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WE ESTEEMED HIM NOT

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, January 16, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"We hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).


It could be translated,

"Like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him."

This is the natural state of all people. All who are unconverted hide their faces from Christ and do not esteem Him.

"We esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).

You probably think that this isn't true of you - but it is true of you. This is proved by your

1. Lack of love for Christ (no inner thoughts of the loveliness of Christ).

2. Lack of interest in the Bible (daily Bible reading no delight to you).

3. Lack of secret prayer.

4. Lack of gratitude to Christ for His suffering in your place (it does not seem like a wonder to you).

If you are honest with yourself, you will admit that these things are true of you.

"We esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).

Furthermore, this is why you try to "figure out" how to be saved. You try this thing and that thing, but you do not rest in Christ - because you do not esteem Him.

Listen to Dr. W. G. T. Shedd,

"The Holy Spirit does not ordinarily regenerate a man until he is a convicted man…A sense of guilt and danger is a 'preparative' to deliverance from it" (Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, P and R Publishing, 2003 reprint, p. 775).

Unless you feel a sense of guilt and danger you will not think highly of Christ's sacrifice. It will still be true of you,

"We esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).

I. First, you will not think highly of Christ and His suffering
until you are through playing games.

You hear about Christ's suffering, but it has no effect on you. You hear about the passion of Christ and it moves you with pity or revulsion - but this only lasts a very short time. Within a few minutes your mind is once again thinking about other things.

"The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness"
    (I Corinthians 1:18).

You wouldn't admit it, but this is, in fact, the state of your heart. If that were not the true state of your heart, you would be overwhelmed at the thought of Christ's passion. His suffering on your behalf would fill you with deep anguish. It would appear in your mind constantly.

Think inwardly. Isn't it true that you know about the suffering of Christ, but you have thought very little about it? Isn't that true? And if that is true at all within you, isn't it true that - in reality - "The preaching of the cross is… foolishness" to you? Think inwardly.

Isn't it true that His suffering should have grasped you? Shouldn't it have broken you up inside? Shouldn't it have overwhelmed you with grief and sorrow - that He went through all that to atone for your sins? Shouldn't you have felt more anguish and pain than you did? And the fact that it had so little effect on you - doesn't that show that you are still playing games - just fooling around with Christ? Be honest with yourself. Think inwardly. Aren't you one of those of whom it is said,

"We esteemed him not"?

You will not think highly of Christ and His suffering until you are through playing games.

II. Second, you will not think highly of Christ and His suffering
until you are afraid of death.

The fear of death is not an abnormal state at all. Many people think so. They think it is weird and strange to fear death. But they are wrong. It is normal people who fear death. One of our deacons, Dr. Chan, became very morbid and fearful of death when he was a young boy. The fear of dying gripped him constantly. He couldn't get it out of his mind. No wonder he was converted by hearing only one gospel sermon I preached. God had prepared his heart. God had made him fear death and judgment so much, for so long, that it was a great relief to him, when he heard me preach salvation and eternal life through Christ. The great evangelist John Wesley also had a very morbid fear of death before his conversion. So did Luther, the great Reformer. So did John Bunyan, our Baptist forefather. And so should you. Christ came to

"deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:15).

He came to deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. But I contend that it is God's grace and mercy that puts someone in that state of mind. I believe that it is the grace of God that puts a person in bondage and fear of death. Without God's merciful grace, man will put death out of his mind entirely, and not think seriously about this all-important subject very much, if at all.

When a person feels bound by fear of death, it is usually because God is at work in his heart. Otherwise he would be very careless, and think very little about it. He would certainly not be in "bondage" or "slavery" to the fear of death unless this were produced within him by the grace of God. As John Newton put it in his famous hymn, "Amazing Grace," "Twas grace that taught my heart to fear." David spoke of the fear of death preparing a person for salvation when he said,

"The terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said…I would hasten my escape…"
    (Psalm 55:4-8).

God Himself sent the "terrors of death" to David so he would "hasten [to] escape" them.

I can assure you that you will not esteem Christ, you will not think highly of Him, until you, too, are in bondage to the fear of death, and the terrors of death fall on you by the grace and mercy of God. And if you never experience any of the "terrors of death," I doubt that you will ever think very highly of Christ, and His Blood-sacrifice to save you from it. You will not esteem Christ highly until you have at least some fear of death. It will still be said of you,

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

III. Third, you will not think highly of Christ and His suffering
until you give up on yourself.

As long as you think you can overcome the obstacles and problems of life in your own strength you will not be converted to Christ. The only people I know who experience real salvation in Christ, are those who have given up all hope in themselves and their own abilities. Have you thought this inwardly? Inside your own head, have you thought, "I'm too depraved and too weird, and too ruined inside to be a Christian"? Unless your inner thoughts have run this way, and unless you have thoughts like that, I don't see any hope of you esteeming Christ, thinking highly enough of Him to seek Him with all your heart. Why do you need Christ if you think you can work out all your problems yourself?

But when the Spirit of God begins His work on your soul, then you will say within yourself,

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24).

When you look at your own weakness, and look inwardly at the foul pollution and rebellion in your heart, you will then be led to say those words in your own mind,

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me…?"
    (Romans 7:24).

It is in this state of mind, having given up faith in yourself, that you are prepared to esteem Christ, and think very highly of Him, as the only possible one who can help you and save you from the misery of your sin, and the judgment to come. Until you give up on yourself, it will still be said of you,

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

IV. Fourth, you will not think highly of Christ and His suffering
until you are convinced and convicted of sin.

David said,

"I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight" (Psalm 51:3-4).

This is conviction, perhaps the greatest verses in the Bible on true contrition. And if you never feel any of that, you will never esteem Christ enough to come savingly to Him for justification and the imputation of His righteousness to your sinful record. Dr. Shedd said,

"Difficulties connected with [conversion] arise from the fact that men…make objections from the viewpoint and position of the unconverted sinner. They deny that they are helpless sinners; or they deny that sin requires endless punishment; or they deny that sin requires vicarious atonement in its remission. A mind that [questions these things] is not 'prepared' for [conversion]" (W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, P and R Publishing, 2003 reprint, p. 777).

The very "preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness" (I Corinthians 1:18). It seems like a lot of words, or "this is the way he always ends his sermons," so your mind turns off at the very moment that you should be listening as though your life depended on it - as indeed it does.

Yet, when I begin to preach on the vicarious death of Christ and His Blood washing away your sins, you "tune out" and let your mind wander. It is true, it must be true, that the preaching of the Cross is nothing but the foolish words of a preacher. Why is this so true of you inwardly? Why is it that the passion of Christ seems of so little importance to you, that your eyes turn down when I mention it? The answer is simple. You are not convicted of sin. If you were convicted of sin, as David was, you would cry out with David,

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

Then you would see very strongly your need for Christ and His passion, and Blood.

So, I say that you will not think highly of Christ until you are convinced and convicted of your sin. Unless you are convicted of your sin, you will be one of those described by our text:

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

You will never think highly of Christ, you will never esteem Him greatly,

until you are through playing games;
    until you are afraid of death;
       until you give up on yourself;
           until you are convinced and convicted of sin.

If you do not experience those "preparations," you will never come by simple faith to Jesus and find that, after all, "with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

If this sermon has made you think, I hope you will come and see me or one of the deacons right now. If you want to speak to us about becoming a Christian and being saved by Jesus, please step to the back of the room as we bow our heads in prayer.

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Isaiah 53:1-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"He Bought My Soul" (by Stuart Hamblen, 1908-1989).

THE OUTLINE OF

WE ESTEEMED HIM NOT

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"We hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).

I.   You will not think highly of Christ and His suffering until
you are through playing games, I Corinthians 1:18.

II.  You will not think highly of Christ and His suffering until
you are afraid of death, Hebrews 2:15; Psalm 55:4-8.

III. You will not think highly of Christ and His suffering until
you give up on yourself, Romans 7:24.

IV.  You will not think highly of Christ and His suffering until
you are convinced and convicted of sin, Psalm 51:3-4;
Isaiah 53:5.

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