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JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, April 12, 2015


This is a great day for my wife Ileana and me. Both of our birthdays are being celebrated today. This very day, April 12, is my seventy-fourth birthday. Today is also the fifty-seventh anniversary of my call to the ministry in 1958. But, most of all, this is a great day for our church. Exactly forty years ago I started this church with just six or seven young people in my apartment, on the corner of Westwood and Wilshire Boulevard, a few blocks from UCLA, the great university in West Los Angeles. Only two people are still here, Mr. John Cook and myself. By the grace of God, John and I are here this morning – forty years later. May Jesus Christ be praised!

This church has come through forty years of trials. As the children of Israel spent forty years in the wilderness, so this church has gone through many hardships, many troubles, and much adversity. I will say more about that tonight. But here we are, a great Gospel preaching church in the civic center of downtown Los Angeles. And we know, that through all of our tribulations, God has been with us and has given us a great victory to celebrate today, on the fortieth anniversary of our church! May Jesus Christ be praised!

Pastor Roger Hoffman spoke in our prayer service last night. He will speak again tonight in our anniversary celebration. But Pastor Hoffman declined when I asked him to preach this morning. He said, “Dr. Hymers, I want to hear you preach on Sunday morning.” Then, while praying about what I should say, I was led to repeat a sermon which I gave in another Baptist church in August, 2010. Please turn with me to the book of Ephesians, chapter two. It’s on page 1251 in the Scofield Study Bible. Stand as I read Ephesians 2:19, 20.

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:19, 20).

You may be seated.

Here in these verses the Apostle Paul tells us that the church is the household of God. Then he tells us that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, but Jesus Christ Himself is the “chief corner stone.” Dr. J. Vernon McGee said this means “that Christ is the rock on which the church is built” (Thru the Bible, Volume V, Thomas Nelson, p. 241; note on Ephesians 2:20). Dr. A. T. Robertson said, “akrogōniais...the primary foundation stone” (Word Pictures, Broadman, 1931; note on Ephesians 2:20). Jesus Christ Himself is the foundation of all our work, and all our lives. “Jesus Christ himself” is the very foundation of our church. I am lifting out those words from the end of Ephesians 2:20 as our text this morning.

“Jesus Christ himself” (Ephesians 2:20).

Jesus Christ Himself is the subject of this sermon. The Christian faith contains nothing so wonderful as Jesus Christ Himself. There never was and never will be anyone else like Jesus Christ. He is absolutely unique in human history. Jesus Christ Himself is the God-man. Jesus Christ Himself came down from Heaven and lived among men. Jesus Christ Himself suffered, bled and died for our sins. Jesus Christ Himself rose physically from the dead for our justification. Jesus Christ Himself ascended back to the right hand of God to intercede for us in prayer. And Jesus Christ Himself will come again to set up His Kingdom on earth for one thousand years. That is Jesus Christ Himself! Stand and sing that chorus!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!
(“Jesus Only, Let Me See” by Dr. Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986).

You may be seated.

The subject of Jesus Christ Himself is so deep, so vast, and so important that we could never explain it all in one sermon. We can only touch on a few points this morning concerning Jesus Christ Himself.

I. First, Jesus Christ Himself is despised and rejected by the human race.

The evangelistic prophet Isaiah made that clear when he said,

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

Dr. Torrey said, “The failure to [have] faith in Jesus Christ is not a misfortune, it is a sin, a grievous sin, an appalling sin, a damning sin” (R. A. Torrey, D.D., How to Work for Christ, Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d., p. 431). The prophet Isaiah described the sin of despising and rejecting Christ, the inward depravity that causes lost people to hide their faces from Christ. The greatest proof of man’s total depravity is that they think so little about Jesus Christ Himself. The greatest proof that lost mankind deserves eternal punishment in the lake of fire is that they deliberately and habitually hide their faces from Him.

In an unconverted state men despise Jesus Christ Himself. In their state of total depravity, they do not esteem Jesus Christ Himself. Until you are pricked in your conscience, until you feel convicted of your sin, until you feel that your heart is dead toward God, you will continue to despise and reject Jesus Christ Himself.

In our church we see that happen in the inquiry room, after the sermons. We hear people tell about many things. They talk about Bible verses. They talk about “realizing” this thing or that thing. They tell us about what they felt and what they did. They usually end by saying, “Then I came to Jesus.” That’s all! They can’t say one more word about Jesus! They have nothing to say about Jesus Christ Himself! How could they possibly be saved?

Great Spurgeon said, “There is a wretched tendency among men to leave Christ himself out of the gospel” (C. H. Spurgeon, Around the Wicket Gate, Pilgrim Publications, 1992 reprint, p. 24).

Knowing the plan of salvation cannot save you! Learning more of the Bible cannot save you! Hearing more sermons cannot save you! Feeling sorrow for your sins cannot save you! It didn’t save Judas, did it? Dedicating your life cannot save you! Your tears cannot save you! Nothing can help you unless you are led to stop despising and rejecting Jesus Christ – unless you are moved to stop hiding your face from Him – unless you are drawn to Jesus Christ Himself! Sing it again!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

You may be seated.

II. Second, Jesus Christ Himself is the central theme of the whole Bible.

Is it unreasonable for us to tell you that Jesus Christ Himself must be central in your thinking? No, it is not unreasonable. Why, think of it, Jesus Christ Himself is the great theme of the whole Bible – from Genesis to Revelation! After Christ rose from the dead He met two disciples walking toward Emmaus. What He said to them applies also today.

“Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).

From the five books of Moses, and throughout the rest of the Bible, Christ explained to them “in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” What could be plainer? The main theme of the entire Bible is Jesus Christ Himself! Since Jesus Christ Himself is the main subject of the Bible, is it not reasonable for you to make Jesus Christ Himself the main subject of your thoughts and of your life? I say to you, think deeply this morning about Jesus Christ Himself! Sing it!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

I believe that knowing Jesus Christ Himself, in a real conversion, is the most important thing that can ever happen to you. If you truly trust Jesus Christ Himself you will need very little counselling. I believe that a true knowledge of Jesus Christ would do away with the need of 90% of all Christian counselling! When a person knows Christ, in a real conversion, he will find that Christ,

“...is made unto [him] wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (I Corinthians 1:30).

If we got rid of “decisionism” in our churches, if we made sure people were truly converted to Christ, it would do away with the need for 90% of the counselling done in the churches today! Let Jesus Christ Himself be the counsellor! Sing it!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

III. Third, Jesus Christ Himself is the essence, the central element, the very heart of the Gospel.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of Jesus Christ Himself as the heart of the Gospel,

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The vicarious, atoning death of Christ, in thy place, paying the price and suffering the wrath of God in thy place – that is the heart of the Gospel! It is Jesus Christ Himself receiving thy sins upon Himself in the darkness of Gethsemane. It is Jesus Christ Himself in that Garden, who said,

“My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death” (Mark 14:34).

It is Jesus Christ Himself who,

“being in an agony…sweat…as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

It is Jesus Christ Himself who was arrested there in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is Jesus Christ Himself who was dragged before the Sanhedrin, beaten in the face, mocked and shamed. They spit in the face of Jesus Christ Himself! They pulled swatches of hair out of the beard of Jesus Christ Himself. It was Jesus Christ Himself who was taken before Pontius Pilate, beaten across the back with a Roman scourge, crowned with thorns, Blood dripping down His forehead into the blessed face of Jesus Christ Himself, His face beaten beyond recognition,

“His visage…marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14).

“And with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

It is Jesus Christ Himself who was taken from Pilate’s court, dragging His Cross to the place of execution. It was Jesus Christ Himself who was nailed to that cursed wood. It was Jesus Christ Himself who suffered not only the pain of the nails driven through His hands and feet – but who suffered a far greater pain when God “laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus Christ Himself “bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (I Peter 2:24). Dr. Watts said,

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
   Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
   Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
(“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748).

Stand and sing it! Now sing our chorus!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

You may be seated.

IV. Fourth, Jesus Christ Himself is the only source of eternal joy.

They took Jesus’ dead body down from the Cross and buried it in a sealed tomb. But the third day, He rose physically from the dead! Then he came to the Disciples and said, “Peace be unto you” (John 20:19).

“And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20).

“Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20). Jesus Christ Himself gave them joy “when they saw the Lord.” You can never know deep peace, and the joy of the Lord, until you know Jesus Christ Himself!

Oh, I tell you this morning – I can remember the very moment when I trusted Jesus Christ Himself! What a holy experience! I rushed to Him! Or, rather, it seems that He rushed to me. I was washed clean from sin by His precious Blood! I was made alive by the Son of God! Sing that chorus!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

You may be seated.

Come to Jesus Christ Himself! Do not leave the Saviour out of your life. Do not leave Him out of your testimony. Do not commit what Spurgeon called that “wretched tendency…to leave Christ himself out of the gospel.” No! No! Come now to Jesus Christ Himself. Listen carefully to these words as I sing them.

Just as I am, without one plea,
   But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
(“Just As I Am” by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871).

Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. Jesus shed His holy Blood to cleanse you from all sin. Come to Jesus. Trust Him and He will save you from all sin. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Isaiah 53:1-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“When Morning Gilds the Skies” (translated from the German
by Edward Caswall, 1814-1878).


THE OUTLINE OF

JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Jesus Christ himself” (Ephesians 2:20).

I.   First, Jesus Christ Himself is despised and rejected by the human race,
Isaiah 53:3.

II.  Second, Jesus Christ Himself is the central theme of the whole Bible,
Luke 24:25-27; I Corinthians 1:30.

III. Third, Jesus Christ Himself is the essence, the central element, the
very heart of the Gospel, Isaiah 53:6; Mark 14:34; Luke 22:44;
Isaiah 52:14; 53:5; I Peter 2:24.

IV. Fourth, Jesus Christ Himself is the only source of eternal joy,
John 20:19, 20.