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THE CLEANSING BLOOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, October 4, 2015

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
(I John 1:7).


John was only a teenager when Jesus called him to be a Disciple. But he was a wonderful young man. His closeness to Jesus can be seen in the Garden of Gethsemane. When Jesus went deeper into the darkness He left the other Disciples at the edge of the Garden. He took only John and two others with Him, as He “began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch” (Mark 14:33, 34).

When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, the other Disciples forsook Him and fled. But John trudged along the road to Calvary the next morning, following Jesus as He carried His Cross to the place of crucifixion. While the others were hiding in fear, this boy was the only one who protected Christ’s mother, as she watched her Son die on the Cross. Thus John was the only Disciple who saw Jesus die that day. The rest were hiding, with the door locked.

Jesus looked down from the Cross at John and His mother. He told John to take care of her. He heard Jesus say, “I thirst.” He heard Jesus say “It is finished” as He died on the Cross. But even then John could not pull himself away from the crucified Saviour. John watched as one of the soldiers with a spear pierced the side of Christ. “And [immediately] came there out blood and water” (John 19:34). Later he wrote this down carefully, “that ye might believe” (John 19:35).

When my mother died I got Ileana and the boys in the car and went to the hospital as quickly as possible. I took a couple of steps into her room and saw, for a second, that her poor, broken body was already inside a see-through plastic bag. Mother was always very shy about letting anyone see her undressed. When I saw her feet through the plastic bag I pushed the boys back into the hall. But that split-second look at her feet was imprinted on my brain forever. That was eighteen years ago. I can see it in my mind as though it happened yesterday.

And that’s the way it was with John. He saw the spear pierce Jesus’ side. He saw the Blood gush forth from the wound. He could never forget it. Sixty years later, as a very old man, the last living Disciple, John was still thinking about the Blood of Jesus he had seen that day. With the trembling hand of an elderly man, he scratched the words on a sheet of parchment, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). Why was the Blood of Jesus so important to John?

I. First, it is the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

It wasn’t just anyone’s blood, you know. Dr. W. A. Criswell, for nearly sixty years the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, said,

He was God manifest in the flesh. There is not a more significant verse from Paul than his words to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:28, “Take heed unto yourselves, and to... the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” There the statement is blatantly, flagrantly, rudely, crudely stated, according to some [like John MacArthur], that it was the blood of God that was shed on the cross. Truly it was God in the flesh who was led by the Spirit to make the sacrifice for our atonement...mightily therefore, does the blood of Christ...purge our consciences from dead works to serve the living God...The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself to God, purges us, cleanses us, washes us, makes us whole. (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., “The Blood of Jesus,” The Compassionate Christ, Crescendo Book Publications, 1976, p. 72).

MacArthur said, of Acts 20:28, “Paul believed so strongly in the unity of the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ that he could speak of Christ’s death as shedding the blood of God – who has no body and hence no blood” (The MacArthur Study Bible; note on Acts 20:28). Thus, Dr. MacArthur said in effect that Paul was wrong, that God has “no blood.” That is a dangerous statement, because it seems to undermine the doctrine of the Trinity. We reject MacArthur’s statement. We stand with Paul and Dr. Criswell, who said, “It was the blood of God that was shed on the cross” (ibid.).

II. Second, it is the Blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from sin.

The Apostle John said,

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

Dr. McGee said, “The word cleanseth is in the present tense – Christ’s blood just keeps on cleansing us from all sin” (Thru the Bible; note on I John 1:7). That means the Blood of Jesus still exists today. The present tense of “cleanseth” shows us that even now, in the present, Christ’s Blood is available to cleanse us. MacArthur does not believe that. He said, “Christ’s own physical blood, in itself, does not cleanse from sin” (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Hebrews, p. 237). That is a lie!

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth [present tense] us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,

Our gospel is the gospel of blood; blood is the foundation; without it there is nothing (The Way of Reconciliation, Ephesians 2, Banner of Truth Trust, p. 240).

Again, Dr. Lloyd-Jones said,

The ultimate test of whether a man is truly preaching the gospel or not, is to notice the emphasis he places upon ‘the blood.’ It is not enough to talk about the cross and the death; the test is ‘the blood’ (ibid., p. 331).

Dr. C. L. Cagan is the associate pastor of our church. Before Dr. Cagan was converted he attended John MacArthur’s church, every Sunday for about a year. Dr. Cagan said, “I sat under his preaching before I was converted. He was my pastor. He taught me the Bible...I can still remember a great deal of it in detail to this day. However, I was not converted under his preaching...Dr. MacArthur’s Lordship form of decisionism came through to me as salvation by works...I believe that we must be clear on the Blood of Christ in our evangelistic preaching...if we want to preach great gospel sermons that God can use to convert many souls” (Preaching to a Dying Nation, The Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles, 1999, pp. 183, 184).

I completely agree with Dr. Lloyd-Jones that “It is not enough to talk about the cross and the death [of Christ]...The ultimate test of whether a man is truly preaching the gospel or not, is to notice the emphasis he places upon ‘the blood.’” Amen! I’m glad Dr. Lloyd-Jones said that! I have been preaching the Gospel for nearly 58 years. I know by experience that lost sinners need to hear that Jesus can cleanse them from all sin with His Blood. They will not be saved, as a rule, by sermons on Hell, or sermons on Bible prophecy – these may be OK at the beginning, but when we “get down to business” – the business of conversion itself – we must preach sermons on the Blood of the Saviour.

Sermons on the Blood are not just for lost people. I sometimes think, “O God! How could I live a day without the Blood of Thy Son!” Nothing cheers my heart, in times of sadness, like the Blood of Jesus Christ! It is my meat and drink in times of sorrow and depression.

I praise Him for the cleansing blood,
   What a wonderful Saviour!
That reconciled my soul to God;
   What a wonderful Saviour!
What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Jesus!
   What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Lord!

I hadn’t sung that old song for many years, but it came to me in the night! I sang it and sang it, until my heart was filled with joy! Sing it with me! It’s number 7 on your song sheet.

I praise Him for the cleansing blood,
   What a wonderful Saviour!
That reconciled my soul to God;
   What a wonderful Saviour!
What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Jesus!
   What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Lord!
(“What a Wonderful Saviour!” by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839-1929).

I looked for that song in my hymnals and couldn’t find it. Then I dug out my old copy of the Baptist Hymnal from 50 years ago, the hymnal we used at the First Chinese Baptist Church. There it was! It was like seeing an old friend after many long years. Tears came into my eyes as I sang it. Sing it slowly now!

I praise Him for the cleansing blood,
   What a wonderful Saviour!
That reconciled my soul to God;
   What a wonderful Saviour!
What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Jesus!
   What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Lord!

I am told by so-called “experts” that I must preach “expository” sermons from a long string of Bible verses! But I cannot listen to the “experts!” Maybe I should, but I can’t! I have to suck the marrow out of the bone of one verse – or one part of a verse – as our forefathers did, the Puritans and the great evangelists who followed them – like Whitefield, and Wesley, and John Cennick, Daniel Rowland, and Howell Harris – God bless him! – and Joseph Parker, and Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers. Like them, I must preach from one or two verses – or just a part of one verse. I cannot let my preaching wander from one subject to another. I want the meat, and I want the marrow in the bones! That’s what nourishes my soul – and yours! The marrow in the bones!

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

The Devil comes and whispers to me, “They won’t think you are a great preacher if you do that.” I fling my answer back at him – “What do I care if they think I’m a ‘great preacher’ or not? I care nothing at all for that.” My aim and my desire, my glory and my delight, is to see one lost sinner come to the fountain, and be washed clean from all sin by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ.

I know two Baptist preachers who are lost men. Their lives show they have never been regenerated, never converted, never saved. I know the first one reads many of my sermons. I saw the second lost preacher at the “viewing” of the body of a Chinese pastor, a dear friend of many years. After I had viewed his body I stepped out of the room. I came face to face with this lost preacher. I have known him for many years. The poor man lost everything by indulging his untamed passions. I shook hands with him. I asked about his health. Then I said, “I would like you to read my sermons on the Internet.” He smiled and said, “Are you kidding? I read them on your website every week!” My heart leaped for joy! The poor man has been my friend for half a century! I must not fail him! I must not fail you! I must not even think about being a “great preacher.” I must not fail him! I must not fail you! I must tell lost sinners far and wide,

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

I praise Him for the cleansing blood,
   What a wonderful Saviour!
That reconciled my soul to God;
   What a wonderful Saviour!
What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Jesus!
   What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Lord!

I know what it feels like to be lost! I even know what it feels like to be a lost preacher – because I was a lost preacher for three years, from the time I “surrendered to preach” at 17 until I was saved at 20. It’s a horrible feeling to be lost like that. It’s like Hell on earth to be lost, shut out of the gates of communion with God, never sure, never certain, always fearful of doom, always condemning yourself! Oh, dear friend, give me a phone call. I will not excommunicate thy soul – nor will I turn from thee away. Call me and I will do my best to show you another way, the way of reconciliation – the way of cleansing and new life – the way of the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God! I missed that way for three years. You may have missed it more than that. Why wait longer? You know you do not have the Blood of Christ. Now, come and bathe in it. The prophet said to Naaman the leper, “Dip seven times in the Jordan River and you will be clean” (cf. II Kings 5:10, 14). And I say to you tonight, “Dip one time in the Blood of Jesus, and you will be clean forever more!

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

I praise Him for the cleansing blood,
   What a wonderful Saviour!
That reconciled my soul to God;
   What a wonderful Saviour!
What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Jesus!
   What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Lord!

John Sung was a brilliant young Chinese man who came to America to study. But he felt he was a failure. He had failed to be what his father wanted him to be. He had failed with the girl he met at the seminary. He had failed to find peace. He was tormented by guilt. He was in a fierce spiritual conflict. Then, one evening in February, he saw the sins of his life spread out before him. At first it seemed that there was no way to get rid of them and that he must go to Hell. He tried to forget his sins, but he couldn’t. They pierced his very heart. He went to his trunk and dug out his Bible. He turned to the crucifixion of Jesus in Luke, chapter 23. The scene of Jesus dying on the Cross for his sin was so intense that he seemed to be there at the foot of the Cross, pleading to be washed clean from his sin by the precious Blood. He continued to weep and pray until midnight. Then he heard a voice in his heart say, “Son, thy sins are forgiven.” All the load of sin seemed to fall at once from his shoulders. A feeling of intense relief came over him and he leaped to his feet and shouted “Hallelujah!” He rushed out into the halls of the dormitory shouting and praising God for deliverance (adapted from A Biography of John Sung by Leslie T. Lyall, China Inland Mission Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1965 reprint, pp. 33, 34). He went on to become the greatest evangelistic preacher China has ever known!

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

I plead with you tonight to come to Jesus. Put away all your doubts and fears. Come to the Saviour. Be washed clean by His precious Blood. Amen. 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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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Luke 23:39-47.
Solo Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“What a Wonderful Saviour!” (by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839-1929).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE CLEANSING BLOOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
(I John 1:7).

(Mark 14:33, 34; John 19:34, 35)

I.   First, it is the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Acts 20:28.

II.  Second, it is the Blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from sin,
I John 1:7.