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WHY GOD IS BLESSING CHINA – BUT JUDGING AMERICA!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, September 11, 2011

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven”
(John 3:27).


David Aikman is a former Time magazine Beijing bureau chief, author, journalist and foreign policy consultant. He has spent more than two decades reporting from more than fifty countries, including several years reporting from the People’s Republic of China. Aikman has written a book titled, Jesus in Beijing (Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2003). This book tells how Christianity is transforming China and changing the global balance of power. The first chapter is titled, “Jesus Comes to Beijing.” It begins with Aikman quoting a Chinese scholar from one of China’s main research institutes, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, located in the city of Beijing. Here is what that Chinese professor, in Communist China, said to a group of American tourists in 2002. It is an astonishing statement, because it shows how open many scholars are to Christianity in this Communist country. The Chinese professor said,

One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world…We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you [in the United States] had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had a better political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of [your] social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transformation to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this (David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing, Regnery, 2003, p. 5).

“We realized that the heart of your [American] culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful…We don’t have any doubt about this.” That statement is from a leading professor in Social Science in Communist China. Try to get a liberal college professor in an American university to agree with him that Christianity is the root-cause of our success in America! You would be hooted down and booed by almost any secular college professor in America. And yet this Communist Chinese professor in a Communist-state-run research institution saw what most American scholars do not see – that Christianity has been the root of our success as a nation.

But that Chinese scholar said those things about 12 years ago. Since then America has experienced 9/11, a long series of natural disasters, and the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Tens of thousands of Americans are out of work. Now many Americans feel that China will surpass the United States as the greatest superpower on earth in the next few years. Why? What is the ultimate reason for the crumbling of our society? The answer is simple – China is turning to Christ, and America is turning to paganism – that’s the reason!

Various sources tell us that there are about 1,200 conversions to Christianity in China every hour, around the clock. About 30,000 convert to Christianity each day, about 10 million each year. It is estimated that there are approximately 100 million Christians in China as I write this sermon, and the number is increasing by over a thousand every hour, twenty-four hours a day. This can only be described as the greatest explosion of Christianity going on in the world at this time in history.

How can we account for the fact that China is in the process of converting to Christianity, while we in America, and the rest of the Western world, are giving it up? The answer, again, is simple.

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

America and the West are crumbling. Our society is filled with moral and spiritual confusion. Witness the fact that the Bible is being disregarded in America, and even attacked. Witness the fact that our homes are broken. Young people are lonely most of the time, simply because most of our homes have been shattered by the widespread rejection of practical Christianity. Young Americans have been cut off from their families, and left to wander in the streets, alone – while their secular college professors continually attack Christianity – the only thing that could save our nation from ruin!

In America, our churches are in trouble. When I was a boy, back in the 1950’s, every Baptist church had a Sunday evening service – even the American Baptists. But today it is hard to find a hard-core fundamentalist church that has an evening service. One of our ladies phoned a man who works with one of the oldest fundamental schools in America. She asked him to give the name of a fundamental church that had an evening service in a certain city. He told her he knew of none, although that is a city of millions of people with hundreds of churches!

Not only have our churches closed their evening services, hardly anyone has a real prayer meeting any more. They may have Awana, choir practice, or a Bible study on Wednesday night, but real prayer meetings are now a thing of the past in nearly all our churches.

What about evangelism? How many churches have an effective program of evangelism, that actually gets unconverted people to church every Sunday? Very few! Dr. James Dobson said that nearly all “church growth results from transfer of memberships” (Focus on the Family newsletter, August 1998, p. 2). In other words, churches only know how to “steal” members from other churches. They have no idea how to assimilate non-Christians into their churches, and get them converted. That is why America’s churches, for the most part, are dying. Dr. Woodrow Kroll of “Back to the Bible” said, “The Vanishing Ministry is not just the title of a book; it is a disastrous reality” (Woodrow Kroll, Th.D., The Vanishing Ministry, Kregel Publications, 1991, p. 10). Horrible as it may sound, most American churches are drying up and disappearing before our very eyes! Why is this happening? Because God is judging America, and

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

China is turning to Christ. America is turning away from Christ. But even as the darkness of neo-paganism descends across America, a young person like you doesn’t have to travel to China to find hope! No! You can find Christ right here in downtown Los Angeles, at this church, if God’s grace is upon you! That’s the reason we say, “Why be lonely? Come home – to church! Why be lost? Come home – to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!” You can do that right here at our church in Los Angeles! You can find the same forgiveness and peace with God that millions are discovering in China – right here at the Baptist Tabernacle! Come home – to church! Come home – to Christ!

I realize that comparatively few will heed this message today – although you should. The reason you probably won’t listen is simple. It’s in our text,

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

After His conversation with Nicodemus in Jerusalem, Jesus and His Disciples went out into the countryside. Jesus preached, and His Disciples baptized people. John the Baptist was baptizing nearby. During an argument with the Pharisees, John’s disciples learned that people in increasing numbers were being baptized by Jesus’ Disciples. John’s disciples felt bad about the fact that Jesus’ Disciples were now baptizing more than they were. In our text, John tells his followers not to complain about Jesus’ success. Each person is given different gifts and opportunities.  John said,

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

“Heaven – that is from God. This use of a general for a specific term implies modesty” (John Bengel, New Testament Commentary, Kregel, 1981 reprint, volume I, p. 577).

Matthew Henry points out that this verse presents “a general truth…we have as necessary and constant a dependence upon the grace of God in all the motions and actions of the spiritual life” (Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson, 1991 reprint, volume 5, p. 720).

I am applying this “general truth” to conversion. I think this explains the reason so many people in China are turning to Christ, while America runs headlong into spiritual darkness.

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

The truths of conversion do not come through “Power Point” multi-media presentations, purpose-driven church growth gimmicks, or any of the other fancy tricks American churches tend to use. None of these tricks have helped American churches in any tangible sense. Yet the Chinese “house churches,” with a few old hymnals and tattered Bibles, are experiencing 1,200 conversions every hour! I’ve heard some well meaning Americans say that they hope the Communists loosen up, so Americans can go to China and “teach” the Christian leaders there. But I am praying for just the opposite to happen. I’m praying that God will keep the Americans out! They don’t need anything we can teach them! We need what they have! They certainly don’t need anything we have!

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

“A man” – that is, anyone. No one can receive salvation except God gives it to him. He can receive “nothing” – which certainly includes the salvation of his soul – unless “it be given him from heaven.” Why is that so?

I. First, because there is a Devil who will keep you from being saved.

The Christians in China are very aware of the Devil and his demons, while American Christians hardly ever think of them. If a person never thinks about his enemy, he will be overcome quite easily.

If you wish to be saved, you must realize that you

“…can receive nothing, except it be given [you] from heaven,”

because of the great power of the Devil and his demons. Jesus said,

“Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12).

If you are unconverted, pay attention to this! It is no joke! You can hear hundreds of sermons and remain unconverted – because the Devil takes “away the word out of” your heart. Luke 8:12 says that the Devil has the power to do that. One Sunday someone I was counselling after the sermon confounded the Father and the Son – after hours of preaching and counselling on this vital subject. Confounding the Father and the Son will damn the soul. And yet, after hours of preaching and counselling on this subject, that person made this fatal mistake. I am sure he was asleep to the fact that the Devil plucked the word out of his heart as soon as he heard it. That’s the first reason

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

The Devil is so strong and clever that he plucks away every sermon, every Scripture verse, every word of counsel – “lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). Only the sovereign grace of God can overcome the might and power and craftiness of Satan – in the conversion of a human soul.

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

“Amazing Grace.” Sing it!

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
   That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
   Was blind, but now I see.
(“Amazing Grace” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

II. Second, because the corruption of your dead heart will keep you from being saved.

Without God’s grace, your totally depraved heart will never grasp the gospel and come to Christ. It is impossible for a rotted corpse to walk. And it is impossible for a dead sinner like you to come to Christ on your own.

Please turn to John 6:44. Let us stand and read this verse aloud.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

You may be seated. “No man can come to me, except the Father…draw him.” That’s mighty clear and mighty plain in this verse. You are “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5). You have no more ability to come to Christ than a dead man has of crawling out of a coffin!

Whitefield often said that people need to see their own depravity before they can experience true conversion. You must see that you are lost. That means that no prayer you say can help you. Nothing you learn can help you. No “decision” you make can do you any good. You are lost – dead in sin – and “no man can come to [Christ] except the Father…draw him.” If God leaves you in your present state, you are doomed. You cannot save yourself – nor can you do anything to contribute to your own salvation.

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

“Amazing Grace.” Sing it!

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
   That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
   Was blind, but now I see.

III. Third, because your dead heart will remain unconvinced of sin.

Apart from the grace of God, your dead heart will never be convinced of its utter sinfulness in the sight of God. Only by the power of the Holy Ghost can a dead human heart ever be made to see and hate its horrible sinfulness.

Jesus spoke of the utter necessity of the Holy Spirit convincing a stone-dead lost person of sin. Jesus said,

“And when he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove [convince] the world of sin” (John 16:8).

You will think very little about your sins until God makes you think about them. You will experience very little inner pain of conscience over your sins until God brings them sharply before you. This is the main reason you are not saved yet. You have no consciousness of the great sins you have committed, the great sins that are on God’s record, the great sins that will damn you to eternal punishment. But your sins seem very unimportant to you, and very hazy and unreal – unless God convinces you of sin. No, you cannot make yourself come under conviction of sin. Only God can do that.

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

“Amazing Grace.” Sing it!

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
   That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
   Was blind, but now I see.

IV. Fourth, because your dead heart naturally rejects Jesus Christ.

You cannot do anything to save yourself – because your dead heart quite naturally rejects Jesus, the Saviour. You cannot mix gasoline and water. The two will automatically remain separate. And you cannot mix your dead heart and Jesus Christ. No matter what you say or do, your dead heart will not receive Jesus, or “mix” with Jesus. It will automatically remain separate from Him. It cannot naturally be otherwise.

Please turn to I Corinthians 2:14. Let us stand together and read this verse aloud.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14).

You may be seated.

“The natural man” – that’s you, in your natural state. Without the supernatural work of God within you, you will naturally remain ignorant of Christ and true salvation. A supernatural work of God is required in your soul, or you will never come to Jesus Christ Himself. You will never be washed from your sins by His Blood if you are left on your own. Only God can bring you to Jesus. You will not get to Jesus on your own. You will remain in sin, and die in sin, and be in Hell for eternity for sin – unless God intervenes and brings you to Jesus the Saviour.

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

Oh, how we pray that God will have mercy on you, and draw you to Jesus, for cleansing from sin with His precious Blood! Amen. “Amazing Grace.” Sing it!

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
   That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
   Was blind, but now I see.

(END OF SERMON)
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at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

You may email Dr. Hymers at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net, (Click Here) – or you may
write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 3:22-30.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Grace! ‘Tis a Charming Sound” (by Philip Doddridge, 1702-1751).


THE OUTLINE OF

WHY GOD IS BLESSING CHINA – BUT JUDGING AMERICA!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven”
(John 3:27).

I.   First, because there is a Devil who will keep you from being saved,
Luke 8:12.

II.  Second, because the corruption of your dead heart will keep you
from being saved, John 6:44; Ephesians 2:5.

III. Third, because your dead heart will remain unconvinced of sin,
John 16:8.

IV. Fourth, because your dead heart naturally rejects Jesus Christ,
 I Corinthians 2:14.