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IF YOU LINGER TOO LONG!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, August 20, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved"
(Jeremiah 8:20).


Harvest time in Israel was in May, according to Dr. Gill. The summer in that part of the world ended in July. They were now in the month of Ab on the Hebrew calendar, late in August. It was about this time of year. The Chaldeans had besieged Jerusalem. The Jews had hoped that the Egyptians would send their armies to help them overcome the enemy. But the weeks dragged on, the months passed, and no help came. In August the city and the temple were burned in fire by the Chaldeans. The words of our text are the words of the Jews in that desperate situation. Hear their mournful, piteous cry,

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

Surely you can see, without my help, that if you are unsaved this text speaks to you tonight. So many young people have been converted in the last few days that I am really surprised. The people in our church are rejoicing and happy that a good number of young people, and even children, have been saved.

But you were not one of them. I must, then, warn you with strong words from the text, for these are really your words,

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

How quickly the seasons come and go. In two weeks school starts for many of you again. Work beckons. The soft, warm days of summer will turn cold very soon. In the rush of things this fall, in the time of the American "holidays," in the cold winter months, you will look back and wish that you had been saved this week. But, alas; it will then be too late for some, perhaps too late for you, perhaps everlastingly too late. Then you will cry with those Jews,

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

Then, stop and think how the movement of the times and seasons makes it less and less likely that you will ever be saved.

I. First, the harvest is past.

Many of us are astonished at the harvest we reaped in the last few days. One young person after the other, one child after the other, hopefully came to Christ and was saved. But surely you know by now that this is not going to go on. It may be that this very night the harvest will end abruptly. I should not be at all surprised if this harvest of souls came to a complete end tonight. I should not be at all surprised if not even one more person was converted. For, you see, this is the very last night of these evangelistic meetings. The very last night! And you are still unsaved!

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

II. Second, the movement of God in our church has most likely passed.

No one can come to Christ without the drawing of God's grace and the manifestation of His power. Jesus made that very clear when He said,

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44).

You can only come to Christ

"when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19).

But I very much fear that the "times of refreshing" are evaporating, disappearing before our very eyes. I fear that we will not see another night like those nights last week, when so many were drawn to salvation by the Spirit of God. I am afraid for your sake, because I think you will not be saved at all, now that the movement of God is passing from us. Just a few more hours and you will say with those Jews,

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

When God moves, He then moves on. Others have found Christ, but now God withdraws - and you will not find Christ! "They shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them" (Hosea 5:6). God says, "I will go and return to my place," and you will be left without God, without the Saviour, without hope (Hosea 5:15).

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

III. Third, the time of great seriousness and conviction of sin
has likely passed.

"Why," you say, "I'll be at camp next week. There will be plenty of opportunities to be saved." But you are wrong. You see, camp won't be like these meetings at all. There will be so many things to pull your mind away from the things of God. There'll be meals, and laughter, and games, and swimming, and kids frolicking and playing, and dishes rattling in the kitchen during the preaching. Oh, no! Camp will not be like these meetings at all!

The great seriousness we have felt here these past few nights will most certainly be gone. And your chance of being saved will have evaporated, will be gone! So, I must warn you again,

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

IV. Fourth, the chatter and work of the fall is upon us -
and you will be too busy then.

Vacation time will be over. You will be preoccupied with school and work. Your heart will be full of other things. The meetings will change to accommodate new people who are coming into the church through evangelism. I will be preaching on the local church and the loneliness of those lost new people. The sermons will no longer focus on your directly. The time will be gone! It may very well be everlastingly too late for you to be converted if you pass through the last night of this evangelistic series all stupid, unconcerned, and unawakened. Tonight may very well be your last chance to be saved at all! And then, someday in the flames of Hell, you will cry,

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

V. Fifth, times of refreshing like this are few.

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19).

How many "times of refreshing" have we had like this? We can say that the stirrings of God we felt among us last week have not been seen for years. The last few days we have seen great conviction, tears, penitence, great seriousness, and joy among hopeful converts. When have we seen so much of this in so short a time? We have to say,

"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes"
     (Psalm 118:23).

But you would be a fool to think this will go on and on. No! It will probably end tonight! This very night Christ may say "How often would I have gathered" thee… "and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:37-38). Times of salvation like this are few. And you have missed the blessing until now- the very last meeting!

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

Oh, sinner, the time is gone! Why do you hesitate? Why do you wait?

"Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14).

And then,

"The fearful…shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone" (Revelation 21:8).

Have done with your hesitation and fears! Throw yourself upon Christ! Even at this late hour, even at this last meeting, He will save you, He will pardon your sins, He will wash your record clean with His blood.

The believing thief, hanging on the cross next to Christ, received pardon for his sins from the Saviour - at the very last moment. Won't you come to Jesus and be pardoned by Him even now - even at this late time - even at the very end of this evangelistic harvest?

Or will you stiffen your neck, reject these exhortations, and go on in sin? Remember,

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

Then, in Hell, a thousand years from now, you will cry out,

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20).

Dr. Rice said,

If the Saviour has called you to return from your wandering,
If the Spirit has pleaded that you turn from your sin,
If the knock at your heart's door so insistent continues,
Oh, refuse Him no longer, Let Him quickly come in.
Then how sad facing judgment, You'll recall with no mercy
That you tarried and lingered till the Spirit was gone;
What reproaches and mourning, if when death finds you hopeless,
You have tarried and lingered and have waited too long!
   ("If You Linger Too Long" by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


THE OUTLINE OF

IF YOU LINGER TOO LONG!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved"
(Jeremiah 8:20).

I.   First, the harvest is past, Jeremiah 8:20.

II.  Second, the movement of God in our church has most likely passed,
John 6:44; Acts 3:19; Hosea 5:6, 15.

III. Third, the time of great seriousness and conviction of sin has likely
passed, Jeremiah 8:20.

IV. Fourth, the chatter and work of the fall is upon us - and you will
be too busy then, Jeremiah 8:20.

V.  Fifth, times of refreshing like this are few, Acts 3:19; Psalm 118:23;
Matthew 23:37-38; James 4:14; Revelation 21:8; Proverbs 29:1.