Wednesday, December 21, 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.)


“How long halt ye between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18.21.)

Introduction. It was a day to be remembered. The lone prophet of the Lord against the 450 priests of Baal. On this hill of Carmel we have three kinds of persons: the devoted servant of Jehovah; the decided servants of the evil one; and the undecided. Elijah addresses his sermon to this last and largest group. And so will I, because most of you are double-minded and undecided too.

(1) The Difference between the Worship of Baal and the Worship of Jehovah. This class of people thought they could worship two Gods. But Elijah informed them that these were two opinions that could not be combined. This class is with us today. Members of this class go to church and then go gambling. But my, serve one or the other, God or the world, already! A woman who fellowships but tattles also, this is the same thing again. A dishonest hypocrite is worse than an open sinner. Take your mask off. One opinion is better than two. Go one way or the other.

(2) The Amount of Time you have to choose between two Opinions. The argument from this crowd is, ‘I need more time to choose.’ But the drought had continued for over three years to convince them to turn to God! You who are trying to be Christian worldlings, how long will you halt between two opinions? You older persons, you young, you boys, you girls—how much time is enough for you? How many sermons and Sundays will you waste? How many plagues and deaths must happen all around to warn you to decide? You might just find yourself in eternity before you make up your mind. The will is bent for evil—that’s the problem.

(3) To Delay is Dumb. These people think that a claim of religion is better than nothing. When they are among the worldlings, they are secretly laughed at for being bad Christians; when among Christians, they are wondered at for being hypocrites. They do not fully enjoy the world; nor do they fully enjoy religion. They have the fears of religion without joy; and too much fear of sinning to truly enjoy the world. They are too good for the world; and too bad for church. Purgatory would be perfect for them, if it existed. Even the damned in hell will laugh at these people, for they will be punished without having gotten all their pleasure.

(4) How it is known that People are Undecided. It is known by an undecided behavior. Know first, that all opinions cannot be right. Then choose an opinion and let your conduct back up it up. Keep your religious claim, or give it up. Choose Baal or God; faith or fun; holiness or filthiness.

(5) Why Decide? Not for happiness. No, like the prophet says, “If God be God follow him.” If you believe the devil is God, then go that way. Carry out your convictions. Never mind tradition and what others do. If the gospel is right, believe it; if not, give it up.

(6) How Long will you Delay? Some have decided; others will hesitate between opinions until the fire of God’s Spirit decides them, or until the fire of eternal judgment. 

Selection from Conclusion. “I tell you that you must either be decided by the descent of the fire of his Spirit into your hearts now, or else in the day of judgment. O! which shall it be? O! that the prayer might be put up by the thousand lips that are here: ‘Lord, decide me now by the fire of thy Spirit; O! let thy Spirit descend into my heart.’”

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

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