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NEEDED – FIGHTING MEN!

(A FATHER’S DAY SERMON)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, June 15, 2014

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (I Timothy 4:1-2).


Today is Father’s Day. I am expected to preach something about being a good father. But I don’t feel God wants me to do that this morning. If I told you what to do to be a good father you probably wouldn’t get much out of it anyway. Most Father’s Day sermons are only little talks on morality. Mr. David Murrow has written a book titled, Why Men Hate Going to Church (David Murrow, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004). I think every preacher ought to read it. One of the things that makes men hate going to church, according to Mr. Murrow, is little moral sermonettes, telling them to be good boys – words to that effect. Men don’t want to be lectured about being good. Their mothers did that all through their childhood – and they learned to tune it out. I’m not saying their mothers were wrong to do some of that. It’s the natural way mothers teach their sons. But a grown man doesn’t learn that way. A man learns more by following the example of another man. If men are following Christ, I have found that they won’t go too far wrong on the details of life. So I want to make sure they are saved and following Him. Mr. Murrow said that men want to be challenged, to be enlisted in an army, to fight for God as a soldier of the cross! I think Mr. Murrow was exactly right! That’s what I preach, and that’s why we have a church full of men, men who are eager to “fight the good fight of faith [and] lay hold on eternal life” (I Timothy 6:12). There has never been a greater need for men like that in our churches. We are in a war – and we need fighting men – men who aren’t afraid to fight for God and for what is right in this doomed city, in this Satanically-controlled country of ours!

Unfortunately many church people don’t even know we are in a war! And they don’t know who the enemy is! Most pastors never tell them! I am going to do that this morning! Here we go! Listen to the text again,

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (I Timothy 4:1-2).

The Apostle Paul speaks here of the “latter times.” I believe that this refers to “the last days,” spoken of in II Timothy 3:1. I have been studying the Bible for over 55 years, and I am convinced that we are living in that period of time right now. We are living in “the latter times.” We are living in “the last days.” We are living near the Second Coming of Christ and the end of this world as we know it. And we are living in that period when all Hell seems to be breaking loose. Satan and his demons are marching through our streets, climbing into our houses, and destroying our way of life.

Even the President of the United States seems to understand that something is wrong. We had another shooting last Wednesday. A 15-year-old boy in Oregon went to school with a gun and opened fire. He shot and killed another boy, and wounded a teacher, before he allegedly shot himself. President Obama said,

It happens now once a week. Our levels of gun violence are off the charts...The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people....yet we kill each other in mass shootings that are [much higher] than any other place (Barack Obama, The Los Angeles Times, Wednesday, June 11, 2014).

Of course Obama’s answer is to get rid of guns. But I disagree. They could get rid of every gun in our country, but the violence would go right on. A few weeks ago a boy took a hunting knife and slashed 20 students at his school. If they got rid of hunting knives, they would kill each other with rocks or broken bottles – or light others on fire as they did some time ago here in Los Angeles. Cain killed his brother Abel long before guns were invented!

I think there is more to it than guns. I am totally convinced that Satan and his demon forces are behind this violence and insanity. And here is how we lost God’s protection and the violence started. We began to lose the protection of God when the Supreme Court said students in New York could no longer pray a simple prayer in school. In 1962 the Court said it was against the law for students to say,

Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country.

Then in 1963 the Court outlawed kindergarten children from saying this prayer before lunch,

We thank you for the flowers so sweet;
We thank you for the food we eat;
We thank you for the birds that sing;
We thank you for everything.

That poem didn’t even mention God, but the court said it might make them think about God! One dissenting judge disagreed, and said, “Thus we are asking the Court to prohibit, not only what these children are saying, but also what the children are thinking...which would have surprised the founding fathers.” That same year, 1963, the Court ruled that voluntary reading of the Bible in school was against the law. The Court relied on a psychologist who said that reading the Bible “could be, and had been psychologically harmful to [children].” Think of it! That so-called psychologist said that reading the Bible could be “psychologically harmful” to children! All this happened in 1962 and 63. That fall God took His protection away and President John F. Kennedy literally had his brains blown out in Dallas, Texas. America has been rocked and socked and torn by violence ever since! Every President has been judged since then. With one exception, Ronald Reagan, every other President has left office in shame and failure.

Everyone knows that our country is different from what it used to be. And our churches are also different. But most people don’t realize that the source of this difference is Satanic. Dr. Merrill F. Unger, a long-time professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, said,

The professing church of the twentieth century to an alarming extent refuses to recognize the existence of evil supernatural forces. This condition of unbelief can be attributed only to the low level of spiritual life and power in the church...blinded by [Satan] the prince of the power of the air to the revelation given in the Scriptures (Merrill F. Unger, Th.D., Ph.D., Biblical Demonology, Kregel Publications, 1994, p. 201).

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was for many years the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, England. He is considered to be one of the finest Evangelical preachers of the twentieth century. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said,

Demonic activity is on the increase. What is the reason? Well, I would say that primarily it is due to the lowered spirituality, the godlessness of the whole country...As godlessness increases, and the whole concept of God in the public mind diminishes, you would expect a corresponding increase in manifestations of the evil forces (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Healing and the Scriptures, Oliver-Belson Books, 1988, pp. 159-160).

Dr. Lloyd-Jones also said, “The devil is at his very cleverest when he persuades people that there is no devil.  [Thus] the Church is drugged and deluded; she is asleep, and not aware of the conflict at all” (Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Warfare, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1976, p. 106).

But we should not be “drugged and deluded” by Satan. We should be aware, with Luther, that

...though this world, with devils filled,
   Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
   His truth to triumph through us.
(“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” by Martin Luther, 1483-1546).

We are in a conflict, a war, with Satan and his demonic forces.

I. First, it is a fight for the faith once delivered to the saints!

The Apostle Jude said,

“...ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

The word “contend” means “to struggle,” to earnestly fight (Strong 1864). We are called to fight to preserve and proclaim the principles of the Christian faith given in the Scriptures. Dr. W. A. Criswell said, “The term [contend] is associated with strife and combat of a most vigorous and determined variety [for] the foundational tenets of the Christian faith...” (The Criswell Study Bible, note on Jude 3).

Dr. Criswell himself fought long and hard for the inerrancy of the Bible. His landmark book was called, Why I Preach That the Bible is Literally True: A Fervent Call that Asks Every Christian to Accept the Scriptures as the God-breathed Truth of Heaven (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., Broadman Press, 1969). I had a small part in the “Battle for the Bible” in the 1970s and 1980s. Our church gave $600 a month (no small sum in that time) to Dr. Bill Powell, to help him publish the “Southern Baptist Journal” – which exposed the false teachings in the six Southern Baptist seminaries, and which was mailed to every Southern Baptist pastor in America. My wife and I attended several of the national meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention to pass out Dr. Powell’s journal. Liberal delegates at the Pittsburgh Convention crumpled the journal and threw it in my wife’s face, and actually spit on her, though she was several months pregnant, and huge with child! This was our way of contending for the faith.

Since then, we have taken a strong stand against the Satanic doctrine of Ruckmanism, and the demonic movie “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Our church, all by ourselves, closed three abortion clinics in the Los Angeles area.

I am now 73 years old. But the Lord has called me to engage in one last battle – the battle against “Decisionism” – for real conversion – since our churches have been infiltrated with millions of unconverted people. We are also fighting for a return to the centrality and necessity of the eternal Blood of Christ, the only means of cleansing our sin in the eyes of a Holy God!

We know that the source of these false doctrines is demonic, for our text says,

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (I Timothy 4:1-2).

I am asking every man here this morning to join us in this battle with those “seducing spirits” – the demons themselves – who are doing their best to tear the heart out of the great doctrines of the Christian faith! You men – come and help us!

Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
   With the cross of Jesus Going on before:
Christ the royal Master Leads against the foe;
   Forward into battle, See His banners go.
Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
   With the cross of Jesus Going on before.
(“Onward, Christian Soldiers” by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924).

II. Second, it is a fight that is spiritual – and must be fought in prayer!

Please turn to Ephesians 6:10-12. Read it aloud,

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

This is a great passage of Scripture. It teaches us that we are not fighting against “flesh and blood.” Our warfare is against “the devil” and his demonic forces. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said,

We have the enemy located and identified. It is Satan who heads up his demonic forces. Now we need to recognize where the battle is. I think the church has largely lost sight of the spiritual battle (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, vol. V, pp. 279-280; note on Ephesians 6:12).

We are not really in a battle with Barack Obama, or with the self-destructing “Tea Party” Republicans. We are not really in a battle with the militant homosexuals or the militant Muslims. President George W. Bush thought we could liberate Iraq and set up a democracy by sending our troops over there. I knew it wouldn’t work. Now militant Islam is coming right back there. You see, Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama didn’t understand that it wasn’t a battle that could be won by our soldiers. It was, and is, a spiritual battle. Thousands are turning to Christ in those places. We must fight the demonic powers with prayer! Prayer will win battles that no American troops could ever win! Please drop down to Ephesians 6:18. Read it out loud,

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

You see, we recognize the true enemy in verses 11 and 12. We see the need to put on the whole armor of God in verses 13-17. But now we go to battle Satan and his demons in verse 18. PRAYER IS THE BATTLE!!!

I want every man here this morning to get a hold of the idea that prayer is not for sissies! The kind of prayer that the Apostle Paul is talking about is a battle – with Satan and his demon army! “Praying always with all prayer and supplication” is not for weak little wimps! Delicate, fragile, helpless, feeble little men would be shaken, and maybe even frightened, if they attended one of the three prayer meetings each week in our church. We follow the old Puritan example – only the men lead in prayer! The ladies support our prayers with their “Amens.” But the men pray – like I heard men pray in Dr. Paisley’s church in Northern Ireland. Those men knew how to come boldly to the throne of grace! We follow that example. We storm the gates of Heaven in our meetings of prayer. Come and join us if you have the God-given courage to fight with the Devil himself in prayer! Amen! We pray on Wednesday night at 7:00. We pray on Thursday night at 7:00. We pray on Saturday night at 6:00. Why so much prayer? Our church here in downtown Los Angeles wouldn’t last two months if we didn’t have an army of praying men! Come and join us!

Like a mighty army Moves the Church of God;
   Brothers, we are treading Where the saints have trod;
We are not divided, All one body we,
   One in hope and doctrine, One in charity.
Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
   With the cross of Jesus Going on before.

III. Third, you must be converted to join this battle!

At the beginning of World War II Churchill was the new Prime Minister. He went on the radio and told the people of Britain, “I have nothing to offer you but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” They followed him, and beat the guts out of Hitler and the Nazis!

I can say this morning that I have nothing to offer you but a long, hard fight with the powers of evil. It won’t be easy. Count the cost. You must examine your heart and life and repent of your sin. You must lay yourself at the feet of Jesus, and trust Him with all your heart. You must come into the church, and be here every time. You must surrender your life to Christ, and be washed clean from your sins by His Holy and everlasting Blood! The Bible says:

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:3).

Rise up, then! Take up the cross and follow Christ! Come and help us battle Satan in this great and wicked city!

Onward then, ye people, Join our happy throng,
   Blend with ours your voices In the triumph song;
Glory, laud and honor Unto Christ the King;
   This through countless ages Men and angels sing.
Onward Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
   With the cross of Jesus Going on before.

Stand with me and sing it! Sing that chorus!

You have to be saved from sin by Jesus to join His Army. You have to be cleansed from your sin by His Blood. If you are interested in being saved from your sins by Jesus, please walk to the back of the auditorium now. Dr. Cagan will take you to another room where we can talk. Go quickly. God, I pray that someone will trust Jesus and be saved this morning. In His name, Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: II Timothy 4:1-5.


THE OUTLINE OF

NEEDED – FIGHTING MEN!

(A FATHER’S DAY SERMON)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (I Timothy 4:1-2).

(I Timothy 6:12; II Timothy 3:1)

I.   First, it is a fight for the faith once delivered to the saints! Jude 3.

II.  Second, it is a fight that is spiritual – and must be fought in prayer!
Ephesians 6:10-12, 18.

III. Third, you must be converted to join this battle! II Timothy 2:3.