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MOURNING FOR SIN BEFORE THE FOUNTAIN IS OPENED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, January 18, 2004


"And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends" (Zechariah 13:6).


Can it be that anyone would say to Christ, "What are these wounds in thine hands?" Doesn't everyone on earth know that the hands of Jesus were pierced when He was crucified? Of course they do - in a sense. Everyone on earth knows the doctrine, but few know the reality of Christ's crucifixion. Therefore, in the future, a man will say to Jesus, "What are these wounds in thine hands?"

I am not going to go into the details of the prophecy related to this question. It is enough in this sermon to say that this will happen in the future. A man will actually say to Christ, "What are these wounds in thine hands?"

He should have known about the wounds in Christ's hands before. He had undoubtedly heard of the crucifixion. But it made no impression on him until he was face to face with the resurrected Christ. This man really represents the entire human race. It is true that

"…blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Romans 11:25).

But it is also true that the

"…Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened" (Ephesians 4:17-18).

So, there is no difference between a spiritually blind Gentile and a spiritually blind Jew. Therefore, we may say that this man represents the entire human race before conversion takes away spiritual blindness.

"And one [anyone who is awakened] shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?" (Zechariah 13:6).

Unconverted people have all heard of the crucifixion of Christ - but it has made no impression on them as yet.

How about you? Doesn't this man represent you, if you are not yet converted? The "one" who is spoken of is every man in an unconverted state. He is awakened and confronted with Jesus Christ. And suddenly he is thinking about Christ in a new way. He knew about the crucifixion before, but now it becomes very real and vital for the first time in his life. How did he come to this state? What happened to him to make him think about the crucifixion as a living truth? I think the context of this verse gives us a clue.

I. First, the Spirit of grace came upon him.

Please turn back to Zechariah 12:10. Look at the first half of the verse.

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications" (Zechariah 12:10a).

That is always the way salvation comes. This verse literally speaks prophetically of the conversion of the Jews in the future, in the coming 1000-year Kingdom of Christ on earth.

"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Romans 11:26).

But Zechariah 12:10 is more than a prophecy. It also illustrates perfectly how salvation comes to every man. The conversion of a lost person always comes through an outpouring of God's grace upon him. It isn't that grace begins the process of conversion. No! No! The whole process leading up to and including instant conversion is, in the words of great Spurgeon, "all of grace." Without an outpouring of God's grace on a lost person, there will be no awakening. Without an outpouring of God's grace on a lost person, there will be no conversion. Conversion is completely dependent on an outpouring of "the spirit of grace and supplications."

The prophet puts the two together, grace and supplication because grace and supplication are inseparable. They come from God at the same time. When grace is outpoured supplication follows. Supplication speaks of prayer. There is no vital reality in prayer before grace comes to a sinner. The prayers of an unconverted person are dead, dry, and lifeless until the Spirit of grace is poured out upon him from God. Then, when God pours out His grace, that person's prayers take on a living force and reality. It is true whether the man is a Jew or a Gentile,

"For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:12-13).

These verses in Romans 10:12-13 do not speak of mechanical prayers. Lost Roman Catholics mechanically pray, "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy," in every Mass, but it does them no good at all. Baptists and evangelicals pray the "sinner's prayer," but it does most of them more harm than good, because it comforts them in their sin. They say, "I have called on the name of the Lord, so I am saved." But these memorized, oft repeated words of prayer are not real prayers at all. They are only the words of the Baptist and evangelical form. This prayer is often similar to the Catholics saying, "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy." Prayers like this are no different from that of Orthodox Jews, who pray from memory for salvation, sometimes for hours, from their prayer books.

No prayer has value until it is joined with an outpouring of God's grace on the individual. God must come down in His grace to empower any lost sinner to pray from his heart for salvation.

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications" (Zechariah 12:10a).

Before God pours upon you the "spirit of grace" and prayer, your prayers will be just a few mumbled words, which neither you nor God expect to be answered in any living way. Your prayers are just words until "the spirit of grace and supplications" is poured out upon you by God.

But, oh, when the Spirit of grace falls on a lost man, he suddenly knows how to pray. His prayers, even his first feeble and weak prayers, are dramatically powerful, and God answers him quickly - with surprising power. I have known many lost people who had the Spirit of grace poured upon them. Suddenly they prayed a simple prayer, "Jesus, wash away my sins in your Blood." They may have said the very same words many times without an answer. But when the grace of God is poured upon them, those simple words of prayer actually touch God in a vital experience. And even if that little prayer they haltingly pray is very simple and short, the answer they looked for, perhaps for years, suddenly comes to life, and they are instantly converted.

The source of such a powerful salvation prayer is the grace of God. I cannot stress that too strongly. A prayer for your salvation will not produce conversion unless God pours out on you "the spirit of grace and supplications." Why? Because salvation is totally dependent on the "spirit of grace." Only God's grace can turn a dead "sinner's prayer" into a living supplication that God will honor and answer, by saving your soul from sin. Therefore you should seek the Spirit of grace. You should hunger and thirst for His grace until He gives it to you in full measure.

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications" (Zechariah 12:10a).

"And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?" (Zechariah 13:6).

This "one," this everyman, had been brought face to face with the resurrected Christ, by God's Spirit of grace and supplication. You will never have such an encounter with the living, nail-pierced Christ until the "spirit of grace and supplications" is poured out upon you from God.

II. Second, he looked upon Christ, and mourned for Him.

The second half of Zechariah 12:10 tells us,

"And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zechariah 12:10b).

The Scofield note on this is correct, "The Spirit poured out: the pierced One revealed to the delivered remnant" (Scofield Study Bible, note above Zechariah 12:10). This verse literally speaks of the Holy Spirit unveiling Christ to the Jews in the future.

And yet this verse is a picture of what happens to an individual even now, in this dispensation. The Apostle Paul said,

"But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (II Corinthians 3:15-17).

Both in the future, and even now, no one, neither Jew nor Gentile, will look upon Christ and "mourn for him" unless the "spirit of grace and supplications" is "poured" upon him.

When the Holy Spirit touches your heart, and convinces you of sin, you will then look upon Him whom you have pierced.

"Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" 
      (I Corinthians 15:3).

That is the objective truth, revealed in the Bible. But this objective truth will not become a subjective reality to you until you have been convinced of your sin by the Holy Spirit.

"And when he is come, he will reprove [or convince] the world of sin" (John 16:8).

When the Holy Spirit begins His work of grace within you, you will say,

"My sin is ever before me" (Psalm 51:3).

Then, when your sin is "ever before" you, you will look upon Him whom you have pierced.

Up until the time that your sin is "ever before" you, you will not think deeply about Christ. Before you are inwardly troubled by your sin you will hide your face from Him.

"We hid as it were our faces from him…and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).

You will always hide your face from Christ until your sin is ever before you. That is the natural condition of your heart until God brings your sins sharply to mind.

Isaiah said, "We esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3). The Hebrew word translated "esteemed" means "regard or value" (Strong). You will not value Christ, you will not think He is very important, until your sin is ever before you.

Matthew Henry produced probably the greatest commentary on the Bible that has ever been written. He was converted while he was young. Here is what he said about his awakening, prior to conversion.

I think it was three years ago that I began to be convinced [of sin] hearing a sermon by my father on Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." I think it was that that melted me; afterwards I began to inquire after Christ (Frederick S. Leahy, Great Conversions, Ambassador Publications, 1998, page 38).

Notice what Matthew Henry said about this sermon on "a broken spirit." He said that it "melted me." That's an old Puritan expression. "Melted" means "to soften," or "to be broken." This is also what must happen to you. Your hard heart must be softened. Your inner hardness must be broken. You must be melted.

If you are not softened, broken and melted by God, you will not look to Christ for salvation. How can a sin-hardened person like you be melted? Only by thinking a great deal about your sin.

"My sin is ever before me" (Psalm 51:3).

Let us stand and sing Psalm 139:23-24.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts [and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts]: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

As we remain standing, please turn back to Zechariah 10:12. This is a description of real revival. A person who has not studied the three Great Awakenings, or who never personally saw a classical revival, would not see that. Read aloud verses 10-12.

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart" (Zechariah 12:10-12).

You may be seated.

In verse ten the spirit of grace and supplication is poured out. The people mourn and are confronted with Christ. Then, in verses 11 and 12, there is "great mourning." That is the main feature in real revival - and in individual conversions - real mourning over sin.

"My sin is ever before me" (Psalm 51:3).

Then, and only then, do we see what comes in chapter 13, verse one. Stand and read it aloud.

"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness" (Zechariah 13:1).

You may be seated.

They mourn over their sin. They think deeply about Christ. Then they rush to the fountain to be cleansed from sin in the Blood of Christ.

In the midst of this revival, a man is confronted with Christ, and says,

"What are these wounds in thine hands?" (Zechariah 13:6).

That is what is happening in China today. The Voice of the Martyrs reports that "an estimated 1,200 Chinese come to Christ every hour" (The Voice of the Martyrs, Special Issue 2004, p. 14). That means about 30,000 people are converted every day in China. These are very serious conversions for the most part. The people are willing to undergo great persecution when they come to Christ. Real revival is happening right now in China.

We have no move of God like that in the Western world. True conversions come very slowly here. Yet each individual conversion replicates what happens in a mass movement. Each person who is converted must first be "melted," must first mourn for his sins - before he will come to Christ and be washed from his sins in the fountain filled with Blood!

There is a fountain filled with Blood Drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains;
Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains.
     ("There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood" by William Cowper, 1731-1800).

The first step is to think of your sins until they trouble you. Let us turn again to Psalm 139:23-24, as we stand to sing these two verses.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts [and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts]: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Zechariah 12:10-13:1.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood"
   (by William Cowper, 1731-1800).


THE OUTLINE OF

MOURNING FOR SIN BEFORE THE FOUNTAIN IS OPENED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends" (Zechariah 13:6).

(Romans 11:25; Ephesians 4:17-18)

I.   The Spirit of grace came upon him, Zechariah 12:10a; 
Romans 11:26; Romans 10:12-13.

II.  He looked upon Christ, and mourned for Him, Zechariah 12:10b; 
II Corinthians 3:15-17; 15:3; John 16:8; Psalm 51:3; Isaiah 53:3; 
Psalm 51:17; Psalm 139:23-24; Zechariah 12:10-12; 13:1, 6.

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