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FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

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

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:16-17).


Last night Dr. Chan preached a sermon titled, “Withered by God’s Spirit.” The text of that sermon was, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass” (Isaiah 40:7). Dr. Chan said,

      That must happen in your heart. The Spirit of God must wither, dry up, your false hopes and the confidence you have in yourself. God’s Spirit must shrivel, sear, dry up your self-confidence, until your heart wilts like a dying flower – until you are “confounded,” perplexed, embarrassed, and “ashamed” of your own depraved nature and sinful heart. As that girl said just before she was converted, “I felt so disgusted with myself.” That is the withering work of the Holy Spirit, not that she was “displeased” with herself, but that she was “disgusted” with herself. That is what happens in real conviction.

As Iain H. Murray put it, most people will not come to Jesus unless they experience a “thorough and radical conviction of sin” (Iain H. Murray, The Old Evangelicalism, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2005, p. 7). John Newton (1725-1807), author of “Amazing Grace,” said,

I asked the Lord that I might grow
   In faith and love and every grace,
Might more of his salvation know,
   And seek more earnestly his face.

‘Twas he who taught me thus to pray,
   And he, I trust, has answered prayer;
But it has been in such a way
   As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favoured hour,
   At once he’d answer my request,
And by his love’s constraining power
   Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, he made me feel
   The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell
   Assault my soul in every part.
(“I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow” by John Newton, 1725-1807;
     sung to the tune of “Just As I Am”).

May you soon experience enough of the withering work of conviction of sin to make you see your need for Jesus Christ Himself, to drive you to Jesus for pardon and cleansing by His Blood. For if you do not come to Jesus by faith the wrath of God remains hanging over you. You are dead while you live – without God, without Christ, without hope. Spurgeon said,

My soul pities you – will you not pity yourselves? Hearers only: faithless, graceless, Christless! Christ died, but you have no part in his death. His blood cleanses from sin, but your sin remains upon you...Oh, unhappy soul! Oh, wretched soul! out of favor with God, at enmity with eternal love, destitute of eternal life...Ah, remember, though your present state is terrible it is not all. You will soon die, and you will die without faith. Remember that word of Christ, it is one of the most terrible I know of. “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” To die in a ditch [or] to die in a prison...none of us would desire it; but to die in your sins! O God, it is hell, it is eternal damnation...to perish for ever will be your lot...except you believe in Jesus [quickly], for soon you will be out of reach of hearing. No more sermons, no more invitations of grace. Oh, what you would give [to hear a gospel sermon in hell]. No more preacher’s voice, saying, “Turn ye, turn ye, why will you die!”...around you all will be dark, and hard, and the only message for you will be this – “He that is filthy, let him be filthy still.”

There are no acts of pardon passed,
In that cold grave to which we haste;
But darkness, death, and long despair,
Reign in eternal silence there.

Ah! then [in hell it will not ease] your miseries that you once heard the gospel. [Your] conscience will cry aloud – “I heard the gospel of grace, and...I rejected it” (C. H. Spurgeon, “How Can I Obtain Faith?”, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1984 reprint, volume 18, p. 48).

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:16-17).

There is only one way to escape from sin and Hell – and that is by faith in Jesus Christ Himself! How is faith in Christ produced? The answer is simple – “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

I. First, the object of faith is Jesus.

There is a strange new way of describing faith in Jesus. I never heard it until about twenty-five years ago. Preachers used to say, “Come to Jesus by faith.” But that has now often been changed to this odd phrase, “Come to faith in Jesus.” To me this is terribly confusing. Sinners are now being told to come to faith! How do you “come to faith”? No! No! It will not help you to “come to faith.” It is a confusion that comes out of “decisionism.” Sinners must be told to come to Jesus! Jesus Christ Himself must be the object of our faith! Faith itself is not the goal. The Bible says, “The devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). The demons had knowledge. They knew who Jesus was. “They cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?” (Matthew 8:29). They had more “faith” than the Pharisees! Yet it was merely head knowledge. They had “faith” that He was the Son of God. But they did not have faith in Jesus Christ Himself. No! No! “Coming to faith” will not save you. You must come to Jesus, or you will be cast into the flames of Hell along with Satan and his demons. Faith that is mere head knowledge never saved anyone. You must have faith in Jesus. Faith in Jesus is the same as believing in Jesus. Faith in Jesus is the same as trusting Jesus. Faith in Jesus is the same as looking to Jesus. Faith in Jesus is the same as coming to Jesus. I say to you this morning, “Have faith in Jesus.” Believe in Jesus! Trust Jesus. Look to Jesus. Come to Jesus! As Joseph Hart (1712-1768) said, “None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good – None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good!”

“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”
       (Romans 10:17).

II. Second, ways faith in Jesus does not come.

Faith in Jesus does not come by being born in a Christian home. I have heard this saying many times, “God has no grandchildren.” That is a very true saying. If you are new to our church, do not assume that all the children from Christian homes are converted. But some of them are not converted. You may think, “How could they come from Christian homes, hearing the Gospel preached every Sunday, and not be Christians?” The Bible says that they are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7). They come to church because their parents bring them, or they come out of habit. But so far they have not come under conviction of sin. So far they have not come to Jesus. So far they are not united to Christ by faith. So far they are not Christians.

Then, too, faith in Jesus does not come by merely asking Him to save you. You can stand far off from Jesus and ask Him to save you – and yet not come to Him, and yet not trust Him, and yet not be united to Him. No, it will not do you any good to ask Him to forgive you if you refuse to come to Him. Jesus said, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40).

Again, faith in Jesus does not come by feelings and emotions. Many have had such feelings, but they do not last long. Feelings change as quickly as the weather changes. One day is hot, but the next day it’s cold. Feelings and frames of mind are as changeable as the weather. Edward Mote said, “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” By “frame” he meant “feeling.” “I dare not trust the sweetest feeling.” “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ Blood and righteousness.” Sing it!

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
   I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand;
   All other ground is sinking sand.
(“The Solid Rock” by Edward Mote, 1797-1874).

Yet again, faith in Jesus does not come by imaging. By “imaging” I mean creating an image of Jesus in your mind and coming to that image. This is nothing but idolatry. You make an idol in your mind and come to it. But it is not Jesus Christ Himself. Spurgeon said, “True faith has a more solid basis for its fabric than the fleeting fancies of the mind” (ibid., p. 40).

Once more, faith in Jesus does not come by the amount of “withering” you have experienced. Some people make an idol out of conviction. They think that conviction of sin will save them. Thus, they have made an idol out of conviction. Man in sin will do almost anything to stay away from Jesus Himself. The prophet said, “We hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). Oh, I plead with you, come to Jesus Himself by faith. Don’t hide your face from Him. Come to Him. Have faith in Him. Trust Him. He will save you, He will save you, He will save you now!

III. Third, the way faith in Jesus does occur.

“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”
       (Romans 10:17).

Hear the Gospel preached. Strain to listen. Strain to remember what you hear in the sermon. Strain and strive to obey the Gospel and come to Jesus. We are told in the first verse of our text,

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel…” (Romans 10:16).

What does it mean to “obey the gospel”? Why, it means to believe in Jesus, to have faith in Jesus, to come to Jesus. Obey the Gospel now. Come to Jesus Himself and He will cleanse your sin and give you life. Amen. Please turn to hymn number 19 on your song sheet. Stand and sing it.

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, and waiting not
   To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, though tossed about
   With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
   Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee I find,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
   Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
(“Just As I Am” by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871).

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Romans 10:9-17.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow” (by John Newton, 1725-1807;
sung to the tune of “Just As I Am”).


THE OUTLINE OF

FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:16-17).

(Isaiah 40:7)

I.   First, the object of faith is Jesus, James 2:19; Matthew 8:29;
Romans 10:17.

II.  Second, ways faith in Jesus does not come, II Timothy 3:7;
John 5:40; Isaiah 53:3.

III. Third, the way faith in Jesus does occur, Romans 10:17, 16.