Contend Earnestly: Spurgeon Sermon

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spurgeon Sermon

This is an excerpt from a Spurgeon sermon titled, "God or Self-Which?" and is number 438, if you use the Spurgeon Sermon archive or have his sermons in his volumes of sermons.

But now I shall turn to a wider circle for a moment or two. BY THIS WE MAY TEST ALL THE OTHER RELIGIOUS ACTS OF MEN.
Many a brave deed has been done with the sound of which the world has rung for years which nevertheless has never been received by the Most High. Some have served God out of ostentation, that they might show what great things they could do. Remember Jehu when he said, “Come, see my zeal for the Lord God of Hosts.” Jehu has many imitators. “Lend me your pen, Sir.” “Yes.” “I hereby write my name for five thousand pounds at the head of the list. Is not that an acceptable offering to God? There are very few in England that will give as much as I have—report it in all the newspapers. Shouldn’t the world know that there still exists one liberal man?” Is not that splendid gift accepted? No, Brethren, certainly not, because it was given for his own praise and for his own glory and not for the glory of God.

If it is our earnestness in preaching the Gospel, if we are only earnest in order that people may think us earnest—if we are only zealous that men may say of us, “That man does more than the rest. What a zealous, earnest man he is”—we have offered nothing to God. We have been sacrificing on our own shrines and offering incense before our own image. A certain king had a minstrel and he bade him play before him. It was a day of high feasting. The cups were flowing and many great guests were assembled. The minstrel laid his fingers among the strings of his harp and woke them all to the sweetest melody, but the hymn was to the glory of himself. It was a celebration of the exploits of song which the bard had himself performed. He had excelled high Howell’s harp and emulated great Llewellyn’s lay. In high-sounding strains he sang of himself and all his glories. When the feast was over the harpist said to the monarch, “Oh King, give me my guerdon. Let the minstrel be paid.” And the king said, “You have sung unto yourself—pay yourself—your own praises were your theme. Be yourself the paymaster.” He cried, “Did I not sing sweetly? O, king, give me the gold!” But the king replied, “So much the worse for your pride that you should lavish such sweetness upon yourself.” Brethren, even if a man should grow gray-headed in the performance of good works, yet when at the last, if it is known that he has done it all to himself, his Lord will say, “You have done well enough in the eyes of man but so much the worse, because you did it only to yourself, that your own praises might be sung, and that your own name might be extolled.” That is a singular text in Hosea—“Israel is an empty vine. He brings forth fruit unto himself.” There was fruit, only it was brought forth to himself, which before God is emptiness.


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