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HAS PRESIDENT REAGAN'S SON
CROSSED THE DEADLINE?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, August 22, 2004
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"He limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts" (Hebrews 4:7).


Our text tells us that God "limiteth a certain day" when you can be saved. The Greek word for "limited" means that God has appointed, or designated a certain time when you can be saved. The time when you can be saved is "marked out with a boundary or limit." If you pass that limit you cannot be saved.

President Reagan's son Ron is a self-proclaimed atheist. When he was a teenager, he refused to go to church with his parents any more. One Sunday morning he refused to get dressed up for church. He said defiantly to his father, "I'm not going [to church]. I don't believe it and I'm not going" (Paul Kengor, Ph.D., God and Ronald Reagan, HarperCollins, 2004, pp. 117-118). Dr. Kengor went on to say that "Reagan was very concerned over whether Ron, as well as his sister Patti, were Christians. 'I wish they would accept Christ,' he more than once told his [older son] Michael" (ibid., p.177).

But Ron Reagan never did become a Christian. Last week, the Daily News asked him what he would say to President Bush if he had five minutes alone with him. Ron Reagan said, "I'd ask him if the innocents who died in Iraq were going to heaven. The answer to that question would be very informative to this President's worldview" (The Los Angeles Daily News, USA Weekend, August 13-15, 2004, p. 2). Here Ron Reagan belittles his father's and President Bush's belief in Hell. I can assure you that neither Bush nor President Reagan believed in an unjust God who sends "innocents" to Hell. All who go to Hell will be guilty sinners. This is just a cheap shot Ron Reagan made against the faith of President Reagan and President Bush. Over forty years have passed since Ron Reagan told his father, "I'm not going [to church]. I don't believe it and I'm not going." Each year, since then, his heart has been fixed against God. It seems that he crossed the line that day. It seems as if that very day God gave him "over to a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28).

"He limiteth a certain day" (Hebrews 4:7).

There is a limit to God's patience. When you pass that limit you can never be saved. George W. Truett, great pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, used to say, "There is a line, unseen by man. When you pass over it, you are gone forever." The old hymn Mr. Griffith just sang says,

There's a line that is drawn by rejecting the Lord,
Where the call of His Spirit is lost…
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?
      ("Have You Counted the Cost?" by A. J. Hodge, 1923).

There is a limit to God's patience. There comes a time when His offer of grace ends. "There's a line that is drawn by rejecting the Lord, where the call of His Spirit is lost."

"He limiteth a certain day" (Hebrews 4:7).

There's a limit to God's patience. There's a limit to when you can get saved.

I. First, there is a limit to how many times you will hear the gospel.

You can hardly come to this church even once without hearing the gospel. We make the gospel central in nearly every sermon. We repeatedly tell you,

"God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:8-10).

How many times do you have to hear that Christ, the Son of God, died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins? How many times do you have to be told that Christ rose physically from the dead, and is alive in Heaven to save you? How many times do you have to be told, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31)? My wife heard the gospel once and got saved. Mr. Griffith, who sang just now, heard it once and got saved.

If they could hear, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved," one time and be saved, what is it that prevents you from doing the same thing? What is it, if it is not your own stubborn heart - that refuses to trust Christ?

And if you died now, after hearing what I have just said, what excuse could you make to God? You couldn't say you never heard the gospel. You would be forced to admit that you deliberately and willfully rejected salvation in Christ when it was offered to you freely.

Some day you will hear the gospel for the last time. How do you know that it isn't this very morning? How do you know that this isn't the very last time you will hear the gospel?

Paul preached the gospel to Felix. As Paul was preaching "Felix trembled" (Acts 24:25). He came under conviction about his sins and his need for Christ. But, after Paul preached, Felix put off getting saved. He turned to Paul and said,

"Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee" (Acts 24:25).

"Go away right now. When I find the time, I'll call you again, and you can tell me how to be saved again."

But somehow that never happened. Felix had trembled. He was at the very edge of being converted. But he pulled back. He said, "I'll wait, and hear it all again." But he had crossed the invisible line. He was gone. It was too late. That was his last sermon! He thought, "I'll hear another sermon later." Oh, no! That was his last sermon! How do you know whether or not this will be your last sermon?

"He limiteth a certain day" (Hebrews 4:7).

II. Second, there is a limit to how many times the Holy Spirit will convict you.

Jesus said,

"When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin…"
      (John 16:8).

When the Holy Spirit comes, He convinces you of sin. "When he is come." But what will happen to you when He is gone? When God's Spirit is gone you will not be convinced of your sin. You will make excuses for your sin when He is gone. You will not be troubled about your sin when He is gone. The sinfulness of your own heart will not bother you when He is gone. When God's Spirit is gone you will not be convinced of sin. You won't even worry about your sin when He is gone. The first work of the Holy Spirit is to convince you of your sin.

If you wait for more conviction, how do you know God will give it to you? You had better come to Christ with what little conviction you have.

If you wait until you're better
You will never come at all.
    ("Come, Ye Sinners," by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

The lost world has no conviction whatever. If you have any conviction, it is from God's Spirit. Don't wait to be convinced more! If you are convinced at all, come to Christ. It may be too late if you wait. God said,

"My spirit shall not always strive with man" (Genesis 6:3).

And when God's Spirit stops striving with you, it's too late! Dr. John R. Rice said,

You have waited so flippantly [foolishly], refused Him so lightly,
You have sinned long and dreadfully, your heart is so wrong;
Oh, if God grows impatient, The sweet Spirit offended,
If no longer He calls you, Doom is yours when He's gone.
Then how sad facing judgment, You'll recall with no mercy,
That you tarried and lingered till the Spirit was gone.
    ("If You Linger Too Long" by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

"He limiteth a certain day, saying…To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts" (Hebrews 4:7).

III. Third, there is a limit to how many times you can harden your heart.

That morning, long ago, the future President came into Ron Reagan's room to summon him to church. "I'm not going. I don't believe it." He hardened his heart. I don't believe it! I don't believe it! I don't believe it!

That's what the Pharaoh did when Moses preached to him.

"But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not…" (Exodus 8:15).

Again and again, the Pharaoh hardened his heart after Moses preached.

At last, the Bible gives these terrible words,

"And the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart" (Exodus 11:10).

"I won't believe it!"

"I won't believe it!"

"I won't believe it!"

"And the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart" (Exodus 11:10).

The old-time preachers called that "judicial hardening." Pharaoh said "no." He said it again and again. Then, at last, God hardened Pharaoh's heart forever. He died in sin. For three thousand four hundred years the Pharaoh of Egypt has been burning in the pit of Hell, screaming over and over,

"I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16:24).

"I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16:24).

"I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16:24).

"I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16:24).

That is Pharaoh's endless cry - echoing up from the belching bowels of Hades, resounding through the dark chambers of Gehenna, sobbing up from the flame-filled corridors of Hell:

"I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16:24).

There is a limit to how many times you can harden your heart against the Son of God.

"He limiteth a certain day, saying…To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts" (Hebrews 4:7).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Hebrews 3:7-11.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Have You Counted the Cost?" (by A. J. Hodge, 1923).

THE OUTLINE OF

HAS PRESIDENT REAGAN'S SON
CROSSED THE DEADLINE?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"He limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts" (Hebrews 4:7).

(Romans 1:28)

I.   There is a limit to how many times you will hear the gospel,
Romans 5:8-10; Acts 16:31; Acts 24:25.

II.  There is a limit to how many times the Holy Spirit will
convict you, John 16:8; Genesis 6:3.

III. There is a limit to how many times you can harden your heart,
Exodus 8:15; 11:10; Luke 16:24.

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at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."