Monday, October 10, 2011


(Because of the wretched state of Red Deer’s pulpit space, it is now, as predicted by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3, the time to ‘pluck up that which is planted…a time to break down…a time to weep…a time to cast away stones’ and even ‘a time to refrain from embracing.’ And it is certainly more ‘a time to speak’ than ‘a time to keep silence.’ Be that as it may, the wrecking ball of negative criticism should be followed by the laying down of truth. To this end, we introduce the sermon sketch as an intermittent blog feature. As the term ‘sketch’ implies, this kind of post, in distinction from the usually lengthy analysis, will be pithy. The source for each sketch will be indicated at the bottom of each post.)


“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hosea 8.12.)

Introduction. This is God’s complaint against Ephraim. It is a great proof of God’s goodness that he stoops to rebuke his erring creatures. If he pleased, he might be as indifferent to us as the heathens supposed their Jove was. Our God notices every one of us. We are beneath his smile or his frown. How merciful that God does not smite man out of existence! Instead, he pleads with him. I come here as God’s ambassador to plead with you and to charge many of you with the sin of this text.

(1) Who is the Author? The text says that it is God. John tells of love; Peter speaks of fire devouring God’s enemies; but everywhere I find God speaking. I could show you that God wrote the Bible. But I stand here as a preacher of things I know and feel, not as a controversialist. A thought or two now on this Word of God. First, admire its authority. It is not the sayings of the sages of Greece. It is dated from the hills of heaven. The chapters are big with meaning and mysteries unknown. Written by God? Then I will bow before thee. Reason, your place is to stand and find out what this volume means, not to tell it what it should say. Then, mark its truthfulness. This is the Word of God, a sun without a blot, the judge that ends the strife. I have heard men in prayer say, ‘Make your calling and salvation sure’ instead of, ‘Make your calling and election sure.’ Pity they were not born far back enough to teach God how to write! God wrote what they do not like—the truth. Stop and consider the mercy of God in writing us a Bible. He might have left us in the dark with only the star of reason as our guide. The light of creation is bright. God’s glory may be discovered in the ocean waves. But his glory is more clearly revealed in the Bible. What will become of you who neglect your Bibles? There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers. Be Bible-readers; be Bible-searchers.

(2) The Subjects in the Bible. There is nothing unimportant in the Bible. I believe a man may be saved in any denomination. But not all churches are equally truthful. One teaches we are saved by free grace, while another says by free will. They cannot both be right. Never say that what you believe doesn’t matter. Search and see. But while all things in God’s word are important, they are not equally so. Certain vital truths must be believed, or no man would be saved. What are the three R’s? Ruin, redemption, and regeneration. There is an even better epitome of the gospel in the five points of Calvinism. Do you think the great things of God’s law are not worth your attention? Reflect a moment, man. If you die without Christ, there is no hope for you. As heaven is desirable and hell is terrible, you ought to listen to God’s great things.

(3) How the Bible is Treated in the World. It is accounted a strange thing. First, because some never read it. A full-grown person once heard me reading the story of David and Goliath, and then remarked, ‘Dear me! what an interesting story; what book is that in?’ Others who read the Bible say it is so horribly dry. If it is dry to you, you lack the greatest evidence of your Christianity, and you will be dry at last in hell. Blind men need the Spirit to put eye-salves on. Then there are some who hate the Bible. Do not quarrel with your only refuge from hell! Hope in the Saviour’s veins. Hope in the Father’s mercy. Hope in the Holy Spirit’s omnipotent agency.

Selection from Conclusion. “Let no one turn away from the Bible because it is not a book of learning and wisdom. It is. Would you know astronomy? It is here: it tells you of the Sun of Righteousness and the Star of Bethlehem…Whate’er your science is, come and bend o’er this book.”

{This sermon by C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) is sketched by M. H. Gaboury.}

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