Summary: The pattern, or Legend, of the fall of a man, or a nation, into judgment never changes. Neither does the sorrow of the Man of God as he watches it happen even though he does all he can to stop it.
Legend of the Fall
Sunday, October 11, 2009 AM
By Pastor Jim May
What is a legend? The first response that would probably come to mind is that it is a story that has been passed down through the years of some great deed or a great hero of the past. Legends often carry with them a great deal of exaggeration and often the truth is much less than the legend states. Legends often make great stories and have happy endings and they serve to motivate us to reach a little higher to accomplish things in life.
But that isn’t the kind of legend that I am speaking of this morning. The legend that I am referring to is another kind of legend.
If you have ever looked at a map and noticed in the corner that there was a table, or a chart, listing and explaining the symbols used on the map – that table or chart, sometimes called a key, is also known as a Legend. So today I have the legend of a map, and there is a good deal of symbolism of this map, that pertains to where we are right now.
The map of course is God’s Word as found in the Book of Jeremiah chapter 8, and the legend is the symbolic course of events that we see happening in those verses.
Understand this – God uses Israel throughout the Old Testament and on into the New Testament, as examples for us to learn from. Israel made many mistakes, yet God keeps dealing with them because of His great love and because He has promised that there will be a remnant of the Jews that will be saved. Even though God has given these promises and loves Israel, there came a time when God had to send judgment upon them because they would not repent of their unfaithfulness to God.
God will contend with man only to a point. There is a point in time when God will say, “That’s enough. You won’t heed my warnings, so now I have no choice but to send judgment because my Holiness and Justice cannot tolerate your unfaithfulness any longer.”
We saw the patience of God reach its end in the Book of Genesis when He saw that there was no hope of men repenting of their sin, so He sent the flood to destroy them from the face of the earth. Only 8 people out of hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, survived God’s judgment. We also saw God’s patience with Israel run out when he allowed the nation to be destroyed the Jews scattered around the globe for over 1500 years. From 70 AD until 1948 there was no Israel, but God’s mercy is still extended and those Jews who will one day accept Jesus as Lord will be saved. Every other Jew will be in the fires of judgment because they continued to reject the Savior.
There’s another judgment coming soon. I believe that God has just about reached His limits of patience with sinful men. I sense in my spirit, and according the Word of God, the next great judgment won’t be long in coming. The next time God’s judgment will fall it won’t be in the form of a flood, but of fire. The earth and everything in it will burn as in an oven. The fires of purification will burn away every taint of sin from this world and it’s atmosphere, and God will create a new heaven and a new earth free from sin and death, where only those who have been faithful will be permitted to dwell. That number will be very small in comparison to those who are cast into the fiery pit. Even as only eight people survived the flood, very few will survive the fire.
But before that final judgment of God comes, God is still dealing with the hearts of men, trying to bring them back to Him in repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 says that, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
God’s great love and mercy are still extended today, yet the hearts of men reject every attempt of God to turn them around. With every passing day men shake their fist in the face of God and dare Him to make them change their ways. Those who do such things are treading on dangerous ground.
Jonathan Edwards, a preacher from the early 1700’s said it this way in his sermon titled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”: The only thing holding us up from falling into the fiery pits of judgment at any given moment is the mercy and grace of God. At any moment, God’s patience may run out, His mercy and grace will be retracted, and nothing we can do will keep us from falling into the flames.” That’s about as clear a picture as anyone can draw. The man, woman or youth that has not chosen to follow Jesus and turn from their sinful ways are living on an invisible hand of the Grace of God that could move at any second. We never know just how far God will allow us to go. When will His patience with your sin run out? What hour has God appointed for you to leave this world? None of us have a promise of tomorrow. Now is the day of salvation. Who knows if we will get another chance?