May 182012
By J.C. Ryle

Bible Reading and Text: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is desperately wicked: who can know it? I, the Lord, search the mind, I try the heart, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

Introduction: The first of these two verses contains a very strong saying, and one which the world in general is not at all disposed to believe. “The heart is deceitful above all things,” says our text. “I deny it,” says the unconverted man. “To be sure, my heart is very careless and very thoughtless, but it is an honest heart after all.” “The heart is desperately wicked,” says the text. “Nothing of the sort,” replies the sinner. “I know that I neglect the means of grace very much, and perhaps I do not live as I ought to do, but I am sure I have a good heart at the bottom.” “Who can know it?” asks the text. “Know it!” we are told: “why, we do not pretend to be such saints as you want men to be, but at any rate we do know our own hearts, we do know what our faults are.”

And so, beloved, it appears there are two statements–and one of them must be false. The everlasting Bible is on one side–and human reasoning on the other; God says one thing, and man says another. Now, I shall endeavor to persuade you this morning that the Scripture account of the heart is strictly and literally true and correct; it is a faithful likeness, a lively picture, and it must not be softened down and called figurative and extravagant, because it sounds rough and plain, and leaves you no room for boasting. O that the Holy Spirit may bring many of you to a right understanding of your own hearts! It is almost impossible to say how immensely important it is to have a clear view of their natural state: “with the heart man believes unto righteousness,” “out of the heart are the issues of life”; “man looks on the outward appearance–but the Lord looks on the heart.”

In short, unless you really know the character of your own heart, you will never value the Gospel as you ought, you will never love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, you will never see how absolutely necessary it was that He should suffer death upon the cross, in order to deliver our souls from hell and bring us unto God. I wish therefore, firstly, to prove to you the truth of the words “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”; secondly, I shall say a few words to remind you that God knows what is within you, “I the Lord search the heart”; and, thirdly, I shall point out shortly the only remedy that can do you any good, if you would be saved. It is my earnest desire and prayer that you may all come unto Christ and be delivered from the wrath to come; but this will never be until you are convinced of sin, and you will never be thoroughly convinced until you know that the root and source and fountain of sin all is within you–even in your own hearts!

Continue reading, click: A BAD HEART — BY J C RYLE

 Posted by on 05/18/2012 Ministry, Sermons ,  Add comments