Calvary Road Baptist Church

“WE ARE NOT SAVED”

Jeremiah 8.20

 

We know from Second Timothy 3.16 that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Thus, we can look into God’s Word to find parallels and illustrations that are very applicable to our lives and situations. Tonight draws to a close eighteen consecutive days in which we have gathered for the preaching of God’s Word at least once. During that span of time we have seen some sinners converted who seem to have a solid ground for their hope, some sinners troubled about their souls without any resolution of their problem at present, and some sinners stubborn in their determination to resist the gospel of God’s grace for no justifiable reason, at least for no reason they are willing to subject to the scrutiny of others.

Repeatedly I have reflected with profound gratitude on God’s goodness and mercy during these meetings. Some who are young give promise of having most of your lives ahead of you in service to God, while others who are older give promise of giving praise to God for being long-suffering in extending even to you His grace in Christ. I am thankful. I am thankful to my Lord Jesus Christ for saving me. I am thankful to God for calling me to the gospel ministry. Finally, I am thankful that at my age I have had the opportunity to see God work wonderfully, and that I have a craving for God to so again.

However, accompanying my feelings of gratitude is the concern every pastor has for the spiritual welfare of others who seem not to have been as blessed as they had opportunity to be. The result, of course, is that this season of ingathering has ended, and I have no knowledge of God’s plans with our churches to do such a thing again. I want Him to. I hope He does. I will pray that He does. However, I do not know what is in store for us in these last days of terrible apostasy before we reach heaven’s shore. Thus, I have great joy mingled with sadness. Joy at seeing God working in the lives of some, with sadness at not seeing God work in the lives of others, and sadness at seeing resistance to the gospel in the face of an uncertain future for others.

My hope is that God will provoke the lost among us to some sense of jealousy, as Paul spoke of in Romans 10.19, when he wrote of God using Gentile Christians provoking unbelieving Jewish people to want with God what they saw the Gentile Christians having through faith in Christ. Why would someone not want forgiveness of her sins, a clear conscience, a new life and an eternal relationship with God through Jesus Christ? What advantage can anyone enjoy under the condemnation of God, under the burden of guilt, and with the stench of defilement so filling their nostrils they are an offense to God? Yet that is precisely the path some choose to walk.

I am reminded of the Jewish survivors in Jerusalem after the Babylonian siege and destruction of the city. We will not take the time to read the entire chapter, but I would like you to turn to Jeremiah 8.20: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Do you realize what this verse means? I am not sure you do. Venerable John Gill writes on this verse,

 

The harvest is past, etc.] Which was in the month of Ijar . . . and answers to part of April and May:

the summer is ended; which was in the month Tammuz, and answers to part of June and July:

and we are not saved; delivered from the siege of the Chaldeans; and harvest and summer being over, there were no hopes of the Egyptians coming to their relief; seeing winter was approaching; and it may be observed, that it was in the month of Ab, which answers to part of July and August, that the city and temple were burnt. These are the words of the people of the Jews, despairing of help and salvation.[1]

 

These people were looking for deliverance while their city was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar’s army. Jeremiah had warned them repeatedly to submit to God’s will and the seventy years of exile brought on by God’s judgment for their disobedience. Surrender to the will of God by submitting to the Babylonians, Jeremiah had told them. However, despite his pleadings, they refused. Therefore, after opportunity after opportunity had passed, they were not saved. They had hoped the Egyptians would come to rescue them, but that hope was illusory. All opportunities to be saved were gone, yet there they were . . . doomed.

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” The harvest comes in the spring. The summer ends months later. Now, with winter approaching and no food or shelter, no protectors or defenses, they are not saved.

Oh, my friends, how many opportunities have you let slip away during these past few weeks? For some of you, it was the missed opportunities at our camp. For others of you it was the missed opportunities at the meetings downtown. And for all of you who remain unconverted, it was the combined services we have had over the last week and a half.

For just a few moments, I want to remind you of your situation:

 

First, YOU ARE LOST AS THE SEASON FOR CONVERSIONS PASSES

 

Our text alludes to times and seasons in which certain things are no longer likely to happen. There is a time for planting and growing, and there is a time for harvesting. There is a time of the year when armies can go on the march, and times when lack of water and the absence of food made marches impossible. The imagery of our text pictures a time of the year when food could not be gathered and rescuing armies could not arrive on the scene. In other words, those who had scorned Jeremiah’s warnings, and refused his pleas, were now hopelessly lost.

Apply that to your situation. We have just seen a wonderful harvest of souls brought in under the preaching of the gospel. Of course, gospel preachers are to be instant in season and out of season, Second Timothy 4.2. However, the fact that preaching is said to be in season and out of season suggests that there are times when more, and other times when fewer, souls will be brought to Christ. Is your soul’s salvation so unimportant to you that you are willing to face a spiritually desolate winter without spiritual nourishment and without spiritual salvation, because is what you may very well face once we conclude our affairs tonight.

 

Next, YOU ARE LOST AS THE SEASON FOR PREPARATION BEGINS

 

Farmers are always busy. Once the harvest is past, and assuming the farmer is not conscripted into the army, his task has always been to prepare to plant his next crop. So, too, is the gospel ministry. Certain kinds of messages have to be preached to different kinds of people at different times to prepare them, so to speak, so they will be receptive to the seed of the Word when the gospel is preached.

Now that the harvest is passed, and the summer is ending soon, our challenge is to reach out into the community and bring the lost in to our services. When the lost come to visit, our challenge is to nail their feet to the floor somehow, so they will keep coming to our services. We do this by intriguing them with preaching, by interesting them with preaching, by loving them with preaching, by informing them with preaching, and by catechizing them through a certain kind of preaching that will form the basis for faith to respond to the gospel when it is once again time to harvest the lost.

What does this mean for you? It means that we want you to stay, we want you to continue in the church, and we want you to come to Christ. However, our effort is now more directed to others than so much to you. We will reach out to others, catechize others, and hopefully reach others for Christ. To be sure, we want you to be saved. However, our commission is to preach the gospel to every creature, not so much to preach the gospel to the unresponsive over and over and over again.

 

Third, YOU ARE LOST AS THE SPIRIT OF GOD CEASES TO STRIVE

 

A sinner’s conviction does not persist with the same intensity forever. It both waxes and wanes. However, this is not a natural process, but a supremely spiritual one, in which the Holy Spirit of God strives with the sinner to convict him of his sins, John 16.8. Through the preaching of the Word of God, and by other means, the Spirit of God works to persuade the sinner of reality, that he is dead in trespasses and sins, that he is hopelessly lost, that he is completely undone, and that his only remedy is the salvation, which Jesus Christ alone provides. However, the Spirit of God is holy and sinners are defiled. Therefore, this task of dealing with the unclean and spiritually contaminated is met with fierce resistance by the lost, who strongly oppose the ministry of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They resist, grieve, and quench Him. Therefore, He discontinues His ministry in the unbeliever’s life and ceases to strive with them, as is the case with a number of you here tonight.

The question, of course, is whether He will take up your case again and strive with you. Will the Spirit of God, once He has discontinued with you, take up your case again? If He does not, you are doomed. There is no salvation possible unless and until the Spirit of God brings home claims of Christ to the sinner’s heart. The Spirit of God did deal with you, yet you resisted Him, you refused His entreaties, and you opposed His encouragements to come to Christ. Will He return to you again? I do not know. I do know that there are many, many people who seemed at one time to be very troubled about their sins who used to attend our churches, but who no longer attend and who are no longer troubled about any sins they commit.

My friend, it is a good thing to be bothered by God. That means the Spirit of God is dealing with you. However, to be left alone by God means you are not being dealt with by the Holy Spirit, and that is not a good thing at all.

 

Finally, YOU ARE FACED WITH A SERIOUS PROBLEM

 

To remain lost after hearing the gospel preached to you is essentially a very negative response to an affirmative opportunity. In the face of an offer of life, you have chosen death. In the face of an offer of water, you have opted for thirst. In the face of an offer of bread, you have chosen spiritual hunger instead.

The Jewish people of whom Jeremiah wrote had an alternate plan. Jeremiah told them God wanted them to submit to the Babylonians and face the captivity. However, they had a better plan, and held out for the Egyptians to come and rescue them. The Egyptians never came. They had a plan, it just did not turn out as they had wanted.

My question to you is, What is your plan? You do have a plan, do you not? You are not just opposed to the gospel, without an alternative approach, are you? Your plan for preparing for eternity is not just to say no to the only viable option sinners have ever faced, is it? You do have some approach for dealing with guilt and sin, deadness and the prospect of hellfire, do you not?

Doing nothing is not really a plan. Being passive in the face of an aggressive enemy like the devil, and against a holy God who is determined to punish your sins someday, has no real chance of success, does it? Pretending the problem does not exist does nothing to solve the problem, does it?

Because of your exposure to the Word of God, and your understanding of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fact that you remain lost despite your opportunity to be saved, there will come a day when you will experience “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation,” Hebrews 10.27. Will there be time to turn to Christ when that happens? Alternatively, will that not happen to you until it is too late for you to turn from your sins and come to Christ?

 

There they were, near the ruins of Jerusalem, the once proud city that was utterly destroyed. Jeremiah had told them, yet they knew better. The prophet had predicted, but they had their own ideas. No one could make them do what they did not want to do. The same is true of you. Here you are at the end of the summer, a spiritual ruin because you have your own ideas. No one makes you do what you do not want to do.

May I point out something to you, the only thing that matters at this point? You are not saved. You are not saved. You are not saved. “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jesus died on the cross for you, shedding His precious blood a remission for your sins. He was buried, and rose from the dead for your justification. Seated at the Father’s right hand on high, you can be saved right now, if you will come to Him.

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Do not let that be the last word on you.



[1] John Gill, The Collected Writings of John Gill - Version 2.0, (Paris, AK: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., 2000-2003)



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org