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THE SERMON THAT CONVERTED DR. CHAN

(SERMON #5 ON EVANGELISTIC PREACHING)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, June 22, 2008

“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).


In May of 1979 a young man from our church was evangelizing on the campus of Los Angeles City College. He met a Chinese student there who was studying to be a medical doctor at the University of Southern California. The young man from our church invited the medical student to come to hear me preach. The Chinese student was Kreighton L. Chan. He was twenty years old. He had been studying medicine, as I said. But one of his professors told him to take a speech class that semester at Los Angeles City College, because the professor felt he needed to be able to express himself better if he expected to be a successful medical doctor. While taking that one class at Los Angeles City College, Kreighton L. Chan met the young man from our church. He was invited to come to our church, and he came to the service. As I said, Dr. Chan was only twenty years old. He was from a Roman Catholic background, and had never attended an evangelistic service in his life.

As Kreighton Chan came into our service that night, he sensed immediately that this was totally different from what he had experienced at Catholic Mass. The people were friendly. The singing was loud and vigorous. The solo before the sermon was intense. Then I stepped up to the pulpit to preach.

As I recall, the week before I had struggled with the sermon. I didn’t know what to preach. Finally, in desperation, I opened an old book by the late Dr. R. A. Torrey, called, How to Work for Christ. It is the same copy of that old book that I referred to when preparing this sermon (R. A. Torrey, D.D., How to Work for Christ, Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d.). The sermon I selected from Dr. Torrey’s book was titled “God’s Blockade of the Road to Hell” (ibid., pp. 452-453). I had changed some of the points in Dr. Torrey’s sermon to fit the situation of young people today. That night I stood and preached it as hard as I could, until I was drenched in sweat. I had prayed, as had many others, for God to bless the sermon with a conversion. There must have been a God-sent anointing on it as I spoke, because many people in our church remember it vividly twenty-nine years later. Dr. Chan told me last Thursday night, “It blew me away.” Indeed, it must have “blown” him away because he was converted instantly upon hearing it. There was no delay on his part. He asked no questions after it was preached. He simply went to the inquiry room directly after the sermon and yielded to Jesus Christ and was instantly converted – through the very first evangelistic sermon he had ever heard in his life!

Since that night, on May 27, 1979, Kreighton Chan graduated from UCLA and began practicing medicine. But he never put his career first. From the moment he was converted, his career was second. His career was only a job. His real goal in life has always been service to Christ in the local church. We have seen many others get off the track when they graduate from college and move into career advancement. But not Dr. Chan! Jesus and the local church have always been first and foremost in his life, as they were for the Apostle Paul who said, “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). And that should be the standard in our church! He married a godly woman in our church, and now has three sons, one of whom is already an outstanding Christian and personal evangelist. But more than that, Dr. Chan became a zealous evangelist, leading many into our church, such as Dr. Judith Cagan, Mrs. Melissa Sanders, his own wife, Winnie, and many others. He never misses a meeting. He even came to church and led the opening Bible reading and invocation a few days after having a very serious kidney transplant. He never misses any stated meeting of our church. He is here at church every Wednesday and every Thursday night, doing telephone evangelism, to bring in lost people to hear the Gospel on Sunday morning and evening. He is in church every Saturday night, doing more telephone evangelism, arranging rides, and performing many other duties. He is now a deacon. Last night our church gave him a big 50th birthday party that lasted over three hours, with a video of his life, many testimonies of those he has helped, and a lot of presents from those who love him and respect him.

But it all began on May 27, 1979, when Kreighton Chan was brought to our church to hear the sermon I am about to preach this morning. We hope and we pray that someone will be “blown away” by this sermon, as Dr. Chan was that night as a twenty-year-old college student. Which takes us back to the text,

“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

The passage of Scripture, from which the text comes, gives us the account of a rich man who died and went to Hell.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:23).

Yes, we believe in a literal, fiery, burning Hell! Yes, we believe that you are going to Hell!

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke about Hell more than anyone else in the Bible. Christ said,

“These shall go away into everlasting punishment”
      (Matthew 25:46).

“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”
      (Mark 9:44).

“Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”
      (Matthew 10:28).

“And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42).

“How can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33).

Jonathan Edwards said,

Your body shall be cast into a furnace of fire, and there shall lie alive and sensible for all eternity…When you look upon a fierce fire and see the coals in the most glowing heat or cast a worm or spider into the midst of it, you may consider that it will be literally so with you. Your body shall be cast into such a fire as that insect, only with this difference: [though the insect soon dies in the flame] you shall live to bear torment forever, and that the fire in which you burn will be more dreadfully fierce and vehement (Jonathan Edwards, The Torments of Hell, edited by William C. Nichols, International Outreach, Inc., 2006 reprint, page 33).

But God is not willing that you should go to Hell,

“The Lord is…not willing that any should perish” (II Peter 3:9).

If you go to Hell it will be your own fault. God has done everything to keep you from Hell. God has set up blockades, barricades on the road to Hell. If you go there it is because you have deliberately gone around the warning signs, and barricades, and have gone on rejecting Christ until it’s too late. Let me tell you how God has barricaded and blockaded the road to Hell.

I. First, the Bible is a blockade on the road to Hell.

The first great obstruction that God has put up on the road to Hell is the Bible. With its warnings and invitations and its promises, the Bible constantly calls you to come to Christ and be saved.

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

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

God has sent forth His servants to call you to come into the local church, to call you to come in to Christ,

“and they would not come” (Matthew 22:3).

If you go on rejecting the calls and invitations of the Bible, you will force yourself to break through the barricade of the Holy Scriptures, and it will be your own fault that you end up in the eternal misery of Hell. The Bible says,

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15).

The Bible says,

“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy”
      (Proverbs 29:1).

Abraham said to the rich man in Hell,

“If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

If you won’t hear the Bible, you won’t be saved.

II. Second, the sermons you hear are a blockade on the road to Hell.

The Apostle Paul said,

“How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).

I don’t know if you realize how precious and significant evangelistic preaching is. But God considers it very important, because it is by preaching, not teaching, that God converts sinners and, thus, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. God “gave some… evangelists” (Ephesians 4:11) to build up the churches (Ephesians 4:12-13).

Timothy, in the New Testament, started out as an evangelist. But he seems to have become the pastor of a local church by the time the Apostle Paul wrote the epistle of II Timothy. It seems that Timothy was the pastor of a local church when the Apostle Paul told him, “do the work of an evangelist” (II Timothy 4:5). That shows the importance of pastors doing “the work of an evangelist.”

In these days of declension and apostasy, the office of evangelist and the pastoral “work of an evangelist” are downgraded in our churches. Many churches do not ever use an evangelist to preach in their churches. Most pastors themselves don’t really do “the work of an evangelist” in their own churches. No wonder the Southern Baptist Convention reports that additions to the churches are the lowest since 1987. Thomas S. Reiner, a Southern Baptist official, says, “There is no escaping the fact that Southern Baptists are not reaching as many people for Christ as they once did” (“SBC, California Baptism Statistics Show Decline,” by Rob Philips, The California Southern Baptist, June 2008, p. 3).

I am convinced that the fall in the number of converts in Southern Baptist (and independent Baptist churches) is largely because they fail to “do the work of an evangelist.” They are bogged down in so many church activities that they fail to give evangelistic preaching its proper place in our churches. Without constant emphasis on evangelism, and evangelistic preaching, our churches will slowly die, as we see happening in so many cases today.

“How shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).

“Do the work of an evangelist” (II Timothy 4:5).

Here in our local church we give evangelism top priority. Our people bring in many lost young people to every service. When they get here, I preach white-hot evangelistic sermons to them. My motto was given by the Apostle Paul,

“I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).

Every sermon I preach is evangelistic, and that kind of preaching has filled our church with highly dedicated people like Dr. Kreighton Chan. My mother used to say, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” She meant that the proof that something we do is working is the results it produces. And I can say to you without the slightest exaggeration that evangelistic preaching is at the very center of all we do – and all we ever hope to do. Someone has said that a church that doesn’t put evangelistic preaching at the center is a dying church. The Southern Baptist statistics of decline prove my point, and prove it well!

Now, you have come here this morning and you are hearing an old-time evangelistic sermon. This was the very sermon that converted our deacon, Dr. Chan. This was the very sermon that he said “blew him away.” That is precisely what a real evangelistic sermon is supposed to do! It’s supposed to show you that you have been living wrong, that you are a lost sinner. It is supposed to tell you, in no uncertain terms, that your life is wrong, that you are lost, that no one but Christ can save you. That is what an evangelistic sermon will do to you if you listen, if it moves your heart.

Sermons like this one are a blockade God has put in front of you to keep you out of Hell. If you pay attention and think deeply about this sermon, you may escape from the flames of Hell. But if you treat this as just another sermon, and let it go right past your head and heart without affecting the way you think and feel, it will not help you at all! If you go out of the church today, without the sermon changing the way you feel about Christ, and feel about your sin, you will be no closer to becoming a real Christian than when you came in the door.

The old Puritans called the preaching of the Gospel a “means of grace.” If you hear the sermon and receive it, it will be a means God uses to convert you. If you close your ears, and pay little attention, it will not help you at all. In fact it may harden you and be a means of making it less likely that you will be converted to Christ in the future.

“To the one [in our preaching] we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life” (II Corinthians 2:16).

In other words this sermon may wake you up so you find life in Christ – or it may harden you even more against being saved if you reject it, and put it out of your mind as soon as you leave the service. That’s why many of you who are visiting this morning will never come back again to hear a life-saving evangelistic sermon!

The sermons you hear and receive are a blockade on the road to Hell. But if you don’t take to heart what is preached, you will not be “blown away” by the preaching, you will not come under conviction of sin, you will not seek Jesus until you find Him, and you will spend eternity in Hell fire. Notice in our text that Abraham was referring to preaching.

“If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

If you do not “hear” the preaching it will not convert you – and you will go to Hell like the rich man in Luke 16.

III. Third, Jesus Christ Himself is the greatest blockade on the road to Hell.

The greatest obstacle which God has placed on the road to Hell, to keep you out of that awful place, is Christ – crucified on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins! In that sermon I delivered on May 27, 1979, I said words to the effect that

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
      (I Timothy 1:15).

Jesus came to die on the Cross to pay the penalty for all your sins. He is the sin-bearer. If you come to Christ, all your sins will be cancelled, because He died on the Cross to pay for them. All your sins will be washed clean by His precious Blood, which He freely shed to cover your sins in the sight of God, and cleanse your sins forever in His precious Blood. And Christ has risen from the dead. Our text said,

“Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

Will you be persuaded? Will you come to the risen Christ and be saved?

What will you do with Jesus? You can’t be neutral about Him. To remain neutral really means you have rejected Him and His claims on your life, and the salvation He brings.

Up! Do not wait any longer. Don’t break through the blockades God has put between you and Hell. Come quickly to Jesus and you will be saved, now and forever more – throughout the ages. Amen.

Now the man I have been speaking about, Dr. Kreighton L. Chan, will come to say a few closing words.

Dr. Chan:

The pastor has preached the Gospel of Christ again this morning. If you listen and come to Christ you will be saved. If you reject what he preached you will be lost forever.

I pray that you will respond to the pastor’s sermon and come to Jesus Christ, and be washed clean from sin by His precious Blood.

(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: Luke 16:19-31.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Beulah Land, I’m Longing For You” (by Squire E. Parsons, Jr., 1979).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE SERMON THAT CONVERTED DR. CHAN

(SERMON #5 ON EVANGELISTIC PREACHING)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

(Philippians 1:21; Luke 16:23; Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:44;
Matthew 10:28; 13:42; 23:33; II Peter 3:9)

I.   First, the Bible is a blockade on the road to Hell, John 3:36;
Mark 16:16; Matthew 22:3; Proverbs 12:15; 29:1.

II.  Second, the sermons you hear are a blockade on the road to Hell,
Romans 10:14; Ephesians 4:11, 12, 13; II Timothy 4:5;
I Corinthians 2:2; II Corinthians 2:16.

III. Third, Jesus Christ Himself is the greatest blockade on the road
to Hell, I Timothy 1:15.