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THE GREAT DOCTRINES OF REVIVAL

(SERMON NUMBER 20 ON REVIVAL)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, September 6, 2015

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3, 4).


The Apostle Jude was the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ. He planned to write about salvation in general. But, as he started to write, the Holy Spirit led him to a different subject. He heard that certain men had brought false teaching into their church. So he changed the subject and told them to “earnestly contend for the faith.” He told them to defend the true teachings of the Bible. They should strongly contend – epagonizesthai – agonizingly defend the great doctrines of Christianity! Strongly defend the faith which was once for all given to them, not to be neglected, or added to, or subtracted from!

There has never been an age when those words were more important! We live in a time when the churches are dying in America and Europe. 88% of the young people leave the churches before the age of 30. Pastors have no idea how to get young people converted from the world. Dr. Carl F. H. Henry said something that took my breath away when I first read it.

Our generation is lost to the truth of God, to the reality of divine revelation, to the content of God’s will, to the power of His redemption, and to the authority of His Word. For this loss [we are] paying dearly in a swift relapse to paganism…Savages are stirring the dust of a decadent civilization and already slink in the shadows of a disabled church (Carl F. H. Henry, Th.D., Ph.D., “The Barbarians Are Coming,” Twilight of a Great Civilization: The Drift Toward Neo-Paganism, Crossway Books, 1988, pp. 15, 17).

For the past forty years I have tried everything I could think of to create a church where young people could find hope, in the middle of this crushing, hopeless, lonely garbage dump that we call a city. Our churches are dying and they can’t help most young people today – and you know I’m right! Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones spoke of “the terrible apostasy that has increasingly characterized the church for the last [150] years” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Revival, Crossway Books, 1987, p. 55).

I say to you, “Why be lonely? Come home – to church! Why be lost? Come home – to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” But most of you won’t hear me unless God sets this church on fire! Yes! On fire with a Holy Ghost revival! That’s what we want! That’s what we desperately need! A Holy Ghost revival – to set this church on fire for God!!! For that to happen, we must lay the foundation, we must “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). That faith is the foundation upon which we may experience revival.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones wrote the greatest modern book on revival. In it he said,

No revival has ever been known in the history of churches which deny or ignore certain essential truths. I regard this as an astoundingly important point. You have never heard of a revival in churches, so-called, which deny the cardinal, and fundamental articles of the Christian faith. For instance, you have never heard of a revival amongst the Unitarians, and you have never heard of it because there has never been one. That is a sheer fact of history (Lloyd-Jones, ibid., p. 35).

Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “Without a single exception it is the rediscovery of these cardinal doctrines that have led ultimately to revival...So I am urging that there are certain truths which are absolutely essential to revival. And while these truths are denied, or are neglected, or ignored, we have no right to expect the blessings of revival” (ibid., pp. 35, 36, 37). Dr. Lloyd-Jones then listed those great doctrines.

1. First, we must contend for the sovereignty of the living God, if we want revival.

He is the God who acts in the history of Christianity. No matter what false ideas people have, the Apostle Paul says, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure” (II Timothy 2:19). God’s solid foundation stands firm, no matter what happens in the world – no matter what people say about the Bible and about Christianity – “the foundation of God standeth sure.”

I was raised among unbelievers. Some of them were agnostics. Some of them were atheists. Some of them were following “new age” thought. Some of them were even spiritualists, who thought they could speak with the dead.

None of my relatives were Christians. But I had experienced God. So I knew that the God of the Bible was the only real God. I knew it then, and I know it now. He is the sovereign Lord, the only true God, the living God. We can pray to Him and He can do wonderful things! There can be no revival where the living God is not believed. How can we pray to Him if He is not the living God? Why should we pray to Him if He can’t come down and change things?

2. Second, we must contend for the Bible if we want revival.

The Bible is the revelation of the living God. God has revealed Himself to man through the Bible. There are many religions and cults and philosophies. How can we know what is true and what is false? Everyone has their own opinion. They have made up their own ideas about God. But they have no authority to do that. When I was young I listened to them and I realized they contradicted each other. They talked like experts, but they acted like fools. When I was quite young I remember thinking, “These people don’t know anything about God. They are just sharing their ignorance.” I decided, even before I was saved, that I would believe the words of the Bible – not the opinions of men. I memorized Psalm 119:130 as a young man,

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130).

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:103, 104).

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16, 17).

When you read the history of revivals you find that was the way people believed. There has never been a revival at any time in history among people who refused to believe the Bible word-for-word. There has never been a revival where people put their own opinions in place of the Bible. Why? Because the Bible is the Word of the living God. I have known people who only believed the parts they agreed with. But they were not good Christians. And they did not see miracles come in answer to their prayers. Unbelief in the Bible is one of the greatest reasons we do not see revival today.

3. Third, we must contend for man in sin, man ruined by sin, if we want revival.

The third great doctrine that has been ignored is that man is born in sin, that man is a sinner by nature, and is living under the wrath of God. Read the history of Christianity and you will see that in all the periods of deadness people did not believe they were born in sin. The total depravity of man in sin is a doctrine that always comes out again in times of revival. When God sends down a revival, you will see men and women groaning and crying, under conviction of sin. They experience what the Apostle Paul felt when he said,

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing... O wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:18, 24).

Only when a person sees he is full of sin and rebellion will he become disgusted with himself. Self-loathing is one of the things that is entirely missing from our churches. It is extremely rare for someone to be convicted of sin today. Our forefathers in the faith were convicted of sin so strongly they couldn’t sleep – and they cried out for mercy. Our Baptist forefather John Bunyan was like that for eighteen months before Jesus saved him. But you cannot have revival without people experiencing at least some of that. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “If you are not aware of the plague of your own heart, and the foulness of the nature that you have inherited from Adam; if you do not see your hopelessness, and your utter despair, before this holy, righteous God, who hates sin with the whole of his being, you have no right to talk about revival, or to pray for it. What revival reveals above everything else is the sovereignty of God, and the iniquity, the helplessness, the hopelessness of man in sin” (ibid., p. 42).

4. Fourth, we must contend for Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the Cross – and His atoning Blood, if we want revival.

It is a sad reality that there is more talk about Christ in a Catholic Mass than there is in most Baptist and evangelical churches today. Yes, I know their idea of the Mass is wrong. But I also know that we are wrong too. We are utterly wrong for not speaking more about Christ’s atoning work on the Cross. Many evangelicals think they can get forgiveness from God, without Christ, and His atonement for sin on the Cross.

Preachers like that wicked liberal Harry Emerson Fosdick, and that demon possessed liberal Bishop James Pike used to attack the virgin birth, the Blood atonement, and the physical resurrection of Christ. But they are more subtle today. Now they just leave Christ and His work out of their sermons altogether! They have just stopped preaching on Christ Himself. I am sure that is why a college girl at Rick Warren’s church, who said she had gone there all her life, could not say even one word! think of it – not one word – about Jesus Christ – when I asked her to let me hear her testimony. And she’s not the only one. When Baptists and evangelicals are asked to give their testimonies not one in 20 will glorify Christ. They will talk about themselves, what they think, what they feel. But very few – extremely few – will say more than a word or two about the Lord Jesus Christ. They haven’t heard much about Him in the sermons, so how can you expect these poor, lost evangelicals to say much if anything about Him in their testimonies! Dr. Michael Horton teaches systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California. Dr. Horton’s hard-hitting book is called Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (Baker Books, 2012 edition).

This horrible trend has shut the Lord Jesus Christ out of His own churches! This is very often true in our own independent Baptist churches. One of the reasons is that lots of our Baptist churches are now closed on Sunday night. So the pastor only has about 30 minutes a week to preach to his people. So he spends all his time teaching unsaved church members how to live the “Christian life,” usually by dry-as-dust, verse-by-verse so-called “expository” sermons. At the end he just asks for a show of hands for those who want to be saved. No need to preach the Gospel of Christ, His Blood atonement, and His resurrection. People don’t need it now. All they have to do is fill out a card, raise their hand, mumble a few words they don’t understand (a so-called sinner’s prayer) and then they are baptized. Thus tens of thousands of our kids are baptized lost, without ever hearing a real Gospel sermon about the Lord Jesus Christ – and we wonder why there has been no revival for over 150 years! How could there possibly be a revival in the “Christless Christianity” of our churches? That’s one of the reasons I tell people on YouTube and on our website every week not to go to a church that doesn’t have a Sunday evening service! As Lot told his wife, “Leave and don’t look back!”

Young people, you have got to turn to Christ, and be washed clean by the precious Blood He shed on the Cross, to save you from sin, and the wrath of God! Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “Revival, above everything else, is a glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (ibid., p. 47).

Furthermore, Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “You will find in every period of revival, without exception, there has been a tremendous emphasis on the blood of Christ” (ibid., p. 48). My associate Dr. Cagan attended Dr. John MacArthur’s church for over a year – every Sunday. I myself have tape recordings of Dr. MacArthur. We both know that Dr. MacArthur downgrades the Blood of Christ, and also changes “blood” to “death” over and over in his teachings. Why does he do that? Simple! He is a modern preacher who isn’t really interested in old-fashioned revival. But Dr. Lloyd-Jones was right when he said, “The very nerve, and centre, and heart of the Christian gospel is this: ‘Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood’ (Romans 3:25). ‘In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins’ (Ephesians 1:7)” (ibid., p. 48). Again, Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “I see no hope for revival when men and women are denying the blood of the cross, and pouring scorn upon that in which we should make our boast” (ibid., p. 49). In revival, there is always a great emphasis on the Blood of Jesus in the preaching, and in the hymns. Listen to some of them that were written in times of great revival,

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed?
   And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
   For such a worm as I?
(“Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed?” by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

There is a fountain filled with blood
   Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
   Lose all their guilty stains.
(“There Is a Fountain” by William Cowper, 1731-1800).

He ever lives above, For me to intercede;
   His all-redeeming love, His precious blood to plead,
His blood atoned for all our race, And sprinkles now the throne of grace,
   And sprinkles now the throne of grace.
(“Arise! My Soul, Arise!” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

The Cross and the Blood of Christ always come into great prominence in times of revival – as Dr. Lloyd-Jones said.

5. Fifth, we must contend for the convicting and converting work of the Holy Spirit, if we want revival.

The work of the Holy Spirit is what energizes and applies all the other doctrines. What does the Spirit do? He makes God real to us by illumination. He opens our spiritual eyes to see the truth in the Bible and receive it. He convicts us of sin, so we will feel the need for Jesus’ Blood to cleanse us! “When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin” (John 16:8). Then He draws you to Jesus, makes you trust Jesus when you are cleansed from all sin by Jesus’ Blood. Jesus said, “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive [what is mine and make it known to you]” (John 16:14).

My dear friends, we are praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our church – because we desire to see lost people in our midst come under conviction of sin and be drawn to Jesus for cleansing by His Blood. But they are slaves of sin, and cannot break out of the prison house and come to Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit can break open the prison where they are locked up in sin. Only the Holy Spirit can make them disgusted by their own sinful hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can draw them to Jesus for salvation by His Blood, and by His Cross!

You must come back to church here to learn more about becoming a real Christian. Do it! Do it! Please stand and sing hymn number 3, “There is Power in the Blood.”

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
   There’s power in the blood, power in the blood.
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
   There’s wonderful power in the blood.
There is power, power, wonder-working power
   In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder-working power
   In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be washed from your sin and your pride?
   There’s power in the blood, power in the blood.
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
   There’s wonderful power in the blood.
There is power, power, wonder-working power
   In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.
(“There is Power in the Blood” by Lewis E. Jones, 1865-1936).

Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer.

If this sermon blessed you Dr. Hymers would like to hear from you. WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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Prayer Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Revive Thy Work, O Lord” (by Albert Midlane, 1825-1909).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE GREAT DOCTRINES OF REVIVAL

(SERMON NUMBER 20 ON REVIVAL)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3, 4).

1.  First, we must contend for the sovereignty of the living God if we
want revival, II Timothy 2:19.

2.  Second, we must contend for the Bible if we want revival,
Psalm 119:130, 103, 104; II Timothy 3:16, 17.

3.  Third, we must contend for man in sin, man ruined by sin if we
want revival, Romans 7:18, 24.

4.  Fourth, we must contend for Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the Cross
– and His atoning Blood if we want revival, Romans 3:25;
Ephesians 1:7.

5.  Fifth, we must contend for the convicting and converting work of
the Holy Spirit if we want revival, John 16:8, 14.