Summary: Almost Persuaded
We missed him. Our chance to change things came and passed and we did not know it was there. A dark-skinned little boy sat through Sunday School classes for three years at a great Baptist Church (First Church, San Antonio) but someone missed him. His name was Sirhan Sirhan, and at age 24 he shot and killed Senator Robert Kennedy. In a welter of words and the shudder of grief throughout our nation, the persistent thought keeps recurring...someone missed him. Dr. Jimmy Allen, former pastor of First Baptist Church, San Antonio, Texas in Pulpit Helps, May, 1991
Opportunities that are not taken advantage of will many times come back to haunt us as people. The greatest tragedy will be for all 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.
I. MANY WILL HEAR THE TRUTH.
A) Aggrippa heard the truth about Paul’s past, and how God had changed him.
B) There is an added responsibility once we have heard the truth. II Peter 2:21
One of the most haunting words in Scripture is the word “Remember” In the story of the rich man and Lazerus the rich man, in hell is begging for relief and he is told “Remember”
C) What is the truth?
1) That we are all sinners—Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.”
2) That we deserve eternal hell because of our sin. Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.”
3) That God offers us a gift instead Rom 6:23b “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
4) That we must believe and receive. John 1:12 “But as many as received him gave he the power to become the children of God. Even to them that believed on his name.”
5) That we must repent of our sin. Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”
Listen to me now: I believe that if you choose to put off salvation and something happens to you or the Lord returns, that you will go to hell remembering your opportunity today that you refused.
II. MANY WILL ALMOST GET TO HEAVEN.
A) Many people have a weights and balance idea of the judgment in heaven. We will stand before Christ and if we have done more good than bad, we will go in. Matt 7:22-23
What is this will? John 6:39
B) They won’t almost get to heaven because they were almost good enough. They will almost get to heaven because they had the truth and were almost persuaded to be saved. Now catch this…..a person that almost gets to heaven will spend just as much of an eternity in hell. There is no in between. We are either saved or lost. We will either go to heaven or hell.
C) Believing the truth about God will not do it. Only believing in and trusting in the person of Jesus Christ for our only source of salvation, realizing our sin, and crying out to him for forgiveness and salvation, will do. Acts 26:24-27
1) Festus thought Paul was crazy. King Aggrippa believed him but wouldn’t do anything about it. As far as we know from scripture they both died in a lost condition. Aggrippa got no points for being close. Don’t be almost persuaded to give your life to Christ. Be altogether committed to accept his free gift.
In his autobiography, Just as I Am, Billy Graham tells about a conversation he had with John F. Kennedy shortly after his election: “On the way back to the Kennedy house, the president-elect stopped the car and turned to me. ‘Do you believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?’ he asked. ‘I most certainly do.’ ‘Well, does my church believe it?’ ‘They have it in their creeds.’ ‘They don’t preach it,’ he said. ‘They don’t tell us much about it. I’d like to know what you think.’ I explained what the Bible said about Christ coming the first time, dying on the Cross, rising from the dead, and then promising that he would come back again. ‘Only then,’ I said, ‘are we going to have permanent world peace.’ ‘Very interesting,’ he said, looking away. ‘We’ll have to talk more about that someday.’ And he drove on.” Several years later, the two met again, at the 1963 National Prayer Breakfast. “I had the flu,” Graham remembers. “After I gave my short talk, and he gave his, we walked out of the hotel to his car together, as was always our custom. At the curb, he turned to me. ‘Billy, could you ride back to the White House with me? I’d like to see you for a minute.’ ‘Mr. President, I’ve got a fever,’ I protested. ‘Not only am I weak, but I don’t want to give you this thing. Couldn’t we wait and talk some other time?’ It was a cold, snowy day, and I was freezing as I stood there without my overcoat. ‘Of course,’ he said graciously.” But the two would never meet again. Later that year, Kennedy was shot dead. Graham comments, “His hesitation at the car door, and his request, haunt me still. What was on his mind? Should I have gone with him? It was an irrecoverable moment.” --Just as I Am, Billy Graham