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ON SEEKING AND FINDING CHRIST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, August 11, 2013

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


It has been said that Arminians often pray like Calvinists. Of course I am speaking of old-time Calvinists. It means that Arminians, who attribute salvation to man, nevertheless pray for God to do it. We hear Arminians pray, “O God, please save my brother!” And so, Christians who are Arminians pray as though they were Calvinists! This seeming riddle is easily explained to those with a spiritual mind. The Bible 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).

Man works out his own salvation, but he only does this as God works in him – and moves him to do so. Keep those two verses in mind. Then you will see that there is no conflict in the Bible. Our text says,

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

But the Bible also says,

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

Which one is true? Man’s logic says that both cannot be true. Yet in light of those verses in Philippians we see that both are indeed true. There is really no paradox here. There is really no conflict. And this is borne out again and again as we do evangelism and counsel people in the inquiry room. No lost person seeks after God on his own. In fifty-five years of ministry, I have never met anyone outside of church who was seeking God. Not one! But when God begins to draw people, they seek Jesus with all their hearts and find Him! Here are three thoughts on seeking and finding Christ, that pertain to our text.

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

I. First, those whom God is drawing are the ones who will seek for Jesus and find Him.

“...for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

In today’s apostasy it is common for people to say that anyone can be saved at any time. All the lost person has to do is say the words of a “sinner’s prayer” and they are saved. All they have to do is “come forward” or say that prayer, or do both. Thus salvation is a purely human event. God isn’t required at all. This is actually a repetition of the ancient heresy of Pelagianism. To those Pelagian heretics, man saves himself by a physical response to the Gospel. It shouldn’t take very much spiritual insight to see that this is utterly false. May God open your eyes to this false teaching of modern "decisionism"!

The Rich Young Ruler turned away from Jesus and went back to his selfish life of sin. Jesus told the Disciples how “hard” it is for such people “to enter into the kingdom of God.” The Disciples said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus said, “With men it is impossible” (Mark 10:24, 26, 27). I whittled it down to bring out those key words.

(1) It is “hard” to “enter into the kingdom of God.”

(2) “Who then can be saved?”

(3) “With men it is impossible” (Mark 10:24-27).

Then Jesus said, “but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Hold that in your mind. Then think of Romans 3:11, “There is none that seeketh after God.” Then think of our text,

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

I am trying to get you to move away from the Pelagian heresy of “decisionism” which has filled our churches with lost people by the tens of thousands. Looking at the verses in Mark 10, and Romans 3:11, and Jeremiah 29:13, we come to this great truth – Lost people cannot and will not seek Christ savingly unless God awakens them and draws them to the Saviour. 


(1) “Who then can be saved?” (Mark 10:26).
 

(2) “With men it is impossible” (Mark 10:27).

(3) “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”
                               (Philippians 2:13).

Someone may say, “That is hyper-Calvinism.” But they are wrong. It isn’t really Calvinism per se; and it certainly isn’t “hyper-Calvinism.” People throw that term around without knowing what it means in the history of theology. “Hyper-Calvinism” refers only to those who think we don’t have to go out and bring in the lost, because God will bring them in “without your help or mine” – as a true hyper-Calvinist told William Carey (who himself was a five-point Calvinist, but not a hyper-Calvinist). But you don’t have to be a Calvinist of any kind to see what I am getting at. Dr. A. W. Tozer was not a Calvinist at all. Yet he was a serious Bible student, so he said,

      Do you realize that your faith is a gift from God? You should look upon your faith as a miracle. It is the ability God gives lost men and women to trust and obey our Saviour and Lord... (A. W. Tozer, D.D., Jesus, the Author of Our Faith, Christian Publications, 1988, p. 3).

Only those who have been given this miracle and this gift will find Jesus and be saved. All others will be left on their own, and will not find Christ. When He says, “Ye shall seek me and find me,” He is only speaking to those to whom He gives saving faith. He is not speaking to anyone else when He says,

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

That promise is only for those who are given the gift of saving faith. They, and they alone, are the ones to whom this promise is given. All others will stumble around for a while and, sooner or later, leave the church – or, at best, only attend occasionally, as “nominal,” unsaved members.

Those whom God is working on are the ones who will seek and find Christ. And they are the only ones who will truly seek and truly find Him! That’s why Jesus said,

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…” (John 6:44).

When anyone comes to Jesus, it is always by God’s grace alone.

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
   That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
   Was blind, but now I see.
(“Amazing Grace” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

II. Second, those whom God is not drawing will not find Jesus.

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

That promise says, “Ye shall seek me, and find me.” To whom does that “ye” refer? As I said this morning, “Ye shall…find me” refers only to those who “search for [Him] with all your heart.” Who, then, are those that have no part in this promise? They are those who do not “search for him with all [their] heart.”

Those who think they can continue in some sin they love will not find Jesus. Jesus said,

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Those who love “darkness rather than light” will not come to Jesus. Spurgeon said, “Presumption upon the mercy of God is the reason why so many wrap themselves up in the garments of carnal security, and put far from them the evil day. God deliver you from this great evil!” (C. H. Spurgeon, “A Second Word to Seekers,” MTP, number 1,313, p. 514).

Then, too, those who give up in despair will not find Jesus. Spurgeon said, “Come, poor soul, the Lord will receive thee, whosoever thou mayest be. If with thy whole heart thou dost consent at once to trust the Lord Jesus, he will receive thee. Yea, he will show thee how to trust, he will give thee faith…[you will] find the mercy which our text declares…if you seek [Jesus] with all your heart” (ibid., p. 515).

Then, too, those who look at the bad example of false Christians will not find Jesus. Spurgeon said, “I am afraid that some people have been kept from whole-hearted seeking by the conduct of Christian professors. Let me urge you never to take your [example] from those who profess to be his followers, for some are a [worthless] sort [of example]. Let them be as bad as they may, what is that to you? You have your own soul to [think about]; and you have to seek Christ with all the more earnestness…Their hearts are lukewarm at the best and therefore they never boil with warm and loving expressions” (ibid., pp. 515, 516). Do not follow their bad example!

Those who think they can continue in some heinous sin will not find Jesus. Those who give up in despair will not find Jesus. Those who follow the example of false Christians will not find Jesus.

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

III. Third, who, then, will find Jesus?

Again, I must quote our text,

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

You must seek Christ with your whole heart! We are often startled by how quickly some new people seek Christ and find Him! But those who are half-hearted can remain lost for a long time. Once again, great Spurgeon said,

      There must be whole-heartedness in your seeking, because that which you seek is a wholehearted thing. Hear how true Christians pray. Do they pray with half their hearts? Nay, for one sayeth, “With my whole heart have I sought thee” [Psalm 119:10]…They pray with wrestling Jacob, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” [Genesis 32:26]. Prayer is the vital breath of a Christian, and if he cannot pray without wholeheartedness, then it is clear that to have spiritual life, you, O seeker, must give your whole heart to it (ibid., pp. 512, 513).

You say, “Must I be as bold in prayer and earnestness as Mr. Lee and Mr. Prudhomme? Must I pray with the zeal of John Cagan or Anthony Kim?” Yes! Yes, that might help you! It will certainly not do you any harm to seek for Jesus with great zeal! You are not getting anywhere the way you are! I have even heard young girls, and very timid people, pray with holy abandon when they were truly converted! I have heard children pray with such vigor that it brought floods of tears to my eyes! The reason we don’t hear more little children pray that way is because very few children are truly converted in these days of apostasy. Lack of such zealous prayer is the reason behind what pollster George Barna tells us – that we lose 88% of the children in church before they are thirty years old. That is truly horrible and truly pathetic! If more of our children were truly converted we would hear them pray with the vigor of Mr. Bebout, or Timothy Chan, or Noah Song.

You may say, “But we are so young! Young people can’t pray with that much vigor!” Are you kidding? Listen to you when you are outside playing. Do you have any trouble speaking out there? None! None whatever! You will blow out someone’s eardrums when you are playing. Why? Because those games are very important to you! But prayers are not important to you! You will pray till you sweat when God is drawing you to Christ! I have heard much strong praying and weeping in times of real revival! But don’t just take my word for it. Read about it in the Book of Acts!

“They lifted up their voice to God with one accord” in prayer
       (Acts 4:24).

They "lifted up" their voices. That refers to strong, enthusiastic prayer!  

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

That’s the kind of boldness in prayer and testimony we will see from you when you are truly converted!

One preacher said to a young man, “Don’t be so loud! Don’t preach at God!” Was he right? No, he was dead wrong! In the Book of Acts, “they lifted up their voice to God.” If anybody did that in many of our churches, it would make the carnal members put their fingers in their ears! Carnal people like that only take their fingers out of their ears and cry out with enthusiasm at a basketball game or a football game. Those are the things they are enthusiastic about! But a truly born again Christian will delight in strong prayer, and in vigorous preaching – like they have in the churches in China, India, Africa, and Southeast Asia. God have mercy on our second-rate, lifeless churches in America and the West! We are far below the standard of the churches in the Third World – and the churches in the Book of Acts!

Let young people be set on fire by God and they will find Jesus very quickly! Those who drag along, and won’t sing or pray with enthusiasm, will be vomited out of the Lord’s mouth when He comes in judgment! Christ said,

“Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

You will not be saved unless you are very enthusiastic about finding Christ! Only when you search for Christ with all your heart will you be saved!

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

Enthusiasm! Enthusiasm! Enthusiasm! In the First Great Awakening they called the old-time Methodists “enthusiasts” because they prayed and sang and witnessed and preached at the top of their lungs! I wish to God we had more Baptists like that in our churches today!

No wonder you don’t find Christ! You come to church like a dead Episcopalian and expect to find Christ! Nonsense! You must seek Christ wholeheartedly and cast yourself upon Him. Then you will go home from church shouting “Hallelujah! I’m saved!” Away with your dead, dry, Episcopalian and modern Baptist religion! Away with it from the face of the earth!

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

May you shout with Jacob, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32:26). Was Jesus mad at him? No! He answered his prayer and saved his soul, when he cried out and trusted the pre-incarnate Christ with holy boldness!

There must not be any shouting when you go to the inquiry room! Oh, no, you must never shout or weep! You must never weep or pray out loud for your salvation like John Cagan and Timothy Chan did! Who told you that? The Devil told you that! That’s who! The Devil! You got that advice from the Devil. And what good has it done you? You are as lost as you were the first time you went to the inquiry room! Your way hasn’t done you any good at all!

Are you looking for a feeling? You’ll never get one with the cold, dead way you go to the inquiry room! You might very well get a holy feeling if you wept and cried out like Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists did in olden times! They pleaded with strong crying to Him who is able to save the soul from sin and death! That’s what you need! Strong searching! Strong praying! Strong tears! Strong shouting! Strong rejoicing!

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

If you go to the inquiry room the same way you always have, you will not get saved. If someone goes the way I have told you to go, with strong crying and prayer, that person may well get saved tonight! Cry out with Jacob, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me" (Genesis 32:26).

Why not now? Why not now?
   Why not come to Jesus now?
Why not now? Why not now?
   Why not come to Jesus now?
(“Why Not Now?” by Daniel W. Whittle, 1840-1901).

Go to the inquiry room and cry out with Jacob, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Go with that strong desire for Jesus, and you will find Him.

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

Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. He rose from the dead to give you eternal life. If you want Jesus to pardon your sin, and cleanse you with His Blood, go to the inquiry room and cry out to Jesus for salvation. Go right now to the back of the auditorium. Dr. Cagan will take you to the inquiry room. Dr. Chan, please pray for the salvation of someone who responded. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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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 Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Mark 10:23-27.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Why Not Now?” (by Daniel W. Whittle, 1840-1901).


THE OUTLINE OF

ON SEEKING AND FINDING CHRIST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

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

(Philippians 2:12, 13; Romans 3:11)

I.   First, those whom God is drawing are the ones who will seek for
Jesus and find Him, Philippians 2:13; Mark 10:24, 26, 27;
Romans 3:11; John 6:44.

II.  Second, those whom God is not drawing will not find Jesus,
John 3:19.

III. Third, who, then, will find Jesus? Psalm 119:10; Genesis
32:26; Acts 4:24, 31; Revelation 3:16.