Friday, September 6, 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.)

The Sin of Unbelief

“And that lord answered the man of God…behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof” (2 Kings 7. 19.)

Introduction. One wise man may deliver a whole city. There was one righteous man in the city of Samaria—Elisha, the servant of the Lord. Piety was extinct in the court. The king was a sinner of the blackest dye. The people of Samaria had gone astray from Jehovah. A prophecy of cannibalism was fulfilled in the streets (Deuteronomy 28.56-58.) For Elisha’s sake, the Lord sent the promise of food. But the lord on whom the king leaned did not believe the promise. Whereupon God pronounced his doom. And Providence fulfilled the pronouncement. He saw but did not enjoy.

(1) The Sin. Either the man questioned God’s truthfulness or doubted his power. Unbelief has more phases than the moon and more colors than the chameleon. Unbelief will lead the sinner to distrust the ability of Christ to save him, or to doubt the willingness of Jesus to accept him. But infidelity, deism, and atheism are the most terrific eruptions of the volcano of unbelief. Some professing Christians do not even believe unbelief is a sin. Oh! sirs, believe me, could you roll all sins into one mass, they would not equal the sin of unbelief. The damning sin of sinners is that they do not believe on Christ. The word declares unbelief to be a sin. “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he believeth not on the Son of God.” This is the monarch sin, the masterpiece of Satan, the chief work of the devil. Unbelief is the parent of all iniquity. The fall of man is very much owing to it. “Yea, hath God said?”—this insinuated the doubt. Curiosity and the other sins followed. Unbelief has sharpened the knife of suicide. It has mixed many a cup of poison. Unbelief became a deicide, and murdered Jesus. It is the egg of all crime, the seed of every offence. Everything that is evil and vile is couched in unbelief. Unbelief in the Christian, though pardoned, is especially heinous. I would always fulfill the precept if I always believed the promise. Unbelief fosters sin. Is it nothing to you that Jesus died? Then there is unbelief between you and the cross. Only when the Holy Spirit strikes at unbelief will sinners come to trust in Jesus. Unbelief disables a man. Morality is a good thing. But your own goodness will never get you to heaven. Virtues without faith are whitewashed sins. Peter once walked on waves. Faith was his lifejacket; it kept him up; but unbelief sent him down. Faith fosters every virtue; unbelief murders every one. Thousands of prayers have been strangled in infancy by unbelief. Many a man would have been a missionary; but he had unbelief. Make a giant unbelieving, and he becomes a dwarf. Unbelief has been severely punished. By faith Noah escaped the flood. By unbelief the rest were drowned. Unbelief caused the Jews to murder Christ. It aims a blow at divinity. Unbelief is the damning sin. There is one sin for which Christ never died: the sin against the Holy Ghost. There is no mercy for anyone dying in unbelief.

(2) The Punishment. “Thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.” That is the doom of unbelievers. As for Christians who turn their heads from the dish prepared for them, they will have some affliction; they will be made to eat by means of bitters in their mouths. They will be put in prison until their appetite returns. The majority of our congregations come just to see. A great work is going on in this chapel, but some of you do not know anything about it.

Selection from Conclusion. “Unbelief makes you sit here in times of revival, and of the outpourings of God’s grace, unmoved, uncalled, unsaved…Oh, the hell of hells will be to see our friends in heaven and ourselves lost…If you are lost, it will be because you believed not on Christ.” 

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

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