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SCOFFERS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Evening, August 28, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts" (II Peter 3:3).


This verse does not mean that there were no scoffers before. It means that the number of scoffers and the intensity of their scoffing will increase in the last days.

The word "scoffer" in the original Greek is "empaiktai." It means "a derider, a mocker" (Strong #1703). Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary gives the fuller meaning of that word translated "scoffers": it means "to scorn, to hold in extreme contempt, to despise, to spurn." In short, a scoffer is a person who looks down on and makes fun of Christians and their beliefs. Scoffers ridicule Christians and what they believe. They sneer at Christians who get hopefully saved.

Why do scoffers do these things? The answer is in the second half of our text. They scoff and ridicule Christians because they "walk after their own lusts." That means they follow their own evil desires. Their own wicked hearts lead them to scoff, ridicule, look down on, and make fun of Christians and their beliefs.

Are there any scoffers like that today? I am sure there are, although they will keep their scoffing and ridicule to themselves - because they don't want others to see it. So they won't openly make fun of new Christians. No, they will not openly scoff and make fun of them. But inwardly they will scoff at the new converts. While others are rejoicing, they will be scoffing in their hearts.

The scoffers will look for weaknesses and mistakes in those new Christians. They will be happy to see one of these hopeful new converts stumble in some way. In this they are like the people who scoffed and mocked and ridiculed Christ when He was dying on the Cross.

"And they that passed by reviled him…also the chief priests mocking him" (Matthew 27:39, 41).

In this way also, those who scoff at the new Christians if they stumble will be like those who ridiculed Christ as He fell under the weight of His Cross on the Via Dolorosa, the road to Calvary.

In this way also, the Communist guards laughed and jeered and scoffed at a minister in Wurmbrand's prison, who was tortured into offering human excrement and urine in a mock Communion service. Afterwards, this man put his head on Pastor Wurmbrand's shoulder and said, "Forgive me, brother, I have suffered more than Christ." Of course, he hadn't. Christ suffered not only physical pain, but also the pain of bearing the sins of all mankind. But this man's physical pain may well have exceeded that of Jesus in those long months of torture by the Communists.

The true Christian never scoffs at those who are weak. He knows his own weakness too well to mock others for their faults and stumblings. Christian love "hopeth all things," "thinketh no evil," "Charity suffereth long, and is kind" (I Corinthians 13:4, 5, 7). But,

"there shall come in the last days scoffers,"

who deride and scorn and ridicule - and will do so to the new Christians - not openly, as those people scoffed at Christ, when He fell, on the road to the Cross, and when He was crucified, but inwardly they will scoff at these new converts. The scoffers will look for weaknesses and mistakes in those who are newly baptized. They will not scoff at them outwardly, as those Communist guards laughed at the weakness of Christians in Wurmbrand's prison, but they will scoff inwardly, quietly sneering at the new Christians in their hearts.

These scoffers will also look carefully for false conversions among those who are baptized. Their eyes and ears will be on the lookout for a false conversion. Why? So they can comfort themselves by it. "You see, he wasn't converted after all. Conversion is false. It isn't real at all."

Let me ask you, my scoffing friend, haven't you thought that at times? Of course you have. But in such thoughts, why have you failed to see that others were truly saved, that their conversions were real? Why have you dwelt on the negative and not seen the positive? Could it be that you were secretly looking for an excuse to remain unconverted yourself? And if you are looking for false conversions, how are you different in your heart from those Communist guards in Wurmbrand's prison who broadcast brainwashing slogans over the loudspeakers into the cells of the prisoners with such blasphemous words?

Christianity is not true.
Christianity is not true.
Christianity is not true.
No one believes in Christ any more.
No one believes in Christ any more.
No one believes in Christ any more.

How is your heart any different from that of those guards? Are you not inwardly as much of a scoffer as they were outwardly? Yes, scoffers will look for, and seize upon, false conversions to comfort themselves.

"Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous"
     (I John 3:12).

"There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts" (II Peter 3:3).

Also, scoffers will refuse to look within themselves. You see, the scoffer is never introspective. He is always looking at others - never at himself. He fears what he might find if he examined his own heart. For if he were honest with himself and with God, he would be forced to see that he is a hollow man, that he has no real love for God, and no real love for others. He would be forced to admit that he only comes to church from habit and convenience, and for outward show. He would be forced to admit that he has no prayer life, no God, and is, in reality, one of T. S. Eliot's hollow men, a false creature, who lives without God.

It would be better to live in solitary confinement, and be like Wurmbrand, than to go on living the life of a scoffer - as you have done now - for a long time. Wurmbrand said,

    In solitary confinement, we could not pray any more as before. We were unimaginably hungry; we had been doped until we became as idiots. We were as weak as skeletons. The Lord's Prayer was much too long for us. We could not concentrate enough to say it. My only prayer, repeated again and again, was "Jesus, I love Thee."
    And then one glorious day I got the answer from Jesus. "You love me? Now I will show you how much I love you." At once, I felt a flame in my heart which burned like the coronal steamers of the sun. The disciples on the road to Emmaus said that their hearts burned when Jesus spoke with them. So it was with me. I knew the love of the One who gave His life on the cross for us all (Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ, Diane Books, 1976 reprint, p. 58).

Many waters cannot quench the love of Christ. His love is as strong as death. And so, many of those people, who scoffed at Jesus when He died, were later converted, "And a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7). And, so, Pastor Wurmbrand tells us of one scoffing Communist guard after the other who at last trusted Christ - and went to prison for doing so. Wurmbrand said,

Officers of the secret police to whom we witnessed became Christians themselves and were happy to suffer afterward in prison…It was in prison that we found hope for the Communists, that they will be saved…It was in being tortured by them that we learned to love them. A great part of my family [was] murdered. It was in my house that their murderer was converted (Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ, ibid., p. 60).

If that scoffing Communist murderer was so loved by Christ, don't you think that He loves you as well? Though you have been a scoffer for a long time, Jesus loves you. His love for you is stronger than death.

"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (I John 3:16).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I John 3:11-16.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"Oh, How He Loves You and Me" (by Kurt Kaiser, 1975).


THE OUTLINE OF

SCOFFERS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts" (II Peter 3:3).

(Matthew 27:39, 41; I Corinthians 13:4, 5, 7;
I John 3:12; II Peter 3:3; Acts 6:7; I John 3:16)