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THE HOLLOW MEN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, January 24, 2010

“Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” (Deuteronomy 29:4).


I would never have been able to preach on this text forty years ago. I was a thoroughgoing “decisionist.” I believed that anyone, at any time, could decide to “accept Christ” and thus be saved. I said the words “by grace are ye saved,” but they were not fully understood by me (Ephesians 2:8). It took many years for “decisionism” to be beaten out of me.

Now after all these years I have been led to understand salvation by grace more clearly. Yet this knowledge did not come through studying theology. It came through great struggles, disappointments, heartbreaking betrayals, and many sorrows.

This must have been the case of Moses also. He had led the Hebrew people through the wilderness for forty years. Now, as he came to the close of his ministry,

“Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: YET THE LORD HATH NOT GIVEN YOU AN HEART TO PERCEIVE, AND EYES TO SEE, AND EARS TO HEAR, UNTO THIS DAY”
       (Deuteronomy 29:2-4).

If your sense of feeling, your sight and your hearing were taken away you would not be able to know the beauty of the world. You would be shut up as if in a dungeon. Your condition would be worse than that of Richard Wurmbrand, who in his book Tortured for Christ (Living Sacrifice Book Company, 1967, reprinted 1998 by The Voice of the Martyrs), told of two years he spent shut up in solitary confinement by the Communists for preaching the Gospel. At least he could feel the walls of his cell. At least he could occasionally hear a message, tapped out in Morse code, from a prisoner in a nearby cell. At least he could see the grey walls around him and taste the bowl of “dirty soup” that was shoved under the door once a day to keep him from starving.

When a person loses one of his senses (hearing or sight) we pity him. How much greater must be the agony of those who have lost all their senses, having no heart to feel, no eyes to see, no ears to hear! We feel sorrow for those who have no sense of the external world, but what about those who have no spiritual senses, who do not feel the presence of God, who have no experience of Christ; no hope of life beyond death, no experience of “another world too fine for the instruments of scientific research to discover,” as Dr. Tozer put it (“The Bible World is the Real World”) and, so, live out their lives like natural brute beasts,

“strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12),

because

“The Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” (Deuteronomy 29:4).

I. First, the condition of those in this awful state.

Moses was speaking to a whole nation of people. They were not all blinded. There were a few among them that had been made to perceive. There was Moses himself, and Caleb and Joshua, and Aaron and Miriam. But, sadly, not more than this handful out of thousands knew anything about God by experience. That is very sad, since this people had been greatly favored above all others. God had made a covenant with them that He had not made with any other nation, and yet they were blind to Him and knew Him not.

Isn’t that true of some of you this morning? Are there not some here who were born of Christian parents, and taught the Bible from an early age – and yet you have no heart-knowledge of God? I overheard two people speaking in the jacuzzi at my gym the other night. The woman was a converted Armenian. The man was a Korean. Both of them were Presbyterians, but the woman had experienced real conversion. She said to the Korean man, “How did you become a Christian?” He said, “My mother took me to church and I was baptized. I’ve been going to church all my life.” “But when were you born again?” she asked. He could not answer her, and literally leaped out of the water to avoid the conversation! I will give him a book to read on this subject one of these days. He is a fine man. He brings his elderly mother and wife with him to the gym. But he has no more perception of Christ than if he had never gone to church once in his life – although he has been attending every Sunday for nearly seventy years! Some of you are in the same condition.

“The Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” (Deuteronomy 29:4).

Notice also that the people to whom Moses spoke had seen many wonderful things done by God. They had been brought out of slavery in Egypt by a miracle. And all the years afterwards they had seen one miracle after another. Some of you here this morning have been greatly blest by God, as they were. God has been strangely gracious to you. Someone met you and invited you to come here to this church – where the Gospel is preached every Sunday! Sadly there are not many churches like that in this city today. But you, out of all those thousands of people in your college, or on the street, were singled out and brought here by the mercy of God to hear the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! And yet you do not see the hand of God in all of this! Yet even now you do not feel your sin, nor do you see by faith the healing stream Christ’s flowing wounds supply. “There is a Fountain.” Stand and sing it!

There is a fountain filled with blood
   Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
   Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains;
   And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

E’er since by faith I saw the stream
   Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
   And shall be till I die:
And shall be till I die, And shall be till I die;
   Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
   (“There Is a Fountain” by William Cowper, 1731-1800).

You may be seated. Although you have heard so many times that Jesus died in your place, to pay for your sins, this glorious truth has still not gripped your heart!

“Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” (Deuteronomy 29:4).

II. Second, the reason for this condition.

Those people never felt their own sinfulness or lack of faith! Things have not changed. We see people like that all around us every day – those who have no heart to feel their sin, no eyes to see Christ by faith, no ears to hear the voice of God! These are so wise in their self-conceit that they cannot see their own ignorance,

“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18).

They are those who think of themselves as “modern men,” and are so self-sufficient and egotistical that they are often farther from the truth than heathen races, whose pagan views give them at least some sense of the supernatural. The poet Wordsworth knew this when he said,

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon…
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. – Great God! I’d rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
   (“The World is Too Much With Us” by William Wordsworth, 1770-1850).

Indeed, it is among the pagans, “suckled in a creed outworn,” that we see today more souls turning to Jesus Christ than anywhere in the dying culture of the Western world, filled as it is with the heartless, blind and deaf! In China 700 people every hour turn to Christ from Buddhist superstition, and the Western poison of Communism. Where have we seen such a thing happen among the heart-dead, blind and deaf “modern” nations of Europe and America?

“Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” (Deuteronomy 29:4).

The Chinese Communist officials fear the Internet. They build “firewalls” to keep their people from reading Christian sermons. But they have no fear of our universities at all! They send their students to them by the thousands! They fear the Internet but not our universities! Why? Because they know that our professors hold the same views as their Communist government, that’s why! God help us! Malignant teachers in our universities have the same hatred of God as Karl Marx, and Mao Tse Tung! The demagogues that teach in our schools brainwash their students with the same zeal as the “Red Guards” in China’s “Cultural Revolution.” Turn away from these Godless men with their dying humanistic creed. Their words are but echoes of those that T. S. Eliot called “The Hollow Men,” those who defiled the twentieth century with atheism, genocide, abortion and mind control. Turn away from the deadly doctrines of Darwin, Margaret Sanger, Lenin, Hitler and Mao Tse Tung! Turn to Jesus Christ! He is the leader of the new order that is springing forth in the mighty revivals of China, India, Iran, Africa, and throughout the Third World! Leave the old and dying humanistic world of the West behind you and join the new and rugged race of Christians who are even now overcoming the world, the flesh and the Devil through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The old world of Darwin, Marx and Mao Tse Tung is crumbling, just as the Roman Empire fell. And it is as true of Christians today as it was when Rome fell into ruins,

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”
       (Matthew 5:5).

“He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:26).

Stand up! Stand up for Jesus! It’s number 2 on your song sheet. Sing it!

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross;
   Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
   Till every foe is vanquished, And Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, The trumpet call obey;
   Forth to the mighty conflict, In this His glorious day.
“Ye that are men now serve Him,” Against unnumbered foes;
   Let courage rise with danger, And strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, The strife will not be long;
   This day the noise of battle, The next, the victor’s song;
To him that overcometh, A crown of life shall be;
   He with the King of Glory Shall reign eternally.
(“Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” by George Duffield, 1818-1888).

You may be seated.

“Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” (Deuteronomy 29:4).

III. Third, the result of this condition.

They missed the Promised Land! Those Hebrews never entered Canaan! They died in the wilderness, and were buried in the sands of foreign soil!

“With whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:17-19).

“But,” someone may say, “God had not given them a heart to believe, and eyes to see, and ears to hear! It wasn’t their fault. It was God’s fault!” You are wrong! The Bible tells us that they hardened their hearts, and uses their hardening to warn us.

“To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness”
       (Hebrews 3:7-8).

They hardened their hearts. They did not seek God. They did not pray for God to convince them and convert them.

Someone said to me in the inquiry room last week, “I’m still not convinced.” Indeed! Indeed, after all the blessed truths you have heard, you are still not convinced! This man had read Dr. Cagan’s book on arguments for the existence of God (From Darwin to Design). I suppose he was thinking of the arguments for God that Dr. Cagan gave when he said, “I’m still not convinced.” But he did not read Dr. Cagan’s book carefully enough – for Dr. Cagan never said that the philosophical arguments he gave would convince an atheist! On page 22 of his book, Dr. Cagan said,

Philosophy alone can never take the place of conversion. When you have that experience, you will say with the man born blind, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25). When Christ gives you spiritual sight… then (and only then) the arguments for God’s existence presented in this book will take on profound meaning (C. L. Cagan, Ph.D., From Darwin to Design, Whitaker House, 2006, page 22).

So, you say, “I’m still not convinced.” Have you asked God to convince you? Have you prayed for God to convince you? Have you asked Him to give you a new heart? The Scripture says, “Your heart shall live that seek God” (Psalm 69:32). Have you prayed for God to convince you? The Bible says, “Ye have not because ye ask not” (James 4:2). Be serious about this. Do not play games with your eternal soul! The torments of Hell will open your eyes! “In hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:23). The everlasting flames will open your eyes. Will you wait till then to be awakened? I pray to God that you will have enough sense now to pray, while praying can help you. I pray that you will seek Jesus now before it is too late to find Him – for it is Jesus who said, through the prophet,

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

May God grant you the grace to seek Jesus for

“They shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever” (Psalm 22:26).

Jesus died in your place, to reconcile you to God. As He was dying on the Cross, He prayed for God to forgive you. With His hands and feet nailed to the wood, He prayed,

“Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34).

Augustine said, “The cross was a pulpit, in which Christ preached his love to the world.” And that good old Puritan Thomas Watson said, “Having the weight of all men’s sins laid upon him… Christ shed his blood to heal those that crucified him.” Will you come to Him that loves you and died on the Cross to heal your unbelief and wash away your sin? Will you say to Jesus,

I am coming, Lord!
   Coming now to Thee! a
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood
   That flowed on Calvary?
(“I Am Coming, Lord” by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919).

(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: Hebrews 3:15-19.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“It Took a Miracle” (by Eddy Arnold, 1918-2008).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE HOLLOW MEN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” (Deuteronomy 29:4).

(Ephesians 2:8; Deuteronomy 29:2-4; Ephesians 2:12)

I.   First, the condition of those in this awful state, Deuteronomy 29:4.

II.  Second, the reason for this condition, Ephesians 4:18;
Matthew 5:5; Revelation 2:26.

III. Third, the result of this condition, Hebrews 3:17-19, 7-8; John 9:25;
Psalm 69:32; James 4:2; Luke 16:23; Jeremiah 29:13; Psalm 22:26;
Luke 23:34.