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HOPELESS CASES

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, October 29, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (Matthew 7:6).


This sermon is adapted from one given by Dr. R. A. Torrey, the first president of Biola, and the founding pastor of the Church of the Open Door, which was located for more than sixty years here in the heart of Los Angeles, seven blocks north of our church on Hope Street. Listen carefully to what this great preacher said about our text,

"Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (Matthew 7:6).

Dr. Torrey said,

    It is evident from the text that there are men and women in the world whose cases are hopeless. Men and women who are so wedded to sin and swill that it is a waste of time, and worse than a waste of time, to preach God's truth to them; you might as well cast pearls before [pigs]. You will only be torn [by them] for your trouble. As hogs want corn and swill, and not pearls, so these want animal gratification and sin, and not [the] truth.
    Who are the [pigs] that it useless…to cast pearls of God's precious truth before? (R. A. Torrey, D.D., "Hopeless Cases," in How to Work for Christ, Revell, n.d., pp. 419-420).

I. First, those who are not hopeless cases.

We must be careful to explain who are not hopeless cases before we tell you who the Bible says are hopeless people.

No one is a hopeless case simply because he belongs to a certain race of people. The Bible never tells us that anyone is hopeless because of his ethnic group. Men and women of all races were converted to Christ in Bible times. The Apostle Paul tells us of the multi-ethnic makeup of the early churches, when he said,

"There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all" (Colossians 3:11).

The early Christians evangelized all racial groups, Jews, Samaritans, Europeans like Lydia, black people like the Ethiopian Eunuch, "barbarians, Scythians, [slaves and freemen]" (Colossians 3:11). Christ told us literally to "go ye therefore, and teach all nations [all ethnic groups]" (Matthew 28:19). So, Dr. Torrey was right when he said, "The [people] of no race upon earth are hopeless cases simply because they belong to that race."

Then, too, great sinners are not hopeless cases. The Apostle Paul considered his own conversion as proof of that. He said,

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (I Timothy 1:15).

Paul had been culpable in murdering Christians before his conversion. He was certainly a very bad man. But he was converted in a room on the Street called Straight in the city of Damascus. He went on to become one of the greatest Christians of all time. So, no, great sinners are not hopeless cases.

Unbelievers are not hopeless cases either. Thomas was an unbeliever. He refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. Yet, later, he encountered the risen Christ and became a wonderful Christian. His unbelief was overcome by faith in the resurrected Christ. He fell at the feet of the risen Christ and said,

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

Down through the centuries many unbelievers like Thomas have been converted, saved from their unbelief. So, we must conclude that those who do not yet believe in Christ are not hopeless cases.

But this does not mean hopeless cases don't exist. There are plenty of them, all around us in this city, and you may very well be one of them, of whom Christ said,

"Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (Matthew 7:6).

Who are these "pigs"? Who are these people that it's useless to preach to and witness to?

II. Second, those who are hopeless cases.

Men and women who have died without saving faith in Jesus Christ are hopeless. Jesus said that people like that

"Shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come" (John 8:21).

When a person dies in his sins, he is hopeless. There is no salvation after death - only Hell for the unconverted, according to the Bible. So, if you die in your sins, you are a hopeless case.

I urge you not to risk the loss of your soul even one more day. Jesus said,

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16).

People who have committed the unpardonable sin are hopeless cases. Yes, there is an unpardonable sin, and if you commit it you are beyond hope, you cannot be saved. Jesus said,

"I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men…it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come"
     (Matthew 12:31-32).

A man, woman or young person can resist the Holy Spirit and reject the Holy Spirit until God gives

"them over to a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28).

When God gives up on you because you reject the conviction and wooing of the Holy Spirit, then you have committed the unpardonable sin, and you are a hopeless case.

The blindly conceited and proud person is a hopeless case. The Bible says,

"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit [wise in his own eyes]? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26:12).

I have seen many people like this. They were just too "smart" in their own eyes, too conceited and puffed up with their own so-called intelligence, to be saved. "There is more hope of a fool than of him." And I have seen that many times. People that the world calls "fools" get saved, while very wise but conceited men, like Benjamin Franklin, turn out to be hopeless cases. Even the great evangelist Whitefield, one of the greatest preachers of the ages, could not persuade Franklin to give up his conceit and pride. Franklin was a hopelessly proud man, who went into the flames of Hell when he died. The blindly conceited person is a hopeless case. He is too smart, in his own eyes, to listen to the simple gospel, come to Christ, and be cleansed from his sin by Christ's Blood.

Those who will not come to Christ are also hopeless cases. Jesus said,

"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

That was true of those He spoke to then, and it is true of those who will not come to Christ today. There are many psychological and spiritual reasons why people won't come to Christ - but the result is always the same - they do not have life, they do not receive pardon for their sins. Their unwillingness to come to Christ and have their sins pardoned - their very unwillingness to do so - makes them hopeless cases. I have seen people like that. You can plead with them to come to Christ, but they just won't do it. You can show them the reasonableness of coming to Christ, and you can show them the unreasonableness of not coming to Him - and they still won't come to Him. These soon become hopeless cases - because God gives up on them. Why go on like this and become a hopeless case? Come to Christ. Do it tonight. Throw yourself on Christ, and He will pardon your sins and cleanse your sins with His precious Blood.

Finally, the person whose conscience is seared by continued resistance to the Holy Spirit becomes a hopeless case,

"Having their conscience seared with a hot iron" (I Timothy 4:2).

The Spirit of God convinces you of sin - your sin - but you resist, and keep on resisting, until your conscience is so seared and calloused that you no longer feel convicted of your sin. When you come to that terrible place, you are a hopeless case.

Dr. Torrey said,

Some of you [think] of yourselves as hopeless cases [but you] are not. So turn to Christ, come to Him, and He will cleanse your sins and save you. But there are some [here tonight] who do not think their case is hopeless. [You are] not much concerned about [your salvation]. [You] are fast moving toward a position that is hopeless - because if you go on like you are, you will never be saved (ibid.).

(END OF SERMON)
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THE OUTLINE OF

HOPELESS CASES

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (Matthew 7:6).

I.   Those who are not hopeless cases, Colossians 3:11;
Matthew 28:19; I Timothy 1:15; John 20:28.

II.  Those who are hopeless cases, John 8:21; Mark 16:16;
Matthew 12:31-32; Romans 1:28; Proverbs 26:12;
John 5:40; I Timothy 4:2.