and famous in their wickedness, but they shall not be remembered, as the righteous are. As Solomon says, “The name of the wicked shall rot.”

17, 18. The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who are of a broken heart; and saves such as are of a contrite spirit.

Men do not care for broken hearts, but God does. “Give me a sound heart and a brave heart,” says man. “Give me a broken and a contrite heart,” says the Lord. If you have such a heart as that, do not be afraid to draw near to your God, through Jesus Christ, for he is already near you.

19. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Many who read this verse admit that the first part of it is true: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” Yes, but the latter clause is also true: “but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Do not omit either portion of the passage, for one part is as true as the other.

20. He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken.

God’s people shall suffer no real, lasting, vital injury. You may have flesh wounds, but as for the bones of your spirit, as it were, the solid part of it, “not one of them is broken.”

21. Evil shall slay the wicked: and those who hate the righteous shall be desolate.

They shall need nothing else to make an end of them but their own sins: “Evil shall slay the wicked.”

22. The LORD redeems the soul of his servants: and none of those who trust in him shall be desolate.

Now we are going to read the last chapter of the Book of the prophet Hosea, the first of the minor prophets.

14:1. Oh Israel, return to the LORD your God; for you have fallen by your iniquity.

When we fall by sin, we must regain our comfort by going back to the place where we lost it: “Return to the LORD your God for you have fallen by your iniquity.” Then, to help us return, God, through his servant, actually makes a prayer for us.

2. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD:

“What words am I to take?” asks the poor convicted sinner. “I cannot put words together.” Here are the words put into your mouth: —

2. Say to him, “Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so we will render the calves of our lips.

Come with humble confession, come with sincere repentance, come with earnest supplication, come trusting in the grace of God, come bringing your heart with you, and rendering it to God as a living sacrifice.

3. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods’: for in you the fatherless finds mercy.”

If you come to God to be saved, you must bring no other saviour with you. What an encouragement is given to us to come to God! He calls himself the Father of the fatherless. Oh you, whose soul is orphaned, you who are left disconsolate in a world of grief, come to him in whom the fatherless find mercy, for so shall you find mercy!

4, 5. “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for my anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew to Israel:

“Swiftly and mysteriously I will come and refresh him.”

5. He shall grow as the lily,

Quickly, beautifully, —

5. And lengthen his roots as Lebanon.

He shall be as permanent as he is fair, like a cedar as well as like a lily.

6. His branches shall spread,

The dew of the Lord imparts influence to men; it gives them, as it were branches, with which they cast a wide shadow.

6. And his beauty shall be as the olive tree,

The beauty of fruitfulness. May God grant all of us this beauty!

6. And his fragrance as Lebanon.

Oh, to stand in holy repute among men, so that there is a fragrance exuding from us, like the sweet odours from the wild thyme and other plants of Mount Lebanon!

7. Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the grain, and grow as the vine: its scent shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

When God blesses men, he also blesses those all around them. Your children, your servants, your neighbours, shall be all the better if the grace of God comes to you. So may it be!

8, 9. Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do any more with idols?’ I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is your fruit found.” Who is wise? and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall in them.”

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Friend” 377}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, World Renounced — Choosing The Pearl” 657}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Dedication To God — The Heart Given To God” 658}

Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
377 — Friend
1 Oh thou, my soul, forget no more
   The Friend who all thy misery bore;
   Let every idol be forgot,
   But, oh my soul, forget him not.
2 Jesus for thee a body takes,
   Thy guilt assumes, thy fetters breaks,
   Discharging all thy dreadful debt:
   And canst thou ere such love forget?
3 Renounce thy works and ways with grief,
   And fly to this most sure relief:
   Nor him forget who left his throne,
   And for thy life gave up his own.
4 Infinite truth and mercy shine
   In him, and he himself is thine;
   And canst thou then, with sin beset,
   Such charms, such matchless charms forget?
5 Ah! no! till life itself depart,
   His name shall cheer and warm my heart;
   And lisping this, from earth I’ll rise,
   And join the chorus of the skies.
6 Ah! no; when all things else expire,
   And perish in the general fire,
   This name all others shall survive,
   And through eternity shall live.
               Krishnoo Pawl;
               tr. by Joshua Marshman, 1801.

The Christian, World Renounced
657 — Choosing The Pearl
1 Ye glittering toys of earth, adieu,
      A nobler choice be mine;
   A real prize attracts my view,
      A treasure all divine.
2 Begone, unworthy of my cares,
      Ye specious baits of sense:
   Inestimable worth appears,
      The pearl of price immense.
3 Jesus to multitude unknown,
      Oh name divinely sweet!
   Jesus, in thee, in thee alone,
      Wealth, honour, pleasure meet.
4 Should both the Indies at my call,
      Their boasted stores resign,
   With joy I would renounce them all,
      For leave to call thee mine.
5 Should earth’s vain treasures all depart,
      Of this dear gift possess’d,
   I’d clasp it to my joyful heart,
      And be for ever bless’d.
6 Dear Sovereign of my soul’s desires,
      Thy love is bliss divine;
   Accept the wish that love inspires,
      And bid me call thee mine.
                        Anne Steele, 1760.

The Christian, Dedication To God
658 — The Heart Given To God
1 Oh happy day, that fix’d my choice
   On thee, my Saviour, and my God;
   Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
   And tell its raptures all abroad.
2 ‘Tis done! the great transaction’s done:
   I am my Lord’s, and he is mine:
   He drew me, and I follow’d on,
   Charm’d to confess the voice divine.
3 Now rest, my long divided heart;
   Fix’d on this blissful centre, rest:
   With ashes who would grudge to part,
   When call’d on angels’ bread to feast?
4 High heaven, that heard the solemn vow,
   That vow renew’d shall daily hear:
   Till in life’s latest hour I bow,
   And bless in death a bond so dear.
                     Philip Doddridge, 1755.

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.

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390