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THE SOUL-WINNER’S JOY!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, June 9, 2013

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6).


The pagan world system is on the attack against Christianity. In a speech he gave recently to a group from Hillsdale College, Dr. R. R. Reno said, “Today our secular culture views orthodox Christian churches as troublesome, retrograde and reactionary forces. They’re seen as anti-science, anti-gay, and anti-women – which is to say anti-progress as the Left defines progress. Not surprisingly, then, the Left believes society will best be served if Christians are limited in their influence on public life. And in the short run this view is likely to succeed...We’re in the midst of climate change – one that’s getting colder and colder toward religion” (Imprimis, April 2013, p. 1).

At the same time, two Southern Baptist leaders have issued a statement voicing concern about religious freedom within the U.S. military. The statement said, “We ask then, and expect, from our military leaders...clarification of a commitment to safeguard religious liberty, including the right for all servicemen and women to share their faith” (The California Southern Baptist, June 2013, p. 3). You see, certain people in the government want to stop Christians in the armed services from witnessing for Christ. I’ll tell you what I think. I don’t think our armed services should be policing the whole world anyway. And if they are going to stop our Christian people from witnessing for Christ, then I think it may well be time for pastors to start telling their young people not to sign up for military service. Let the secular pagans police the world – and keep our Christian young people here to serve in our churches. Now that’s just the way I see it. Thank God I can still say something like that on the Internet. Mr. Obama hasn’t censored the Internet – at least not yet. I read in the papers Friday that the U.S. government is prying into private e-mails and telephone calls – so much that even an extreme liberal like Congressman Henry Waxman is disturbed! When he gets upset you know Obama and his people must be way out of line!

The liberal establishment thinks that everybody will be wildly happy if they can just silence the Christians! Stop the Christians from talking about Christ and everybody will be happy and content. When they can kill babies up to the ninth month and beyond – when they can define marriage any old way, including bigamy – when they can buy marijuana on every street corner – when they shut down the churches – when the Christians are hiding in their homes – then they think all our problems will be over! We’ll all be happy and joyful just as soon as we get rid of those awful Christians! I know, I exaggerated a bit – but not much! You know that’s what Obama thinks while he hides to smoke cigarettes in the White House toilet – or when he has Bill Clinton over to smoke a few joints in the Oval Office!

Somebody says, “It sounds like you have some contempt for those people.” No, that’s not quite right. I have complete contempt for them!

Well, I got all that off of my chest! Now I can go back and preach this sermon! Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Republican. I am not a member of any political party. I gave up my membership in any political party last January. I no longer vote at all. Let the secularists and the dumb-cluck Republicans hash it out on their own.

I am bound for the promised land,
   I am bound for the promised land.
O who will come and go with me?
   I am bound for the promised land!

Stand and sing it with me!

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand
   And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land
   Where my possessions lie.
I am bound for the promised land,
   I am bound for the promised land.
O who will come and go with me?
   I am bound for the promised land!
(“On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” by Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795).

You may be seated.

Hallelujah! I’m out of the system! I’m free! Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty! I’m free at last! Yes, sir, Dr. King, I’m free at last! You guys worry about that stuff! I am bound for the promised land!

I am bound for the promised land,
   I am bound for the promised land.
O who will come and go with me?
   I am bound for the promised land!

But seriously, Obama, Clinton, and the rest of the secularists are convinced that they won’t be happy until they silence our voices. When the Christians are silenced, then they will all be overflowing with happiness. Hillary Clinton will be dancing for joy with Mel Brooks. Senator Boxer and Senator Feinstein will be doing the Macarena! Clinton, Obama, Gore and Barbara Walters will be dancing the Hully Gully! They’ll let O.J. out of prison to sing a duet with Hugh Hefner! The world, the flesh and the Devil will all agree. They’ll say, “There is real happiness now that we got rid of the Christians!”

Think I’m exaggerating? Not much! Jesus said,

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).

The world can talk about happiness, but they don’t know anything about it. Happiness is just a word, and to them it does not mean what the word “joy” means to a Christian.

I am disgusted by what the old Hippies in Hollywood do when they turn classical children’s books into movies. Did you see what they did with Sherlock Holmes? They turned it into an uncouth, tactless piece of gaucherie. Nothing, and I mean nothing, remained of the original Sherlock Holmes but his name. It was stale, uninteresting and mawkish in the extreme. Now they are doing it to the Lone Ranger. It will be another piece of modern Hollywood junk. I couldn’t even stand to look at the still photographs of the modern movie version of “Alice in Wonderland.” My wife saw a piece of it on an airplane trip last week. She said it looked more like a horror movie than a children’s story. All these films look alike. They look like they were made by people on LSD or some other hallucinogenic drug. They take a beautiful children’s story and run it through the demon-possessed mind of a drug-addicted producer and director, and presto-chango! There’s the new Alice on Wonderland. She looks more like a vampire than Lewis Carroll’s Alice. But do you remember Alice’s clever conversation with Humpty Dumpty in the original story? It always made me laugh out loud!

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be
master – that's all.” Who is to be master – the words or you?
   (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass).

Listen to some of the strange meanings they now give words! The world calls it “choice” when it obviously means “murder.” They call it “gay” when it obviously means “sorrow.” They call it “freedom” when it obviously means “slavery.” They call it “getting high” when it obviously means “getting low.” They call it “happiness” when it obviously means “sadness.” I hope you don’t think poor Michael Jackson knew anything about joy as he lay on a bed wailing for the doctor to pump more drugs into his veins and into his lungs! Michael didn’t know anything about joy. And that’s what breaks my heart. There is a whole generation of young people out there who have no idea what real joy is. They’ve never had it – and they don’t even know what it is! Only the soul-winning Christian knows the secret of how to have joy – and it’s right there in our text,

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6).

The certainty of having joy is found by those who “sow in tears.” It is them who “shall reap in joy.” The soul-winner who goes out and gets someone, brings them into the church, takes care of them, makes them feel at home with the Christian people, and leads them into conversion and the Christian life – that is the person who has joy that the world knows nothing about – nothing whatever!

Did you ever see “Rebel Without a Cause” with James Dean? I know somebody will criticize me, but it’s a classic film. It shows what a mess the American family became, without God, sixty years ago. And it hasn’t gotten any better! I was a teenager then. I felt hopeless, utterly hopeless. So did all my friends. Although they covered it up better then, they were all sad and “blown away” by life. That’s why J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye was so popular then – and it still is, because our young people have no joy, don’t know what joy is – and don’t know where to find it! Look at that boy in Santa Monica. He shot and killed five people near Santa Monica College a few days ago. It’s always the same. It’s always a boy in his early twenties. It’s happening all over our country. Why do they do it? The answer is simple – drugs, video games, and violent movies! But don’t expect the liberals to figure that out! They don’t want to figure it out! They just want an excuse to take guns away from law abiding citizens! These gun crimes were perpetrated by young men who have no joy in their lives, only bitterness and anger.

C. S. Lewis wrote a book about joy. When he was converted he was suddenly flooded with joy – and it surprised him. So he wrote a book called, Surprised by Joy. It is the story of how he became a Christian.

Please understand – I’m not endorsing everything in these books, or that film. But I find it impossible to talk about the problems of young people today without at least some reference to the literature that reflects it, and explains it. If people don’t like it, I’m sorry. But I have been called to preach to secular young people in Los Angeles and the world, through the Internet. I can’t help these secular young people if I don’t refer to things in our culture. So, I’m sorry if that offends you!

So C. S. Lewis was surprised by joy when he became a Christian! I don’t agree with everything he wrote, but I do agree that Jesus gives joy to those who trust Him! And if you become a real Christian you too will be surprised by the joy of knowing Christ.

But you must not bottle-up your joy and keep it for yourself. If you do that you will lose whatever joy you experienced. For joy to grow, we must do what the Bible says. The Apostle John said,

“These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full”
       (I John 1:4).

And the prescription for such abiding joy is given in our text,

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6).

Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980) correctly said that those two verses speak of the soul-winner, the person who goes out and finds others, and brings them to church and helps them to find Christ.

That’s what we want you to do. We invited you to church – to hear the Gospel and share a meal and a birthday party with us. And you came. We are glad you did. But we pray that you will stay with us. We pray that you will come with us and learn how to bring other young people in to hear the Gospel and be saved. Yes, there will be tears – because we can’t help others find Christ in a cold, mechanical way. We have to love them. That will require enough involvement with them to bring tears to our eyes. As we go with tears, we will reap with joy! We have experienced great joy as we have seen several young people find Christ recently. When we see them here with us, we feel deep joy. It’s the law of sowing and reaping, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

Will you come with us and become a soul-winner yourself? There is joy in helping others! If you’ve been here a few years and don’t feel that joy, get involved with some of those in our church who win souls. You’ll catch their spirit. Soon you’ll feel the soul-winner’s joy yourself! Give it a try. You’ll see I’m right!

The very first time Jesus met the Disciples, He said to them,

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

We say that to you as well. Even if you are here for the first time this morning, we tell you that Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 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.
    (“I Will Make You Fishers of Men” by Harry D. Clarke, 1888-1957).

This is a strange sermon. It’s not the usual way I preach. I didn’t know what I was going to say when I started writing it. I just asked God to guide my thoughts – and this came out as what writers call a “stream of consciousness.” I wrote this with such force that I felt exhausted when I finished at 4:00 in the morning! I hope it helps some of you this morning!

Young people, I didn’t come from a Christian home. The people next door took me to a Baptist church for the first time when I was thirteen. If you had told me that I would be a pastor nearly sixty years later, I would have thought you were crazy. But I found joy in Christ. I found joy in winning souls, and getting people into church. I know by personal experience that there is no joy in the world like the joy of being a Christian who goes after others, so they too can experience the joy of having their sins pardoned, cleansed by the Blood Jesus shed on the Cross. And we serve a living Saviour. He rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God the Father, up in Heaven. Come to Him by faith and He will pardon your sins and give you a new life of joy. Then cultivate that joy by vigorously going out and bringing in others to hear the Gospel and be saved. Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” We will send you out two by two, the same way Jesus did. If you keep working to win souls you will have joy again and again that people in this world know nothing about.

I have been pretty hard on those who lead this country. And I should be, because they are so very wrong, and because they have taken our beloved country in the wrong direction. They cannot help you. They cannot give you joy – because they do not have it themselves! But Jesus does, and He will give it to you in abundance if you come to Him by faith and go to work to help others find Him too. Don’t even wait till you are saved! Start winning souls right now! Then joy will begin to come to your heart!

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6).

As I said, Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. But He didn’t stay dead. He arose physically from the dead on the third day. Then He ascended back up to Heaven, to sit at the right hand of God the Father. When you trust Jesus He will cleanse you from all sin, and give you eternal life.

If you have a question about what I have said this morning, we will be glad to sit down with you and answer you. Please leave your seat now and go to the back of the auditorium. If you are interested in becoming a real Christian, please go also, right now, to the back of the auditorium. Dr. Cagan will take you to a quiet place where we can talk and pray. Please stand and sing hymn number 7 on your song sheet.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
   Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
   While I am waiting, yielded and still.
(“Have Thine Own Way, Lord!” by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934).

Dr. Chan, please come and pray for those who responded.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Psalm 126:1-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Help Somebody Today” (by Carrie E. Breck, 1855-1934)/
“Here Am I” (chorus; by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).