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A TRUE SIGN OF REAL CONVERSION

(SERMON NUMBER 7 ON REVIVAL)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, September 14, 2014

“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:4-5).


Dr. Peter Masters has been the pastor of Spurgeon’s Tabernacle in London since 1970. For 44 years he has preached the Gospel there, and his church has been a strong witness for Christ throughout the world. Dr. Masters wrote a book titled, Seven Certain Signs of True Conversion (Sword and Trowel, 2009 edition). I was going to give the seven signs that he said will appear in a person who is truly converted. But I decided to give only the first point.

Real conversions occurred to about 3,000 people on the Day of Pentecost. It was the first revival in the history of Christianity.

Dr. Joel Hawes, a famous New England pastor of the early 19th century, gave a good definition of revival. He said,

The theory of revivals is very simple. It is only the increase, and the extension to a number of sinners at the same time, of that influence of the Holy Spirit, which is employed in the conversion of each individual sinner... (Joel Hawes, D.D., quoted in Lectures on Revivals of Religion by Dr. William B. Sprague, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2007 edition, p. 290).

I completely agree with that statement. What happens to one sinner in an individual conversion happens to a number of sinners in a God-sent revival. Therefore Dr. Masters’ use of the Pentecost revival to show signs of conversion is correct. Here is Dr. Masters’ first, and most important, point on what happens in a real conversion: conviction of sin, and pardon by the Blood of Christ. At Pentecost, Peter said,

“God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

The first sign of grace in this passage is the conviction of sin. They were “pricked in their heart” – or “cut to the heart” as the Greek text puts it. Conversions occur when the Spirit of God creates strong feelings, making the convert deeply concerned about his sin, and strongly seeking to be pardoned. Not everyone feels the depths of shame and grief that Bunyan, Whitefield and Spurgeon felt. But there must be some sense of sin and sorrow or no real conversion will take place.

Someone recently asked me if I went through conviction of sin the way Whitefield did. I thought about that for a while. Then I realized that my experience was, in many ways, very similar to his. I went for months under such grief and pain that I was, at last, willing to do almost anything to get rid of my sin in the sight of a holy God. Then I heard Charles Wesley’s (1707-1788) hymn, “Amazing love! how can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me.” God showed me the love of Christ, dying in my place, to pardon my sin, and cleanse it with His Blood! In a moment I trusted Christ! I went home singing, “Amazing love! how can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!”

But conviction by itself is not a sign of conversion. Oh, no! It is conviction of sin followed by faith in Christ’s atoning Blood! Conviction that is swallowed up by Christ! Conviction that is drowned in His precious Blood! That is what happens in a real conversion! When that happens to you, it will change your life! Christ will no longer seem like a judge. Oh, no! You will shout with Count Zinzendorf, leader of the Moravian missionaries, who said,

Christians are God’s people, begotten of His Spirit, obedient to Him, enkindled by His fire; His blood is their glory!

His Blood is their glory! His Blood is their glory! His Blood is their glory!

In the cross, in the cross,
   Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
   Rest beyond the river!
(“Near the Cross” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

Sing it!

In the cross, in the cross,
   Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
   Rest beyond the river!

Count Zinzendorf said,

The blood of Christ is not only the sovereign remedy for sin; it is also the main nourishment of the Christian life.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
   Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
   With its shadows o’er me.

Sing it!

In the cross, in the cross,
   Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
   Rest beyond the river!

That’s the mark of a real conversion – conviction of sin and salvation by the Blood of the Cross of Christ! Number 6 on your song sheet! Sing it!

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
   What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow;
   No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see, Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
   For my cleansing, this my plea, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow;
   No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone, Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
   Naught of good that I have done, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow;
   No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace, Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
   This is all my righteousness, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow;
   No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(“Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899).

That’s the first sign of a real conversion – conviction of sin and cleansing by Christ’s Blood! Let him that boasts, boast of the Blood of Christ! Let him that glorieth, glory in the Cross! Let him that witnesses, witness about

“...Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:24-25).

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9).

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
   Now ransomed from sin and a new work begun,
Sing praise to the Father and praise to the Son,
   Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
Saved! Saved! My sins are all pardoned, my guilt is all gone!
Saved! Saved! I am saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
    (“Saved by the Blood” by S. J. Henderson, 1902).

Thy work alone, O Christ,
   Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,
   Can give me peace within.
(“Not What These Hands Have Done” by Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889).

That is the first sign of a real conversion – conviction of sin and peace by the Blood! Old Moody used to say,

Ruined by the Fall,
Redeemed by the Blood!

Redeemed, redeemed,
   Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
   His child, and forever, I am!
(“Redeemed” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

Sing it!

Redeemed, redeemed,
   Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
   His child, and forever, I am!

I’m sorry! Dr. Masters gave seven signs of true conversion! But I can’t get past the first one! Sing it!

Redeemed, redeemed,
   Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
   His child, and forever, I am!

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,

You will find that in every period of revival, without exception, there has been a tremendous emphasis on the blood of Christ...I know perfectly well when I say things like that I am saying something that is unusual and highly unpopular at the present time. There are Christian preachers who think they are being clever in pouring ridicule upon this theology of blood. They dismiss it with scorn...Of course they [do] that. And that is why the Church is as she is. But in periods of revival [churches] glory in the cross, [they] make their boast in the blood...Because as the author of the epistle to the Hebrews puts it, there is only one way in which we can enter with boldness into the holiest [place] of all, and that is by the blood of Jesus (see Hebrews 10:19). This is the thing that the Holy [Spirit] honours...The centre, and the heart, of the Christian gospel is this, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:25)...I see no hope for revival while men and women are denying the blood of the cross (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Revival, Crossway Books, 1987, pp. 48, 49).

Long ago, a Moravian missionary told what an old Indian chief in America said after he was converted. The old Indian chief said,

      A preacher once came to us, desiring to [teach] us, and began by proving to us that there was a God. We said to him, “Do you think we are ignorant of that? Go away!” Another preacher came and told us, “You must not steal, nor drink liquor, nor lie.” We answered him, “Do you think we don’t know that? Go and tell your own people that. The white men are greater drunkards, thieves and liars than we are.” So we sent him away also. Later, one of the Moravian missionaries came to me in my hut, and sat down by me. He said to me, “I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven and Earth. He wants me to tell you that He will save you, and rescue you from your miserable condition. To save you He became a man, and shed His Blood to cleanse you from sin.” Then the missionary laid down in my hut and went to sleep, because he was very tired from his long journey. I thought within myself, “What kind of man is this? There he lies and sleeps so sweetly. I might kill him and throw his body out into the forest. Who would know or care? But he is concerned about my soul.” I could not get his words out of my mind. When I went to sleep I dreamed of the Blood which Christ had shed for me. I thought, “This is a new message, very strange to us.” I went and told the other Indians the words of the missionary. Then, by the grace of God, the revival among us took place. I tell you missionaries, “Brethren, preach Christ to the heathen, Christ, and His Blood and death for their sins, if you wish to produce a blessing among them” (Adapted from John Greenfield, When the Spirit Came: The Moravian Revival, Strategic Press, n.d., pp. 36, 37).

Near the end of his life, at over 90 years old, the Apostle John started to write the Book of Revelation. He began by speaking of Christ and said,

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

The Apostle John had been a Christian for more than 70 years – yet he thought so much about the love of Jesus, and the importance of His Blood, which He shed on the Cross to save us, that this was the first thing he spoke about when he started to write the Book of Revelation.

The old Indian chief dreamed about the Blood of Jesus. The old Apostle John thought about the blood of Jesus for more than 70 years. Oh, may you be convicted of your sin, and then trust Jesus and be washed from your sins “in his own blood.” You will be saved the moment you trust Jesus and are cleansed from all your sin by the Blood He shed on the Cross! That is the true sign of a real conversion! Then you will be able to sing with a loud voice,

Saved! Saved! My sins are all pardoned, my guilt is all gone!
Saved! Saved! I am saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer. 

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Acts 2:37-38.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Saved by the Blood” (by S. J. Henderson, 1902)/
“Not What These Hands Have Done” (by Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889).