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ADVICE TO YOUNG PREACHERS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at Pacific Baptist College, Pomona, California
Tuesday Morning, September 14, 2010

“Jesus Christ himself” (Ephesians 2:20).


Thank you for inviting me to speak at Pacific Baptist College this morning.  Many of you are studying for the ministry.  I have been a preacher for over fifty-two years.  One of the things I have learned is that Jesus Christ Himself is the cornerstone of Christianity, as Ephesians 2:20 says.  This morning I am giving you a sermon which I preached on that same subject, but with an application to young preachers like you, with additional material added to the original sermon.  I am lifting out of the text those words, "Jesus Christ himself."   

The Christian faith contains nothing so wonderful as Jesus Christ Himself. There never was and never will be anyone else like Jesus Christ. He is absolutely unique in human history. Jesus Christ Himself is the God-man. Jesus Christ Himself came down from Heaven and lived among men. Jesus Christ Himself suffered, bled and died for our sins. Jesus Christ Himself rose physically from the dead for our justification. Jesus Christ Himself ascended back to the right hand of God to intercede for us in prayer. And Jesus Christ Himself will come again to set up His Kingdom on earth for one thousand years. That is Jesus Christ Himself!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!
(“Jesus Only, Let Me See” by Dr. Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986).

The subject of Jesus Christ Himself is so deep, so vast, and so important that we could never explain it all in one sermon. We can only touch on a few points this morning concerning Jesus Christ Himself.

I. First, Jesus Christ Himself is despised and rejected by the human race.

The evangelistic prophet Isaiah made that clear when he said,

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

Dr. Torrey said, “The failure to [have] faith in Jesus Christ is not a misfortune, it is a sin, a grievous sin, an appalling sin, a damning sin” (R. A. Torrey, D.D., How to Work for Christ, Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d., p. 431). The prophet Isaiah described the sin of despising and rejecting Christ, the inward depravity that causes people to hide their faces from Christ. The greatest proof of man’s total depravity is that they think so little about Jesus Christ Himself. The greatest proof that they deserve eternal punishment in the lake of fire is that they deliberately and habitually hide their faces from Him.

In an unawakened state mankind despises Jesus Christ Himself. In their state of total depravity, they do not esteem Jesus Christ Himself. Until they are pricked in their consciences, until they feel horror for their sin, and dread eternal punishment, they will continue to despise and reject Jesus Christ Himself.

Great Spurgeon said, “There is a wretched tendency among men to leave Christ himself out of the gospel” (C. H. Spurgeon, Around the Wicket Gate, Pilgrim Publications, 1992 reprint, p. 24). We sometimes assume that our hearers know the Gospel and understand what Christ has done for them. But we should never make that assumption. In our preaching we should go over and over the simple points of the Gospel. As Richard Baxter said, “We should screw truth into their minds, and work Christ into their affections.” When Spurgeon went to hear his son preach for the first time, he saw that the boy was entangled in theological speculation. Spurgeon cried out, “Preach up Christ! Preach up Christ!” His son tossed his notes aside and preached on Jesus Christ Himself! May every young preacher here this morning do the same! “Preach up Christ! Preach up Christ!” Preach on Jesus Christ Himself!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

II. Second, Jesus Christ Himself is the central theme of the whole Bible.

Is it unreasonable for me to tell you that Jesus Christ Himself must be central in our thinking and preaching? No, it is not unreasonable. Why, think of it, Jesus Christ Himself is the great theme of the whole Bible – from Genesis to Revelation! After Christ rose from the dead He met two disciples walking toward Emmaus. What He said to them applies also to us,

“Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).

From the five books of Moses, and throughout the rest of the Bible, Christ explained to them “in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” What could be plainer? The central theme of the whole Bible is Jesus Christ Himself! Since Jesus Christ Himself is the main subject of the Bible, is it not reasonable for you to make Jesus Christ Himself the main subject of your thoughts and of your life? I say to you, think deeply this morning about Jesus Christ Himself!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

Yes, I know that sometimes you must preach on other subjects, but let most of your sermons be on this subject - on Jesus Christ Himself!

III. Third, Jesus Christ Himself is the essence, the central element, the very heart of the Gospel.

Again the prophet Isaiah spoke of Jesus Christ Himself as the heart of the Gospel,

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The vicarious, atoning death of Christ, in thy place, paying the price and suffering the wrath of God in thy place – that is the heart of the Gospel! It is Jesus Christ Himself receiving thy sins upon Himself in the darkness of Gethsemane. It is Jesus Christ Himself in that Garden, who said,

“My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death” (Mark 14:34).

It is Jesus Christ Himself who,

“being in an agony…sweat…as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

It is Jesus Christ Himself who was arrested there in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is Jesus Christ Himself who was dragged before the Sanhedrin, beaten in the face, mocked and shamed. They spit in the face of Jesus Christ Himself! They pulled swatches of hair out of the beard of Jesus Christ Himself. It was Jesus Christ Himself who was taken before Pontius Pilate, beaten across the back with a Roman scourge, crowned with thorns, Blood dripping down His forehead into the blessed face of Jesus Christ Himself, a face beaten beyond recognition,

“His visage…marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14).

“And with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

It is Jesus Christ Himself who was taken from Pilate’s court, dragging His Cross to the place of execution. It was Jesus Christ Himself who was nailed to that cursed wood. It was Jesus Christ Himself who suffered not only the pain of the nails driven through His hands and feet – but who suffered the greater pain when God “laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). It was Jesus Christ Himself who “bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (I Peter 2:24). Dr. Watts said,

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
   Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
   Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
(“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748).

Now sing our chorus!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

IV. Fourth, Jesus Christ Himself is the only source of eternal joy.

They took Jesus’ dead body down from the Cross and buried it in a sealed tomb. But the third day, He rose physically from the dead! Then he came to the Disciples and said, “Peace be unto you” (John 20:19).

“And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20).

“Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20). Jesus Christ Himself gave them joy “when they saw the Lord.” You can never know deep peace, and the joy of the Lord, until you know Jesus Christ Himself!

Oh, I tell you this morning – I can remember the very moment when I believed on Jesus Christ Himself! What a holy experience! My very soul looked to Jesus, high and lifted up, at the right hand of the Father! I rushed to Him! Or, rather, it seems that He rushed to me. I was washed clean from sin by His precious Blood! I was made alive by the living Son of God! Sing that chorus!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

Oh, if there is one here this morning who does not know Jesus Christ Himself, wait not another day! Wait not another hour! Wait not another moment! Come to Jesus Christ Himself! Do not leave Him out of your testimony. Do not commit what Spurgeon called that “wretched tendency…to leave Christ himself out of the gospel.” No! No! Come now to Jesus Christ Himself. Listen carefully to these words as I sing them.

Just as I am, without one plea,
   But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
(“Just As I Am” by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871).

Is there a young man here this morning who is preparing to enter the ministry? If you are, I pray that you will make it your main business to preach on the greatest of all subjects – Jesus Christ Himself! Preach on His dual nature as the God-man. Preach on His incarnation in the womb of the virgin. Preach on His life and on His words. And most of all, preach loud and hard on His substitutionary death paying the price of sin for our lost and dying race. Preach often on His resurrection, as did the Apostles in the Book of Acts. Preach on His ascension to the right hand of the Father. Preach on His intercessory work in Heaven. Preach on His second coming and His 1,000-year reign on the earth.

For nearly a year now, I have preached every Sunday on these subjects. I have preached every Sunday on Jesus Christ Himself. Many have been converted. Our people have been blest. Young man, make that the main subject of your preaching – Jesus Christ Himself! Preach up Christ! Preach up Christ!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

(END OF SERMON)
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Or phone him at (818)352-0452.


THE OUTLINE OF

ADVICE TO YOUNG PREACHERS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Jesus Christ himself” (Ephesians 2:20).

I.   First, Jesus Christ Himself is despised and rejected by the human race,
Isaiah 53:3.

II.  Second, Jesus Christ Himself is the central theme of the whole Bible,
Luke 24:25-27.

III. Third, Jesus Christ Himself is the essence, the central element, the
very heart of the Gospel, Isaiah 53:6; Mark 14:34; Luke 22:44;
Isaiah 52:14; 53:5; I Peter 2:24.

IV. Fourth, Jesus Christ Himself is the only source of eternal joy,
John 20:19, 20.