“But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise.”—Matthew 22:5.
Oh! sinner, when thou neglectest the great salvation, remember what thou dost despise; when thou makest light of God’s gospel, thou makest light of justification by faith; thou makest light of washing in the blood of Jesus; thou makest light of the Holy Spirit; thou makest light of the road to heaven; and then thou makest light of faith, and hope, and love; thou makest light of all the promises of the eternal covenant, of all the glorious things that God has laid up for them that love him, and of everything which he hath revealed in his Word as being the promised gift to those who come unto him. It is a solemn thing to make light of the gospel, for in that Word, God’s-spell—good tidings, is summed up all that human nature can require, and all that even the saints in bliss can receive. Oh! to despise the gospel of the blessed God, how mad! how worse than folly!
Oh! my friend, if thou makest light of Christ, thou hast insulted the only one who can save thee—the only one who can bear thee across the Jordan—the only one who can unbolt the gates of heaven, and give thee welcome. Let no preacher of smooth things persuade thee that this is not crime. O, sinner, think of thy sin, if thou art making light of him, for then art thou making light of the King’s only Son.
Ah! little dost thou know, O sinner, when thou dost trifle with the gospel, that thou art insulting God.
There is no such thing as true natural religion apart from Christ; it is a lie and a falsehood, it is the refuge of a man who is not brave enough to say he hates God, but it is only a refuge of lies; for he who denieth Christ in that act offendeth God, and shutteth up heaven’s gates against himself. There is no loving the Father except through the Son; and there is no acceptable worship of the Father, except through the Great High Priest the Mediator, Jesus Christ. Oh! my friend, remember thou hast not merely despised the gospel, but thou hast despised the gospel’s God.
The Man who lightly esteems the gospel makes light of hell; he thinks its fires are not hot, and its flames not such as Christ has described them; he makes light of the burning tears that scald despairing cheeks for ever; he makes light of the yells and shrieks that must be the doleful songs and terrible music of perishing souls. Ah! it is no wise thing to make light of hell.
Consider again: thou makest light of heaven—that place to which the blest ones long to go, where glory reigns without a cloud, and bliss without a sigh. Thou puttest the crown of everlasting life beneath thy feet; thou treadest the palm-branch beneath thine unhallowed foot and thou thinkest it little to be saved, and little to be glorified. “Ah! poor soul, when thou art once in hell, and when the iron key is turned for ever in the lock of inevitable destiny, thou wilt find hell to be a something not so easy to despise; and when thou hast lost heaven and all its bliss, and canst only hear the song of the blessed, sounding faintly in the distance, increasing thy misery by contrast with their joy, then thou wilt find it no little thing to have made light of heaven. Every man who makes light of religion makes light of these things. He misjudges the value of his own soul, and the importance of its eternal state.
HOW IS IT THAT MEN MAKE LIGHT OF IT? In the first, it is making light of the gospel and of the whole of God’s glorious things, when men go to hear and yet do not attend. How many frequent churches and chapels to indulge in a comfortable nap! Think what a fearful insult that is to the King of heaven. Would they enter into Her Majesty’s palace, ask an audience, and then go to sleep before her face? And yet the sin of sleeping in Her Majesty’s presence, would not be so great, even against her laws, as the sin of wilfully slumbering in God’s sanctuary. How many go to our houses of worship who do not sleep, but who sit with vacant stare, listening as they would to a man would could not play a lively tune upon a good instrument.
Oh! my hearer, thou makest light of Christ, if thou puttest him anywhere save in the centre of thine heart. He who gives Christ a little of his affections, makes light of Christ; for Christ will have the whole heart or none at all. He who gives Christ a portion, and the world a portion, despises Christ, for he seems to think that Christ does not deserve to have the whole.
Ah! hypocrite, thou makest light of Christ if thou thinkest that he is a stalkinghorse to get thee wealth. If thou dreamest that thou art to saddle and bridle Christ, and ride to wealth upon him, thou makest a grand mistake, for he was never meant to carry men anywhere except to heaven. If you suppose that religion was intended to gild your homes, to carpet your floors, and line your purses, you have greatly erred. It was intended to be profitable to the soul; and he who thinks to use religion to his own personal advantage thinks lightly of Christ: and at the last day this crime shall be laid to his charge.
Now, there are many present to-night, I dare say, who think lightly of the gospel, because they do not understand it. I have often heard people laugh at religion; but ask them what it is, and they know no more about religion than a horse, and worse than that, for they believe untruths about it, and a horse does not do that. They laugh at it, simply because they do not comprehend it; it is a thing beyond them.
That is just another reason why many men make light of the gospel, because they do not believe it. “What!” they say, “Jesus Christ died to wash men from their sins? We do not believe it. What! A heaven. Who ever saw it? A hell! Who ever heard its groans? What! Eternity. Who ever returned from that last hope of every spirit. What! Blessedness in religion? We do not believe it—it is a moping, miserable thing. What! Sweetness in the promises? No there is not; we believe there is sweetness in the world, but we do not believe there is any in the wells the Lord has digged.” And so they despise the gospel, because they do not believe it. But, I am sure, that when a man once believes it, he never thinks lightly of it. Once let me have the solemn conviction in my heart by the Holy Spirit, that if unsaved, there is a gaping gulf that shall devour me; do you think I can go to rest till I have trembled from head to foot? Once let me heartily believe that there is a heaven provided for those who believe on Christ, do you think I could give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids, till I have wept because it is not mine? I believe not. But damnable unbelief thrusts his hand into the mouth of an, and plucks up his heart, and so destroys him, for it will not let him believe, and, therefore, he cannot feel, because he believeth not. Oh! my friends, it is unbelief that makes men think lightly of Christ; but unbelief will not do so by-and-bye. There are no infidels in hell; they are all believers there.
Worldliness is a demon that hath wrung the neck of many souls; God grant that we may not perish through our worldliness!
And, lastly, I fear there are a great many who make light of Christ because of the commonness of the gospel. It is preached everywhere, and that is why you make light of it. You can hear it at the corner of every street; you can read it in this widely circulated Bible; and because the gospel is so common, therefore, you don’t care for it. Ah! my dear friends, if there were only one gospel minister in London that could tell you the truth; if there were only one Bible in London, I believe you would be rushing to hear that Bible read; and the man who had the message would have no sinecure of it, he would be obliged to work from morning to night, to tell it out to you. But now, because you have so many Bibles you forget to read them; because you have so many tracts you pack up any article in them; because you have so many sermons you do not think anything at all of them.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible