THE EXAMPLE OF ESAU – A WARNING TO SINNERS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Thursday Evening, March 25, 2010

“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17).


The example of Esau was given here to illustrate the danger of sinners who reject Christ. The Book of Genesis gives us the background of Esau.

“And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint…And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?... and he sold his birthright unto Jacob” (Genesis 25:29-33).

Dr. Nettleton said, “We cannot believe that [Esau] was on the point of starvation in his father’s house. The meaning is that he would [give up] no worldly gratification for the sake of spiritual blessings. Life is short, and I am determined to make the most of it… ‘Thus Esau despised his birthright’” (Asahel Nettleton, D.D., Asahel Nettleton: Sermons From the Second Great Awakening, International Outreach, 1995 reprint, p. 404). The Scofield Study Bible says,

Esau was a mere man of the earth…he was destitute of faith, and despised the birthright because it was a spiritual thing, of value only as there was faith to [appreciate] it…This birthright Esau sold for a momentary fleshly gratification (The Scofield Study Bible, Oxford University Press, 1917, p. 38; notes on Genesis 25:25, 31).

The birthright included a prophetic blessing, connected with great spiritual privileges. These were the things that Esau despised – and for this reason he is called a “profane person” – that is, a godless person. And this is why Hebrews 12:16-17 illustrates how sinners sell their souls. What do they sell? How do they sell it? For what do they sell it? What are the consequences?

I. First, what do they sell?

They sell all the blessings purchased by the Blood of Christ, and offered to them by the Saviour! They thus lose pardon for sin, peace of conscience, and eternity in Heaven! They sell their souls and lose the Kingdom – an inheritance that fadeth not away. They sell all the things offered to them in the Gospel. Of a person like that, God says,

“I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him” (Jeremiah 49:8).

II. Second, how do they sell it?

By resisting the conviction of God’s Spirit. All of these blessings are closely connected with the strivings of the Spirit. By the conviction of the Spirit alone the sinner is made ready to receive the inheritance of the saints in Heaven.

But the sinner, like Esau, may be unwilling to give up sensual pleasures. He may set a higher value on them than on the salvation of his soul. Thus, he may resist the conviction of the Spirit, and seal his everlasting doom, because God said,

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

By resisting the conviction of God’s Spirit, the sinner may lose his soul for all eternity in the Lake of Fire.

III. Third, for what does the sinner sell his soul?

Christ asked, “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:37). Like Esau, sinners sell their souls for very little – for mere trifles – for nothing of value! They sell their souls for one bowl of pottage – a momentary gratification – a few moments of pleasure. For these they lose their souls, peace of conscience, and the joys of Heaven! It may be for a little money, a better position – or perhaps to please a lost friend, who is the enemy of Christ – or for the sake of some lust of the flesh.

When practicing these sins, the sinner may experience a stinging conscience. They don’t expect it, but by these practices the Spirit of God departs from them, and conviction leaves them.

Now I ask the sinner, What do you get out of it? What do you get for selling your soul to sin?

“For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought”
       (Isaiah 52:3).

You have sold yourself for nothing! Oh, for what little, unimportant things sinners sell their souls! When Lysimachus, king of Thrace, was very thirsty, he offered his kingdom to the Getae for a drink of water. After he had drunk he said, “Ah! Wretched me, who for such a momentary gratification, have lost so great a kingdom.” How applicable this is to him who, for some earthly pleasure, loses conviction of sin, conversion, and the Kingdom of Heaven!

IV. Fourth, what are the consequences of selling your soul?

Afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17).

“Afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing…” Listen! There is always an afterward! If this were not true, we would not trouble you about it. Forty-five years “afterward,” when Esau would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected! When he found that he had lost the blessing forever, he cried with an exceedingly bitter cry! But “he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:17).

Oh, how great and bitter will be the cry of the sinner, when it is forever too late to regain his loss! Esau said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father” (Genesis 27:34). But it was too late for him! “And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept” (Genesis 27:38). Yet he found no place for repentance. He could not persuade his father to change his mind, “though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:17). So it will be some day for you. You will cry, “Lord, Lord, open unto [me]” but “the door was shut” and Christ said, “I know you not” (Matthew 25:11, 10, 12).

What great consequences are sometimes connected with little actions. For one morsel of meat – for one sin, under certain circumstances, Heaven is given away – and the soul is forever lost in the bargain.

When the sinner is under conviction, hearing one false word from a lost “friend” may result in the loss of the soul. Absence from one evangelistic meeting may cause the Spirit to depart – and never return. Failure to remain in a serious frame of mind after the meeting may cause the loss of conviction and the loss of salvation. See how great a danger you are in!

“If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (I Peter 4:18).

What a serious thing it is to be alive. Right now – in this life – you are on trial once and for all!

May you not lose the living Christ,
   For one short sin today;
With fond embrace cling to a vice,
   And throw your soul away!

(This sermon was edited and adapted for modern usage from “The Example of Esau – A Warning to Sinners” by Dr. Asahel Nettleton (1783-1844), Asahel Nettleton: Sermons From the Second Great Awakening, International Outreach, 1995 edition, pp. 404-407).

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


THE OUTLINE OF

THE EXAMPLE OF ESAU – A WARNING TO SINNERS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17).

(Genesis 25:29-33)

I.   First, what do they sell? Jeremiah 49:8.

II.  Second, how do they sell it? Genesis 6:3.

III. Third, for what does the sinner sell his soul? Mark 8:37;
Isaiah 52:3.

IV. Fourth, what are the consequences of selling your soul?
Hebrews 12:17; Genesis 27:34, 38; Matthew 25:11, 10, 12;
I Peter 4:18.