Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
The Bible deals with the most heart-moving themes that ever entered the mind of man; It deals with the deepest woes of human misery and the highest heights of blessedness; With themes that do not simply concern time alone, but all eternity. The bible centers not on food and drink, nor houses and jobs, but on sin and salvation, Heaven and Hell, everlasting joy or sorrow.
Those who preach the Gospel have more wealth at their disposal than any other public speaker. No other speaker could deal with such themes of joy and promised blessedness, such peace and eternal glory. No other speaker deals with such themes as ought to move the human heart to tears.
How blessed are the blessings that await those who are redeemed by Christ!
But How terrible are the woes pictured in the Bible for the unredeemed, for Christ-rejecting sinners!
Today I want to preach about 3 of the most saddest sayings about sinners found in the holy Scriptures. These Scriptures ought to move every Christian to tears and earnest effort to serve the Lord; and they ought to move the sinner to godly fear and earnest, tearful repentance; these scriptures alone should move the sinner to seek today the forgiving mercy of God which he has so long rejected.
These are solemn words, tragic words about sinners which we find in the holy Book of God.
I. The Sinner Is Already Lost—John 3:36
In John 3:36 we find these sad words about the state of unconverted sinners:
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
The sinner is not going to be lost when he dies, he is not going to be lost after the judgment, but he is lost right now. The wrath of God is on him all the time.
This same verse says that "he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." One who has trusted Christ is already saved, has a new heart, a new life in Christ. Romans 5:11 says, "…we have now received the atonement." So those who have trusted in Christ for salvation and have been converted are already children of God, have already received the atonement. John 5:24 says that the believer "is passed from death unto life." But the unregenerate sinner already has the wrath of God abiding on him.
How does God feel about a sinner who has not trusted Christ? We know that God loves the whole world and gave His Son to die for sinners. But along with this love for all men there is a growing, burning anger against all who reject Christ.
Psalm 7:11 says, "God is angry with the wicked every day."
Then those who are not saved are lost. They are lost now. They are under the wrath of God. Christ-rejecting sinners are under God’s wrath, and He has already consented to their destruction because they are "vessels…fitted to destruction." (Romans 9:22 )
Look at John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
One who has not trusted in Christ is already condemned. It is not said that he will be condemned when he dies or condemned at the judgment, but he is already condemned.
The bible says that “ALL HAVE SINNED”, and the “WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH”, everyone who has not believed upon the Son of GOD stands under condemnation today. All around us, we see people who are already condemned, already on death row, and headed to the execution, and they don’t even know it!
And as they continue down the path way to hell, they spurn the offers of pardon, and ignore the plea to repent.
This horrible thought, that unconverted, unrepentant men are already lost, already condemned, already under the wrath of God, is one of the most solemn, saddest taught in the whole Bible.
II. "Ye Will Not Come to Me, That Ye Might Have Life"—John 5:40
The fact that sinners do not come to Jesus is sad, but far worse is the fact taught in the Saviour’s words in John 5:40. The tragedy is not that people DO not come; it is not that they CANNOT come; it is not that they do not KNOW HOW to come. No, it is that they WILL NOT come.
A wealth of sadness is in these words, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." What is it that stands between a sinner and salvation, the sinner and peace, forgiveness, a new heart, everlasting life and Heaven itself? It is simply his own wicked, stubborn will.
Someone has said, "The one thing you own is your will." And God will not FORCE your will
That realm of the soul where a man says "yes" or "no," "I love" or "I hate," "I will" or "I will not"—that is the last fortress of a man’s soul.
With all the reverence, I say that a holy God will not batter down the door of the will and save a man who does not want to be saved.
Why do not people come to Christ? Because they do not want to come! Why do sinners not repent? Because they do not want to repent! Why do sinners not trust Christ for salvation? Because they do not want to trust Him!
These words of Jesus, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life," tell what is wrong with every atheist, heathen or infidel. The trouble is not that they CANNOT believe, but that they WILL NOT believe. The trouble is not with the intellect, but with the heart, the will.
Once D.L. Moody preached to a hall of Atheists, about 5,000 in number, and when he had finished his sermon, he looked over the crowd and asked: "Who will receive Him? Just say, ‘I will.’"
Then one of the leading atheists spoke up and said: "I won’t." Dear Mr. Moody, overcome with tenderness and compassion, burst into broken, tearful words, half sobs, "It is ‘I will’ or ‘I won’t’ for every man in this hall tonight."
And then he turned his attention to the story of the prodical Son, and he read to them Luke 15:17-18
Luke 15:17-18 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
Then Mr. Moody explained to the atheists: "The battle is in the will, and only there. When the young man said, ‘I will arise,’ the battle was won, for he had yielded his will; and on that point all hangs tonight.”
With this, the holy Spirit began to move, and before the weekend was finished 2,000 atheists accepted Christ as their Savior. People need not to deceive themselves, the sinner’s trouble is not in their head, that they cannot believe; but in their heart, that they will not!
This truth proves the depravity of the human heart. It proves that men are wicked sinners, alien from God, enemies of God by nature. If men were naturally good, then they would choose to come to Christ, choose to be forgiven, choose to be redeemed. Since they are wicked sinners by choice, they will not come to Jesus that they might have life.
How wicked the human heart that will not take mercy when it is offered, will not accept the salvation purchased at such a price—the blood of God’s own Son!
Surely this is one of the saddest sayings in the Bible, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."
III. Why People Are Not Saved: They Love Darkness Because of Their Evil Deeds—John 3:19,20
John 3:19-20 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
The moving complaint of the Lord Jesus against sinners, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life," is sad. But another Scripture tells us why sinners do not come to Christ, why they do not want the light. Because they hate the light and love sin.
Does some sinner protest that he wants to do right and that there is no moral guilt in delaying his salvation? Does some sinner pretend that there are good reasons, good motives that back his failure to trust Christ as Saviour?
Do not believe it! There is never a good reason for doing wrong. In this case, the Lord Himself opens the door of the human heart and lets us look within. Light has come into the world, He said. Jesus Himself is the Light of the world. But men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Those who do evil hate the light; that is, they hate Christ who is the Light, and they will not come to Him because their deeds are evil. They love their sins. They will not come to Christ lest their sins should be reproved.
Unsaved men do not always know why they reject Christ. Do you know why?
Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
No man realizes how wicked he is unless the wickedness of his heart is revealed by the Holy Spirit of God.
Whether or not sinners know it, that is one ghastly and tragic reason why every Christ-rejecting sinner goes on without Christ and salvation. He will not come to Christ because he loves his sin. He does not want his sin reproved. So he hates Christ, the Light, and chooses the darkness of unbelief.
Thus a man chooses to have his mind clouded, chooses to go toward atheism rather than come to Christ and have his sins forgiven.
These words of Jesus prove the moral guilt of unbelief.
One may say that he does not come to Christ because he cannot give up some enslaving habit, some binding sin. But Christ did not say one should wait until he conquered habit or until he made his own heart white.
Thank God, Jesus Christ will accept the vilest sinner, the sinner who knows that he cannot reform himself, cannot break himself loose from the chains of habitual sin. No sinner needs to wait for victory over drink or lust or dope or over the power of sin in any other form before he comes to Jesus.
Jesus Christ will take the sinner just as he is and do for him all that he needs done, including not only forgiveness but cleansing.
Christ can save not only from the penalty of sin but from the power of sin; but He cannot save the sinner against his will. He cannot make a drunkard sober unless the drunkard wants to be sober. He cannot make the harlot pure unless the harlot longs to be pure. He cannot make the infidel into a believer unless the infidel wants to be a believer. The choice must rest with the sinner.
As long as a man loves his sin, holds onto his sin and hates the light that would expose it, he will not come to Christ, and Christ will not save him.
Last night I read about a businessman, and he told how he came to Christ after forty-seven years in sin. He told how he said to God, "I am not coming signing any pledge to quit drinking. I have signed them before, and that didn’t work. I am not coming to You promising that I will never swear again. I have tried again and again to conquer that habit, and failed. Lord Jesus, I believe that You died for my sins, and I want You to do for all my habits and sins what I cannot do for myself."
He trusted Christ and since then has been used to win hundreds of souls one by one. There was a glad joy in his voice as he said publicly last night, "And since that time I have never taken a drink and have never sworn an oath!"
Christ will take a sinner who is covered with sin and save him, but the sinner must be willing for Christ to take away the sins and rebuke them and reprove them.
In truth it is not the enslaving habit or sin that keeps a man away from Christ. It is the wicked will of the sinner which makes him hold onto his sin and turn from the light and choose the darkness which makes it so God cannot save.
God can save the drunkard, the murderer, the whoremonger, the atheist instantly, if in his heart he hates his sins and turns to Christ, the Light. But God cannot save the purest woman or the most innocent man until each chooses to come to Christ.
Preachers everywhere should expose sin as the hateful, wicked thing it is, and urge men to repent, as did John the Baptist, Jesus and Paul, as well as Old Testament prophets.
What a sad fact is revealed in these words of Jesus that "this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
Oh, surely if any sinner wants to do right, he will turn to Christ at once for mercy! If they want freedom from sin, if they want eternal life, if they want to be pleasing to GOD, if they want to be a light to their fellow man, surely they will turn to Christ!
So far we have already used three sad verses that talk about the tragedy of sinners who will not come to Christ.
In John 3:36 Jesus said, "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life."
We saw that all who have not trusted Christ for their salvation are condemned already, and are headed for destruction. And time after time these reject the offers of pardon that are shared with them.
In John 5:40 Jesus said, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."
Here we learned that the reason people reject Christ is not because they “CANNOT” believe, but because they “WILL NOT”. Salvation is received when the heart finally says, “I WILL”.
In John 3:20 Jesus said, "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
With this verse we learned the reason why so many choose to say, “I WON’T”, it is because they love their sin, and do not wish to be saved from their bondage.
Isn’t that a sad testimony? Oh how Jesus would gather these sinners under his wings, and nurture and protect them. Set them free from the power of sin and death. Oh how he shed his precious blood for them, and yet, they will not!
How many a man has gone to the grave rejecting Christ so he could hold to some pathetic sin! I tell you friends on judgment day that bottle will not help you; that joint will not help you. That harlot will not help you. That money will not help you. Nothing in this world is going to save you! Oh how sad you will be when you realize that you have rejected the only one who can save you.
These have been three sad sayings, but I tell you they are counterbalanced with hope.
When Jesus said: "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life.
That also means that those who believe on the Son have eternal life! And have passed from death onto life.
When Jesus says, “ he that believeth not is condemned already”, it means those who have believed on him are not condemned, and shall not come under condemnation!
When Jesus says, “Ye will not come to me”, it means he is saying “COME”. He is saying “Whosoever will let him come”.
It means the mercy door is open! He asking you to come to him! Want you come? Want you say in your heart I will?
If Jesus is saying, “Trust me, and I will set you free from sin and give you eternal life”, then that means you must make a choice today. Either you can say, “I will” or “I won’t”... Please say, I WILL! Let’s continue to fourth Sad Verse.
IV. Such Love and Compassion Rejected—Matt. 23:37
Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
It was only two days before the Feast of the Passover when Jesus would be crucified. He had spent many days in Jerusalem, the Holy City. Again and again He had tried to win people to love and trust Him. He knew all the prophets whom they had murdered, all the preachers whom they had stoned; yet He loved them and wanted them saved.
Consider this tenderhearted Saviour weeping over the city that will murder Him in two days (Luke 19:41)! Now consider why men hate such a good Saviour.
Did the Jews find Jesus harsh and unapproachable? No, He said, "I am meek and lowly in heart" (Matt. 11:29). The harlot woman stooped to weep over His feet until her tears washed away the dust, and then she dried them with the hair of her head without rebuke.
Harsh? Unapproachable? No. He touched the lepers and healed them. He took little children in His arms and blessed them. He took part in wedding feasts and Pharisees’ suppers. He wept with Mary and Martha at the grave of Lazarus. No sinner ever has a right to say that Jesus is unapproachable, I tell you that he can be found by any humble heart that seeks Him.
Are, then, the demands of Jesus so difficult to fulfill? Is He a hard Master? Does He take away all pleasure and leave life bitter? No. He said, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Jesus said, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!”
Jesus said, “I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly”
What freedom every sinner has found when set free from Satan’s bondage!
Jesus is not a hard Master. His way is not bitter. His yoke is not heavy and hard. What is there wrong with Jesus that sinners will not have Him? Is He harsh and unforgiving? No. He received the traitor’s kiss of Judas on His cheek and called him "friend"! On the cross He prayed for those who killed Him, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Sinners who have rejected Him forty or fifty years often still find this pleading, small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to their hearts. Jesus loves them and seeks them still.
Does Jesus offer enslavement? Is that why sinners reject Him? No. He cast out the legion of devils from the maniac of Gadara and set him free, clothed and in his right mind!
My friends, I served Satan for 24 years of my life, and when I see people in the bondage that I use to be in, my heart swells in gratitude that the Lord saved me from that hell! And at the same time I pray that these men will turn to Christ and be freed.
Does Jesus ask you to give Him too much? No. Instead He wants to give you life, peace, joy and a home in his Kingdom.
Every sinner should remember that it is a weeping Saviour whom you reject, a Saviour weeping over the sinner’s lost soul. It is a compassionate Saviour whom you reject. How many times He would have drawn you to His heart! He knows that you are of a race of sinners, He knows every secret of your vile heart, yet He loves you and died for you.
Surely it is one of the saddest sayings in the Bible that the people over whom Christ yearns, the people He would so often have hugged to His bosom in forgiveness and peace, would not come. Jesus said, "How often would I…and ye would not!"
The same teaching is given in Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Christ stands at the door and knocks, but so many ignore Him and go to Hell. Christ stands at the door and knocks and pleads, but you bar the door and continue in a sin that damns you.
How sad it is that Christ says, "How often would I…and ye would not!"
V. Religious but Forever Lost!—Matt. 7:22,23
One of the saddest passages in the Bible for sinners is in Matthew 7:22,23, where Jesus tells of many who have forms of religion and go merrily on to Hell, thinking they are en route to Heaven:
Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Every sensible man should weep to see a sinner who knew he was lost and still chose to remain lost. But that is not so tragic as the case of multiplied thousands who are confident they are going to Heaven, though they have never personally trusted Christ for salvation, and go unwarned and unsuspecting to eternal damnation.
If a man went determined to Hell, that would be sad. But how much sadder is it when one lies down in death, depending on baptism or on confirmation or on good deeds, and in horror wakes up in Hell!
What will those who are eternally damned be doing on that judgment day? Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Oh there will be great multitudes weeping! Wailing, crying LORD, LORD! Sad, sad it is when religious people wake up in Hell because they would not come to Christ and personally trust Him for salvation. There is no other way people, you must trust Christ completely with your salvation, not part of it to Christ and the other part to man, but all or none!
VI. Humans Cast Into The Fire Prepared for Demons!—Matt. 25:41
Another of the saddest sayings in the whole Word of God is that which fell from the mouth of the Lord Himself, in Matthew 25:41.
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
There are many striking things about this tragic saying of Jesus.
First, it is Jesus who will send sinners to Hell. We preachers sometimes say to a sinner, "It is your own fault. You send yourself to Hell." That is essentially true, yet we must remember that the tenderhearted Jesus Himself who died to save sinners will also be the Judge who will personally condemn every Christ-rejecting sinner and send him to the flames. This word is all the sadder because it must fall from the mouth of the Lord.
When the Lord condemns a man to Hell, who can intervene? Who is there to make atonement? Who is there to be an advocate, a mediator? Once Jesus said, "Come"; now to those who would not come, He says, "Depart!"
Another tragic thought in this saying of Jesus is that the unsaved are cursed. Jesus says He will say, "Depart from me, ye cursed." In John 3:18 Jesus says that the sinner is condemned already. In John 3:36 He says that the wrath of God abides daily on the sinner. Here Jesus says that the unconverted sinner is cursed!
What did Paul say about the condition of the lost? 1st Corinthians 16:22
1st Corinthians 16:22 he says, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema…"—that is, let him be accursed.
It is as if Paul said in earnest prayer to God, "God, if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be damned to Hell forever." For that is what happens to Christ-rejecting sinners. Christ Himself will have to turn sadly to unconverted sinners and say, "Depart from me, ye cursed."
The sadness of the verse grows deeper, for Jesus said, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
This seems to show that Christ is hurting as he pronounces judgment on the wicked, even when Jesus sends cursed Christ-rejecters to Hell, He tells them, "I never meant it for you! You were made in the image of God! It was intended that you should be saved, that you should be forgiven, regenerated! Hell was intended for Satan and his demons! But you would not come to me!"
How sad that men, made in the image of God, reject Christ and will not be saved. How sad that men turn down the offers of mercy and will not go to the Father’s house of many mansions! They were told, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely," but they would not drink.
God loved the whole world—those who will never be saved as well as those who would. Jesus did not simply die for the ‘saved’, but he died for all! Paul said Jesus died NOT for our sins only: " but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2).
It is a tragedy unspeakable for men who were intended for Heaven to land in the pit of Hell, in the fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
Every man and woman and child who goes to Hell will know that it was not intended for him, and that he could have escaped had he turned to Jesus for mercy and pardon.
Surely these words are among the saddest that Jesus ever spoke, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
A NEGATIVE GOD?
Turn with me to Nahum 1:2
Nahum 1:2 ¶ God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
There are wicked people, infidels in bishops’ robes, ministers of Satan who appear as angels of light who say that the God of the Old Testament was a dirty bully, that any God who would punish sin is their devil.
Such blasphemers, often from pulpits, pour out their scorn on the Psalms that threaten judgment on sinners. They call all preaching about Hell and judgment "negative preaching." They hate the God of judgment. But He is the God of the Bible.
The God of love is the God of wrath. The God of mercy is the God of judgment. The Saviour who said, "In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you," is the Saviour who will say, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
God’s wrath has long been mixed with mercy. But one day it will be poured out into the cup of His indignation without any mixture.
Conclusion: Flee From The Wrath To Come!
Any man must be stirred, moved, burdened by the awful doom of the wicked. But, dear sinner, if you let these words slip, if you are not moved to heed these warnings, how hard must be your heart, how blind must be your spiritual sight!
Oh, thank God that all these sad sayings are counterbalanced by precious promises!
It is true that Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and His pleadings were scorned. He said, "How often would I…and ye would not!"
But you can say, "I will." "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely," is the blessed promise of Revelation 22:17.
It is true that those who depend on baptism, on church membership, on confirmation, on good deeds are deceived. They are religious, perhaps, but lost. And Christ will say to them, DEPART FROM ME I NEVER KNEW YOU.
But you may depend upon Christ Himself, depend upon the blood He shed for you and risk His promises. Other dependencies fail, but He is sure! Take Him today and be saved.
We read how Christ himself will say to the wicked, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
The good news is Hell is not made for you, there is a way of salvation! Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you. And one day you can spend eternity on a brand new earth, with GOD and Christ for all eternity!
You need not go to Hell. Today you may turn to Jesus and trust Him and be saved. Will you do it?
Now I appeal to your will. Will you today turn from your sins? Will you today give up your will to Christ? Will you here and now decide this question and accept Christ as your Saviour, depending on Him for forgiveness? If you will, then today the peace of God will come into your heart, your sins will all be forgiven, and you will have a place in the Kingdom of Heaven.
"Come out of her My people" - Jesus Christ
THE BAD NEWS