C. H. Spurgeon
Sermon Notes From Charles Spurgeon
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56. Things Are Not What They Seem.

All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but the Lord weigheth the spirits. - Proverbs 16:2.

OCCASIONALLY in seasons of collapse and disaster great discoveries are made concerning those who appeared to be commercially sound but turn out to be rotten. Then the whole machinery of financing is laid bare, and things which directors and managers have thought to be right have been seen to be utter robbery. All looked solid and substantial until the inevitable crash came, and then no man felt that he could trust his neighbor. No doubt these schemers thought their ways "clean;' but the event discovered their dirty hands.

Spiritual failures of like kind occur in the church. Great reputations explode, high professions dissolve. Men readily cajole themselves into the belief that they are right, and are doing right. They misapply Scripture, misinterpret providence, and in general turn things upside down, but the inexorable judgment overtakes them. A weighing time comes, and their professions are exposed. Niagara is at the end of the fatal rapid of self-deception: the self-satisfied pretender descends with a plunge to sure destruction.

Let us practically consider some of the "ways" which appear to be "clean;" but are not so, when the Lord comes to weigh the spirits.

I. THE WAYS OF THE OPENLY WICKED. Many of these are "clean" in their own eyes.

To effect this self-deception:

They give pretty names to sin.

They think ill of others, making them out to be much worse than themselves, and finding in this an excuse for themselves,

They claim to have many admirable qualities, and fine points.

They urge that if imperfect they cannot help it.

They also seriously resolve to amend; but never do so. Men do with themselves as financiers do with companies:

They put down doubtful assets as certain property.

They reckon expectations as receipts.

They tear out pages from the account-book.

They conceal damaging facts, and ruinous entanglements.

They cook the accounts in all sorts of ways, and make groundless promises.

The Lord's trial will be thorough and decisive. He weighs with accurate balances and weights; and he looks not only to the open way but to the inner spirit.

II. THE WAYS OF THE GODLESS.

These often boast that they are better than the religious.

They pretend that their superior intellects prevent their being believers: they must doubt because they are clever.

They extol regard to the second table of the Law as being far more important than any service rendered to God himself.

They will not be held accountable for their creed, or be judged for rejecting a few crabbed dogmas.

But all these shall be weighed in the balances and found wanting.

III. THE WAYS OF THE OUTWARD RELIGIONIST. These seem "clean,"

His observance of ceremonies.

His regular attendance at worship.

His open profession of religion.

His generosity to the cause, and general interest in good things. Thus ministers, deacons, members, etc., may boast, and yet when the Lord weighs their spirits they may be castaways.

IV. THE WAYS OF THE COVETOUS PROFESSOR. His ways are specially "clean."

His greed keeps him from expensive sins, and therefore he gives himself credit for self-denial.

He stints the cause of God and the poor.

He oppresses his workmen in their wages.

He makes hard bargains, drives debtors to extremes, takes undue advantage, and is a skinflint to all around him.

The Lord says of him, "covetousness which is idolatry."

V. THE WAYS Of THE WORLDLY PROFESSOR. He thinks himself "clean."

Let him honestly consider whether he is "clean"

In his secret life? In his private and hidden indulgences?

In his pleasures and amusements?

In his company and conversation?

In his forsaken closet, forgotten Bible, lukewarm religion, etc.

What a revelation when the weighing of his spirit comes!

VI. THE WAYS OF THE SECURE BACKSLIDER. He dreams that his way is "clean;" when a little observation will show him many miry places:

Decline in private prayer (Job 15:4).

Sin gradually getting the upper hand (Jer. 14:10).

Conversation scantily spiritual (Eph. 5:4)

Scriptures little read (Hos. 8:12).

Heart growing hard (Heb. 3:13).

Religion almost destitute of life (Rev. 3:1).

Pride cropping up in many directions (Deut. 8:14).

The Lord gives him a weighing in trial and temptation; then there follows an opening up of deceit and hypocrisy.

VII. THE WAYS Of THE DECEIVED MAN. He writes pleasant things for himself, and yet all the while he is a spiritual bankrupt.

Failed in true faith in Jesus.

Failed in real regeneration.

Failed in heart-work and soul-service for the Lord.

Failed for ever. Will our hearer do this?

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