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Low thoughts of the value of religion

CharlesSpurgeonFor a little while I will expatiate upon the frequent causes of presumption in a Christian.

3. A third reason often is, low thoughts of the value of religion. We none of us value religion enough. Religious furor, as it is called, is laughed at everywhere; but I do not believe there is such a thing as religious furor at all. If a man could be so enthusiastic as to give his body to be burned at the stake, could he pour out his drops of blood and turn each drop into a life, and then let that life be slaughtered in perpetual martyrdom, he would not love his God too much. Oh, no! When we think that this world is but a narrow space; that time will soon be gone, and we shall be in the for-ever of eternity, when we consider we must be either in hell or in heaven throughout a never-ending state of immortality, how sirs, can we love too much? How can we set too high a value on the immortal soul? Can we ask too great a price for heaven? Can we think we do too much to serve that God who gave himself for our sins? Ah! No; and yet my friends, most of us do not sufficiently regard the value of religion. We cannot any of us estimate the soul rightly; we have nothing with which to compare it. Gold is sordid dust, diamonds are but small lumps of congealed air that can be made to melt away. We have nought with which to compare the soul; therefore we cannot tell its value. It is because we do not know this, that we presume. Doth the miser who loves his gold let it be scattered on the floor that his servant may steal it? Doth he not hide it in some secret place where no eye shall behold it? Day after day, night after night, he counteth out his treasure because he loves it. Doth the mother trust her bade by the river-side? Doth she not in her sleep think of it? And when it is sick, will she leave it to the care of some poor nurse, who may suffer it to die? Oh! No; what we love, we will not wantonly throw away; what we esteem most precious, we will guard with the most anxious care. So, if Christians knew the value of their souls, if they estimated religion at its proper rate, they never would presume; but low thoughts of Christ, low thoughts of God, mean thoughts of our souls’ eternal state-these things tend to make us carelessly secure. Take heed, therefore, of low ideas of the gospel, lest ye be overtaken by the evil one.

Charles H. Spurgeon- A Caution to the Presumptous, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

Light Thoughts of Sin

For a little while I will expatiate upon the frequent causes of presumption in a Christian.

2. Again, light thoughts of sin will engender presumption. When we are first converted, our conscience is so very tender, that we are afraid of the slightest sin. I have known young converts almost afraid to proceed a step, lest they should put their feet in the wrong direction. They will ask advice of their minister, and difficult cases of moral casuistry will they bring before us, such as we hardly know how to answer. They have a holy timidity, a godly fear, lest they should offend against God. But alas; very soon the fine bloom upon these first ripe fruits is removed by the rough handling of the surrounding world. The sensitive plant of young piety turns into a willow in after life, too pliant, too easily yielding. It is sadly true, that even a Christian will grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him and made his blood run cold, does not alarm him in the least. I can speak from my own experience. When first I heard an oath, I stood aghast, and knew not where to hide myself; yet now I can hear an imprecation or blasphemy against God, and though a shudder still runs through my veins, there is not that solemn feeling, that intense anguish, which I felt when first I heard such evil utterances. By degrees we get familiar with sin. The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds. The men who work in those huge vessels, the hammering of which causes immense noise, cannot at first sleep, for the continual din in their ears, but by-and-by, they, when they are used to it, think nothing of it. So with sin. First, a little sin doth startle us. Soon we say, “Is it not a little one?” like Lot did of Zoar. Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard it as but a little ill; and then you know, there comes an unholy presumption, and we think we stand. “We have not fallen “say we, “we only did such a little thing; we have not gone astray. True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright in the main. We might have uttered one unholy word, but as for the most of our conversation, it was consistent.” So we palliate sin; we throw a gloss over it, we try to hide it. Christian, beware I when thou thinkest lightly of sin then thou hast become presumptuous. Take heed, lest thou shouldst fall. Sin-a little thing! Is it not a poison! Who knows its deadliness? Sin-a little thing! Do not the little foxes spoil the vines? Sin-a little thing! Doth not the tiny coral insect build a rock that wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks? Will not continual droppings wear away stones? Sin-a little thing! It girded his head with thorns that now is crowned with glory. Sin-a little thing! It made him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe, till he endured “All that incarnate God could bear, with strength enough, and none to spare.”

It is not a little thing, sirs. Could you weigh it in the scales of eternity, you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil. But alas I loose thoughts of sin often beget a presumptuous spirit, and we think we stand.

Charles H. Spurgeon- A Caution to the Presumptous, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

BEHOLD! What a change divine grace will work in a man

January 4, 2021 9 comments

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned And ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of Shem, that the: had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13.

BEHOLD! What a change divine grace will work in a man, and in how short a time! That same Peter, who so lately followed his Master afar off and with oaths and curses denied that he knew his name, is now to be found side by side with the loving John, boldly declaring that there is salvation in none other name save that of Jesus Christ, and preaching the resurrection of the dead, through the sacrifice of his dying Lord. The Scribes and Pharisees soon discover the reason of his boldness. Rightly did they guess that it rested not in his learning or his talents, for neither Peter nor John had been educated, they had been trained as fishermen, their education was a knowledge of the sea-of the fisherman’s craft: none other had they; their boldness could not therefore spring from the self-sufficiency of knowledge, but from the Spirit of the living God. Nor did they acquire their courage from their station; for rank will confer a sort of dignity upon a man, and make him speak with a feigned authority even when he has no talent or genius; but these men were, as it says in the original text, “idiotai” private men, who stood in no official capacity; men without rank or station. When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and private individuals, they marvelled, and they came to a right conclusion as to the-source of their power-they had been dwelling with Jesus. Their conversation with the Prince of light and glory, backed up, as they might also have known, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, without which even that eminently holy example would have been in vain, had made them bold for their Master’s cause. Oh! My brethren, it were well if this commendation, so forced from the lips of enemies, could also be compelled by our own example. If we could live like Peter and John; if our lives were “living epistles of God, known and read of all men;” if, whenever we were seen, men would take knowledge of us, that we had been with Jesus, it would be a happy thing for this world, and a blessed thing for us. It is concerning that I am to speak to you this morning; and as God gives me grace, I will endeavor to stir up your minds by way of remembrance, and urge you so to imitate Jesus Christ, our heavenly pattern, that men may perceive that you are disciples of the holy Son of God.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Christ’s People Imitators of Him, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, at Exerter Hall Strand, April 29, 1855

I will now proclaim to you the way of salvation

December 28, 2020 Leave a comment

 

And now, it may be, some of you are convinced of sin, by the Holy Spirit. I will now proclaim to you the way of salvation. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Behold, O trembling penitent the means of thy deliverance. Turn thy tearing eye to yonder Mount of Calvary! See the victim of justice-the sacrifice of atonement for your transgression. View the Savior in his agonies, with streams of blood purchasing thy soul, and with intensest agonies enduring thy punishment. He died for thee, if now thou dost confess thy guilt. O come thou condemned one, self-condemned, and turn thine eye this way, for one look will save. Sinner, thou art bitten. Look! It is nought but “Look!” It is simply “Look!” If thou canst but look to Jesus thou art safe. Hear the voice of the Redeemer: “Look unto me, and be ye saved.” Look! Look! Look! O guilty souls.

Venture on him, venture wholly,

Let no other trust intrude

None but Jesus

Can do helpless sinners good,”

May my blessed Master help you to come to him, and draw you to his Son, for Jesus’ sake. Amen and Amen.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855

This change must be worked by a power beyond your own

December 21, 2020 Leave a comment

And to conclude, let me remind you-and it is in the text after all-that this change must be worked by a power beyond your own. An enemy may possibly make himself a friend; but enmity cannot. If it be but an adjunct of his nature to be an enemy he may change himself into a friend; but if it is the very essence of his existence to be enmity, positive enmity, enmity cannot change itself. No, there must be something done more than we can accomplish. This is just what is forgotten in these days. We must have more preaching of the Holy Spirit, if we are to have more conversion work. I tell you, sirs, if you change yourselves, and make yourselves better, and better, and better, a thousand times, you will never be good enough for heaven, till God’s Spirit has laid his hand upon you; till he has renewed the heart, till he has purified the soul, till he has changed the entire spirit and new-made the man, there can be no entering heaven. How seriously, then, should each stand and think. Here am I, a creature of a day, a mortal born to die, but yet an immortal! At present I am at enmity with God. What shall I do? Is it not my duty, as well as my happiness, to ask, whether there be a way to be reconciled to God?

Oh! weary slaves of sin, are not your ways the paths of folly? Is it wisdom, O my fellow creatures, is it wisdom to hate your Creator? Is it wisdom to stand in opposition against him? Is it prudent to despise the riches of his grace? If it be wisdom, it is hell’s wisdom; if it be wisdom, it is a wisdom which is folly with God. Oh! May God grant that you may turn unto Jesus with full purpose of heart! He is the ambassador; he it is who can make peace through his blood; and though you came in here an enemy, it is possible you may go out through that door a friend yet, if you can but look to Jesus Christ, the brazen serpent which was lifted up.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855

The necessity of an entire change of our nature

December 14, 2020 Leave a comment

Another doctrine we gather from this is, the necessity of an entire change of our nature. It is true that by birth we are at enmity with God. How necessary then it is, that our nature should be changed there are few people who sincerely believe this. They think that if they cry “Lord, have mercy upon me,” when they lie a-dying, They shall go to heaven directly. Let me suppose an impossible case for a moment. Let me imagine a man entering heaven without a change of heart. He comes within the gates. He hears a sonnet. He starts! It is to the praise of his enemy. He sees a throne, and on it sits one who is glorious; but it is his enemy. He walks streets of gold, but those streets belong to his enemy. He sees hosts of angels; but those hosts are the servants of his enemy. He is in an enemy’s house; for he is at enmity with God. He could not join the song, for he would not know the tune. There he would stand; silent, motionless; till Christ should say, with a voice louder than ten thousand thunders, “What dost thou here? Enemies at a marriage banquet? Enemies in the children’s house? Enemies in heaven? Get thee gone! Depart ye cursed, into everlasting fire in hell!” Oh! Sirs, if the unregenerate man could enter heaven, I mention once more the oftrepeated saying of Whitfield, he would be so unhappy in heaven, that he would ask God to let him run down into hell for shelter. There must be a change, if ye consider the future state; for how can enemies to God ever sit down at the banquet of the Lamb?

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855

Is the carnal mind at “enmity against God?” Then salvation cannot be by merit

December 7, 2020 3 comments

IV. But there are one or two doctrines which we will try to deduce from this. Is the carnal mind at “enmity against God?” Then salvation cannot be by merit, it must be by grace. If we are at enmity with God, what merit can we have? How can we deserve anything from the being we hate? Even if we were pure as Adam, we could not have any merit; for I do not think Adam had any desert before his Creator. When he had kept all his Master’s law, he was but an unprofitable servant; he had done no more than he ought to have done, he had no surplus-no balance. But since we have become enemies, how much less can we hope to be saved by works! Oh, no; the whole Bible tells us, from beginning to end, that salvation is not by the works of the law, but by the deeds of grace. Martin Luther declared that he constantly preached justification by faith alone, “because,” said he, “the people would forget it; so that I was obliged almost to knock my Bible against their heads, to send it into their hearts.” So it is true we constantly forget that salvation is by grace alone. We always want to be putting in some little scrap of our own virtue; we want to be doing something. I remember a saying of old Matthew Wilkes: “Saved by your works! You might as well try to go to America in a paper boat!” Saved by your works! It is impossible! Oh no; the poor legalist is like a blind horse going round and round the mill, or like the prisoner going up the treadmill, and finding himself no higher after all he has done; he has no solid confidence, no firm ground to rest upon. He has not done enough-”never enough.” Conscience always says, “this is not perfection; it ought to have been better.” Salvation for enemies must be by an ambassador-by an atonement-yea, by Christ.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855

But the crime may be seen to be worse when we think of ‘what God is’

November 30, 2020 Leave a comment

But the crime may be seen to be worse when we think of what God is. Let me appeal personally to you in an interrogatory style for this has weight with it. Sinner! Why art thou at enmity with God? God is the God of love, he is kind to his creatures; he regards you with his love of benevolence; for this very day his sun hath shone upon you, this day you have had food and raiment, and you have come up here in health and strength. Do you hate God because he loves you? Is that the reason? Consider how many mercies you have received at his hands all your lives long! You are born with a body not deformed, you have had a tolerable share of health; you have been recovered many times from sickness; when lying at the gates of death; his arm has held back your soul from the last step to destruction. Do you hate God for all this? Do you hate him because he spared your life by his tender mercy? Behold his goodness that he hath spread before you! He might have sent you to hell; but you are here. Now, do you hate God for sparing you? Oh, wherefore art thou at enmity with him? My fellow creature, dost thou not know that God sent his Son from his bosom, hung him on the tree, and there suffered him to die for sinners, the just for the unjust? And dost thou hate God for that? Oh, sinner, is this the cause of thine enmity? Art thou so estranged that thou givest enmity for love? And when he surroundeth thee with favors, girdeth thee with mercies, encircleth thee with lovingkindness, dost thou hate him for this? He might say as Jesus did to the Jews: “For which of these works do ye stone me?” For which of these works do ye hate God? Did an earthly benefactor feed you, would you hate him? Did he clothe you, would you abuse him to his face? Did he give you talents, would you turn those powers against him? Oh, speak! Would you forge the iron and strike the dagger into the heart of your best friend? Do you hate your mother who nursed you on her knee? Do you curse your father who so wisely watched over you? Nay, ye say, we have some little gratitude towards earthly relatives. Where are your hearts, then? Where are your hearts, that ye can still despise God, and be at enmity with him? Oh! Diabolical crime! Oh! Satanic enormity! Oh! Iniquity for which words fail in description! To hate the all-lovely-to despise the essentially good-to abhor the constantly merciful-to spurn the everbeneficent- to scorn the kind the gracious one, above all, to hate the God who sent his Son to die for man! Ah! In that thought-”the carnal mind is enmity against God,”-there is something which may make us shake; for it is a terrible sin to be at enmity with God. I would I could speak more powerfully, but my Master alone can impress upon you the enormous evil of this horrid state of heart.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855

What is God to us?

November 23, 2020 4 comments

What is God to us? He is the creator of the heavens and the earth; he bears up the pillars of the universe, his breath perfumes the flowers; his pencil paints them; he is the author of this fair creation; “we are the sheep of his pasture, he hath made us, and not we ourselves.” He stands to us in the relationship of a Maker and Creator, and from that fact he claims to be our King. He is our legislator our law-maker; and then, to make our crime still worse and worse, he is the ruler of providence; for it is he who keeps us from day to day. He supplies our wants; he keeps the breath within our nostrils; he bids the blood still pursue its course through the veins; he holdeth us in life, and preventeth us from death, he standeth before us, our creator, our king our sustainer, our benefactor, and I ask, is it not a sin of enormous magnitude-is it not high treason against the emperor of heaven-is it not an awful sin, the depth of which we cannot fathom with the line of all our judgment-that we, his creatures, dependent upon him, should be at enmity with God?

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855

To show the great enormity of this guilt

November 16, 2020 Leave a comment

III. I have said that I would endeavor, in the third place, to show the great enormity of this guilt. I do fear, my brethren, that very often when we consider our state, we think not so much of the guilt as of the misery. I have sometimes read sermons upon the inclination of the sinner to evil, in which it has been very powerfully proved, and certainly the pride of human nature has been well humbled and brought low; but one thing always strikes me, if it is left out, as being a very great omission, viz.-the doctrine that man is guilty in all these things. If his heart is against God, we ought to tell him it is his sin; and if he cannot repent, we ought to show him that sin is the sole cause of his disability-that all his alienation from God is sinthat as long as he keeps from God it is sin. I fear many of us here must acknowledge that we do not charge the sin of it to our own consciences. Yes say we, we have many corruptions. Oh! Yes. But we sit down very contented. My brethren we ought not to do so. The having those corruptions is our crime which should be confessed as an enormous evil; and if I, as a minister of the Gospel, do not press home the sin of the thing, I have missed what is the very virus of it. I have left out the very essence, if I have not shown that it is a crime. Now, “the carnal mind is enmity against God.” What a sin it is! This will appear in two ways. Consider the relation in which we stand to God, and then remember what God is; and after I have spoken of these two things, I hope, you will see, indeed, that it is a sin to be at enmity with God.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855