Print Sermon

These sermon manuscripts and videos now go out to about 1,500,000 computers in over 215 countries every year at www.sermonsfortheworld.com. Hundreds of others watch the videos on YouTube, but they soon leave YouTube and come to our website. YouTube feeds people to our website. The sermon manuscripts are given in 36 languages to about 120,000 computers each month. The sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted, so preachers can use them without our permission. Please click here to learn how you can make a monthly donation to help us in this great work of spreading the Gospel to the whole world, including the Muslim and Hindu nations.

Whenever you write to Dr. Hymers always tell him what country you live in, or he cannot answer you. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net.




THE MAN WHO GATHERED STICKS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, February 26, 2012

“But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:30-31).


The law was clear. The person who sinned presumptuously would be cut off from among the people. The Hebrew word translated “presumptuously” means “with a high hand” or “defiantly,” “in willful, defiant rebellion.” Verses 30 and 31 were clear. The Israelite that sinned in willful, defiant rebellion, who “despised the word of the Lord” – would be utterly cut off (15:31).

Immediately after that warning a man went out and “gathered sticks upon the sabbath” (Numbers 15:32). He was discovered doing this. They brought him to “Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation” (Numbers 15:33). They held him in custody while they tried to figure out what to do with him. Then God said to Moses, “The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp” (Numbers 15:35). They took him outside the camp and stoned him, “and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses” (Numbers 15:36).

Many years ago a man came to me and complained about this account. He thought that it was unjust for a man to be put to death for picking up a few sticks on the Sabbath. But he was wrong. It was the right thing for those Israelites to do, because God told them to do it in the old dispensation. The man was judged and executed, not merely for gathering sticks, but for sinning with a “high hand,” defiantly, in “willful, defiant rebellion” against God.

“Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:31).

He broke the law of the Sabbath. He defied God, despising God’s word. He was utterly cut off, and he went to Hell; his “iniquity shall be upon him” for all time, and for all eternity. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “This makes one thing very clear. The death penalty was the penalty for breaking any of the Ten Commandments” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, volume I, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1981, p. 492; note on Numbers 15:32-36).

“Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:31).

I want you to consider two things about this man who gathered sticks on the Old Testament Sabbath.

I. First, he sinned defiantly though he had seen many signs and miracles.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?” (Numbers 14:11).

This man had seen God send ten plagues on the Egyptians. This man had been led out of slavery in Egypt by the hand of God. This man had been with Moses when Pharaoh’s army chased them, and God opened the Red Sea, and they went through to safety. This man had seen the sea close over the Egyptians, drowning Pharaoh’s army. Along with the other Israelites, this man’s voice had rung out, “I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea” (Exodus 15:1). And yet he “despised the word of the Lord, and...[broke] his commandment” (Numbers 15:31).

This man had been with the people as God led them through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. This man had been with them when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. This man had been there when they were fed with manna, sent from God every morning. This man had been there when the people complained, “and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp” (Numbers 11:1). This man had been there when the people complained about the manna, and God gave them the flesh of quails to eat, until it came out at their nostrils,

“And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague”
       (Numbers 11:33).

This man had heard what God said to Moses,

“Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it” (Numbers 14:22-23).

And yet this man dared to break the Fourth Commandment! And yet this man despised the word of the Lord and broke His Commandment! This man sinned defiantly, even though he had seen so many signs and miracles!

“And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?” (Numbers 14:11).

There are some of you here this morning who have seen God do great things among us. You know how God saved our church, and scattered our enemies, when we were attacked. When Satan as a roaring lion came against us, you have seen God deliver us. You have seen and heard of God’s judgment against those who persecuted us. You have been present when God heard our prayers and blest our congregation.

But you have also heard far more than this man ever heard. Yes, he heard the law of God. He heard the Ten Commandments, and he was judged and stoned to death for defying those laws. You have also heard that law – and you have also broken it. But, more than that, you have also heard the Gospel, and you have defied it. You have heard Jesus say, “Come unto me...and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). But you have “despised the word of the Lord” as much as this man did. You have rebelled, and you have rejected Christ’s call. You have refused to come to Jesus. When Jesus said, “Come unto me,” you defiantly refused His call. And Jesus says, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). There is nothing left for you but judgment.

II. Second, he sinned defiantly after he had received the truth.

He knew it was a sin to break God’s law by gathering those sticks on the Sabbath under the old covenant. He did not commit that sin out of ignorance. He sinned presumptuously, with a high hand, out of deliberate defiance, “because he...despised the word of the Lord” (Numbers 15:31).

“Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:31).

The Apostle Paul spoke of “the sabbath days: Which are a shadow [a type] of things to come; but the body [the substance belongs to] Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17). The word “sabbath” means “rest.” The Old Testament Sabbath was a “shadow” or type of Christ. In the old dispensation they were commanded to rest on the seventh day. Under the New Covenant, we are commanded to rest in Christ. Today Jesus says, “Come unto me...and I will give you rest.” Christ Himself is our Sabbath rest. If you defy God, and refuse to rest in Christ, you will be judged even more severely than this man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath! He received the truth about the Old Testament Sabbath, but he deliberately and willfully disobeyed the truth. And in the New Testament you are given this dreadful warning,

“If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment...shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant...an unholy [common] thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26-29).

The man who gathered sticks sinned willfully. He despised Moses’ law and died without mercy. If you sin willfully, after you have heard and received the truth, there is no hope for you – only “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation” in Hell. If this man, who despised Moses’ law, was judged and executed – how much worse punishment will fall on you who have thought so little of Jesus, and have thought that His Blood was only a common thing? I tell you that the judgment awaiting you is ten thousand times worse than being stoned to death!

Jesus says, “Come unto me...and I will give you rest.” If you refuse to come to Him, there are horrible judgments awaiting you! Jesus said, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). If you do not believe Jesus enough to come to Him, you too will die in your sins, as the man who gathered sticks died in his sins! The Bible says, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).

Make no mistake here! When they stoned him to death, it was only the beginning of judgment. It was only the door of death that opened to him as he fell into the flames of Hell. The rebellion of his soul, and the unbelief of his heart were revealed when he sneaked out to gather a few pieces of wood. “Ah!” you say, “it was only a little thing he did.” It may seem so, but it revealed his great rejection of God, the deep rebellion of his wicked heart of unbelief. He had been an unbeliever all along. But now he could no longer hide his unbelief. That one action of rebellion, when he gathered those sticks, showed to everyone in the camp, and to God and the angels, that this man was nothing but an unbelieving sinner. And now, when they stoned him to death by the command of God, his soul sank down into the burning bowels of Hell!

Where will you spend eternity?
   This question comes to you and me;
What will the final answer be?
   Where will you spend eternity?
Eternity! Eternity!
   Where will you spend eternity?
(“Where Will You Spend Eternity?” by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839-1929;
     altered by the Pastor).

How does that apply to you? Remember that “all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition...” (I Corinthians 10:11). The man who gathered sticks was executed by the command of God. This happened to him to warn you. His story was written for your admonition – as a warning to you!

If he was judged and condemned for his rebellion and unbelief, what will happen to you if you continue to rebel and reject the Lord Jesus Christ? What will happen to you if you refuse to believe Christ enough to come to Him? I will tell you what will happen to you. Suddenly, on a certain day that God has planned, your time will run out. And in that day, in a moment of time, God’s judgment will fall on you. Your soul will be torn from your body and cast into outer darkness. There you will be tormented in unimaginable ways! The demons consigned to Hell will taunt you, and torment you, and hector and harass you day and night. Your conscience will gnaw on you, as a giant worm, wiggling and writhing, and eating at you, until you scream and sweat and gnash your teeth in endless agony and despair. The flames, that men laugh at here, will then torment them, and they will burn for ever. Those flames will torment you, too, “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13). Laugh now, if you will. But I can assure you that you will not laugh then! Listen thoughtfully to an anonymous hymn from Dr. Asahel Nettleton’s hymnal, that was simply titled “Hell,” which Mr. Griffith sang before this sermon.

Far from the utmost verge of day
   Those gloomy regions lie,
Where flames amid the darkness play
   The worm shall never die.

The breath of God, His angry breath
   Supplies and fans the fire;
There sinners taste the second death,
   And would but can’t expire.

Conscience, the never dying worm,
   With torture gnaws the heart;
And woe and wrath, in every form,
   Is now the sinner’s part.

Sad world indeed! Ah, who can bear
   For ever there to dwell –
For ever sinking in despair
   In all the pains of Hell!
(“Hell,” anonymous; number 28 in Dr. Asahel Nettleton’s Village Hymns,
     International Outreach, P.O. Box 1286, Ames, Iowa 50014).

I plead with you, this morning, flee to Jesus! Be washed clean from your sins by His precious Blood before it is too late!

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
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: Numbers 15:29-36.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Hell” (anonymous).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE MAN WHO GATHERED STICKS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:30-31).

(Numbers 15:32, 33, 35, 36)

I.   First, he sinned defiantly though he had seen many signs and
miracles, Numbers 14:11; Exodus 15:1; Numbers 11:1, 33;
Numbers 14:22-23, 11; Matthew 11:28; John 5:40.

II.  Second, he sinned defiantly after he had received the truth,
Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 10:26-29; John 8:24;
Hebrews 2:3; I Corinthians 10:11.