2655. Decided Ungodliness

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Decided Ungodliness

No. 2655-45:625. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, August 20, 1882, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, December 31, 1899.

They have refused to return. {Jer 5:3}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1585, “Truthfulness” 1585}
   Exposition on Jer 5:1-6,10-31 Re 22:1-7 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2660, “Suffering Outside the Camp” 2661 @@ "Exposition"}

1. There is, in the heart of every one of us, the primary evil of sin; we have all transgressed against the Lord. So far, so bad; but that natural sin of ours may be greatly increased by a refusal to turn from it. It is bad enough to have violated God’s righteous law, but to refuse to repent, and to continue presumptuously in our iniquity, must greatly increase our guilt in the sight of God. This guilt may also be still further increased if we refuse to return to the Lord when we are earnestly and affectionately invited to yield submission to him. If gracious terms of peace are presented to us, and matchless promises of blessing are made to us on the condition that we return, — and if we are often warned, and often entreated, and often threatened, and yet we still refuse to return, then we continue to pile sin upon sin, until we make our first transgression to be incredibly great. If I were now to preach to men as simply sinners, it would be a weighty message for me to have to tell them that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”; but, alas! I have to preach to impenitent sinners, to those who, as our text puts it, “have refused to return,” indeed, and to some who have made that refusal after great deliberation, after having been long entreated and persuaded, to turn from the error of their ways. Some have been addressed in such tender, pleading language as this, “Turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, oh house of Israel?” or this: “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” If we have heard such language as that, and yet have persisted in refusing to return, we have heaped guilt upon guilt, and the wrath of God will be in proportion to our sin.

2. I. My first object, at this time, is to try to find out who are the people to whom our text refers; and, to do so, I ask this question, WHO HAVE REFUSED TO RETURN? Perhaps, I am addressing some people who say, “You speak of those who have refused to return, who are they? We have done no such thing.” Listen, and let conscience be at work while I am answering the question.

3. First, there are some who have refused to return, and who have said as much. Perhaps not many of you, who are in this house of prayer, have gone as far as that, but certainly many people in the great world have actually declared that they will not yield to God. Pharaoh said, “Who is Jehovah, that I should obey his voice?” and there are many who talk in the same way today. You may cry to them, “Turn, turn, for why will you die?” but they will not turn, they will rather die. They will sooner burn than turn, they will rather perish in their iniquities than be pardoned after repenting of their sins. And some even accompany their refusal with many a jest and gibe; they sneer at the majesty of divine mercy, and ridicule what is their only hope of safety. Concerning sinners of this type, the Lord says, “They have refused to return.”

4. There are others, who have promised to return, but they have spoken falsely. They have uttered fair words and pretty speeches, but there the matter has ended. When the Lord has said, “Go work today in my vineyard,” they have promptly answered, “Yes, we will go,” but they have not gone. In a very emphatic sense, “they have refused to return,” because they have promised to do so, and then have not done it. He who says, “I will repent,” and then does not turn from his evil ways, is certainly no better than the man who said that he would not repent. As a matter of fact, he is even worse, for there is an honesty of outspokenness about the other man who says, “I will not,” while there is the falseness of gross hypocrisy in the one who says, “I go, sir,” but who does not go. I fear I have a large number of this kind of people in my congregation; they have never flatly refused the gospel invitation, as some have openly done, yet they have practically refused it.

5. There is many a man who has said to the preacher, by his actions if not in words, what Felix said to Paul, “Go your way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for you”; but the convenient season has not arrived yet, and in all probability it never will, for they have no more idea of receiving the gospel message today than they had ten years ago. With all their friendly appearance and flattering words, they must be listed among those who “have refused to return.” I am sure that, when I say this, I only speak the words of truth and justice.

6. There are some others who “have refused to return,” and who have tried to palliate their offence, and quiet their conscience, by offering something else to God instead of really returning to him. They will not turn from sin, but they will “take the sacrament,” as they call the ordinance of the Lord’s supper. They will not leave their lusts, but they will go to a place of worship. They will not cease from their wicked ways, but they will go on giving to various charities. They will not stop lying, or committing other offences against God, but they will assume a pious appearance, they will sing a hymn, they will spend half-an-hour in reading the Scriptures and a form of prayer, though such an occupation is a great burden to them; but all that is utterly useless. The Lord has said that he will have mercy, and not sacrifice; he desires us to turn from our wicked ways, and to return to him; and if we will not, any sacrifices that we may bring to him will be only vain oblations, and God will put them away from him as things that are abhorred and detestable in his sight. Solomon tells us of three things that are an abomination to the Lord, “the sacrifice of the wicked,” “the way of the wicked,” and even “the thoughts of the wicked.” We may do, or say, or give anything we like, but nothing will please God except our turning from our sin, and trusting in the atoning sacrifice of his dear Son. We may pray until our knees grow hard as iron, and weep our eyes away until their sockets are empty, but we shall never obtain the great blessing of salvation while we link our arm with sin, and go on delighting in iniquity. Alas! the Lord still has to say of many who make some kind of profession of being religious, “they have refused to return.” They are willing to do almost anything except that; they will repeat the creed, be confirmed, “take the sacrament,” go to chapel, go to church, go anywhere you like, but they will not leave their sin, they will not turn from their evil way. They will be content to put on themselves all kinds of external religiousness, but they will not be cleansed from their iniquity.

7. There are others who, practically, “have refused to return,” because they have only returned in part. They have given up some forms of sin, but their heart is not right in the sight of God. Yet a man cannot truly turn in part; he must turn altogether, or not at all. If I am walking along a certain road, I cannot send one of my legs backward and the other one forward; and, in the same way, I cannot send half my soul in one direction, and the other half another way, though a great many try to do so. They will give up the grosser sins to which they have been accustomed; but the smaller sins, the more respectable kind of sins, they will keep on committing these; yet God is not pleased by their changing the form of their guilt. You say that you do not worship Baal; but, if you bow down to Ashtaroth, or any other false god, you are an idolater; and if there is any sin to which you cling, you are a sinner in God’s sight. You read, sometimes, a dreadful story of a man being entangled in machinery; perhaps it was only one cog of a wheel that caught a corner of his coat, but it gradually drew him in between the works, and tore him limb from limb until he was utterly destroyed. Oh, if that piece of cloth could only have given way, so that the man’s life might have been spared! But it did not; and though he was only held by the tiniest part of his garment, yet that was sufficient to drag him in where the death-dealing wheels revolved. And it is just so with sin; you cannot get in between the wheels of iniquity, and say, “I shall go just so far, but no farther.” No; if you once get in there, you will be ground to pieces as certainly as you are now alive! There is no way of escape but to turn yourself right away from the evil thing that God hates. There must be no union between our heart and what God abhors, but we must have a clean bill of divorcement separating us once and for all from the love of sin.

8. “Well,” one says, “I have given up strong drink, I am no longer a drunkard.” That is good, but you may go to hell as a sober man. “I have given up Sabbath breaking,” another says. I am very glad to hear it, my friend, but you may perish by dishonesty. “Oh, but I am no thief; I am as honest as the day is long!” Yes, that may be true, and yet you may perish through pride. “But I am not proud,” you say. But you may go to perdition through your lust, or even through your self-righteousness; any one sin harboured, and indulged in by the soul, will be the means of your everlasting ruin. Any single poison may suffice to kill a man; he need not take fifty different drugs, one will be enough to destroy him. So, if there is only one sin that is loved, that one sin will be as deadly poison to the soul; and as long as you cling to even one sin, I lay this charge at your door, that you “have refused to return.” May God grant that you may not continue any longer in this fatal folly and guilt!

9. I will only mention one more class of those who “have refused to return.” It is those who return to God only in appearance, yet not in heart. What a very long way a man may go towards being a Christian, and yet miss the mark! He may give up all outward sin, such as his fellow men condemn, and yet he may be lost. I would very solemnly say to you, my friend, that you may even be a professed disciple of Christ, but so was Judas. You may preach; so did Judas. You may work miracles; so did Judas. And you may stay with Christ under much opposition and persecution; so did Judas. It was only at a certain point, when the glitter of the pieces of silver was too much for him, that he at last betrayed his Lord and Master. Many covetous people are the most respectable people we know; yet covetousness is idolatry. They are not likely to give way to sinful lusts; that form of iniquity is too expensive for them. They are too cheap even to spend anything on themselves; they are not generally the men who drink to excess, and waste their substance in riotous living. Oh, no! they are in the shop from early morning until late at night; see how they work in their shirtsleeves, doing all they can to get money, and perhaps doing it all honestly; but, still, covetousness is the master-thought with them, and to be rich is the purpose and aim of their whole life; that is the one thing for which they are striving. If it is covetousness that remains in the soul, there may be great outward reformations even through that very covetousness, for one sin will often sweep away another. There are very many sins that are like sharks, that swallow up other devouring monsters. A man may devote himself to some one evil in such a way that he denies himself all the rest, and yet that one will bore such a hole in the vessel of his life that the water will get in, and sink it, just as surely as if there had been a thousand augers doing their desperate work.

10. So, you see, dear friends, that there are many, many people who “have refused to return” to God; and in telling you about them I have answered my first question.

11. II. Here is a second one. WHAT DOES THIS REFUSAL TO RETURN TO GOD REVEAL?

12. Well, I think that it shows, first, that there is, in the heart of such a person, an intense love for sin. The man not only sins, but he loves to sin; and therefore he will not return to the Lord. The paths of sin are pleasant to him, so, if you cry to him, “Return, return, return,” he does not heed you because he loves both the way and the wages of iniquity.

13. This refusal to return also reveals a great lack of love for God. The prodigal son returned home at last because, with all his failings and wickedness, he remembered his father, and his father’s house; and there was some kind of love still lingering in his heart, so he said, “I will arise and go to my father.” But many have no such love in their souls, and, consequently, the word “Return” has no power over them. They love their sin, but they do not love God, so “they have refused to return.”

14. In many people, there can be no doubt whatever that this refusal to return reveals an unbelief in God, — perhaps not an unbelief in the existence of God so much as a denial of the evil of sin. These refusers of God’s mercy say to themselves, “Sin is not half so bad as God makes it out to be, and it will not bring such consequences as he threatens.” When we read to them what the apostle says about those who “do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power,” they do not believe that such a sentence as that will ever be executed on them, so they harden their faces like flints, and go on in their sin, and refuse to return to the Lord. Even when he tells them that, unless they turn to him, he will shut them out of heaven at last, they seem to imagine that it does not matter much. Heaven is no very wonderful and desirable place, after all; so they dream, and again they harden their hearts, and continue in their evil ways. There is, in the heart of every unconverted man, a real atheism; he would be ashamed to be called an atheist, yet he acts like one, and he is one practically. He may not be such a fool as to say with his mouth, “There is no God”; but in his heart he is all the while saying, “No God for me! I wish there were none; I would gladly escape from the belief even in his existence.”

15. But, oh! this is a dreadful thing, for a man to love sin, and not to love God, and not even to believe that God speaks the truth; yet there is an even worse evil. This refusal to return is really a despising of God; it is as if a man said, “I will not submit to him; I defy him to do his worst! Let him strike me if he can. I am not afraid of his hell, and I do not want his heaven. I would sooner have the pleasures of sin for a season than dwell with God, and behold the glory of Christ, for all eternity.” Perhaps you think that I am putting the matter too strongly, but I am not. I am only speaking the truth, and I wish to speak it in love to the souls of those of you who are refusing to return to the Lord. You do not have that reverence and fear of God which he deserves from you, otherwise you would turn at his reproof, and he would pour out his Spirit on you.

16. Yet once more, I am afraid that this refusal to return shows that there is, in your heart, a secret resolve to continue in sin. If you “have refused to return,” and done so for years, I fear that you are fixed in your evil course, and that your mind is made up to remain as you are. I wish that you would think a little of what the end of such a life must be. As you read about the eternal doom of others, you may hear the Lord saying to you, “Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” There is no way of salvation for a man who perseveres in the way of evil. Then, “Turn, turn, from your evil ways,” for only by turning from sin, and to God, can you find salvation; yet, alas! many have resolved not to turn to the Lord.

17. There are some who regard their refusal to return as a trifling matter. They trifle with everything. Heaven and hell seem to them to be of no more worth than a boy’s racket and shuttlecock; their soul appears to be, at least in their estimation, the merest trifle. I truly believe that some people think more about their finger-nails than they do about their souls, and there is many a man who spends more on the polishing of his boots than he does on the cleansing of his soul from sin. So these all-important things are despised by those who “have refused to return.” They make mirth about those matters which have been on God’s heart from all eternity; and, whereas he has given his well-beloved Son to be the Saviour of sinners, many sinners act as if salvation were not worth the having, or as if it were merely a thing to be talked about for a while, and then to be forgotten for ever. Oh sirs, surely, these are the mischiefs of the heart which the refusal to return plainly sets before you!

18. III. I must not say more on this point, for I want to answer a third question. WHAT IS IT THAT DEEPENS THE SIN OF REFUSING TO RETURN?

19. Well, first, it happens when correction does not lead to repentance. Let me read the sentences that precede our text: “You have struck them, but they have not grieved; you have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.” This passage may be applied to any of you who have been very ill, and who then made promises of repentance, all of which you have forgotten. It may also be pressed home on the consciences of some of you who, perhaps through your own fault, have lost your job, and been cast adrift in the world; you have been corrected by poverty, and, possibly, you have also been struck by affliction, but all that has not touched your heart, and you “have refused to return.” I have known some who have lost child after child, and friend after friend. Those bereavements have been God’s method of correcting them, so as to bring them to their senses; yet they have not turned to him; indeed, they have even grown all the harder the more they have been chastened. They have stood up, like Pharaoh, against God’s sternest plagues, and still have said, “Who is Jehovah that we should obey his voice?” If they have not said so in words, they have said it in their actions, which have spoken louder than words.

20. This refusal to return also leads to deepening sin when conscience is violated. If I were to ask the question of any one of you who have not turned to God, “Ought you not to repent of sin, and trust the Saviour?” I feel sure that your answer would be, “Of course I ought to. Do you think that, I am so ignorant as not to know that it is right to forsake sin, and to follow what is good and holy?” Then, notice that, if you know this, yet do not do it, your doom will be terrible, according to our Lord’s words, “That servant who knew his lord’s will, and did not prepare himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” It is an awful thing, a dreadful thing, to know what you ought to do, to feel that it is right that you should do it, and yet still to remain stubborn and disobedient.

21. All this adds greatly to a man’s guilt in refusing to return to the Lord. So it does when he knows that it would be the best thing for him. I have often heard a man say, “Oh, yes, sir! I know that, if I repented of sin, if I believed in Jesus, if I became right with God, I would be much happier than I am now; indeed, I cannot rest as I am, I want to find something better.” Then why do you not find it? You cannot have peace with God all the while that you keep your sins; then why do you not give them up? Why not turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart? But when you know that it would be for your present and eternal good, when you know that you would be happier and holier, and yet you continue as you are, who shall be found to plead for you? Where is the advocate, in heaven or on earth, who will take up the cause of a man who knows the right, and yet will not do it; who is well aware that turning to God will save him, and yet acts in direct opposition to his own highest interests? It seems incredible that anyone should be so foolish, yet multitudes are.

22. It greatly adds to a man’s sin, also, if this refusal to return to the Lord has been continued for a long time; and I am afraid, in the case of some here, — and, oh! how tenderly would I grasp their hands if I could, and ask them whether it is not so, — that this refusal has gone on for many years. Is it not so, my dear friend? You had a tender conscience in your childhood, and you have not quite lost it yet. You have often been moved to tears under earnest, faithful preaching; and, tonight, you hardly know how to sit on your seat. You are ready to cry out to me, “Stop urging me like this, for I cannot bear it.” And do you expect that God will spare you for another ten years, or another twenty years? You cannot tell that he will; you have no right to think that he will; and, if he does, will you fling the sins of those additional years on to the heap of your past and present iniquities? Will you make the millstone of your guilt bigger, and even bigger, until at last it sinks you into the lowest hell? Please take heed. It is a great blessing to turn to God in youth, for early piety often becomes eminent piety; but it is terrible to be living year after year without God, without Christ, and without hope in the world. Please quickly turn to the Lord. Let the time past suffice for you to have refused the mercy of your God; and, now, this very hour, I charge you, before you dare to go from under this roof, turn to your God, and seek and find pardon and salvation through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, his Son.

23. There is one other thing which sometimes makes this refusal to return to God become even greater sin, and that is, when there is some vile reason behind it. I cannot pry into the hearts of my hearers, but I did know a man, once, and he was very fair to look at, and I often wondered why he did not become a decided Christian. He was respected by all who knew him, until they found out his awful secret, — he had another family in addition to his own family at home. How could he turn to God when he was living in sin? I have known others who seemed to be sure of salvation, but they were drinking in private; — I mean women as well as men; — but how could they turn to God when they were secretly indulging in excess? Perhaps it is a very base and contemptible thing that is keeping you from the Saviour. You would turn to God, but you have an old friend who would laugh at you if you became a Christian. Possibly, it is your own father who would despise you; or, perhaps, dear wife, it is your husband who would oppress you if you gave yourself up to the Lord. But shall any of these be allowed to ruin your souls? They may laugh you into hell, but they cannot laugh you out again. They may put cruel pressure on you until your fear of them drives you away from God; but it would be good if your fear of them could be slain by a greater fear, for it is infinitely better to dread the wrath of God than to fear the anger of man. For what can man do, after all, even if he should kill the body? Remember the words of our Lord Jesus on this matter, “I say to you my friends, ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.’ But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: ‘Fear him, who after he has killed has power to cast into hell; yes,’ I say to you, ‘Fear him.’ ” Do not be such cowards as to be lost for ever through indulging your cowardice. Pluck up courage enough to seek your own salvation, for “what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Oh, flee, flee, from the wrath to come! Whatever the ribald crowd may say, what will it matter to you in the tremendous day when you stand before the great white throne? How can you then escape from the wrath of the Lamb if you do not flee to him now that you are exposed to the wrath of ungodly men?

24. IV. Now I must close with my last question. WHAT IS THE REAL REASON FOR THIS REFUSAL TO RETURN?

25. Well, first, it may be ignorance. I hope it is, for then Christ can pray, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Notice how the prophet put it: “Therefore I said, ‘Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they do not know the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God.’ ” He hoped that it was downright ignorance that kept some of them from yielding their hearts to God, but he said that he would go and try the rich ones: “I will go to the great men, and will speak to them; for they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their God.” But he fared no better there: “These have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.” It is still very much the same; rich and poor equally refuse to return to the Lord their God.

26. Then, next, while there are some who are kept away from Christ through ignorance, there are many others who fail to come to him through self-conceit. Perhaps, — though it is only a choice of evils, it is better not to know the way of salvation, than to know it, and yet not to walk in it. Some poor soul says, “I cannot come to Christ, for I do not know the way.” He is the way; trust him, and you have already come to him. But some great man says, “I do not want to go to Christ; I am good enough, I have always been religious.” Ah, poor deluded creature! You are defying God by setting up your own righteousness in the place of Christ’s righteousness; and so your “sacraments,” and your hearing of sermons, and your few miserable good works, are to stand instead of that amazing sacrifice on the cross where there hangs the Son of God in agonies and blood! You set up your filthy rags to compete with the spotless robe of his matchless righteousness! This is an atrocity which, even if you had committed no other sin, would sink you to the lowest hell.

27. But, to tell you the real reason for this refusal to return, I must say that men do not turn to Christ because they do not want to be made holy. An eminent man of God said, “For some sinners, the gospel comes as a threatening from God that it will make them holy.” Is it not a dreadful thing, that men should actually turn what is the greatest of all blessings, the being made holy, into a thing of which they are afraid? They do not want to be true, they do not want to be good, they do not want to be right in God’s sight; they prefer their own ways, they choose to follow their own devices. That is the top and bottom of the mischief; now I have laid my finger on the very core of the evil. If you wished to be saved, you would be saved; if you really desired to be made holy, you would be made holy. It is because your heart’s longings still go after what is evil, that therefore you do not turn to the Lord. Oh mighty Spirit of God, change the very nature of men, and bring them to desire the holiness which they now despise; for then you will work it in them, and they shall be saved!

28. The fact is, and this is the last reason for refusing to return, there is, in most men, a preference for present joy more than future blessing. “Heaven” they say, — “well, heaven — heaven — we do not know where it is; it is a long way off, and we cannot tell when we shall get there; but here is an opportunity for spending an evening in pleasurable sin, and we prefer that. ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’ ” Oh foolish men! Your poor little bird in the hand is not worth one of the birds in the paradise of God. Others cry, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” What! are you no better than the brute beasts that perish, — the cattle in the pasture, fattening for the slaughter? What! has God given us immortal souls, and yet are we never to look beyond the present life? Has he adapted us to live with him at his right hand, and yet is the dim horizon of this little life to shut in all that we care to know? Is it so that, when you are in your coffin, you will have had your all? “I have no fear,” one says. But do you have any hope, sir? That is the point; for, many a man has so drugged his soul with the opiate of self-deception that fear, which was meant to be like a watchman, has been lulled into deadly slumber. So listen again, — Do you have any hope? “No,” you answer. Then you are in a desperate condition; but why are you without hope? Because you are without God. I would not change places with you, even to get rid of all fear as you have done, for I have a good hope that, through grace, though my spirit must be separated for a while from this flesh, yet it will never be separated from Christ my Lord, and it shall be my delight to be —

    Far from a world of grief and sin
       With God eternally shut in.

29. May God bless you, dear friend! Believe in Jesus, and you live at once. Believe in him this moment, and this moment you are saved. Trust Christ now, as soon as this word reaches your ear, and your sin is forgiven, you are justified and accepted, and you may go your way, a sinner saved, — saved for all eternity. May God give you that blessed privilege, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Heb 2}

1. Therefore we ought to give all the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

It is good to give heed to what you are now hearing, but it is also important to give heed to what you have heard. Oh, how much have we heard, but have forgotten! How much have we heard, which we still remember, but do not practise! Let us therefore listen to the words of the apostle here: “We ought to give all the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip”; — as it were, slipping through our fingers, and flowing down the stream of time to be carried away into the ocean of oblivion.

2. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment;

See, brethren, the punishment for disobeying the word spoken by angels was death; what, then, must be the penalty of neglecting the great salvation accomplished by the Divine Redeemer himself? He who does not give earnest heed to the gospel treats with disdain the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will have to answer for that sin when the King shall sit on the throne of judgment. Do not trifle, therefore, with that salvation which cost Christ so much, and which he himself brings to you with bleeding hands. And, oh! if you have so far trifled with it, and let it slip, may you now be brought to a better mind, lest perhaps, despising Christ, the “just punishment” should happen to you. And what will that be? I know of no punishment that can be too severe for the man who treats with contempt the Son of God, and tramples on his blood; and every individual who hears the gospel, and yet does not receive Christ as his Saviour, is committing that atrocious crime.

3. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation:

If we neglect that salvation, is there any other way by which we can be rescued from destruction? Is there any other door of escape if we pass that one by? No, there is none.

3, 4. Which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will?

This gospel of ours is stamped with the seal of God; he has set his mark on it, to attest its genuineness and authority. The miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were the seal that the gospel was no invention of man, but that it was indeed the message of God. Gifts of healing, gifts of tongues, gifts of miracles of various kinds, were God’s solemn declaration to man, “This is the gospel; this is my gospel which I send to you; therefore, do not refuse it.”

5. For to the angels he has not put in subjection the world to come, of which we speak.

We have no angelic preachers; we sometimes speak of “the seraphic doctor”; but no seraph ever was a preacher of the gospel of the grace of God; that honour has been reserved for a lower order of beings.

6. But one in a certain place testified, saying, “What is man, that you are mindful of him? or the son of man, that you visit him?

God speaks to men by men. He has made them to be the choice and chosen instruments of his wonderful works of grace on earth. Oh, what a solemn thing it is to be a preacher of the everlasting gospel! It is an office so high that an angel might covet it, but one that is so responsible that even an angel might tremble to undertake it. Brethren, pray for us who preach, not merely to a few, but to many of our fellow creatures, that we may be the means, in the hand of God, of blessing to our hearers.

7, 8. You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honour, and set him over the works of your hands: you have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

It was so with Adam in his measure. Before he fell, through his disobedience, all the animals which God had made were inferior to him, and acknowledged him as their lord and master. It is infinitely more so in that second Adam who has restored to humanity its lost dignity, and, in his own person, has elevated man again to the head of creation: “You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

8. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.

Man does not yet rule the world. Wild beasts defy him. Storms vanquish him. There are a thousand things not at present submissive to his control.

9. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; so that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

So lifting man back into the place where he first stood as far as this matter of dominion is concerned.

10. For it was fitting for him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Is it not wonderful that the Christ, who is the head over all things, could not be perfected for this work of ruling, or for the work of saving, except by sufferings? He stooped to conquer. Not because there was any sin in him, but that he might be a sympathetic Ruler over his people, he must experience sufferings like those of his subjects; and so that he might be a mighty Saviour, he himself must be encompassed with infirmity, so that he might “have compassion on the ignorant, and on those who are out of the way.” Brothers and sisters, do you expect to be made perfect without sufferings? It will never be so with you.

    The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
    Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown.

We shall never be fit for the Heavenly Canaan unless we first pass through the wilderness. There are certain things about us which require this, so it must be.

11. For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all of one:

One family; one by nature with Christ our glorious Head.

11. For which reason he is not ashamed to call them brethren, —

Oh, this blessed condescension of Christ! We are often ashamed of ourselves; alas! we are sometimes so base as to be ashamed of him; but he is never ashamed to call us brethren.

12. Saying, “I will declare your name to my brethren, in the midst of the church I will sing praise to you.”

Christ, the centre of the celestial choirs, is also the centre of all the bands of true singers who are still here below.

13. And again, “I will put my trust in him.”

This is our Lord Jesus Christ putting his trust in the Father, overcoming by faith, even as we do. Oh, what a marvellous oneness there is here between Christ and his people! Well might the apostle say that, “both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all of one.”

13, 14. And again, “Behold I and the children whom God has given to me.” Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he himself also likewise partook of the same;

We know what it is to be partakers of flesh and blood; we often wish that we did not. It is the flesh that drags us down; it is the flesh that brings us a thousand sorrows. I have a converted soul, but an unconverted body. Christ has healed my soul, but he has left my body to a large extent still in bondage, and therefore it still has to suffer; but the Lord will redeem even that. The redemption of the body is the adoption, and that is to come at the day of the resurrection.

But think of Christ, who was a partaker of the Eternal Godhead, condescending to make himself a partaker of flesh and blood; — the Godhead linked with materialism; the Infinite, an infant; the Eternal prepared to die, and actually dying! Oh, amazing mystery, this union of Deity with humanity in the person of Christ Jesus our Lord! Why did he become a partaker of flesh and blood, and die on the cross? Listen: —

14. That through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;

That, through dying, he might overthrow Satan’s power for all who trust him.

15-18. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For truly he did not take on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Therefore in all things it behoved him to be made like his brethren, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

May glory be to his holy name for ever and ever! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Supplicating” 587}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Expostulations — Appeal To Conscience” 527}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Expostulations — Return, Oh Wanderer” 521}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Expostulations — Return, Oh Wanderer” 522}


The Christian, Contrite Cries
587 — Supplicating <8.7.>
1 Jesus, full of all compassion,
      Hear thy humble suppliant’s cry:
   Let me know thy great salvation:
      See! I languish, faint, and die.
2 Guilty, but with heart relenting,
      Overwhelm’d with helpless grief,
   Prostrate at thy feet repenting,
      Send, oh send me quick relief!
3 Whither should a wretch be flying,
      But to him who comfort gives? —
   Whither, from the dread of dying,
      But to him who ever lives?
4 While I view thee, wounded, grieving,
      Breathless on the cursed tree,
   Fain I’d feel my heart believing
      That thou suffer’dst thus for me.
5 Hear, then blessed Saviour, hear me;
      My soul cleaveth to the dust;
   Send the Comforter to cheer me;
      Lo! in thee I put my trust.
6 On the word thy blood hath sealed
      Hangs my everlasting all:
   Let thy arm be now revealed;
      Stay, oh stay me, lest I fall!
7 In the world of endless ruin,
      Let it never, Lord, be said,
   “Here’s a soul that perish’d suing
      For the boasted Saviour’s aid!”
8 Saved — the deed shall spread new glory
      Through the shining realms above!
   Angels sing the pleasing story,
      All enraptured with thy love!
                     Daniel Turner, 1787.


Gospel, Expostulations
527 — Appeal To Conscience <7s.>
1 Sinner, is thy heart at rest?
   Is thy bosom void of fear?
   Art thou not by guilt oppress’d?
   Speaks not conscience in thy ear?
2 Can this world afford thee bliss?
   Can it chase away thy gloom?
   Flattering, false, and vain it is;
   Tremble at the worldling’s doom.
3 Long the gospel thou hast spurn’d
   Long delay’d to love thy God,
   Stifled conscience, nor hast turn’d
   Wooed though by a Saviour’s blood.
4 Think, oh sinner, on thy end;
   See the judgment day appear,
   Thither must thy spirit wend,
   There thy righteous sentence hear.
5 Wretched, ruin’d, helpless soul,
   To a Saviour’s blood apply;
   He alone can make thee whole,
   Fly to Jesus, sinner, fly.
                  Jared Bell Waterbury, 1844.


Gospel, Expostulations
521 — Return, Oh Wanderer
1 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   And seek an injured Father’s face:
   Those warm desires that in thee burn
   Were kindled by reclaiming grace.
2 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   And seek a Father’s melting heart,
   Whose pitying eyes thy grief discern,
   Whose hand can heal thine inward smart.
3 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   He heard thy deep repentant sigh!
   He saw thy soften’d spirit mourn,
   When no intruding ear was nigh.
4 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   Thy Saviour bids thy spirit live;
   Go to his bleeding feet, and learn
   How freely Jesus can forgive.
5 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   And wipe away the falling tear;
   ‘Tis God who says, “No longer mourn,”
   ‘Tis mercy’s voice invites thee near.
6 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   Regain thy lost, lamented rest;
   Jehovah’s melting bowels yearn
   To clasp his Ephraim to his breast.
               William Bengo Collyer, 1812.


Gospel, Expostulations
522 — Return, Oh Wanderer
1 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
      Thy Father calls for thee;
   No longer now an exile roam
      In guilt and misery;
         Return, return.
2 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
      ‘Tis Jesus calls for thee:
   The Spirit and the Bride say, Come;
      Oh now for refuge flee;
         Return, return.
3 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
      ‘Tis madness to delay;
   There are no pardons in the tomb,
      And brief is mercy’s day.
         Return, return.
                  Thomas Hastings, 1834.

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).

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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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