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LOOK TO JESUS - NOT SOMEWHERE ELSE!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 A sermon preached on Saturday, February 19, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).


The entire life of a Christian is summed up in these words, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." You begin the Christian life by looking unto Jesus. You finish the Christian life by looking unto Jesus. "Looking unto Jesus" describes faith itself. You are born again by "looking unto Jesus." You live the Christian life by "looking unto Jesus." You die as a Christian by "looking unto Jesus." You are saved from the guilt of sin by "looking unto Jesus." You overcome the world by "looking unto Jesus." You get prayers answered by "looking unto Jesus." You triumph over death by "looking unto Jesus."

And yet it is impossible for the natural man to do that, even though it seems so simple when you have done it. But man in his natural state looks everywhere except to Jesus.

"He is despised and rejected…and we hid as it were our faces from him" (Isaiah 53:3).

And so it is the preacher's duty to show natural man the foolishness of not looking to Him. We do this by preaching on the emptiness of life without Jesus. We do this by giving examples of people who threw away their lives because they would not look to Him. We also do this by speaking on Hell and eternal torment. We do this by telling of sin and its consequences. We do this by speaking of sinners in the hands of an angry God. We do this by warning of the unpardonable sin.

All of these great Bible truths are preached to awaken the natural man, and show him the lack of wisdom and the absurdity of not "looking unto Jesus." And, when God's grace comes to a man, he will wake up and say to himself, "What a fool I was not to look unto Jesus."

In this simple sermon I am going to answer three thoughts you may have had, "I'm ambivalent about salvation," "I'm not converted because I don't know what it feels like to be converted," and "I'm not converted because I don't love Jesus." All three of them are answered by our text,

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
    (Hebrews 12:2).

I. First, some of you are ambivalent about Jesus.

The word "ambivalent," according to the dictionary, means "Simultaneous attraction toward and repulsion from an object." "Simultaneous" means "at the same time." A person who said "I'm ambivalent" knows English very well. This person knows that the word "ambivalent" means he is attracted to Jesus and repelled from Him at the same time. Why does he feel attracted and repelled simultaneously? It is because he halts between two opinions, because he is "double minded" about Jesus (James 1:8).

This is the way the rich young ruler was. He wanted Jesus - but at the same time he wanted to live for money. He was ambivalent, he experienced "simultaneous attraction toward and repulsion from" Jesus. This is not at all uncommon in the Bible. Judas was ambivalent toward Jesus. So was Nicodemus. So was Peter the night before Jesus was crucified.

The first two men, the rich young ruler and Judas, lost their souls because they went on in ambivalence, simultaneously repelled and attracted by Jesus, until it was too late.

The other two men, Nicodemus and Peter, resolved their ambivalence and threw themselves on Jesus by faith,

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
    (Hebrews 12:2).

Which two men will you follow - the rich young ruler and Judas, or Nicodemus and Peter? Ultimately it will be one or the other for you, as it is with all people who are simultaneously attracted and repelled by Jesus. I remember the exact moment I stopped being ambivalent. So can you. Cross over to Jesus no matter what you think it will cost and you will be saved in an instant.

II. Second, some of you say you are not converted because you
don't know what it feels like to be converted.

Your problem is that you are looking to yourself, rather than

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
    (Hebrews 12:2).

You are looking at your conversion instead of "Looking unto Jesus." You think you have to know what it "feels like" to be converted. Don't you see how absurd that is? Conversion "feels" different to different people. People don't feel the same. Some are full of wonderful joy when they are converted. Others feel relief. Still others feel nothing much at all. The feelings people have in conversion are not important at all. The thing that is important is Jesus. In conversion, Jesus is no longer "despised and rejected." You no longer hide your face "from him" (Isaiah 53:3). Instead, you will say with Thomas,

"My Lord and my God" (John 20:28).

You can twist around for months, or even years, looking for a "feeling." But you are looking inwardly at yourself, instead of looking outwardly to Jesus. If you keep on looking inwardly you will never be converted. I know one person who spent twenty-five years looking inwardly for the "right feeling." One night she stopped looking inside herself and looked outside of herself to Jesus! I told her, "Don't look back at yourself. Don't examine yourself any more. You have already examined yourself for twenty-five years. That's enough! Now examine Jesus! And keep on examining Him! When doubts arise, examine Jesus again. Keep on examining Him throughout your life - and you will soon examine Him in Heaven!"

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
    (Hebrews 12:2).

So, I say to you, you don't need to know what it feels like to be converted. Stop wondering about it and thinking about it. Instead, look to Jesus - out of yourself. Look to Him beaten and lashed, crucified and bleeding on the Cross. Look to Him resurrected and ascended to Glory at the right hand of God the Father. Look to Him and you are saved!

III. Third, some of you say you are not converted because you don't love Jesus.

This type of person thinks he can be saved if he musters up enough love for Jesus in himself. Again, this kind of person is looking at himself, looking at whether he is holy enough, looking at whether he has loved Jesus enough. All of this is self-salvation. You are not saved by being holy or loving Jesus. No, no! You are looking inside yourself for proof of whether you are converted or not. But the proof isn't in you! The proof is in Jesus!

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
    (Hebrews 12:2).

When the Philippian Jailor said, "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30), Paul did not say, "Love Jesus and you will be saved." No, no! Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). The proof of conversion is not how much we love Jesus. No, no! The proof of conversion is

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
    (Hebrews 12:2).

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I John 4:10).

Salvation does not come by loving God or loving Jesus! Not that we loved Him, but that He loved us!

Stop looking for holiness, or goodness, or love for Jesus in yourself. You will never find enough of these things within you to convince you that you are saved. Instead, look up, look out of yourself, look away from your self - look to Jesus alone, and He will save you by His Blood and righteousness.

You may never have enough goodness, or holiness or love to please yourself, and convince yourself that you are converted. But if you look away from yourself, and don't look back at yourself, but look up from yourself to Jesus - you will be saved by His Blood and righteousness in an instant! Look away to Jesus!

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
    (Hebrews 12:2).

Let that be your motto. Let that be your goal. Let that be your salvation - and nothing else!

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
    (Hebrews 12:2).

Look to Jesus - not at yourself!

Look to the Lamb of God.
Look to the Lamb of God.
For He alone is able to save you,
Look to the Lamb of God.
    ("Look to the Lamb of God" by H. G. Jackson, 1838-1914).

(END OF SERMON)

Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Look to the Lamb of God" (by H. G. Jackson, 1838-1914).

THE OUTLINE OF

LOOK TO JESUS - NOT SOMEWHERE ELSE!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
(Hebrews 12:2).

(Isaiah 53:3)

I.   Some of you are ambivalent about Jesus, James 1:8.

II.  Some of you say you are not converted because you don't
know what it feels like to be converted, John 20:28.

III. Some of you say you are not converted because you don't
love Jesus, Acts 16:30-31; I John 4:10.

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