The greatest trial on record
‘The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed.’ Psalm 2:2
Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 4:17–24
This day I put before you Christ Jesus, or your sins. The reason why many come not to Christ is because they cannot give up their lusts, their pleasures, their profits. Sin is Barabbas; sin is a thief; it will rob your soul of its life; it will rob God of his glory. Sin is a murderer; it stabbed our father Adam; it slew our purity. Sin is a traitor; it rebels against the king of heaven and earth. If you prefer sin to Christ, Christ has stood at your tribunal, and you have given in your verdict that sin is better than Christ. Where is that man? He comes here every Sunday; and yet he is a drunkard! Where is he? You prefer that reeling demon Bacchus to Christ. Where is that man? He comes here. Yes; and where are his midnight haunts? The harlot and the prostitute can tell! You have preferred your own foul, filthy lust to Christ. I know some here that have their consciences often pricked, and yet there is no change in them. You prefer Sunday trading to Christ; you prefer cheating to Christ; you prefer the theatre to Christ; you prefer the harlot to Christ; you prefer the devil himself to Christ, for he it is that is the father and author of these things. ‘No,’ says one, ‘I don’t.’ Then I do again put this question, and I put it very pointedly to you—‘If you do not prefer your sins to Christ, how is it that you are not a Christian?’ I believe this is the main stumbling-stone, that ‘Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.’ We come not to Christ because of the viciousness of our nature, and depravity of our heart; and this is the depravity of your heart, that you prefer darkness to light, put bitter for sweet, and choose evil as your good.
For meditation: We ought to fear and serve God (Joshua 24:14–24); if we won’t, the only choice left to us is to follow one false way or another and serve sin in either its scandalous or more sophisticated forms. The intention to serve God is not something to be professed lightly, but by God’s grace it is possible to serve him. Whom do you serve ‘this day’?
Sermon no. 495
22 February (1863)