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THE DESTRUCTION OF STIFF NECKED SINNERS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Monday Evening, August 15, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1).


Dr. Asahel Nettleton said, "If you cannot be alarmed, you cannot be saved. If you do not believe that you are under sentence of death from God's holy law, then you will not feel your need [to be forgiven], and you will not come to Christ that you might have life." He that believeth not is condemned already…and the wrath of God abideth on him (cf. John 3:18, 36).

No sinner ever came to Christ without first being convicted of his sin. "But," you say, "I will not be frightened. Nothing you say is going to frighten me." Then you will not be saved. What do you think "hardeneth his neck" means? It means he refuses to be frightened. A sinner who refuses to be frightened cannot be saved. A sinner who refuses to be frightened will have "no remedy." There is no cure for such a person.

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1).

The only thing that can help you is conviction of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come. But your proud heart refuses this. Every attempt to rescue you from destruction is resisted by you.

Your unwillingness to be convicted of your sin and your unwillingness to be frightened at the thought of punishment shows that you are the very person described in the text!

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1).

No one can reject the gospel and the warnings of the Bible without hardening his neck. By his rejection of reproof he puts himself in a position where there is no hope for him. Think how this applies to you.

I. First, think of the justice, the fairness, of your punishment.

You harden your neck against the preaching, and you thus bring destruction on yourself. When the Spirit of God comes, with a "still, small voice," to convict you of sin, you feel some concern for your salvation. But you try not to be alarmed by it. Since you reject the light the Spirit is bringing, you will have nothing but darkness. God says, "Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see."

You say, "Let me alone." And God says, "He is joined to idols, let him alone." You say, "Go away," and God says, "My Spirit shall no longer strive." You choose not to be under conviction - and it is fair and just for God not to give you any more conviction. "After thy hardness and impenitent heart thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath" (Romans 2:5). When you finally die, your conscience will forever condemn you for destroying yourself. "They utterly perish in their own corruption." By hardening his neck, the sinner, with his own hand, closes the door to salvation for himself.

II. Second, think how this warning should alarm those of you
who have heard the gospel for a long time.

Think how many warnings you have heard. You have been in church for years. You have heard so many warnings. And yet none of them have helped you. Look at yourself. Don't you find that your heart becomes harder and harder as the years go by? Don't you find that our text is true in your life? Isn't it true that you were once afraid of Hell and judgment and sin? Isn't it true that now you no longer feel fear and conviction? Once you had a fearful, convicted heart, but now it is over and gone forever. The time when you can be saved is almost gone!

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1).

Think how many, who have only been in the church a short time, have been convicted and hopefully converted. And you are still lost! Your case is becoming more and more hopeless. The probability is that you will never be saved! If you go through these evangelistic meetings and remain lost, your case may be hopeless. If you reject this warning, your case will be even more hopeless. The voice of mercy is growing weaker and weaker, while the voice of judgment is growing louder and louder.

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1).

III. Third, think how this warning should alarm those
who have been with us a short time.

You will soon be as hardened as those who have been here for years. You will soon be just as cold and stiff necked as they are. Beware of how you feel, and what you do! You have been reproved and rebuked by the preaching and counselling, by seeing the conviction and conversion of others, and by God's Spirit. What if these evangelistic meetings pass and you are still unconverted? What will happen to you if you are still unawakened and unconverted two weeks from now? You will not be the same as you are now! Oh, no! You will be far worse off than you are now! You will be much more hardened and much more stiff necked when these meetings are over than you are tonight!

If my preaching does not prove to be a savour of life to you, it will be a savour of death unto death for your soul! Every warning that you neglect will make your salvation less and less probable. You are wandering farther and farther from Christ - plunging deeper and deeper into misery and darkness. Each night that you harden your neck it becomes less and less likely that you will find salvation.

The more stupid and hard the sinner becomes, the nearer to destruction he is. That's the way it was in the old world. They were never more unconcerned than they were right before the Flood came and destroyed them all. It came when they least expected it. They "knew not until the flood came" (Matthew 24:39).

Never were the people of Sodom more stupid and dull than the very day they were destroyed. The preaching of Lot seemed like a fairy tale to them. They were playing and fooling around until the very moment they were destroyed - when the flames of Hell suddenly reached out and sucked them under. Thus it was with the rich fool. He sang to himself, "Soul…take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry" (Luke 12:19). But that very night his soul fell into the everlasting flames.

And thus it has always been with those who have gone to Hell while the gospel was being preached. I read of a man who died and went down into the flames during a sermon preached by George Whitefield. People like him cried "peace and safety" until the very moment they were eternally lost. They dropped into Hell, and it closed suddenly upon them. Those sinners are usually the nearest to destruction who think the least about it.

There have been four major automobile accidents in our church in the last month. Think of it - four major accidents in thirty days - one a week. Is this a warning? Will there be another accident in the next few days? Will someone here tonight be killed? Will it be you? "Oh, no," you say, "That won't happen to me." But it happened to several people. A slightly different set of circumstances and we would be holding their funerals.

We have never had four traffic accidents in four weeks. Why did God, in His providence, allow four such accidents in one month? Was it a warning to you? Will you crash on the way home tonight? Will your soul sink down to Hell before we meet again tomorrow night? It happened to the people in the old world. It happened to the people of Sodom. It happened to the rich fool. It happened to Korah. It happened to Ananias. It happened to Herod.

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1).

(END OF SERMON)
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at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


THE OUTLINE OF

THE DESTRUCTION OF STIFF NECKED SINNERS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1).

I.   Think of the justice, the fairness, of your punishment, Romans 2:5.

II.  Think how this warning should alarm those of you who have heard
the gospel for a long time, Proverbs 29:1.

III. Think how this warning should alarm those who have been with us
a short time, Matthew 24:39; Luke 12:19.