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YOU CAN FIND GOD!
THE COMMUNISTS HAVE NOT KILLED HIM!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, October 21, 2012

“Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12-13).


These are the words that God said to His people through the prophet Jeremiah. Moses said nearly the same thing,

“If...thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

David also said, “If thou seek him, he will be found of thee” (I Chronicles 28:9).

All three of these passages show that you have to make an effort to find God. That is the condition upon which the promise is made. God promises to reveal Himself to you – but only on the condition that you search for Him “with all your heart.” In the New Testament we find the same thought. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16). Jesus Christ told us that you have to force your way into the kingdom of God. To “press into it” in the original Greek is very strong – “to force your way into” the presence of God. Christ also made this clear when He said, “Strive to enter in” (Luke 13:24). The Greek word translated “strive” means “struggle” or “fight.” The Greek word is “agonizomai.” We get our English word “agony” from it. So, Jesus said you must force your way in, struggle and fight your way in, to find God and His Son. God says,

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

That is the reason so few Americans and Europeans really know God. They aren’t willing to seek for Him “with all [their] heart.” They aren’t willing to force their way in, and struggle to find God and Christ. So, for this reason, the vast majority of Americans and Europeans only have a very vague, unclear idea about God – but they do not know Him. They know some facts about Him, but they don’t know Him personally. And many others here in the Western world don’t even believe in the existence of God. Very few Americans or Europeans have a vital, living, and dynamic knowledge of God. Their god is just a theory – and not even a very important theory to most of them. And a great number of them don’t even believe in God theoretically. In the past forty years, since the Hippie rebellion in the 1960s, more and more Americans now say they don’t believe in God at all. They are just too spiritually lazy to find Him. They don’t want to make the effort to “search for [Him] with all [their] heart.” They don’t want to go through the discomfort of forcing their way in. They don’t want to expend the energy needed to struggle and “strive to enter in” where God is, and where Christ is. It’s too much trouble for those spiritually lazy Americans and Europeans. They would rather watch a bloody movie, smoke marijuana, or play video games hour after hour, than to “seek the Lord,” or “search for [Him] with all [their] heart.”

One American-born Chinese girl said, “It’s too much of a chore.” An American-born Chinese boy said, “It takes too much work,” so he left the church and went back to play video games. It was sad to see that they had become as spiritually lazy as the American young people in their school.

I know that some Reformed Christians may think that I am wrong to insist that it takes effort to find God. But, if they criticize me for saying that, they may have forgotten Philippians 2:12-13, which says,

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

So if you are really interested in the work it takes to find salvation in God through Christ, it means that God Himself has motivated you to do so. “It is God which worketh in you,” to energize you to “search for [Him] with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). As Albert Midlane (1825-1909) put it in one of his hymns,

Revive Thy work, O Lord!
   Create soul-thirst for Thee;
But hungering for the bread of life,
   Oh, may our spirits be!
(“Revive Thy Work” by Albert Midlane).

Only those whom God has chosen will find that He has created “soul-thirst” for Him. If God doesn’t do that in you, you will remain like thousands of lazy American young people, of whom the Bible says,

“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:11).

So if you have a desire, a “soul-thirst,” to find God, it is because God Himself has put that desire in you. If He does not do so you will live and die without God, as the Bible says, “Having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

What a terrible thing that is – “Having no hope, and without God in the world”! It is indeed a terrible thing to live and die with no hope. And without God, what hope is there? Why, without God, how could there be any hope? Without God a person lives his whole life just waiting for death – with no hope at all – because that poor soul thinks there is nothing after death. The life of a poor atheist is like that of a man in prison, on death row, waiting to be executed. Thus, the life of an atheist has no more hope than that of a condemned criminal, waiting for the guards to come and take him away to the gas chamber!

The Communist movement from the beginning has violently opposed Christianity. Karl Marx said, “Religion is the opiate of the people.” Josef Stalin killed 20 million people, and put thousands of Christians in prison. Mao Tse Tung killed even more. Sixty-four million Chinese were slaughtered by Mao, and tens of thousands of them were killed or imprisoned by him simply because they were Christians. These are well known facts here in the West. But in the government-run schools in Communist China young people are told that Mao was a great man who made China a world power. How do we know if China might have been an even greater nation if a Christian like Chiang Kai-Shek had been their leader? Many Chinese Christians were put in prison for 20 years or more by Mao, simply because they believed in our God and His Christ. I know a Chinese pastor whose former roommate spent 10 years in prison in China for preaching the Gospel in a house church near Beijing. Yet Christianity has mushroomed in China in the last 20 years. It is estimated that there are now over 120 million Christians in China, and the majority of them are members of the underground house churches. About 700 people every hour, night and day, become Christians in China today. I just read a report that the Communist government is about to crack down on the house church movement again, because so many Chinese people are becoming Christians that it worries the authorities. The Communists call evangelical Christians members of an “evil cult.” How sad! How blind they are!

I know the schools and colleges in China teach that there is no God. But it isn’t really any different here. All of our young people go to colleges where they are taught to reject God and the Bible. This does not stop our young people from becoming Christians! They know their teachers are spiritually blind. Millions of young people in China also reject the false teaching against God in their schools.

David Aikman is a journalist who spent twenty years as a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine in Beijing, and Southeast Asia. I wish every young Chinese person could read his book, Jesus in Beijing (Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2003). On the closing pages of his book, Mr. Aikman says that there are now so many Protestant Christians in China that it is one of the largest groups of Christians in the whole world. He suggests that the twenty-first century will be China’s century, and that the center of Christianity will move from the West to China. This explosion of Christianity in China has happened even though the Communist government has periodically tortured and imprisoned thousands of faithful Christians there.

Why would anyone risk being in danger, and perhaps imprisoned, for becoming a follower of Christ? Rev. Richard Wurmbrand was a Lutheran pastor who spent many years in a Communist prison for preaching the Gospel in Romania. He wrote an account of what happened to him in prison, and in solitary confinement, in his book Tortured for Christ, which has now been translated into 65 languages. Near the end of this book Pastor Wurmbrand gave this charming true story.

      A Russian Army captain came to see a minister in Hungary and asked to see him alone. The young captain was very brash, and very conscious of his role as a conqueror. When he had been led to a small conference room and the door was closed, he nodded toward the cross that hung on the wall.
        “You know that thing is a lie,” he said to the minister. “It’s just a piece of trickery you ministers use to delude the poor people to make it easier for the rich to keep them ignorant. Come now, we are alone. Admit to me that you never really believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God!”
       The minister smiled, “But, my poor young man, of course I believe it. It is true.”
        “I won’t have you play tricks on me!” cried the captain. “This is serious. Don’t laugh at me!”
       He drew his revolver and held it close to the body of the minister.
        “Unless you admit to me that it is a lie, I’ll fire!”
        “I cannot admit that, for it is not true. Our Lord is really and truly the Son of God,” said the minister.
       The captain flung his revolver on the floor and embraced the man of God. Tears sprang to his eyes.
        “It is true!” he cried, “It is true! I believe it so, too, but I could not be sure men would die for this belief until I found it out for myself. Oh, thank you! You have strengthened my faith. Now I too can die for Christ. You have shown me how.”

Then Pastor Wurmbrand said, “We shall win the Communists. First, because God is on our side. Second, because our message corresponds to the deepest needs of the heart” (Richard Wurmbrand, Th.D., Tortured for Christ, The Voice of the Martyrs, 1998 edition, pp. 113, 114).

Yes, the heart of man cries out for forgiveness and hope. Atheism cannot meet these needs. Only God can give us forgiveness and hope! That is why God sent His only begotten Son to die on the Cross in our place, to pay for our sins, so we could be forgiven. That is why God raised Jesus physically from the dead, to give us hope, even the hope of eternal life.

Lenin is dead. I have seen a photograph of his embalmed dead body, on display in Moscow. Mao Tse Tung is dead. I have seen a photograph of his embalmed dead body, on display in the Mausoleum at Tienanmen Square. But God is not dead. He is alive and well in the hearts of millions of Christians around the world! Christ is not dead. He is alive and well, seated at the right hand of God in Heaven, in another dimension, where He is praying for you right now!

Today, in Cuba, Vietnam, and the People’s Republic of China, there are millions of Christians serving God in underground churches. And I am sure there are still secret Christians in North Korea as well, even though the North Korean Christians have been persecuted by the Communists more harshly than any other people in the world. Communist atheism has never been able to destroy their faith in God, and in His Son Jesus. We have reports that even Communist officials are becoming “secret” Christians in China! The Gospel of Christ meets the deep needs of men’s hearts. Atheistic Communism offers no such hope or forgiveness. There is no power on earth that can stop the Gospel of Christ! It’s even penetrating Muslim lands today. I have in my study a book called Miraculous Movements by Jerry Trousdale (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2012). On the cover of that book are these words, “Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are falling in love with Jesus.” Praise His holy name!

Pastor Wurmbrand said, “One out of every five people in the world lives in Communist China, where thousands of...Christians evangelize without ‘permission.’ Persecution has always produced a better Christian – a witnessing Christian, a soul-winning Christian. Communist persecution has backfired and produced serious, dedicated Christians such as are rarely seen in free lands. These people cannot understand how anyone can be a Christian and not want to win every soul they meet” (Wurmbrand, ibid., pp. 116, 117).

Yes! Amen! And it is our prayer that you, too, will come to Jesus by faith, and be washed clean from your sin by His precious Blood! We are praying that you will become a real Christian soon. Remember that God said, "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). And be sure to come back to church next Sunday! Why not come back and have dinner with us tonight at 6:30 as well?  God bless you! Amen. Please stand and turn to number seven on your song sheet. Dr. Chan, please come and lead us in prayer before we sing (prayer). Now sing it!

Faith of our fathers! living still
   In spite of dungeon, fire and sword:
O how our hearts beat high with joy
   Whene’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
   We will be true to thee till death!

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
   Were still in heart and conscience free:
How sweet would be their children’s fate,
   If they, like them, could die for thee!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
   We will be true to thee till death!

Faith of our fathers! we will strive
   To win all nations unto thee,
And through the truth that comes from God
   Mankind shall then be truly free.
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
   We will be true to thee till death!

Faith of our fathers! we will love
   Both friend and foe in all our strife:
And preach thee, too, as love knows how,
   By kindly words and virtuous life:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
   We will be true to thee till death!
(“Faith of Our Fathers” by Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863).

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Kyu Dong Lee: Jeremiah 29:11-13.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“How Big Is God” (by Stuart Hamblen, 1908-1989).