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He Would Not Give Up One Darling Sin
The longer I preach, the more I am convinced that that is what keeps
men out of the kingdom of God. John knew about Herod's private life,
and warned him plainly.
If those compromising Christians of whom I have spoken had been near
John, one of them would have said:
"Look here, John, it is reported that Herod is very anxious about
his soul, and is asking what he must do to be saved. Let me give you
some advice; don't touch on Herod's secret sin. He is living with
his brother's wife, but don't you say anything about it, for he
won't stand it. He has the whole Roman Government behind him, and if
you allude to that matter it will be more than your life is worth.
You have a good chance with Herod; he is afraid of you. Only be
careful, and don't go too far, or he will have your head off."
There are those who are willing enough that you should preach about
the sins of other people, so long as you do not come home to them.
My wife was once teaching my little boy a Sabbath-school lesson; she
was telling him to notice how sin grows till it becomes habit. The
little fellow thought it was coming too close to him, so he colored
up, and finally said:
"Mamma, I think you are getting a good way from the subject."
John was a preacher of this uncompromising kind, for he drove the
message right home. I do not know when or how the two were brought
together at that time, but John kept nothing back; he boldly said:
"Herod, it is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife."
The man was breaking the law of God, and living in the cursed sin of
adultery. Thank God, John did not spare him! It cost the preacher
his head, but the Lord had got his heart, and he did not care what
became of his head. We read that Herod feared John, but John did not
I want to say that I do not know of a quicker way to hell than by
the way of adultery. Let no one flatter himself that he is going
into the kingdom of God who does not repent of this sin in sackcloth
and ashes. My friend, do you think God will never bring you into
judgment? Does not the Bible say that no adulterer shall inherit the
kingdom of God?
Do you think John the Baptist would have been a true friend of Herod
if he had spared him, and had covered up his sin? Was it not a true
sign that John loved him when he warned him, and told him he must
quit his sin? Herod had before done many things, and heard John
gladly; but he did not like him then. It is one thing to hear a man
preach down other people's sins. Men will say, "That is splendid,"
and will want all their friends to go and hear the preacher. But let
him touch on their individual sin as John did, and declare (as
Nathan did to David), "Thou art the man," and they say, "I do not
like that." The preacher has touched a sore place.
When a man has broken his arm, the surgeon must find out the exact
spot where the fracture is. He feels along and presses gently with
"Is it there?"
"Is it there?"
Presently, when the surgeon touches another spot, "Ouch!" says the
He has found the broken part, and it hurts. John placed his finger
on the diseased spot, and Herod winced under it. He put his hand
right on it:
"Herod, it is not lawful for thee to have thy brother Philip's
Herod did not want to give up his sin.
Many a man would be willing to enter into the kingdom of God, if he
could do it without giving up sin. People sometimes wonder why Jesus
Christ, who lived six hundred years before Mohammed, has got fewer
disciples than Mohammed to-day. There is no difficulty in explaining
that. A man may become a disciple of Mohammed, and continue to live
in the foulest, blackest, deepest sin; but a man cannot be a
disciple of Christ without giving up sin. If you are trying to make
yourself believe that you can get into the kingdom of God without
renouncing your sin, may God tear the mask from you! Can Satan
persuade you that Herod will be found in the kingdom of God along
with John the Baptist, with the sin of adultery and of murder on his
And now, let me say this to you. If your minister comes to you
frankly, tells you of your sin, and warns you faithfully, thank God
for him. He is your best friend; he is a heaven-sent man. But if a
minister speaks smooth, oily words to you; tells you it is all
right, when you know, and he knows, that it is all wrong, and that
you are living in sin, you may be sure that he is a devil-sent man.
I want to say I have a contempt for a preacher that will tone his
message down to suit some one in his audience; some Senator, or big
man whom he sees present. If the devil can get possession of such a
minister and speak through him, he will do the work better than the
devil himself. You might be horrified if you knew it was Satan
deceiving you, but if a professed minister of Jesus Christ preaches
this doctrine and says that God will make it all right in the end,
that though you go on living in sin, it is just the same. Don't be
deluded into believing such doctrine--it is as false as any lie that
ever came from the pit of hell. All the priests and ministers of all
the churches cannot save one soul that will not part with sin.
There is an old saying that, "Every man has his price." Esau sold
his birthright for a mess of pottage; pretty cheap, was it not? Ahab
sold out for a garden of herbs. Judas sold out for thirty pieces of
silver--less than $17 of our money. Pretty cheap, was it not? Herod
sold out for adultery.
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