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The Harvest Is Past!
Jeremiah 8: 20
There are four points I want to make in connection with the harvest
and each one is of paramount importance.
There Is Always A Time Of Harvest.
As a boy I would spend several weeks each summer in the country.
I loved to be in the country during harvest time.
It only lasted a couple of weeks.
It was exciting to see the machines, the activity, and all the farmers helping each other.
When they finished one farm, they would hurry to another.
They were always in hurry.
Why the rush? Why the hurry?
Why so much speed?
Why couldn't they take their time?
Why I must it always be at the same time every year?
The answers are simple.
They must get the harvest in while it could be gathered or it would be lost and lost forever.
So there was no time to lose -- for them, it was now or never.
That is also true of the great spiritual harvest!
It must be gathered in while there is time...
There are times when God's Spirit is actively at work in a community.
There are times when the Holy Spirit is convicting people of their need of Christ.
There are times of special visitation when decisions are being made.
To miss such opportunities is to run the risk of losing out altogether.
It is to take the risk of being lost eternally!
Down through the centuries there have been great times of harvest of the lost.
There was a special day of visitation during the lifetime of Noah.
Noah preached for 120 years.
He warned people of a coming flood and urged them to escape from the wrath of God.
They ignored his warnings.
They would not heed his words.
Probably, they had never seen rain.
They could not conceive of such a judgment.
So they laughed and mocked Noah.
But Noah went right on preaching.
He went right on building the ark.
The multitudes, even the carpenters who worked for him, ignored his warnings
and ridiculed his words.
The people had been living in sin.
They had turned away from God.
Immorality, corruption, violence, and brutality characterized their civilization.
(Sounds like ours.)
These things God has always abhorred.
In spite of the awful corruption and violence on every side, God gave them an opportunity to repent.
He sent them a prophet, Noah, to warn them of their danger, but they would not listen.
It was a day of visitation, but they ignored it.
Suddenly, the predicted judgment came, and they were overwhelmed.
The rain descended.
The waters rose higher and higher.
Finally, every mountain was covered.
Noah and his family were safe in the ark, and the door was shut.
Everyone else was on the outside.
Everyone outside the ark drowned in the waters of the flood.
They had ignored God's warnings.
They had ignored His mercies.
Now judgment fell!
The harvest had passed.
There was another day of visitation.
It had to do with Judah and Israel.
Prophet after prophet was sent.
The people were warned.
They were given every opportunity to turn to God.
This judgment did not happen suddenly.
There were generations when God sent His servants to warn them of the coming captivities,
but they would not heed the warnings.
They went on in their sin and rebellion.
They continued to ignore the warnings of God's prophets.
Then, at last, the judgment fell!
Samaria was taken.
Then Jerusalem was taken.
The people were carried away into captivity.
Famine raged in the cities.
Women ate their own children.
Blood flowed in the streets.
This was a terrible judgment! It was horrible!
The harvest had passed!
There was another day of visitation.
It was when Jesus was here.
Jesus also warned of impending judgment, but His words fell on deaf ears:
"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 gatherereth her chickens under her wings and ye would not!
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
(Matthew 23: 37, 38)
In 70 AD judgment fell, and oh, how terrible it was!
What suffering, what tribulation, what anguish!
The streets of the city flowed in blood.
Thousands of crosses lined the highways.
Josephus tells us that the crosses looked like a forest -- each one with a dying victim hanging on it.
Cannibalism held the city in its grip.
Then came the worldwide dispersion of Jews.
All because the people would not recognize God's day of visitation,
and would not turn from their sins.
Once again, the harvest was passed!
The summer ended!
They were not saved!
What a terrible calamity!
We, also, have had a visitation.
Never in the history of the world has there been so much gospel preaching
as there has been during our generation.
Think of the evangelism of the last hundred years or more.
England was on the brink of run -- headed for the French Revolution
-- when God raised up John Wesley, George Whitefield, and Charles Wesley
-- and send them out to preach the gospel.
That was one of the greatest visitations of God's Spirit the world had seen
since the day of the apostles.
Then we had a Finney and Moody in America under whose ministry God sent revival.
Thousands upon thousands were saved.
Then God sent Spurgeon and Sunday and Gypsy Smith, and they urged upon the people
the necessity of repentance and called multitudes to turn and accept Christ.
But thousands still ignored the warning.
And in our lifetime, we have had a Billy Graham and others crying to the nation
to get right with God or face judgment.
Never once has God left Himself without witnesses.
Always before judgment God has offered mercy.
But it must be one or the other -- either mercy or judgment.
It cannot be both!
If you are unsaved, and you will not accept the mercy of God,
then you must face His judgment.
There is no alternative!
It is either one or the other.
Our generation is truly having its day of visitation.
God's prophets are everywhere.
They are on TV, radio, and the Internet.
Churches all over the world are calling people to turn and repent.
If they will not hear -- they will be judged!
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell,
and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person,
a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them
with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those
that after should live ungodly... the Lord knoweth how... to reserve the unjust
unto the day of judgment to be punished." (2 Peter 2: 4-9)
These are solemn, serious words!
These are words that speak of judgment and condemnation!
Remember -- after mercy comes judgment!
If you will not accept the mercy of God, then you must face His judgment!
The Bible says so!
If God spared not the angels, do you think he will spare people who reject His Son.
How far will men go in their rebellion?
Is there not a stopping point?
When will God's patience wear out?
There is always a time of harvest!
That time is known as a visitation of God.
Has God visited you?
Of course, He has!
Time after time, you have heard the message of salvation.
Again and again, God has sent His preachers of the gospel to you.
You have heard Him call.
You have listened to His warning.
You are without excuse!
It may be now or never for you!
Trust Him now!
Flee from the wrath to come!
Apart From God There Can Be No Harvest.
I wish to make it clear that man has very little to do with it.
Man can plant and water, but only God gives the increase.
There are those who preach and teach -- those who warn and plead.
We must do all we can to urge men to be reconciled to God.
But after man has done his utmost, it remains with God to give the increase.
Only God can save!
Do you remember the words of the Lord Jesus in John 6: 44?
Jesus said, "No man can come to Me, except the Father
which hath sent me draw him."
That is one of the most serious statements to be found in the Word of God.
That Scripture says -- not so!
- Do you think you can be saved whenever you want to?
- Do you have an idea that you can accept Christ when you are ready?
You must accept Jesus Christ during the day of visitation.
That time of visitation is when the Holy Spirit is at work in your heart.
If you fail to take advantage -- you might wait until it is too late!
Don't think for a moment that you can come any time you want to come.
There is a limit to God's mercy.
God gives you an opportunity, but unless you take advantage of that opportunity
-- it may never come again.
If you have, then you have been conscious of the voice of God.
- Have you ever felt the wooings of the Holy Spirit?
- Has God ever drawn you to Himself?
- Has their ever been a desire in your heart to receive Jesus Christ
as your personal Saviour?
- Can you remember a time when you wanted to become a Christian?
God, Himself, has been speaking to you.
Even in this service, you may hear God's speaking to your heart.
The Holy Spirit has been urging you to turn from sin and turn to Christ.
When you heard God speaking to your heart -- that was the time
you should have received Jesus as your Saviour.
Perhaps now -- your heart is hard -- cold -- and indifferent.
Perhaps now -- you have no desire to be saved.
That is the most serious and dangerous position of your life!
Every time you refuse -- it is more difficult to think of salvation.
Every time you say "no" -- it becomes more difficult to say "yes".
Apart from God there can be no harvest.
Don't think that you can work it up without God.
Don't imagine that you can put on an evangelistic campaign, arrange for singers,
and speakers, and advertise -- then command God to be present and to work.
Only as there is a movement of His Spirit will souls be saved.
Examine your heart!
Ask yourself, whether or not the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart.
Examine your heart to see whether there is any desire in your heart
to become a believer in Christ.
Apart from God there can be no harvest!
The harvest is always gathered in its prime.
Do you realize that most people are saved before they are 30 years of age?
How many in this service were saved before the age of 13?
Let's see your hands!
How many before you were 20?... before 40?... before 50?
How many of you became Christians after you were 60?
If you are already over 30, you know your chances are very slim!
Are you in your 20s? Then, you should come to Christ -- now!
Are you in your teens?
Come to Christ while you're still young, and your heart is still tender.
Come to Christ while you have an entire life in which to serve Him!
If Christ is resisted then, and hardening sets in -- it becomes more and more difficult
- It is when the harvest is ripe that it is gathered.
- It is gathered in its prime.
- It is gathered when young men and women are on the threshold of life.
- It is then that the Holy Spirit of God moves mightily upon them.
for a person to come to Christ.
Then comes middle-aged and old age, and they find their hearts unresponsive.
It very well could be that they have become hardened by sin.
Habits become fixed.
In the early years of life they are easy to break, but once the thread has been wound,
it becomes difficult to break.
Do you remember how you felt when you realize for the first time that you had sinned.
Do you remember what happened later?
You became accustomed to sin!
It got easier!
At first, there was a terrible conviction.
Your conscience troubled you, but you did not listen.
You went on and on -- until you came to the place that you could commit the sin
and your conscience did not bother you at all.
All you have to do is to turn over and refuse to listen to the alarm clock
once too often, and the next time you will not even hear it ring.
So it is with sin!
It gets such a hold on you until it finally controls you.
Your conscience is silenced.
The alarm no longer rings.
At least you do not hear it.
So, you go on in your sin and the Spirit of God is ignored.
When sin gets a grip on you, you cannot give it up.
You become its slave.
It becomes your master.
As you grow older and older, it becomes increasingly difficult to turn and receive Christ.
- You have successfully silenced your conscience.
- You have quenched the Holy Spirit.
- You continue in your rebellion.
The odds are -- if you are not saved in the prime of life -- you will never be saved.
I know it's not impossible.
There have been those who have been saved even in old age, but it is unusual.
It very seldom happens!
But there are thousands and thousands who have been saved in childhood.
Children are the easiest to lead to Christ.
Their hearts are still tender.
They are still responsive.
It is a wonderful to be saved in childhood.
Not only has a soul been saved, but an entire life can be given in service to God.
No wonder Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come onto me."
What about you?
Are you in the prime of life?
Are you still young?
Then, this is a wonderful time to receive the Lord Jesus Christ -- now -- before it is forever too late!
Are you already over 30 -- soon-to-be in your 40's.
Your chances are declining!
You will find it more difficult to become a Christian with every year that passes.
It is no wonder that God said, "Now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation."
Please, don't put it off!
Settle it now!
Every heart beat brings you closer to eternity.
There is danger in delay!
The Harvest Always Comes To An End.
At last, "the harvest is past, the summer is ended."
Are you among those of whom it must be said, "and we are not saved"?
You know what happens to the grain that is not gathered in?
It is left in the field and destroyed.
Will that be your doom?
Are you going to be lost forever?
Are you going to spend an eternity in hell without God?
There is no need for you to perish!
It would be tragic for you to be lost and dying forever!
Listen, if there are no more strivings of the Spirit of God, then it is possible that for you
-- the harvest is past.
If the revival has ended and you are still unsaved, then for you, the harvest could be past forever.
Oh, I hope not!
I pray not!
God has no pleasure in your death.
He does not want you to die in your sin.
God tells you that in Ezekiel 18: 23.
God would have you turn and live.
Hear God's call!
Repent -- turn from your sin, and turn to Jesus!
Let God give you a new heart and a new life and a new spirit.
Why will ye die?
There is no reason...
What are you waiting for?
What more can He do?
God will not force you against your will.
God has provided salvation for you, but you must receive it.
At a prayer meeting in a country neighborhood in western Washington,
a young man appeared to be deeply convicted.
A Christian went to him and lovingly pleaded with him to seek the Lord.
He hesitated, but finally said, "I'll tell you what.
I will trust Christ when I am through hauling logs.
I have one month yet to work."
Four weeks from that day, he and a young friend went swimming in Lake Tacoma.
He was using profane language while he undressed.
Plunging into the lake, he swam into the deep, cold water.
He was suddenly overwhelmed with a crippling cramp.
He screamed for help.
Then, he sank to the bottom.
He was one month to late!
A lady in Scotland became greatly concerned about the condition of her soul.
One night she was so troubled that she could not sleep.
She walked the floor with her mind greatly troubled.
After some time, she sat down and wrote in her diary:
"Next week I will attend to the matter of my soul's salvation."
She went to bed and slept soundly.
The next night she went to a wild party, and the next morning
she became violently ill and delirious.
Before her death her mind had cleared long enough for her to say these solemn words:
" I am one week to late! I am lost! "
One night at a revival meeting a young lady was urged to repent and receive Christ.
She responded, "I will do something about my salvation tomorrow -- not tonight."
The next evening her mother learned that she intended to go to a club to dance.
Her mother begged her not to do so.
She replied, "I will go if it kills me."
Then, she went upstairs to dress.
A young man came to the door to take her to the dance.
Her mother called to her, but she did not answer.
So, her mother went upstairs to find her before the mirror -- putting a ribbon in her hair
-- but she was dead!
She waited one night, and lost her soul!
A young lady in New York attended a revival meeting with her parents.
A Christian aunt became greatly burdened for the young lady who was unconverted.
So, during the invitation she went to her niece, and pleaded with her
to come to the Lord at that moment, but she refused.
At the close of the meeting they started home.
A few miles from the church -- a horrible accident occurred.
The young lady was thrown from the car against a telephone pole
and was instantly killed.
She was one hour to late!
Satan says, "Plenty of time -- tomorrow!"
But tomorrow may be too late!
Satan says, "Tomorrow."
God says, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow;
for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." (Proverbs 27: 1)
God says, "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
(2 Corinthians 6: 2)
Are you going to listen to the voice of Satan or God?
Receive Christ now!
If you do not receive him now, you could find yourself at some point in your life saying,
"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."
Will that be your fate?
It need not be!
Be saved -- now!
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at email@example.com