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THE OLD-TIME RELIGION -
AND ITS ENEMIES TODAY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, February 10, 2002


"Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).


There are four kinds of preachers in the churches today. First, there are the liberals. The liberals are smart and slick. They have renamed themselves "moderates" in the Southern Baptist Convention. In this age of pussy-footing, compromise and fear, everyone likes to think they are "moderate," so the new title the liberals have given themselves is very appealing. But no matter what they call themselves, they are still liberals.

A liberal is a preacher who downgrades the authority of the Bible, rejects the total depravity of man, scoffs at literal creation as presented in the Bible, laughs at a literal Second Coming of Christ, denies the propitiation of Christ in the atonement, and doesn't really believe in Biblical conversion. A liberal - that's the first kind of preacher we have in pulpits across America today, in Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches.

Second, there are new-evangelicals. New-evangelicalism started out to be thoroughly orthodox on doctrine. But they differed with fundamentalism in that they wanted dialogue and interaction with liberals instead of separation from them. The Fundamentalists withdrew from liberals. The new-evangelicals embraced the liberals. But things have gotten much worse since the beginning of new-evangelicalism in the 50s. Today new-evangelicals have no clear doctrinal guidelines. It is no longer even clear what an "evangelical" is. Hard-core Roman Catholics are included. Apostolic churches, which deny the cardinal doctrine of the Trinity, are included. Eastern Orthodox churches are included. Pop psychology is included. In fact, nearly every popular, modern idea is included in new-evangelicalism today.

No one understood the syncretism and accommodation of new-evangelicalism better than Dr. Francis Schaeffer. I quote him now at length from his final book, The Great Evangelical Disaster (Crossway, 1984, pp. 141, 146).

The last sixty years have given birth to a moral disaster, and what have we [evangelicals] done? Sadly we must say that the evangelical world has been part of the disaster. Where is the clear voice speaking to the crucial issues of the day with distinctly biblical, Christian answers?…a large segment of the evangelical world has become seduced by the world spirit of this present age. And more than this, we can expect the future to be a further disaster if the evangelical world does not take a stand for biblical truth in the full spectrum of life.

It does seem to me that evangelical leaders…have a very special responsibility not to just go along with the "blue-jean" syndrome of not noticing that their attempts to be "with it" so often take the same forms as those who deny the existence or holiness of the living God.

Accommodation leads to accommodation - which leads to accommodation.

That's a perfect description of new-evangelicalism from Francis A. Schaeffer, "Accommodation leads to accommodation - which leads to accommodation."

New-evangelicalism is much more dangerous than flat-out liberalism. Why? Because new-evangelicalism is virtual liberalism. The word "virtual" means "in essence or effect, for all practical purposes, so far as effect is concerned" (Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary).

The "progressive" preachers among independent Baptists are not progressive at all, in any viable sense. They are simply new-evangelicals. They are virtual liberals! But these so-called "progressives" are as wrong about preaching as a liberal; they are also as wrong about God as a liberal; they are as wrong about mankind's depravity as a liberal; they are as wrong about the propitiation of Christ as a liberal; they are as wrong about conversion as a liberal!

The word virtual means "for all practical purposes." For all practical purposes, "in essence and effect" these "progressive" independents are liberals! They are virtual liberals! What is the difference between them and the liberals? None! They are virtually the same!

I am not presenting you with the watered-down, virtual liberalism of the "progressives." Nor am I presenting you the raw liberalism of the mainline churches. Nor am I presenting you with the fanaticism of the Ruckmanites!

The Ruckmanites, those who hold that the KJV is preserved perfectly in amber, have come on like old-time fundamentalists - but they are not. They are hobby-horse-riding, Johnny-one-notes! They do not defend the doctrines of the old-time religion! They defend a new doctrine, unheard of on earth before 1950, the doctrine of Ruckmanism. They have yelled and blathered and stomped and denounced. People thought they were fundamentalists, but they weren't. They were Johnny-one-note heretics, not Bible fundamentalists.

So, we have liberal preachers and new-evangelical (virtual liberal) preachers, and Ruckmanite preachers.

I am none of those. I am one of the fourth kind of preachers there are today. By conviction, not birth, I am an old-fashioned, Scofield Bible, landmark on the local church, unashamed dispensationalist, premillennial, pre-tribulation rapturist, centrality of the New Testament church, fundamental Baptist preacher! Without apology! Take it or leave it! No apology needed! None given! I preach the old-time religion!

And I say to you young people, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church!" Come to Jesus Christ and get saved. And also come to this church! That's our message - without apology!

But let's come to the heart of this sermon:

"Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).

This morning I am going to talk about

1. The preaching of the old-time religion.

2. The doctrines of the old-time religion.

3. The results of the old-time religion.

4. The way to get the old-time religion.

I. First, the preaching of the old-time religion.

Our text says:

"Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein…" (Jeremiah 6:16).

Every person from a Baptist background knows that there was once a day when men preached differently from the way they do now. Every one of us knows that there was a time when preachers laid out the truth, flat and plain, when some sinners got angry and walked out of the services, but others came under conviction and got saved. We know that there were old-time preachers who hollered, and sweat, and preached, and pleaded until God came down and converted hardened sinners to Christ. We know that happened in the past.

But what about now? Today, old-time preaching has been replaced by Bible expositions. Don't get me wrong, if you mean what W. A. Criswell meant by "expository preaching," I'm with you. But if you mean a running commentary on several verses of Scripture, with a cleverly alliterated outline, I hate it! I hate it! I hate it! I hate it! No Baptist preacher anywhere on earth preached like that until the Brethren movement led them into it in the late 19th century. I say, away with the verse-by-verse, J. N. Darby, Brethren, expository teaching method! Let's go back to old-time Baptist preaching!

Baptists don't have beautiful cathedrals with statutes in them, like the Roman Catholics do.  Baptists don't have "healing" services and "tongues," like the Pentecostals do.  Baptists don't have anything to attract a crowd but preaching.  Now the verse-by-verse Darbyites have taken that away from us!  I say, if we don't have preaching, we don't have anything!  What does a Baptist church have to offer if there isn't real preaching in the pulpit on Sunday?

If you look back at the sermons of John Bunyan you will see how to preach. If you look at the sermons of Whitefield and Nettleton and Spurgeon, you will see how to preach. These men preached the Word of God, they didn't merely teach it.

What is the difference between preaching and teaching? Take the words of Jeremiah, describing what happened to him,

"But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay"

(Jeremiah 20:9).

He couldn't hold in the Word of God. He had to preach it! And when the Word of God poured forth from his mouth it was fiery preaching!

"Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer, that breaketh the rock in pieces?" (Jeremiah 23:29).

That's what you young people need. You need old-time preaching. You need to hear a preacher who has the Word of God burning like a flame in his soul. You need to hear a preacher who pours forth a fiery message that burns away falsehood and breaks up the strongholds of Satan in your hearts. You need old-time preaching that converts you to Christ, and brings you into the local church! God says to such a preacher,

"Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them" (Jeremiah 5:14).

My job is not just to preach against the liberals, or the Catholics, or the Mormons. My assignment is to preach to you, to preach against your sins, your false way of living, your Godless life, your unconverted heart! God says, "I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them" (Jeremiah 5:14).

Let me make this perfectly clear: my purpose in preaching is to get you to examine your unconverted heart. My purpose in preaching is to get you to admit, in your own heart, that you are lost. My purpose in preaching is to get you to turn away from the life you are now living, and my purpose is to get you to turn completely to Jesus Christ for salvation. And my purpose is to preach you into regular attendance, every Sunday, in this Bible-believing, New Testament church. That is my purpose in preaching. That is the old-time preaching of the old-time religion! That is what you young people need to hear on Sunday!

"Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).

II. The doctrines of the old-time religion.

1. First is the doctrine of the wrath of God. The liberals, the moderates, and the progressives, will give you a weak and watered down view of God. They are afraid to tell you that you are a sinner in the hands of an angry God. But the old-time religion plainly says, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). The old-time religion says, "God is angry with the wicked every day" (Psalm 7:11). The old-time religion says that God is angry with you, and that He will punish you in Hell if you go on like you are, "For our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire…" (Matthew 25:41). That is not the message of Robert Schuller, or the moderates, or the progressives, but it is the message of the Bible. The old-time religion says plainly that you are in trouble because God is everlastingly angry with you for your sin.

2. The second great doctrine of the old-time religion is the total depravity of man. I don't care whether you like it or not. I don't care whether you believe it or not. The Bible teaches that you are lost, L - O - S - T, lost!

One "moderate" told me that the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 wasn't lost, he was just "backslidden." But that isn't true to the Scriptures. The boy's own father said he was depraved and lost! He said, "For this my son was dead…he was lost" (Luke 15:24). What could be clearer? His father said he was "dead," and so are you - "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). His father said he was "lost," and so are you! Jesus said, "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

I know that's an old-fashioned word - "lost." But it is a Bible word. If you have never been converted, you are lost. I don't care how many "sinner's prayers" you have prayed. I don't care how many times you have walked the aisle. I don't care how many Lordship commitments you have made, or how many "rededications" you have made, you are still lost - and you will remain lost until you experience radical conversion to Jesus Christ. You will remain under the condemnation of the Law and the wrath of God until you are "converted, and become as little children" (Matthew 18:3). That is the doctrine of depravity, telling of your lost condition, that is a great hallmark of the old-time religion.

3. Third, the old-time religion teaches the doctrine of propitiation through the death of Jesus. The Bible tells us that God poured out His wrath and anger on Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. "It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…" (Isaiah 53:10).

"Why," some moderate or progressive says, "That's a terrible thing to teach. We never heard of it! Where does the New Testament say such a thing?" What, have they never read John 3:16? "He [God] gave his only begotten Son." That is a mighty plain statement. God "gave" His only begotten Son, Jesus. God sent Him to the Cross to propitiate, to appease, His anger against your sin. When Jesus was hanging on the Cross, He cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). As the prophet put it, "thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin" (Isaiah 53:10). And the New Testament says, "Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24-25). As the old song put it,

I praise Him for the cleansing blood,
     What a wonderful Saviour!
That reconciled my soul to God;
     What a wonderful Saviour!
           ("What A Wonderful Saviour"
                 by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839-1929).

The "moderate" preachers and the "progressive" preachers may downplay the propitiatory work of Christ, that turned God's wrath from sinners, and poured it out on His Son, but it is still in the Bible! That is the doctrine of propitiation in the old-time religion - and it's good enough for me!

4. Fourth, the old-time religion proclaims the doctrine of conversion through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit "will reprove the world of sin…of sin, because they believe not on me [Jesus]" (John 16:8-9). It is the work of the Holy Spirit to make you see that you are sinful. Until you see the sinfulness of your heart, and the sinfulness of your life, you will never savingly see your need for Jesus Christ, and you will never truly experience real conversion. Lost young person, pray for God to send the Holy Spirit to show you that you have a rebellious and sinful heart. Also pray for God to draw you to Christ for a real conversion. Jesus said,

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…" (John 6:44).

That means that salvation is by grace, from first to last.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Unless God shows you your sin, and then draws you to Jesus Christ for conversion, you will remain in a state of eternal death. Salvation comes only by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. That is the old-time doctrine of the old-time religion - and it's good enough for me!

"Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls"

(Jeremiah 6:16).

III. The results of the old-time religion.

1. Your sins will all be forgiven if you come to Jesus Christ. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7). What a wonderful thing to know that every sin you have ever committed, or ever will commit, is cleansed forever in the moment that you put your total trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Emmanuel's veins, And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains.

("There is a Fountain" by William Cowper, 1731-1800).

2. You become a child of God when you come to Jesus.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16).

We become children of God by adoption, "that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:5).

Sarah Waldrip is the adopted daughter of Dr. John S. Waldrip. I had the privilege of being in the inquiry room when my associate, Dr. Christopher Cagan, led Sarah Waldrip into a real conversion experience with Christ. Then I took Sarah to another room, where her pastor-father, Dr. Waldrip, was dealing with another lost young person. I said to the pastor, "Your daughter seems to be converted. Will you listen to her testimony to make sure it is real?" He asked Sarah several questions as I stood there. The answers showed that she was indeed hopefully saved. Then I stood there while Dr. Waldrip embraced that teenaged girl. Tears were running down both of their cheeks. Then Pastor Waldrip turned to me with tears in his eyes, and said, "My favorite doctrine is adoption." He held his adopted girl in his arms, adopted by him as a little baby, and adopted by God, now, as a converted teenager. Sarah was now a child of God. That is the joyful experience of every person who is saved through the old-time religion!

3. You come fully into the local church when you come to Jesus. Of the early evangelism of Peter, the Bible says, "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). Moderates and progressives will tell you to "lead people to Christ," and then, afterwards, try to follow up on them. But that is not the old-time way. In the book of Acts and all through history, people were brought into the church to hear the gospel. They got saved in the very womb of the church. They never knew any other religion than what they heard and experienced right in the church. No need to "follow up" on the people in the second chapter of Acts! They were already in the church! Bring the lost into your church, as great Spurgeon admonished his people to do. This Finney-like "decisionism" that "leads them to Christ" at the doorstep doesn't work! Let's return to local-church-centered evangelism, where we bring the lost right in to our church, and then get them converted! You come right on into the full membership of the church when we follow the old-time religion of Spurgeon and the Bible! We say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church!"

4. You will have a joyful life and a happy home in Heaven if you come to Jesus. You will not be "as others which have no hope" (I Thessalonians 4:13). You will "rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:2). "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2).

Onward to the prize before us! Soon His beauty we'll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open, We shall tread the streets of gold.
When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus, We'll sing and shout the victory!

("When We All Get to Heaven" by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920).

That is the hope of the old-time religion! Get saved and go home to glory in Heaven! Let's sing the theme song of Dr. W. A. Criswell,

We're marching to Zion, Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We're marching upward to Zion, The beautiful City of God.

("We're Marching to Zion" by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

"Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).

But there is one more point to my sermon.

IV. The way to get the old-time religion.

When someone got saved, the old-timers in our churches used to say, "He got religion." How do you "get" the old-time religion of the Bible?

1. Objectively, you must understand the facts of the gospel, as they are given in the Scriptures:

"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19).

"When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3).

"Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1).

Those are the objective facts of the gospel.

2. Subjectively, you must have these truths become real to you. But how do you take them for your own? How do they become real to you? The answer is simple: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).

The King James Bible says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). The word "on" is a translation of the Greek word "epi." It means "upon" according to Strong's Concordance. The idea here is that you throw yourself "upon" Jesus. Literally, "Believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

To be saved you must throw yourself on Jesus Christ. It's like a man standing in the window of a burning building, ten stories up. Far below him the firemen have spread a net. They call out to the man above, "Jump!" He must throw himself into the net below to be saved. And you must throw yourself "upon" the Saviour, Jesus. He will catch you. He will forgive your sins. He will save you. That's the old-time religion!

"Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).

It's the old-time religion, It's the old-time religion, It's the old-time religion, And it's good enough for me.

(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon: Jeremiah 6:10-16.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Give Me That Old-Time Religion" (Black spiritual, transcribed      by Charles D. Tillman (1861-1943).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."




THE OUTLINE OF

THE OLD-TIME RELIGION -
AND ITS ENEMIES TODAY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).

I.   The preaching of the old-time religion, Jeremiah 20:9; Jeremiah 23:29;
Jeremiah 5:14.

II.  The doctrines of the old-time religion

1. The doctrine of the wrath of God, Hebrews 10:31; Psalm 7:11;
Hebrews 12:29; Matthew 25:41.

2. The doctrine of the total depravity of man, Luke 15:24;
Ephesians 2:1; Luke 19:10; Matthew 18:3.

3. The doctrine of propitiation through the death of Jesus,
Isaiah 53:10; John 3:16; Matthew 27:46; Romans 3:24-25.

4. The doctrine of conversion through the work of the Holy Spirit,
John 16:8-9; John 6:44; Ephesians 2:8-9.

III. The results of the old-time religion

1. Your sins will all be forgiven if you come to Jesus,
I John 1:7.

2. You become a child of God when you come to Jesus,
Romans 8:16; Galatians 4:5.

3. You come fully into the local church when you come to Jesus,
Acts 2:47.

4. You will have a joyful life and a happy home in Heaven if you
come to Jesus, I Thessalonians 4:13; Romans 5:2; Titus 1:2.

IV. The way to get the old-time religion

1. Objectively, you must understand the facts of the gospel,
I Corinthians 15:3-4; Mark 16:19; Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 3:1.

2. Subjectively, you must have these truths become real to you,
Acts 16:31.