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AN EXPLODING CHURCH!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, September 9, 2012

“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37, 38).


Preachers usually think that Christ is telling us, in these verses, to pray that God will move church members to become soul-winners. That isn’t completely wrong, but it is more of an application than an interpretation. Yes, we can say that this applies to praying for Christians to be aroused and win souls. But that is not exactly what Christ was telling His Disciples.

Jesus was telling His Disciples to pray that God would send new people into the harvest, right away, immediately, before they were highly trained, before many of them were even saved! After all, hardly anyone was a Christian yet when Jesus said that! The Disciples themselves were not yet trained and some of them, at least, were not converted. Dr. McGee said none of them were born again until Jesus rose from the dead. It is clear that Judas was not saved. Thomas did not believe the Gospel yet, because we know that he did not yet believe Jesus would rise from the dead. Peter denied the crucifixion, and was rebuked by Jesus for his stubborn unbelief. Yet these men were sent to win souls in the very next chapter, in Matthew 10. And Christ told them to pray that other new people would be sent to bring in a harvest of souls!

What does that mean for us today? Why, it means that we should send people who are new to the church out to win souls immediately! What else could it mean? Let us look at this with “new” eyes and see what Jesus wants us to do today, in our church. If you are here for the first time this morning, we are praying for you to come with us right away to be a labourer in the harvest, bringing lost people to hear the Gospel in our church. Hear the text again, in this light,

“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37, 38).

We are telling you the same thing. We are praying for you to come in and help us bring others into this church to hear the Gospel and be saved. We learn that this is true in at least two different ways.

I. First, Jesus called the original Disciples to win souls immediately.

Please turn back to Matthew 4:18-20. Please stand and read those verses aloud.

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him” (Matthew 4:18-20).

That was the very first thing Jesus said to these men, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). There’s a chorus that makes this clear,

I will make you fishers of men,
   Fishers of men, fishers of men,
I will make you fishers of men
   If you follow me;
If you follow me, if you follow me;
   I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me.
    (“I Will Make You Fishers of Men” by Harry D. Clarke, 1888-1957).

You may be seated.

Jesus did not bring them in and teach them the Bible for a few years before He told them to go out and bring others in, as fishers of men. He did not answer all their questions and teach them theology and apologetics, and Christian history. He did not bring them into a Sunday School class for months before He told them to go after others and bring them in. He did not even teach them how to explain the Gospel. No! He just sent them out to bring others in, to “fish” for others! The very first thing He told them was “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

I don’t think it’s completely honest to tell you something else. I think we should follow Christ’s example. I think we should tell you, right now, the very first time you come to church, what Christ wants you to do. Christ wants you to go and get others and bring them in. Christ wants you to go and get someone, and bring them in, right now, right away – perhaps tonight! Go and get someone and bring them in with you! Stand and sing it again!

I will make you fishers of men,
   Fishers of men, fishers of men,
I will make you fishers of men
   If you follow me;
If you follow me, if you follow me;
   I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me.

Yes, Christ called the first Disciples, right away, at the very beginning, to be fishers of men – to be labourers in the harvest – to bring others in right away – immediately! Amen! and Amen!

II. Second, Jesus sent other new people to win souls immediately.

We see that in the first chapter of John’s Gospel. Two of John the Baptist’s disciples followed Jesus to His dwelling place. One of the two was Peter’s brother Andrew. Andrew went out immediately and told Peter, “We have found the [Messiah]..and he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:41, 42). The next day Jesus said to Philip, “Follow me” (John 1:43). Philip immediately went to Nathanael and told him he had found the Messiah. Nathanael doubted that it was true. “Philip saith unto him, Come and see” (John 1:46). Philip then took Nathanael to Jesus and Nathanael also became a Disciple immediately.

Andrew brought Peter to Jesus immediately. Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus immediately. These brand new Disciples became soul winners right away, instantly! They did not wait to be trained to win souls. They went out right away and brought others to Jesus, without delay! They just said, “Come and see.”

Another example is given in the fourth chapter of John. Dr. John R. Rice said,

      In [John] chapter 4, we learn that when the Samaritan woman knew that Jesus was the Messiah, she left her waterpots and ran to the city to tell the men, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” [John 4:29]. Some were saved there on her testimony, while others came to see for themselves and were saved. Yes, new converts should win souls (John R. Rice, D.D., The Son of God: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Gospel According to John, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1976, p. 40).

Commenting on these examples Dr. Rice said, “Ah, the main thing about soul winning is to go after them. And personal influence is so important that it may not take a profound message or long explanation, if you let people understand that here is the Saviour for sinners and they may have Him. So Andrew brought Peter to Jesus” (ibid.). So the woman at the well brought many Samaritans to Jesus – right away. She became a soul winner the same day that she herself trusted Jesus!

“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word” (John 4:39-41).

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee to Gadara. There He met a man who was demon possessed. Jesus cast the demons out of him, and the man was well. This man wanted to go back with Jesus, but the Saviour told him,

“Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him” (Luke 8:39).

This man became a soul winner instantly, telling others how Jesus had saved him right away!

As Jesus was going to Jerusalem He met ten men that were lepers. They cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13). Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests at the Temple, “And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14). One of them returned to thank Jesus. But all of them were sent immediately to witness to the priests in the Temple. Later, that same year, we are told that “...a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). These priests were undoubtedly converted, at least partly, by the testimony of those lepers that Jesus healed. Those lepers thus became soul winners as soon as they were healed by Jesus!

On the Day of Pentecost three thousand people were saved when they heard Peter preach the Gospel. We are told that these new Christians were “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Dr. John R. Rice said, “The church at Jerusalem with thousands of members saw new converts added to the church daily! Soul winning is not only important: it was almost the sole aim and end of the Jerusalem church and of New Testament Christians!” (John R. Rice, D.D., Filled With the Spirit: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1980 edition, page 104).

When people were saved in the church at Jerusalem, they immediately went after their friends and neighbors and brought them in, so “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

The Apostle Paul came to the city of Thessalonica in 53 A.D.. We are told that some Jewish people there believed in Jesus, and a great multitude of Greeks were saved (Acts 17:4). Paul organized these new Christians into a church. One year passed. It was now 54 A.D.. Paul was now in the city of Corinth. He wrote a letter back to the church at Thessalonica, which is called “First Thessalonians” in the New Testament. All of the people in that church had been Christians only one year or less. Yet Paul said,

“From you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing” (I Thessalonians 1:8).

The people in that new church had a national outreach to Macedonia and Achaia. They were winning souls by the hundreds, even though none of them had been Christians more than twelve months!

This is the simple method they used. They just said to their friends and neighbors, “Come and see.” And then they brought them to the meetings. This is the method they use in Communist China, where the churches are exploding. This is the method they use in Muslim lands, where thousands are being converted. It works there, and it will work here. Go and tell somebody, “Come and see.” It’s simple, and it works!

This, then, is clearly the pattern of New Testament Christians. We read over and over that those who became Christians instantly became soul winners, bringing their friends and relatives into the churches in great numbers! Each church was an exploding church! May God speak to your heart! May you come into our church and then bring in your friends and family to hear the Gospel and have dinner with us! Come and help us make this an exploding church! “Fishers of men.” Stand and sing it!

I will make you fishers of men,
   Fishers of men, fishers of men,
I will make you fishers of men
   If you follow me;
If you follow me, if you follow me;
   I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me.

Go and get somebody to come here to church with you! We always have lunch or dinner for them! We always have a birthday party for them! We always have more fun here than any other place in Los Angeles! This church is the happiest place in Los Angeles. Bring somebody with you the next time you come! There’s nothing complicated about it. Just say to them, “Come to church with me. It’s happy and wonderful to be there. Will you come with me this Sunday?” That’s all! It’s easy! Do it! Bring somebody with you the next time you come! You may be seated.

The very first thing Jesus taught the first Disciples is the very first thing we must teach you. Jesus says to you this morning,

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”
      (Matthew 4:19).

Some of you are here this morning for the very first time. Jesus says to you, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” If somebody brought you here this morning, the very first thing Jesus wants you to do is to become a “fisher of men.” Bring somebody with you to church next Sunday! It’s easy! Do it! Sing that chorus again.

I will make you fishers of men,
   Fishers of men, fishers of men,
I will make you fishers of men
   If you follow me;
If you follow me, if you follow me;
   I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me.

One girl came here to church just a few weeks ago. She has already become a “fisher of men.” She has already brought three girls to church with her! You can do the same thing! Go and get someone and bring them here to church with you! Do it! Do it! Bring somebody with you! We’ll have lunch or dinner together. We’ll see an old comedy movie. We’ll have a birthday party. We’ll have more fun than a barrel of monkeys! That’s what my mother used to say, “We’ll have more fun than a barrel of monkeys!” Go and bring somebody to the birthday party here at church! Bring somebody to the party! Sing the chorus again!

I will make you fishers of men,
   Fishers of men, fishers of men,
I will make you fishers of men
   If you follow me;
If you follow me, if you follow me;
   I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me.

How many of you will say, “I’ll do it! I’ll bring someone to church with me to hear the Gospel and have fun with us!” Please raise your hands. Dr. Chan will come to pray for God to help you do it (prayer).

If you are here this morning and you are not yet a born again Christian, please listen very carefully. The Lord Jesus Christ came down from Heaven and was nailed to a cross, where He died to pay for our sins. They put His body in a tomb, sealed it, and set a Roman guard to protect it. But the Lord Jesus Christ rose physically, flesh and bone. On the third day He rose from the dead and came out of that tomb alive! The risen Christ had fellowship with His followers for forty days. They handled Him, and saw that He was not a spirit. At last Jesus ascended back to Heaven, into another dimension, where He is seated at the right hand of God the Father.

When you turn from your sinful life-style and trust Jesus, His precious Blood will cleanse you from all sin, and He will give you eternal life. We are praying that you will come to Jesus and trust Him, and be saved very soon. And whatever you do, be sure to come back here to church next Sunday! And go and get somebody to come to church with you next Sunday! Go and do it!

I will make you fishers of men,
   Fishers of men, fishers of men,
I will make you fishers of men
   If you follow me;
If you follow me, if you follow me;
   I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me.

Oh, God, help them to do it! Amen.

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

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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: Matthew 4:18-20.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“So Little Time” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980)/
“I Will Make You Fishers of Men” (by Harry D. Clarke, 1888-1957).


THE OUTLINE OF

AN EXPLODING CHURCH!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37, 38).

I. First, Jesus called the original Disciples to win souls immediately,
Matthew 4:18-20.

II. Second, Jesus sent other new people to win souls immediately,
John 1:41, 42, 43, 46; 4:29, 39-41; Luke 8:39; 17:13, 14;
Acts 6:7; 2:47; 17:4; I Thessalonians 1:8.