Summary: The greatest regret of all, will be for those who stand before Christ and hear him say, “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity for I never knew you,” and to know that they were “almost persuaded;” they almost accepted Christ.
TEXT: Acts 26:1-32
In the early 1870’s, Philip Paul Bliss was listening to a sermon by Rev. Brundage, a friend of his, in a little church in the east. The preacher closed his appeal with, "He who is almost persuaded is almost saved. But, to be almost saved is to be eternally lost!" These words impressed Bliss so deeply that it led him to write the great invitation hymn “Almost Persuaded.”
P. P. Bliss wrote, “One of the most impressive occasions on which this hymn was sung was in the Agricultural Hall in London, in 1874 where D. L. Moody was preaching. At the close of his sermon Mr. Moody asked the congregation to bow their heads, while I sang ‘Almost Persuaded.’ The stillness of death prevailed throughout the audience of over 15,000 as souls were making their decisions for Christ.”
“Almost persuaded” now to believe;
“Almost persuaded” Christ to receive;
Seems now some soul to say, “Go, Spirit, go Thy way,
Some more convenient day – On Thee I’ll call.”
“Almost persuaded,” come, come today;
“Almost persuaded,” turn not away;
Jesus invites you here, Angels are lingering near
Prayers rise from hearts so dear; O wanderer, come!
“Almost persuaded,” harvest is past!
“Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last!
“Almost” cannot avail; “Almost” is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail— “Almost,” but lost!
Missed opportunities often return to haunt us with regrets…
The greatest regret of all, will be for those who stand before Christ and hear him say, “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity for I never knew you,” and to know that they were “almost persuaded;” they almost accepted Christ. The eternal regret of being “almost persuaded” will be devastating!
#1. Many have heard The Gospel, but have only been Almost Persuaded.
King Aggrippa heard the truth about Paul’s past, and how God saved and changed him, but he was only “Almost persuaded.”
He is not unlike many today! I am one, among many, who believe our churches are filled with many who have, “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof:” 2 Timothy 3:5
There is an additional eternal consequence for those who have once heard the Gospel, but did not accept it.
2 Peter 2:21 “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from [it]…”
One of the most tragic stories in Scripture is found in Luke 16. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man, in hell, begged for relief; but he was told, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.”
#2. Why are so many Almost Persuaded, but in The End are Eternally Lost?
The Moral & Spiritual Depravity of Man.
Charles Finney wrote, “The great difficulty with sinners is that they take a selfish view of the whole subject [of Salvation]. Having fully committed themselves to their own interests, all considerations are viewed in a selfish light. They regard nothing, save as it addresses either their hopes or their fears… In fact, when you get at the bottom of the case, you find they are desperately depraved. Their depravity is so deep, so radical, it bids defiance to all your motives for persuasion.
Sometimes the sense of being greatly obliged, breaks down a really hard heart. But even this consideration many sinners can resist. The sense of being loved and pitied of God, makes some impression on their hearts, but often fails to move them much. So dead are they to the attractions of the morally beautiful and true, that much of the most glorious truth concerning God, seems to fall powerless upon their hearts. They seem incapable of being moved by anything save it be some hope of greater selfish good.”
There are probably as many different reasons for rejecting Christ as there are people who will reject him, but these four serve as general categories…
• Many people do not think that they need a savior. These people consider themselves to be “basically good” and do not realize that they, like all people, are sinners.
• The fear of social rejection or harassment deters some people from accepting Christ. In John 12:42-43 ome would not confess Christ because they were more concerned with their status among their peers than doing God’s will: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God..”
• For some people, this present world is more appealing than eternal things. You can read the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-23. This man was not willing to lose his earthly possessions in order to gain an eternal relationship with Jesus.