Tuesday, May 7, 2013


(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.)


“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11.6.)

Introduction. The Old Assembly’s Catechism is correct in saying that the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever. It is equally truthful to say that man’s end is to please God, for in doing so he will also please himself. He that pleases God is, by divine grace, journeying to the ultimate reward. He who is ill-pleasing to God must be banished from God’s presence. Do what you may, be as lovely and of good repute as can be, yet you will not be pleasing to God without faith. This is an old law. Cain and Abel brought their best offerings to God. Only Abel’s was accepted, being seasoned with faith. This rule will hold until the last man ascends to heaven.

(1) An Exposition. What is faith? The old Puritan writers, by far the most sensible, tell us that faith consists of three things: knowledge, assent, and affiance. The first thing in faith is knowledge. A man cannot believe what he does not know. Some have heard the minister cry, ‘Believe! believe! believe!’ And they have got it into their heads that they are believers. There must be some degree of knowledge before there can be faith. By searching and reading comes knowledge, and by knowledge comes faith, and through faith comes salvation. But a man may know a thing and not have faith. Therefore assent is necessary. We must agree with what we know. Whosoever would be saved must know the Scriptures, and give his full assent to them. But a man may have all this, and yet not possess true faith. The chief part of faith is affiance to the truth: taking hold of it and resting on it for salvation. I shall not be saved and delivered from wrath by knowing Christ is a Saviour and that his atonement is sufficient. I shall be saved by making his atonement my refuge. With faith men are saved; without it men are damned.

(2) An Argument. Why is it impossible to please God without faith? There is not one case in Scripture of a man pleasing God without faith. Judas repented, and then hanged himself. Saul confessed his sins, and yet went on as before. Like those who cast their crowns at God’s feet, we must bow in order to be saved. And faith is necessary because works can’t save. The key of works is broken, for you have broken the commandments. Christ alone can open heaven for you. If you think to enter heaven by your good works, they will be kindled into a flame wherein you must suffer for ever. Take heed of your good works; get them after faith. To be saved and to please God, there must be union with Christ. Christ is on the shore, so to speak, holding the rope of faith, and when we lay hold on that, he pulls us to shore. Grappling on your works with hooks of steel will avail you nothing. Without faith it is impossible to please God because it is impossible to preserve holiness without faith. Many Christians are tremendously religious in pious parlors and chapels. But if they are exposed to ridicule, it is all over with religion until the next fine day. That kind of religion is worse than irreligion. There is no shame in being a follower of Jesus. The only thing to be ashamed of is hypocrisy. Be true to your profession.

(3) A Question. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart? If so, you may hope to be saved. He that has faith has renounced his own righteousness. True faith begets love to Christ. True faith begets good works. No one can have faith unless he also has holiness.

Selection from Conclusion. “Cast yourselves upon his love and blood, his doing and his dying, his miseries and his merits; and if you do this you shall never fall, but you shall be saved now, and saved in that great day, when not to be saved will be horrible indeed.”

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

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