‘Many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’ Luke 13:24
Suggested Further Reading: Luke 12:15–21
I marvel not that so many are deceived, when I see the careless way in which you deal with religion. When men have to do with their estates, they are very careful; they fee a lawyer to go back over the title-deeds perhaps for two or three hundred years. In trade they will hurry hither and thither to attend to their commercial engagements; they would not launch into speculations, nor would they run great risks; but the soul, the poor soul, how men play with it as a toy, and despise it as if it were worthless earth. Two or three minutes in the morning when they first roll out of bed, two or three odd minutes in the evening, when they are nearly asleep—the fag-ends of the day given to their souls, and all the best part given to the body! And then, the Sabbath! How carelessly spent by most people! With what indifference do you lend your ears too often to the preaching of the Word! It is an old song; you have heard it so many times; heaven has become a trifle to you, hell is almost a jest, eternity a notion, and death but a bugbear. Alas! it is a marvel that there are not more deceived. The wonder is that any find the gate, that any discover eternal life, when we are so, so mad, so foolish, so insane, as to trifle where we ought to be awfully in earnest, and to play and toy, where the whole heart is all too little to be given to a work of such dread, such everlasting importance. God help us, since it is so easy to be deceived, to search, and watch, and look, and test, and try, that we be not found castaways at the last!
For meditation: Satan does not need to deceive us, when we are doing his dirty work by deceiving ourselves. Beware of delusions of wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:18), self-satisfaction (Galatians 6:3), hearing God’s Word without applying it (James 1:22), a loose tongue (James 1:26) and claims to sinless perfection (1 John 1:8). These are all paths to self-deceit.
Sermon no. 475
19 October (1862)