Serious Warnings From The Dead
"Grace despised is grace forfeited, like Esau's birthright. They that will not have Christ when they may shall not have him when they would." - Matthew Henry
"Hannibal, after the grand victory at Cannae, could have taken the city of Rome with comparative ease. But he neglected to improve that opportunity. When some time later he attempted to take Rome, a terrible storm prevented him from doing so. Then he is said to have exclaimed with chagrin, 'When I could, I would not, and now when I will, I cannot.' So it is with all those who delay their repentance from day to day. Having time to be reconciled to God, they will not; but if they continue to resist the grace of God, the time will come when they cannot." - Encyclopedia Of Sermon Illustrations
We all know that dead people cannot speak to the living. But, if some could come back from the dead, what would they say to us?
There are several people who we would like to imagine hearing from for - when they were alive - they made some very bad choices from which we can learn valuable lessons so as to avoid the same mistakes.
Let's hear what each of them has to say to us in our present day. They are as follows -
"When I could, I would not, and now when I will, I cannot." Oh, I should have taken Rome when I had the opportunity. I thought I could put it off to a later time. I was feeling so elated by my victory at Cannae that I presumed that I had time to wait for Rome. But that time never came. That opportunity was totally lost because of my own ignorance and pride.
Whatever you do, don't make the same mistake that I did. Don't put off any opportunities for conquest that come your way. Don't be satisfied with one victory over your enemies when there is so much more ground to possess. Don't allow pride, complacency, and self-satisfaction to keep you from moving on in your destiny.
When the opportunity presents itself to fight your enemy, go after it. Don't tell yourself that you have accomplished alot. Don't sit back and revel in your small victories when there are greater ones yet to face. Improve on your opportunities. Take "Rome." Don't stop fighting because you won "Cannae." For God's sake and the sake of your family and friends, take "Rome" from the enemy also.
If you fail to take "Rome" now, you never will. The opportunity will be lost forever. And you and your family will suffer immensely.
Your enemy will forever be a "thorn in your side" (Numbers 33:55).
Jeremiah 8:20 gives a sad commentasry of our state - "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."
We expected deliverance to come, but it never did. We waited for it in the first year. And then we hoped for it is the second year. But Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem just as the Prophet Jeremiah foretold.
God was looking for spiritual fruit from us. He was wanting the harvest of our souls. But we failed Him. Our spiritual fruit-gathering proved unproductive. Our spiritual grains had failed.
We professed to be the people of God yet learned and followed the ways of the heathen. We set up idols in our hearts in rivalry to the Living God.
The Lord Jehovah tried to bring us back through the preaching of Jeremiah. He constantly called us to repentance, but we would not come. We would not turn from our wicked ways. Instead, we mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted the servant of God. We despised his words. We didn't want to hear about sin and repentance. We loved our sin and the ways of this world too much.
Now we are weighed in the balance and found wanting. We are fruitless and unproductive. God has no other choice than to cut us down, using the enemy nation of Babylon.
Oh! America and all other nations of the world! Take heed to our failure to move when God called us to move - to turn when He called us to turn from our wicked ways. Don't throw off your opportunity, your time of visitation, or season of grace. Or you, too, will find yourself saying as we did - "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." God will also deal with you as He did with us. He will raise up a modern-day Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar to overtake you as well.
Get right with God before it is too late. Get rid of your idols. Serve the Lord and Him alone. Don't be enamored with the ways of the world. And, by all means, don't reject the Word coming from the Preachers and Prophets through whom the Lord is sending warning. Heed their admonitions before you find yourselves in captivity and utter ruin as we had.
Read the final words of the Lord Jesus to us as recorded in Matthew 23:37-38 - "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
Imagine our great privilege that we threw away to the wind! We actually had the Son of the Living God walking and ministering in our very midst. God came down among us to save us and turn us from our sins. But we refused Him. We scorned our opportunities and our day of visitation. We wouldn't come under His government or kingdom, nor would we allow Him to draw us under His "wings."
We didn't think that we needed this Son of God. After all, we had Abraham for our Father.
Now we - once the Fruitful Vine - are likened unto a dry wilderness. Our "house" is "desolate." No longer call us "Beulah" (Isaiah 62:4) - meaning married to the Lord - for we are "Forsaken." Don't call us "Naomi" but call us "Mara" for our end is bitter (Ruth 1:20).
Oh, don't let the devil deceive you into thinking that just because you go to Church every Sunday that you are right with God. We had the temple, our synagogues, rabbis, scribes, and great teachers. We didn't think that we needed this Jesus or His salvation, yet we did.
Whatever you do, don't reject Him and His Word. Don't turn Him away.
Don't backslide. Don't let Satan draw you away from a committed walk with the Lord by using the "razzle-dazzle" of this world to entice you. Rid yourself of any and all inordinate affections that would possess your heart. Don't grieve the Holy Spirit. Don't throw off God's abundant grace. Don't spurn your "space to repent" as we did.
For if you do, your house, too, will be "left unto you desolate." The Holy Spirit will leave you. Your spirit will become "empty" once again and a ready place for demons and evil spirits to overtake you and bring you to eternal ruin. Your last state will be worse than your first.
4. Landowner, Cattle Rancher, & Newlywed
Read about our tragic account in Luke 14:16-20 - "...A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come: for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come."
We all had one thing in common. We rejected our invitation to the "great supper" which typifies God's invitation for salvation to all mankind.
We were so stupid. We allowed the gratification of our own flesh, our worldliness, and our love for relatives and friends to keep us from attending one of the greatest feasts imaginable.
What an opportunity we had! And oh, what an opportunity we missed! Once we slighted our invitation by our lame and trifling excuses, we never met the same opportunity again.
We were so selfish. We neglected this wonderful experience for the affairs of this world. We placed the concerns of our flesh before that of our souls. We were not mindful of the eternal consequences of our excuses; we were simply concerned about the necessity of the moment.
Our hearts were so filled with worldly ideas and pursuits. We were so deceived. All we cared about was enlarging our territory, making a good bargain, and pleasing men.
Don't do as we did. When the Master of the House invites you to come to Him, don't make excuses. Don't permit your business or earthly ambitions to keep you from answering His call. Don't allow your spouse or any relatives to hold you back from the "great supper" - all that the Master has for you.
Because we didn't come when we were invited and allowed other things to get in the way, we lost out. Our doom was set - "...That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper" (Luke 14:24). You will face the same outcome if you do as we did. Never again will you be allowed to enjoy the blessings that you missed. Be warned here!
Wait until you read what the Bible says about me. Acts 24:25 relates both Paul's role and mine in this scenario - "And as he (the Apostle Paul) reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee."
Oh! You cannot imagine how I felt that day. Never a man spake like this one. I was so troubled because Paul was bearing down hard on my sins. He was preaching against injustice in relations and licentious desires and propensities and telling of a future day of retribution. I became alarmed and terrified for I was guilty of so much. The woman that I was with - Druscilla - was another man's wife. I was wicked and evil in my dealings with men.
I felt as though I had no other choice than to remove Paul from my midst - at least for a time. I was not ready to give up my sins. There was too much at risk. I would have to think about this.
I called for him several times again, but I never seemed to feel the same. I lost something. I never could feel the conviction that I did at the start.
My "convenient season" never came. I learned the hard way that you have to respond when God calls. You cannot come when you are good and ready.
I am lost forever. My soul is in Hell today. I am burning in eternal flames because I threw away my day of grace.
Oh, Sinner! Don't do as I did! Don't put God off for a "convenient season." That season will never come. Listen to me. I know!
When God speaks to you through the Preacher, whatever sin it is that He is calling you to repent of, do it speedily before your mind convinces you otherwise. Don't throw off the conviction of the Holy Spirit, or you will end up in this Godforsaken place called Hell where I am for all eternity!
Hebrews 12:17 tells of my horrible fate - "For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."
I am your last voice of warning. My name is Esau. I was a complete fool. I despised my birthright. In fact, I sold it to my brother for a bowl of pottage.
When I finally came to my senses and realized my utter folly, it was too late. With bitter tears and heartrending pleadings, I tried to change my father's mind and counsel. But the blessing was given and the prophesy pronounced. I was left with a benediction of a lesser value.
Oh, Christian! Learn from my example.
Ask yourself - For what am I selling my salvation and all of its wonderful benefits? For what worldly treasures am I forfeiting my heavenly ones? Am I taking lightly the Call of God that rests upon my life? Do I have little regard for the many privileges that are mine in Christ? Am I selling out for worldly pursuits?
One day, you may wake up like I did and realize what a big mistake you have made, but it will be too late. You will never be able to gain back the time lost. No matter how many tears you shed, you will never be able to change the Father's decision. You will be left with blessings of a lesser value when He intended greater ones.
We close once again with Matthew Henry's words that opened this message - "Grace despised is grace forfeited, like Esau's birthright. They that will not have Christ when they may shall not have Him when they would."
Which opportunities are you throwing to the wind? Is Jesus calling you to Himself?
How long do you think He will strive with you before He gives you up to your own way?
Oh! That God would use this message to wake you up and cause you to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.
May God bless His Word.
© COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved