‘Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.’ Psalm 73:17–18
Suggested Further Reading: Jude 20–25
This subject should teach Christians to be in earnest about the salvation of others. If the punishment of sin were some slight pain we need not exercise ourselves diligently to deliver men from it; but if ‘eternity’ be a solemn word, and if the wrath to come be terrible to bear, how should we be instant in season and out of season, striving to win others from the flames! What have you done this year, some of you? I fear, brother Christians, some of you have done very little. Blessed be God, there are many earnest hearts among you; you are not all asleep; there are some of you who strive with both your hands to do your Master’s work, but even you are not as earnest as you should be. The preacher puts himself here in the list, mournfully confessing that he does not preach as he desires to preach. Had I the tears and cries of Baxter, or the fervent seraphic zeal of Whitefield, my soul would be well content, but, alas! we preach coldly upon burning themes and carelessly upon matters which ought to make our hearts like flames of fire. But I say, brethren, are there not men and women here, members of this church, doing nothing for Christ? No soul saved this year by you, Christ unhonoured by you, no gems placed in his crown? What have you been living for, you cumber-ground? For what stand you in the church, you fruitless trees? God make you—you that do little for him—to humble yourselves before him, and to begin the next year with this determination, that knowing the terrors of the Lord, you will persuade men, and labour, and strive to bring sinners to the cross of Christ.
For meditation: ‘What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?’ (1 Peter 4:17); the Bible on many occasions teaches us the dreadfulness of the sinner’s end (Psalm 37:38; Proverbs 14:12; Romans 6:21; 2 Corinthians 11:15; Philippians 3:19). Can you thank God for delivering you from it? If so, what part are you playing in the deliverance of others?
Sermon no. 486
28 December (1862)