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WHERE GOD DRAWS SINNERS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, January 12, 2014


I received an e-mail from a highly respected professor of church history at a famous Christian university last week. He said, “I enjoyed listening to your sermon, ‘Christmas in Cyberspace!’ Not long ago, I bought up a supply of new and used copies [from Amazon] of [your book] A Puritan Speaks to Our Dying Nation. I give them to pastors and urge them to read it.”

That is a high compliment from a man who, for over forty years, has taught the history of Christianity to ministerial students!

Friends, this is a very unique website. These sermons go out in 28 languages to over 170 nations of the world. Did you know that a full one-third of this world doesn’t have a single missionary from the U.S.? They can’t get in to 1/3 of the world! But the Internet goes everywhere – even into Communist China, Cuba, Afghanistan, and Iran! These sermons go everywhere. And the native preachers in these closed countries print out my sermons in their own languages, and preach them to their people. They have very few other tools with which to prepare sermons. They use my sermons and are greatly blessed by doing so. Could you begin sending us $25.00 or $50.00 each month so we can add more languages? Listen at the end of this sermon, when I come back and you will hear how to send a monthly donation so we can add even more languages!

Now please turn to Jeremiah 31:3. 

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Martin Luther agreed with the King James Bible that the Hebrew verb “mâshak” meant “draw” or “pull.” The translators of the NASV render this Hebrew word as “pulled” in Jeremiah 38:13. We might translate the verse like this:

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I pulled thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

God loves you, therefore He pulls you!

“I drew (I pulled) them with cords of a man, with bands (or ropes) of love” (Hosea 11:4).

These verses refer to God “drawing” ancient Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land. They show us how God draws sinners out of a life of sin – into salvation in Christ Jesus!

It is quite clear from these verses in Hosea 11:4 and Jeremiah 31:3 that God “pulls” sinners somewhere, to save them. But these verses in Jeremiah and Hosea only imply where He pulls you. Elsewhere in the Bible, we are told explicitly where God draws us, when He saves us by His grace.

I. First, God draws you into the local church.

I came into the church when I was a teenager because someone brought me. I read a recent survey which showed that 82% of all people who come from the lost world into the church do so because they are brought by a friend. Only a tiny percentage of the remaining number come to church because they read a printed advertizement or tract. And that's the way I came to church. Someone took me to church and kept on taking me. A deacon in that church named Mr. Bean came to visit me when I missed. He encouraged me to come back. I can see Mr. Bean and his wife standing at the front door of my Aunt Myrtle's house now, in my memory. Thank God for this elderly man and woman. He was all dressed up in a dark blue suit and tie, and she had on a hat, all dressed up nicely, the way women used to dress for church when they were more civilized. And they came to visit a fifteen-year-old boy, to make sure I came back to church. I will never forget that as long as I live. Thank God for that old deacon and his wife!

God uses people like Mr. and Mrs. Bean to draw you to church. Dr. and Mrs. McGowan took me to church with their children when I was a small boy. I did not become a Christian until I was twenty years old, but I was drawn into the church through the work of Dr. and Mrs. McGowan. I was drawn back to church through that visit from Mr. and Mrs. Bean. The Bible says,

“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

Again, the Bible says:

“And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily” (Acts 16:5).

It is in the church that you hear the gospel of Christ and get saved. And 82% of all those who come to a church like this, where the gospel is preached, are brought there by someone. So, it is clear, from this poll, and from the Bible, that God almost always uses people to draw you to church!

Then, in the church, the gospel is preached. Paul told the church people who lived in the city of Corinth:

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you…For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:1-4).

Paul reminded the people in that church that he had “preached unto” them the gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ for their sins.

There are many liberal Bible-rejecting churches today – and many cults, and false religions. How can you tell which one is right? The answer is simple: do they tell you how to be saved from the penalty of sin by Christ’s death on the Cross! Do they repeat that over and over in all their sermons? In every service, we at this church tell you how to be saved. This is a gospel-preaching church, just like the churches spoken of in the New Testament, in Bible times.

God has put me here to preach to you how to be saved by Jesus Christ! God put Paul in the church at Corinth to “declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you” (I Corinthians 15:1). And God put me in this church to do the very same thing – to preach to you and tell you how you can get saved from sin by believing on Jesus.

Another reason God pulls you into the local church is so you can be exhorted and encouraged:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another” (Hebrews 10:25).

Some people say you can be a Christian without going to church. But they are wrong. You will not hear the gospel preached to you in a converting way unless you are in church. You will not be exhorted and encouraged in the Christian life if you are not in church. The Bible speaks of “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15). God has placed the truth in the New Testament church – so you have to be in church every Sunday to find the truth, to become a real Christian, and learn how to live the Christian life.

I did not learn how to live the Christian life in a school. I am a graduate of two colleges and three theological seminaries. But I did not learn how to live the Christian life in any of them. Virtually everything I know about prayer, preaching, and living the Christian life was learned in my local church, from my pastor and other Christian leaders in that church. I thank God that I had a faithful Chinese pastor who taught me how to live the Christian life! His name was Dr. Timothy Lin. I went to his ninetieth birthday. I preached a sermon at his funeral! My pastor taught me most of what I know, and I thank God for him. God said:

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

God has drawn you to this church this morning. I hope you will have enough sense to stay, like I did when I was a young man. Stay here and get saved! Stay here and learn the Bible! Stay here and learn how to live the Christian life!

One young man was coming along every Sunday to our church. He was listening to me preach and he was moving toward an awakened state. Then a girl-friend told him words to this effect, “One church is as good as another. Come with me to my church next Sunday.” He listened to her that Sunday. He wasn’t here, where he should have been, ever again! He went to a church that didn’t preach the gospel with her instead. Then I saw him a few nights later. You know what? He had lost all the awakening that he had. He was as asleep in sin as he was before he ever came here. You know why? Because they don't preach things in the girlfriend’s church to convert you – that’s why! Satan spoke through the mouth of that girl when she said, “One church is as good as another. Come with me to my church!”

God was drawing that young man into our church, but Satan pulled him the other way – out of the church – to hear a false gospel of salvation by human works – instead of the pure, Protestant, Bible message of conversion through faith in Christ alone. God said:

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn (or pulled) thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Do not resist God as He draws you to this church. Keep coming back with us to hear the true gospel and be saved. Do not resist or rebel against God as He seeks to draw you back here. Do not let Satan use some person, a friend or relative, to pull you away from this church, which is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15).

The Bible says, “So do these also resist the truth” (II Timothy 3:8). If those people could resist the truth, so can you. Stephen said, “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51). If those people to whom he spoke could resist the drawing of God, so can you. That’s a subject I don’t fully understand. So I just take the Bible at face value. Luther said we have the power to say “no,” but not the power to say “yes.” There are three or four young people who have been raised in this church who resist the drawing of God week after week. They come to this church, but they still resist God.

And you, too, may resist God as He draws you into this church. When one of the deacons or leaders of our church telephones you, you can say, “I’m not coming back.” Or, worse, you can have your mother or another family member take the phone and lie for you, saying that you aren't there. In this way you can resist God and refuse to come back to this church and hear how to be saved. God said:

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn (or pulled) thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

If you resist and rebel against the drawing of God, and don’t come back, you will probably never be saved. You will probably never become a real Christian.

II. Second, God draws you to Jesus Christ.

He draws you all the way into Christ and saves you.

“I drew (or pulled) them with cords of a man, with bands (or ropes) of love” (Hosea 11:4).

The act of believing in Jesus is extremely simple, yet it takes a great miracle of grace for it to happen to you. You have to be “pulled” to Christ or you will not believe in Him, even though it seems ridiculously easy to do so.

Jesus said, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). That is what it means to believe in Jesus. You just believe in Him the same way you already believe in God. And the same simple belief you already have in God, when you believe the same way in Jesus the Son of God, is all that is needed for you to be saved. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). I want you to believe in Jesus the same way you believe in God. “Ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1).

It seems ridiculously easy, almost laughably easy, doesn’t it? And yet almost all lost people cannot be persuaded to do it. They will stumble 100% of the time. Preachers who ask simple questions of those who come for salvation, preachers who ask those folks simple questions and then listen to the answers – those preachers will find out that I am right. The president of a famous Bible college recently told me he thinks only about one out of 100 who make professions get saved!

Someone said, “You make it so complicated.” What this person meant was that those “decisionists” will accept anything as a salvation experience. The so-called “convert” can believe anything he wants, and the preacher will accept him and call him “saved.” But God will not accept just any old thing. God insists that you do one thing: you must believe in Jesus (Acts 16:31). If you do anything else, you will not be saved. So, wise preachers will listen to see if people have done that one necessary thing. And preachers who have no such sense will protest when we insist, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Often such foolish preachers protest because they themselves have not done the one thing necessary – and so, they themselves are lost.

Oh, it seems so simple to believe in Jesus! Jesus said, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). And yet millions who think they are saved have not done this. They have not believed “on the Lord Jesus Christ.” They have done something else and are still lost (e.g. Matthew 7:21-23).

It takes the grace of God to draw someone to Jesus in simple faith. God draws people to Jesus through the gospel. The Bible says,

“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38).

If you pull back or shrink back when God is drawing you to Jesus, God will sooner or later give up on you, and it will then be too late for you to ever be saved. That is the unpardonable sin. Jesus said,

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

What does it mean to “come” to Him? It means to “believe” in Him. Three verses later, Jesus said:

“He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47).

But you cannot believe in Jesus unless God is drawing you (cf. John 6:44).

Simple faith in Jesus is impossible without God's drawing.

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

God loves you so very much that He has drawn you into the church. You have been drawn here either by God planning for you to be born here, so your mother brought you here in her womb. Or, some friend brought you here to church. God uses human beings to draw you into the church. He drew you here in the womb of your mother, or He drew you here through a person who phoned you and picked you up and brought you. Yes, every single one of us, including me, was drawn to church by God.

But now God is drawing you to Jesus, to salvation by simple trust in Him. “But if any man draw back [God says], my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38). You must trust Jesus now, while God is drawing you. Soon it will be too late! Oh, believe in Jesus now – while God is drawing you!

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

III. But, thirdly, God draws you into Heaven.

God first draws you to the local church. Secondly, God draws you to Jesus Christ, His Son. But, thirdly, God draws you up into Heaven. If you are a real Christian God will draw you up to Heaven! Jesus said:

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

The drawing of God brings you to Jesus. This same drawing of God will yank you out of the grave and pull you up to Heaven at the Rapture! God draws you into church. God draws you to Jesus. God draws you out of the grave and into Heaven!

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

Oh, what a great hope this is! We believe that God, who has drawn us this far, will also draw us all the way home – to Heaven! God will draw us into Heaven itself!

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

“Caught up…in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air!” (I Thessalonians 4:17). Caught up in the air!

“Therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee”
       (Jeremiah 31:3).

Drawn up in the air! Drawn up to Jesus! Drawn up into Heaven itself, forever!

“Therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee”
       (Jeremiah 31:3).

God has drawn you to this church. Don't resist Him. Come back every Sunday. God is drawing you to Jesus. Don't struggle against Him. Believe in Jesus. “Ye believe in God, believe also in me.” And God will draw you up into Heaven itself one day soon.

Oh, joy! oh, delight! should we go without dying,
No sickness, no sadness, no dread and no crying,
Caught up through the clouds with the Lord into glory,
When Jesus receives “His own.”
O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song,
Christ returneth! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen, Hallelujah! Amen.
   (“Christ Returneth” by H. L. Turner, 1878).

If you would like to speak with us about being saved, please leave your seat and go to the inquiry room now. Dr. Chan, please pray that someone will be converted this morning. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: John 6:37-44.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“The Master Hath Come” (by Sarah Doudney, 1841-1926).


THE OUTLINE OF

WHERE GOD DRAWS SINNERS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

I.   First, God draws you into the local church, Acts 2:47; 16:5;
I Corinthians 15:1-4; Hebrews 10:25; I Timothy 3:15;
II Timothy 3:8; Acts 7:51.

II.  Second, God draws you to Jesus Christ, Hosea 11:4; John 14:1;
Acts 16:31; Matthew 7:21-23; John 12:32; Hebrews 10:38;
John 6:44, 47.

III. Third, God draws you into Heaven, John 6:44;
I Thessalonians 4:16-17.