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BURIED ALIVE - PART I

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, July 9, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed” (Jeremiah 48:11).


Moab had been free from war for a long time. They had therefore become secure and proud. This condition was described in verse twenty-nine.

“We have heard the pride of Moab (he is exceeding proud), his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart” (Jeremiah 48:29).

Moab is, thus, a picture of those who become secure and settled in their unconverted state. And what the prophet Jeremiah said concerning Moab applies to you, if you have become settled and secure in your lost condition.

Some of you here tonight are in the same condition as Moab. You have become carefree and thoughtless, undisturbed by your lost condition. I must not speak in generalities about those who are lost out there in the city of Los Angeles. No, I must apply the text to those of you who are here tonight, but remain in an unconverted state. What does the text say to you?

I. First, the text says you have remained undisturbed for a long time.

“Moab hath been at ease from his youth…” (Jeremiah 48:11).

Has that been your condition? Have you remained unawakened for years, unmoved by your sin?

Perhaps you were raised in the church, but have never been under the rod of God-sent conviction. Perhaps you came here several months, or years, ago and have heard the gospel preached many times – yet you have not felt a disturbance in your soul.

“Moab hath been at ease from his youth…” (Jeremiah 48:11).

There is great danger in remaining as you are – though you do not see it. Pharaoh was like you. He heard Moses preach again and again – and yet, each time he heard the sermon, he remained at ease, until the wrath of God fell on Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar was like you. He proudly resisted God until destruction fell on him and he lost his mind. Belshazzar was like unto you. He went on in his sin until the fingers of God wrote those terrible words

“Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting” (Daniel 5:27).

My maternal grandmother told me that they opened a coffin that had been buried for years. It was back in the hills of Missouri. When they opened that coffin they found the skeleton clawing at the lid. The fingers of the skeleton had dug through the top of the coffin, because that person had been buried alive. That happened quite often in olden times, before they had the medical knowledge we have today. Quite frequently people awoke to find that they were inside a coffin, buried under six feet of earth. When my grandmother told me that story it gave me nightmares.

But isn’t that exactly your fate tonight? Won’t it be just as horrible when you awaken, sealed forever in the darkness, with no hope of ever escaping? Shouldn’t you shudder in fear at the prospect? It could happen to you tonight. It could happen to you in the morning.

“Moab hath been at ease from his youth…” (Jeremiah 48:11).

How can you be so light hearted? How can you be at ease? How can you stand living like that – knowing that you may wake up sealed alive in darkness – with no way to escape? How can you stand the thought of it?

II. Second, the text says that you are secure.

“Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees…” (Jeremiah 48:11).

Dr. Gill said,

“And he hath settled on his lees”; a metaphor taken from wine; which the longer it remains on the lees [dregs] the better body it has, the richer and stronger it is…an emblem of unconverted sinners, who are settled and hardened in the corruption of their nature; and not at all disturbed at the evil of sin; the wrath of God; his judgment on men; the last and awful judgment; or at the terrors of hell (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, vol. 5, page 657).

The Rich Fool was quite secure. Like Moab, he was settled “on his lees.” He did not believe that God will

“…punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil” (Zephaniah 1:12).

He felt quite safe and free from danger. He made plans for the future with no fear that he might lose his soul.

“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (Luke 12:20).

And that very night he died, and sunk down into “the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13).

Have you ever asked yourself, “What would happen to me if I died tonight?” Have you ever wondered how you would feel in the everlasting darkness of Hell? Are you one of those described by Dr. Gill as, “Settled and hardened in the corruption of [your] nature; and not at all disturbed at the evil of sin; the wrath of God; his judgment on men; the last and awful judgment; or at the terrors of hell”? Are you hardened in that dangerous state?

III. Third, the text says that you have not been converted.

“Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed”  
      (Jeremiah 48:11).

Dr. Gill said,

“And hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel”; like wine that has never been [poured] from the vessel…it was first put into…in which they were an emblem [or picture] of such who have never seen their own emptiness, and their [lack] of the grace of God, and have never been emptied of sin, nor of self-righteousness: “neither have gone into captivity”…an emblem [or picture] of such who have never seen their captive state to sin and Satan; or ever brought to complain of it, or become the captives of Christ: “therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed”; his [life] continued without any change and alteration; and also his sins and…pride…which were the cause of his ruin…an emblem [or picture] of unregenerate men, whose taste is [ruined] by sin, and continues as it was originally…and so are in a most dangerous condition (ibid.).

Dr. John Gill, our foremost classical Baptist Bible commentator, spoke of your case, didn’t he? Do not his words describe you? Is it not true that you have never been “emptied from vessel to vessel” by true conversion? Is it not true that you have never “gone into captivity,” never having become the captive of Christ, rather than Satan? Is it not true that the “taste” of your life, no, the very “scent” or the very “smell” or your life, in the nostrils of God “is not changed”?

If this is true of you, you are in great danger indeed! But do you see the danger you are in? Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, said, of a person who has “been at ease from [their] youth,”

Plainly, this [person] has not been into spiritual captivity; he has never felt the burden of sin, never known what the weight of guilt is. Do you envy him? You may sooner envy the dead in their graves…you may better envy the man who has fallen into sensibility [awakening]…Those pangs [and pains], and bitter regrets, and tossing to and fro of a wounded conscience [under conviction of sin] are signs of the [beginning] of spiritual life; it is by such things as these that we are led to put our trust in Jesus; and those who have never felt them, may well…pray that they may experience them – that they may be brought soundly and safely out of their self-righteousness, and led to rest upon…our dear Redeemer. Ah! my dear hearer, if you this [evening] have been troubled in your soul, be thankful for it. If [you] are full of anxiety [and fear]…you may be thankful [for fear and conviction], and ask [God] that it may drive you to Jesus…If you cannot enjoy the world as you once did, I am glad of it, God loves you too [much] to let you [be contented when you are in such a horrible unconverted condition]. He means to flog you [to beat you] out of your sins if you will not be drawn out of them by gentler cords of love…Better to suffer [the conviction] of sin which will end in life, than to enjoy the ease which is [only prolonged] death… (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Shrill Trumpet of Admonition,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 13, pp. 402-403).

Oh, may God Himself drag you away from easy, settled, self-satisfied thoughts. May God Himself cause you to be filled with anxiety and terror – until you come and fall at Jesus’ feet, and are saved by His Blood and righteousness, justified by faith in

“The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

You have been at ease too long. You speak to the deacon and myself about your salvation without emotion, without fear. Let that little story my grandmother told me about someone back in the Ozark Mountains, who was buried alive, awaken you to your frightening situation.

Edgar Allan Poe (1850) wrote a short story called, “The Premature Burial.” I am only quoting Poe to illustrate how much more terrible it would be to awaken in Hell than to awaken and find oneself buried alive. In that short story, Edgar Allan Poe said,

To be buried alive is, beyond question, the most [terrible thing] which has ever [happened] to [mortal men]…Scarcely in truth, is a graveyard ever [entered] for any purpose, to any great extent, that skeletons are not found in postures which suggest the most fearful of suspicions.
       Fearful indeed the suspicion – but more fearful the doom! It may be [said], without hesitation, that no event is so terribly well adapted to inspire…mental distress, as is burial before death. The unendurable oppression of the lungs – the stiffening fumes of the damp earth – the clinging of the death garments – the rigid [enclosure of the coffin] – the blackness of the absolute night – the silence…that overwhelms – these things [with the thought] that our hopeless portion is that of the really dead – these considerations, I say, carry into the heart, which still [beats], a degree of appalling and intolerable horror from which the most daring imagination must recoil. We know of nothing so [horrible] upon the earth [as being buried alive] (Edgar Allan Poe, “The Premature Burial,” 1850).

But think, my dear friend, how much more hideous it will be for you to awaken in Hell, than to awaken in a coffin buried beneath six feet of earth.

Therefore, I beg you to do all you can to escape this monstrous fate. Be at “ease” no longer. Be settled and satisfied with yourself no more. All deaths are unexpected. All burials seem premature, because we want to live. But you will not live unless you, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate” (Luke 13:24), and come to the Saviour, Jesus Christ.  And do it now!  

Everyone who is buried in a coffin is in a real sense “buried alive,” for the soul will live on, buried alive, in “blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13). That awful event will happen to you if you do not come and submit yourself to Jesus Christ. You will be buried alive in the darkness of Hell if you continue to reject Jesus, because,

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 12:16-21.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“If You Linger Too Long” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).


THE OUTLINE OF

BURIED ALIVE - PART I

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed” (Jeremiah 48:11).

(Jeremiah 48:29)

I.   You have remained undisturbed for a long time, Jeremiah 48:11a;
Daniel 5:27.

II.  You are secure, Jeremiah 48:11b; Zephaniah 1:12; Luke 12:20;
Jude 13.

III. You have not been converted, Jeremiah 48:11c; John 1:29;
Luke 13:24; Jude 13; Mark 16:16.