(Some illustrative material similar to “DECISIONS” message)
Reading Genesis 19:11-21
[a] The Devil has as one of his greatest devices for manipulating mankind - A SECRET WEAPON!
[b] It is SECRET, because not many recognise it at work!
[c] It is a WEAPON because it’s results can be devastating!
[d] It is one of HIS GREATEST DEVICES, because it equally effective on both Christians and unsaved people!
[e] It is a very simple and hardly recognisable thing called PROCRASTINATION or DELAY!
[*] A young woman at college, wrote to her parents - after a prolonged delay: "Dear Mom and Dad, I'm sorry to be so long in writing, but all my writing paper was lost the night the dormitory burned down. I'm out of the hospital now, and the doctor says my eyesight should be back to normal sooner or later. The wonderful boy, Bill, who rescued me from the fire, kindly offered to share his little apartment with me until the dorm is rebuilt. He comes from a good family, so you won't be surprised when I tell you we are going to be married. In fact you always wanted a grandchild, so you will be glad to know you will be grandparents early next year." Then she added this postscript: Please disregard the above practice in English composition. There was no fire. I haven't been in the hospital. I'm not pregnant. And I don't have a steady boyfriend. But I did get a D in French and an F in chemistry, and I wanted to be sure you received the news in proper perspective. Love, Mary."
[f] We often say in a humorous way, “HE WHO HESITATES IS LOST!” Unfortunately, many precious souls are being lost at this very moment, because of this very fact!
[g] Oh they certainly mean to get down to it sometime ....... maybe tomorrow, or next week. BUT FOR SO MANY, TOMORROW NEVER COMES - AFTER ALL, WHAT'S THE URGENCY, HAVEN’T WE GOT PLENTY OF TIME?
[*] When Moody and Sankey were conducting services in the mining region of England, coming out of the services one night, they noticed a man sitting just underneath the gallery. Although everybody else had left the church, he still remained. Mr. Moody sat down beside him, and found that he had been a constant attendant upon the services, and that he had determined this night that he would not leave the building until he had settled the question of his soul's salvation. After prayer and the study of the Bible the matter was settled. He returned to his home, and the next day entered the mine, where there was a terrific explosion. He was taken out more nearly dead than alive, and carried a little way from the entrance to the mine. One of his friends stooped down to moisten his lips; he was too weak to speak, but they saw his lips moving, and finally they could make out his speech. Over and over again he was saying: "It's a good thing I settled it last night." So it would be for everyone; when God calls, it is dangerous to wait. Today we may yield to His voice; tomorrow may be eternally too late. --J. Wilbur Chapman
[h] It’s like that well known story, found in a tract, of the eagle on the river Niagara, feeding on the dead animal carcase floating down the river - gorging itself, eating as much as possible, before it came to the Niagara Falls. Although it kept very alert, ready to rise at the last possible moment, and let it’s huge wings carry it to safety! But when it tried, it found to cost, that the lapping winter water had frozen it’s talons to the carcase, and it was swept over to it’s death!
(1) How many poor wretches today, are gripping sin in their talons, and trying desperately to satisfy themselves, and yet leave enough time to escape!
(2) But inevitably, so many leave it too late, and are swept sooner than expected over the waterfall of death - finding out too late, that it was not they who were gripping the sin, but the sin that was holding them fast, and carrying them headlong down to the depths of destruction and eternal damnation.
MAKE NO MISTAKE, THERE IS A HELL TO SHUN, as well as a Heaven to gain!
[*] There are certain times when a delayed reaction can be useful:
Three burly fellows on huge motorcycles pulled up to a highway cafe where a truck driver, just a little guy, was perched on a stool quietly eating his lunch. As the three fellows came in, they spotted him, grabbed his food away from him and laughed in his face. The truck driver said nothing. He got up, paid for his food and walked out. One of the three cyclists, unhappy that they hadn't succeeded in provoking the little [guy] into a fight commented to the waitress: "Boy, he sure wasn't much of a man, was he?" The waitress replied, "Well, I guess not." Then, looking out the window, she added, "I guess he's not much of a truck driver, either. He just ran over three motorcycles."
[a] If there are a brand of people who are expert in delay tactics - it must be politicians. They will tell you of some wonderful thing they're apparently going to do - and then at the end, slip in that it won't happen for three or four years!
In Acts 24, the Apostle Paul, presented the Gospel clearly to Felix the Governor.
[b] Felix came under conviction of sin, and began to tremble!
SOME OF YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN! IT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE! YOU'VE BEEN THERE!
[c] Entrance, stage right, the devil’s secret weapon!!
“When I have a convenient season, I will call for thee!”
WE NEVER READ HE HAD A ‘CONVENIENT SEASON’, and if he had become a Christian, I’m sure it would have been recorded!
[d] When God the Holy Spirit moves your heart to conviction -
DON’T LET THE DEVIL BLIND YOU TO THE UTTER STUPIDITY OF DELAY!!
[e] If I was driving to Glasgow doing 70 on the motorway, and a large articulated lorry drove out in front of me, I would stand on the brakes immediately - so would you! IT WOULD BE A SPLIT SECOND DECISION!
[f] YET HERE YOU ARE IN THIS MEETING - YOU KNOW IF YOU DIED AT THIS MOMENT, YOU WOULD BE IN HELL - AND YET YOU DILLY-DALLY AROUND!!!
IT JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!!
[g] One of the first things I believe one learns in first aid, is that delay can be fatal!!
GOD SAYS - “NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME, BEHOLD NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!”
[h] A young man was converted, and went home and told his parents! His father said, “Get yourself established in a good trade, and then think of religion!”
The son replied, “Father, Jesus Christ advises me otherwise;
He says, ‘SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU!’”
[i] As a teenager, I remember speaking to another young teenager in the place where I worked! John said to me, “I want to enjoy myself first, then I’ll think about it!” I often wonder what became of him, and if he ever got the chance!
[*] McIan of Glencoe meant to surrender, no doubt about it, when in 1691 William III gave the word that all royalists must take the oath or take the consequences. McIan meant to surrender, to go to the place where all the Highland chieftains were to go, and take the oath of allegiance, but he said, "I will be the last. I will go at just the last moment. The others have gone ahead, the others have been at Inverness weeks ago, to take the oath," and he started a few days before the thirty-first of the previous month, really meaning to take the oath: but a snowstorm came on and detained him, causing him struggle and stumble through the snows.
McIan arrived three days behind the time fixed, and the king's messenger had gone. There was the tramp of the government army northward to Glencoe, and in the morning the valley that had been so peaceful the night before ran red with blood. Too late! Some of you mean to be saved. Do you know, hell is full of those who meant to be saved, meant to give themselves to Christ, meant to do it, yet are lost? Oh, see to it that you get Christ while there is opportunity given! Why risk eternity?
[j] There’s and old cliché that says, “Hurry up, or you’ll miss the boat.” I remember once, my mother was visiting us, and I was taking her to the airport. I mistook the time of the flight, and as we got there, we saw it fly over our heads! There wasn’t another plane ‘till the next day!!
IF YOU MISS YOUR CHANCE OF SALVATION TODAY - THERE MAY NOT BE ANOTHER TOMORROW!
[a] CHRISTIANS NEED HASTENING!
(1) In their obedience to God, and their sanctification. (v.26)
(2) But the flesh was weak - Lot was elderly! (v.16) And Sodom had a sluggish influence on him!
(3) He was reminded of opportunities and obligations. The flight of time, brevity of life, and warning of sure ruin.
[b] A dying man asked his brother, “Why have you not been more pressing with me about my soul?” The brother replied, “Dear James, I have spoken to you several times!” His answer was, “Yes, you were not to blame! but you were always so quiet over it! I wish you had gone on your knees to me, or had taken me by the neck and shaken me! For I have been careless, and nearly slept myself into hell!”
[c] The message is simple, if as Christians, we show no fire, no enthusiasm, no concern, no emotion - we will not touch anyone’s heart with the message of the Gospel! They will only be convinced of it's truth, by seeing it in you and me!
[a] They are very slow and apt to linger. (Eagle)
[b] Settled in the SODOM OF SIN! You’re not only in it! IT’S IN YOU!
[c] Perhaps you choose not to believe the warning and shut your eyes to the danger!
[d] Our task, like the angels, is to HASTEN YOU!
[e] We must encourage you to REPENT!
[f] We must be RESOLUTE, and lay hold on your hands and LEAD YOU AWAY FROM THE DANGER INTO THE WAY OF GOD!
[g] The Angel’s hands were absolutely full!
[h] We would humbly do our utmost at this moment, to fill the shoes of those angels, and lead you to the PLACE OF SAFETY!
[a] Jesus called Zaccheus down from a tree - HE MADE HASTE AND CAME!
[b] Felix, the Governor delayed, and is probably in Hell because of his indecision! [c] You may never feel again, as you do now, with God speaking to your heart!
[d] Don’t fall for the devil’s secret weapon!
[e] Beware, that there is not a danger, that one day soon, Jeremiah 8:20, could apply to you - “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”