TEXT: JEREMIAH 25:1-11
An aged minister told the story of a man whom he often warned, but who always said to him, “Sir, when I am dying, I shall say, Lord, have mercy on me; and I shall go to heaven as well as anybody else.” Returning home from market one night, rather ‘foul’ with liquor, he guided his horse with a leap right over the parapet of a bridge into the river; the last words he was heard to utter were a most fearful imprecation; and in the bed of the river he was found dead, killed by the fall.
For twenty three years now, Jeremiah the prophet had been prophesying unto the people of Israel but they wouldn’t hearken. They ignored the warning to repent and turn away from their evil practices and from idolatry unto the living God. They equally rejected the message of other prophets apart from Jeremiah’s who had given them warning of the danger of sin. The consequence of their stiffneck was seventy years of captivity to Babylon.
If we could call people out this morning and ask them one at a time, Sir, why are you in hell? Did you not know how to be saved?” I am sure that some might say, “I did not know how to be saved”; but I believe literally thousands would say, “Yes, I knew how to be saved but I waited too long to accept it.” I don’t think you would find one person in hell who deliberately planned to go there, but many waited too late and died without the Saviour.
We must not delay nor harden our hearts to the gospel. The truth is, every time the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart and you refuse to accept Christ, your heart becomes harder and harder, until, after awhile, when God speaks, you don’t even hear His voice anymore. Nobody knows when he is going to die. You may say, “I don’t like to hear talks about death.” Well, when people quit dying, preachers will quit talking about death. Billy Sunday said, “if we had more preaching on hell from the pulpit, we would have less hell in the congregation.