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PREPARING YOUR HEART FOR CONVERSION

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at Calvary Road Baptist Church, Monrovia, California
Friday Evening, August 23, 2002


"And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord" (II Chronicles 12:14).


These words describe king Rehoboam. Why did he do evil because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord? What was the reason that he failed to prepare his heart for conversion? Two of the reasons are given in this passage of Scripture and one is implied in the passage.

I. First, he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord
because of the evil influence of his mother.

Notice the end of verse 13:

"And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess"
   (II Chronicles 12:13).

The Ammonites were evil idolaters, and they were against the God of Israel. I believe that God tells us that she was an Ammonitess to show us her evil influence on her son.

Some of you here tonight come from godless homes. Undoubtedly your mother and other family members exert evil influence on you, and say things against our churches and against real Christians. If you listen to them, you will not prepare your heart to seek the Lord.

Others of you have parents who claim to be Christians, but really they are not. Under the pretense of being Christians they may say things and do things that confuse you, drag you down, and keep you from preparing your heart to seek the Lord in true conversion.

Still others of you have parents who really are Christians, but you see them do foolish things and say foolish things, and this turns you off, so you do not prepare your heart to seek the Lord in true conversion.

To all of you in these three situations I say this: don't let your parents or relatives keep you from preparing your heart to seek the Lord. Do not let their wickedness, hypocrisy or foolishness stop you from preparing your heart for conversion.

After all, this is strictly between you and God. When looking over the situation in my family as a young teenager, I remember thinking, "I don't want to be like them." I hope you will think that same thought when you see wickedness, hypocrisy, or plain old foolishness in the lives of your parents and other family members. Don't hate them! Oh, no! But just decide, "I don't want to be like them." Then you will be freed from their influence and you will be ready to prepare your own heart to seek the Lord, in your own conversion.

Remember, conversion is the first really adult thing most of you will ever experience. No parent can decide this for you, whether they are good or bad. Only you, yourself, all alone, in the recesses of your own heart, can decide whether you will prepare your own heart to seek the Lord in true conversion.

Also, don't let other young people in the church influence you on this matter. You know that they aren't saved, but you like them, you enjoy being with them. That's O.K. as long as you come to the place of saying to yourself, "I don't want to be like them. I want to be truly converted. I want to know God. I want to be saved." It's one thing to talk and play with the unconverted church kids, but it's quite another thing to say to yourself, "I don't want to be like them. I want to be converted." Only God will know when you say that. No one but you and God will know it. But it will make all the difference in whether or not you prepare your heart to seek the Lord in true conversion.

II. Second, he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord
because he didn't really do all that the preacher told him to do.

Look at verse five:

"Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam [and the princes] and said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Ye have forsaken me…" (II Chronicles 12:5).

I will not go into all of this. It's enough to say that Rehoboam partly listened to the preacher because he was afraid of the approaching enemy. Rehoboam humbled himself somewhat, we are told in verse 12. But he was not truly converted. Therefore, we are later told,

"And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord" (II Chronicles 12:14).

Some of you have been just like him. You felt frightened or moved in some other way when the preacher spoke to you. You may have given up some sins and tried to be a better person, as Rehoboam did. But the pastor's sermons did not really cause you to seek the Lord, did they? You haven't really sought for God or searched for Christ with all your heart after listening to the sermons, have you? You may have changed a few things and tried to be a better person, but you

Prepared not [your] heart to seek the Lord [in true conversion] did you?


So, what should you do when you hear the sermons now, if you really want to prepare your heart for conversion?

You should be in every service and you should listen to the sermons God has given to convert you. You should think about the sermons deeply while they are being preached. You should think about the sermons after they are preached. One new person got copies of my printed sermons right after I preached them, and took them home and read them over and over. He also took the bulletins with the outlines home and studied the Scriptures given in the outlines over and over when he was alone. He has been coming to our church only six months, but the sermons he heard, and later studied, converted him. He is now hopefully converted.

Would you like to be converted? Then you must make yourself listen carefully while the sermons are preached and think deeply about them afterwards.

You can sit in church while a thousand sermons are preached, but they will do you no more good than the sermons Rehoboam heard - unless you make a real effort to think about them after they are preached. Only by doing this will your heart be prepared for a real conversion.

III. Third, he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord
because he didn't pray for conversion.

That is implied in the text:

"And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord" (II Chronicles 12:14).

It is implied that Rehoboam did not pray for God to convert him. We read in James, chapter four:

"Ye have not, because ye ask not" (James 4:2).

Peter told Simon the Sorcerer, "Pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee" (Acts 8:22). He told Simon to pray for his own conversion. Could it be that you are not converted simply because you haven't asked God to convert you to Christ?

"Ye have not, because ye ask not" (James 4:2).

Again, the Bible says,

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6).

God is near you. You may not feel His nearness, but the Bible tells us that He is near.

"Though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:27-28).

These verses show that God is not far away from you, even though you don't feel Him. The Bible tells you that He is near to you. And the Bible tells you to "call upon him" (Isaiah 55:6).

Therefore make a promise to yourself and to God that you will begin to call on Him to convert you tonight, when you get home. Make a promise to God that you will start praying for God to convert you to Christ tonight. Promise God that you will not get into bed tonight, or any other night, without praying at least a short prayer for God to convert you to Christ. Start doing that tonight, and don't stop until you are converted! Don't worry about saying the right words. It's your heart that counts. Ask God to awaken you to your sinful nature. Ask God to terrify you with thoughts of eternal damnation. Ask God to draw you to Jesus Christ, who alone can forgive sins by His Blood.


(END OF SERMON)

THE OUTLINE OF

PREPARING YOUR HEART FOR CONVERSION

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord" (II Chronicles 12:14).

I.   He prepared not his heart to seek the Lord because of
the evil influence of his mother, II Chronicles 12:13.

II.  He prepared not his heart to seek the Lord because he didn't
really do all that the preacher told him to do,
II Chronicles 12:5, 14.

III. He prepared not his heart to seek the Lord because he didn't
pray for conversion, James 4:2; Acts 8:22; Isaiah 55:6;
Acts 17:27-28.

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