Tuesday, May 28, 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.)

Presumptuous Sins

“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins” (Psalm 19.13.)

Introduction. All sins are great sins. But it is wrong to suppose that because all sins will condemn us, that therefore one sin is not greater than another. Now the presumptuous sins of our text are just the chief of all sins. It is remarkable, that though an atonement was provided under the Jewish law for every kind of sin, there was this one exception: “But the soul that sinneth presumptuously shall have no atonement.” Now, under the Christian age, in the sacrifice of our blessed Lord, there is a great and precious atonement for presumptuous sins. Yet, presumptuous sinners, dying without pardon, must expect to receive a double portion of the wrath of God.

(1) What is a Presumptuous Sin? First, when a man knows better, and sins anyway, that is presumptuous sinning. That is so, even if conscience be the only light he sins in spite of. But, O! how presumptuous to sin in spite of greater light! What if a mother with tearful eye has warned me first? Or a father with a steady look? And what of friends and religious education? And if you have heard of a sudden death, or have been very sick, then you have sinned against the voice of God, broken promises, and sinned presumptuously. Second, a man may sin in a moment of hot haste; but a deliberate sin, a planned sin, is a sin of high presumption. And so is any sin that is deliberately done habitually. Third, the sin I speak of is like the one by the man in Numbers who designed to gather sticks on the Sabbath, just to show his disrespect for God’s  command. Many of you sin just like this today. It is a master-piece of wickedness. There are few that repent of it. Fourth, daring to think we are strong enough to go so far into sin and no farther, like when one goes into a casino—there is a kind of suicide in a sin like that. Or maybe you say, “In a little time I will get serious for religion.” You presume to live until that time?

(2) Why is the Presumptuous Sin so Enormous? Simply because it is a sin against knowing better. It is the difference between unknowingly being involved in a bad thing, and fighting for the bad cause—or between stealing out of hunger, and stealing to mock the law—or between insulting a man carelessly, and setting out carefully to insult him. O! you that have sinned presumptuously—and who among us has not done so?—bow your heads in silence, confess your guilt, and then open your mouths, and cry, “Lord have mercy upon me, a presumptuous sinner.”

(3) The Appropriateness of this Prayer. “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins.” Did David, the “man after God’s own heart” need to pray that? Yes, “Curb thy servant with thine overpowering grace.” The best of men may sin presumptuously. The highest saints may sin the lowest sins, unless kept by divine grace. You old experienced Christians, do not boast, you may trip yet, unless you pray the prayer. Hazael recoiled in horror at the prophecy that he would slay his master. But what did he do? The very next day he went and choked him to death! Think it not enough to hate sin, you may yet fall into it! Job might have said, “I will never curse the day of my birth.” But he lived to do it. If the best need this prayer, what about us?

Selection from Conclusion. “God’s Spirit has found some of you out… I thought when I was describing presumptuous sin that I saw here and there an eye that was suffused with tears…here and there a head that was bowed down…You have greatly sinned, and if God should blast you into perdition now, he would be just…Go home and confess…with cries and sighs…remember…a man who was a God. That man suffered for presumptuous sin.”  

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

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