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THE BATTLE FOR TRUTH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, March 12, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12).


When I was a boy in a Southern Baptist church we often sang that old song Mr. Griffith gave us a moment ago.

Give of your best to the Master, Give of the strength of your youth,
Throw your soul’s fresh, glowing ardor Into the battle for truth.
Jesus has set the example, Dauntless was He, young and brave;
Give Him your loyal devotion, Give Him the best that you have.
Give of your best to the Master, Give of the strength of your youth,
Clad in salvation’s full armor, Join in the battle for truth.
   (“Give of Your Best to the Master” by Howard B. Grose, 1851-1939).

I wish we had more songs like that today.

Give of your best to the Master, Give of the strength of your youth,
Clad in salvation’s full armor, Join in the battle for truth.

I’ve been reading a book called Why Men Hate Going to Church (David Murrow, Nelson Books, 2005). The author says that less than 40 percent of those who attend church are men. He also points out that young adults age 18 to 29 are not interested in church. The churches are made up of young children, middle-aged women and men who tend to have passive personalities. Most men and young people are not there. While I don’t agree with many of his answers, I think he has come up with a major reason that most men and young people are not attracted to our churches. He says the main reason is that they are not challenged. He says that middle-aged women want security. But men and young people want to be challenged. They want risk, daring, and conflict - and most churches are not giving them that. I tend to agree with him.

If our church is to succeed and prosper, we must have young people. And the church must be led by men. And we are not going to attract young men and women if we do not challenge them. What greater challenge could we have than that which is in our text,

“Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12)?

Give of your best to the Master, Give of the strength of your youth,
Clad in salvation’s full armor, Join in the battle for truth.

In the early days of World War II Hitler marched his armies into Poland and then into France. Then Hitler told England that he would bomb London and crush their country if they did not surrender. It was only then, under the immense threat of total destruction, that they put Winston Churchill in charge, as Prime Minister. They had been led by men who wanted peace at any price, passive men, voted into office largely by middle-aged women. But now, in fearful desperation, they finally turned to Churchill. What did he offer them? He said, “I have nothing to offer you but blood, toil, sweat and tears.” He said, “We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on the beaches; we shall fight in the fields; we shall fight in the streets; and we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.”

What happened? I’ll tell you what happened. Men and boys stood up and cheered. And by the thousands they rushed to enlist in the army and the Royal Air Force. One of them was a wealthy young American named Billy Fiske. Suddenly his playboy days were over. He heard that old man say, “I have nothing to offer you but blood, toil, sweat and tears.” And Billy Fiske dropped his girlfriends and liquor, and headed straight for England. In a short time he was flying a plane for the Royal Air Force, shooting at Hitler’s airplanes. Yes, they got him. He was the first American pilot shot down and killed in the war. Billy Fiske was the uncle of the head usher in our church, Mr. Zabalaga. There is to this day a large plaque honoring him in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. But, as Billy Fiske’s plane went down in flames, I know those words rang through his mind, “We shall fight on the beaches; we shall fight in the fields; we shall fight in the streets; and we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.” Those were the words that woke the English-speaking world. My mother’s father, my granddad Lloyd Flowers, loved him. So did my uncle, John Hymers. So did Dr. Cagan’s father. So did Mrs. Quinn. “We shall never surrender.” When Churchill said that, men and boys stood and cheered. And by the thousands they rushed to enlist - to defend Western civilization.

And I believe that this is exactly the type of challenge that young people need today in our churches. If we are to save our homeland and our civilization, our young people must be aroused again. They won’t come to church out of duty or habit. They won’t come to hear a choir and eat finger food afterwards. They won’t come unless they are challenged, and motivated, and thrilled with the prospect of doing something great and daring and courageous for God!

And if we are to save our church, and make it prosper and grow, in the midst of our crumbling city, it is you, the young people of our church, who must do it! You must do it! There’s no one else who can do it but you!

“Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12).

Give of your best to the Master, Give of the strength of your youth,
Clad in salvation’s full armor, Join in the battle for truth.

Our great President Theodore Roosevelt was a man of courage and determination. “Before he became President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt was a Sunday School teacher. One day a boy showed up for class with a black eye. He admitted he’d been fighting…Another boy was pinching his sister, so he took a swing at the scoundrel. [Roosevelt] told the boy he was proud of him and gave him a dollar. When word of this got ‘round the church, Roosevelt was let go” (Why Men Hate Going to Church, ibid., p. 144). But the ladies of that church were wrong to let him go. Yes, we should “turn the other cheek” if someone strikes us. But when someone strikes the weak and helpless, it is up to us to defend them! Roosevelt was right. It was that boy’s duty to protect his baby sister!

And that is exactly what I am asking you to do tonight. We are in a battle, in a fight with the Devil and all his hellish demonic hosts. Therefore,

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11, 13).

“Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12).

All about us, on every hand, there are teeming thousands of lost young people. They are trapped by the Devil. Their souls are ensnared by him. They are perishing - with no one to help them. Most of our churches have retreated to the “safe zone” of suburbia. The forces of evil have enslaved the youth of our city. There seems to be no one to lead these young people out of bondage. Now, that presents us with a cause of paramount importance, a challenge demanding great sacrifice, hard work, and stedfast loyalty. What do I offer you? I have nothing to offer you but blood, toil, sweat and tears. Rise up like Billy Fiske and take the challenge!

“Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12).

Give of your best to the Master, Give of the strength of your youth,
Clad in salvation’s full armor, Join in the battle for truth.

Again, it was Theodore Roosevelt who said,

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly…who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Will we fail? Perhaps we will. Perhaps we will never build the great church we have all dreamed of and worked at so long and so valiantly. But, if we do fail, at least we will fail while daring greatly. At least our place will not be with those cold and timid souls who will "know neither victory nor defeat"! At least, we will be able to say that we have fought “the good fight of faith,” that we did not give in or give up - that though our faces were smeared with blood and dirt, we pushed on - courageous soldiers to the end!

But in my soul I do not believe that we will fail. In the past few months we have added forty people to our church. It has been rough and difficult - but they are here! We have endured the blood and sweat and toil - but they are here! And in the past few weeks, take a look at the young women who are coming! They are here!

And now we come back to the task that lies before us. Now we come again and focus on our most pressing duty. Now we come back to remind ourselves what the Lord commanded us to do.

“Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).

The Christmas holiday is over. The winter is past. Now we rise again to go forth in battle. Now again, within our hearts, we hear God say,

“Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12).

Give of your best to the Master, Give of the strength of your youth,
Clad in salvation’s full armor, Join in the battle for truth.

Join in the battle for truth on your college campuses! Go after those young people! Bring their names to Dr. Chan for follow up! Go out to evangelism! Go at every opportunity! Throw yourself into it! It is the command of Christ to do so!

“Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Ephesians 6:10-16.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Give of Your Best to the Master” (by Howard B. Grose, 1851-1939).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE BATTLE FOR TRUTH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12).

(Ephesians 6:11, 13; Luke 14:23)