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THE TWO REASONS WHY THE CHURCHES IN AMERICA
AND THE WEST DON’T EXPERIENCE REVIVAL NOW

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, September 25, 2016


This evening I am going to speak on the two main reasons the churches in America and the Western world do not have revival. By “revival” I mean the classical revivals that we read about in the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. I am not referring to the so-called “revivals” of the New Evangelicals and Pentecostals in the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century, in which we live.

Please turn in your Bible to II Timothy 3:1 (it’s on page 1280 of the Scofield Study Bible). I want you to read with me the first 7 verses of that chapter.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:1-7).

Now read verse 13.

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Timothy 3:13).

These verses tell us about the great apostasy in the churches of “the last days” (3:1). Verses 2 to 4 describe the apostate condition of most so-called “Christians” in our time. Verse 5 gives the reason why these false “Christians” are so wicked and rebellious,

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof”
       (II Timothy 3:5).

Before I explain that verse, I will give you some of what Dr. J. Vernon McGee said about this passage. Concerning “the last days” of verse 1 Dr. McGee said, “‘The last days’ is a technical term used... [to] speak of the last days of the church.” Concerning verses 1 to 4 Dr. McGee said, “We have nineteen different descriptions given...It is an ugly [group]...They present the best scriptural picture of what is happening [in] the last days of the church” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, notes on II Timothy, chapter 3). Then Dr. McGee explained verse 5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof...” Dr. McGee said, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof! They go through the rituals of religion but lack life and reality” (ibid.). These so-called “Christians” have “a form of godliness” – that is, they have the outward form, but deny the power thereof. This means they have never been truly converted by the power of God and the Blood of Christ. This explains why verse 7 is true of the vast majority of evangelicals today. They are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” There are some people like that here tonight!

They can study the Bible for decades, but are never converted. Dr. Charles C. Ryrie said it means, “They [are] never able to come to a saving knowledge of Christ” (Ryrie Study Bible; note on verse 7). Millions of evangelicals are in that condition today. They are unconverted, natural men. I Corinthians 2:14 describes them, “The natural [unconverted] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God... neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Now I will give you two reasons why there has been no major revival in America and the West for over 140 years.

I. First, there has been no major revival for over 140 years because we virtually baptize only lost people!

Millions of evangelicals have never been converted because they have been deceived by the “decisionism” brought into the churches by Charles G. Finney. His teachings have come down to the churches so strongly that millions think they are saved because they “made a decision,” prayed the words of a “sinner’s prayer,” or believed a verse in the Bible. But they have not been converted through the work of the Holy Spirit. The first work of the Spirit of God is to bring the sinner under conviction of sin. John 16:8, 9 says, “When he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove [convict] the world of sin... Of sin, because they believe not on me.” Unless a lost person is deeply convicted of his sin, he will never see his true need of Christ, His sacrifice on the Cross, and his need for cleansing in Christ’s Blood. Many times we see people who say they want to be saved, but since they have not been convicted of their sin, they are never able to trust Christ.

The second work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ. Jesus said, “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine [take what is mine], and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:14), or as Jesus said in John 15:26, the Holy Spirit “shall testify of me.” After undergoing conviction of sin, the Holy Spirit then, and only then, shows the sinner that Jesus alone can forgive his sin. The final work of conversion is God drawing the sinner to Christ. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him...” (John 6:44). The person who says, “How do I come to Christ?” has not understood that he must first be convicted of sin, and then see Christ as his only hope for salvation from sin, and then be drawn to Christ. The entire work of salvation lies in the power of God. The disciples asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered, “With men it is impossible, but not with God” (Mark 10:26, 27).

In classical Protestant conversions, the first thing that happens is deep conviction of sin which leads the sinner to despair of saving himself. Then the sinner sees Christ as his only hope, and comes to Christ, as God draws him to the Saviour. Of course all of this is rejected by modern “decisionism.” Today all that is needed is to say the words of a prayer, or walk down an aisle. The work of God in the soul of man is completely rejected. That is the first reason we have no revival.

John Cagan is a young man in our church who intends to go into the ministry. He was converted at the age of 15. I am giving his whole testimony here for two reasons. First, because it is a perfect “old school” conversion of the kind that happened before Finney changed conversion into a mere decision, the kind we desperately need today. And, second, because one college student who resisted Christ for over two years was converted last Saturday after hearing me read it. I know of very few testimonies that actually convert anyone. Here is John Cagan’s salvation testimony.

      I can remember the moment of my conversion so vividly and intimately that words seem so small compared to how great the difference Christ made. Before my conversion I was full of anger and hatred. I took pride in my sins and I enjoyed causing people pain, and associated myself with those who hated God; to me sin was not some “mistake” to be regretted. I had intentionally set myself on this way. God began to work on me in ways I could have never anticipated as my world began to quickly crumble around me. Those weeks prior to my conversion felt like dying: I did not sleep, I could not smile, I could not find any form of peace. Our church was having evangelistic meetings and I can clearly remember scoffing at them as I would completely disrespect my pastor and my father.
      The Holy Spirit began to very definitely convict me of my sin in that time, but with my entire will I rejected all the thoughts I had about God and conversion. I refused to think about it, yet I could not stop feeling so tormented. By the Sunday morning of June 21st, 2009, I was thoroughly exhausted. I was so tired of it all. I began to hate myself, to hate my sin and how it made me feel.
      While Dr. Hymers was preaching, my pride was trying desperately to reject it, to not listen, but as he preached I could literally feel all my sin on my soul. I was counting down the seconds till the sermon would be over, but the pastor kept preaching, and my sins became endlessly worse and worse. I could no longer kick against the pricks, I had to be saved! Even as the invitation was given I resisted, but I just could not take it anymore. I knew that I was the very worst possible sinner I could be and that God was righteous to condemn me to Hell. I was so tired of struggling, I was so tired of everything I was. The pastor counseled me, and told me to come to Christ, but I would not. Even as all my sin convicted me I still would not have Jesus. These moments were the worst of all as I felt as if I could not be saved and I would just have to go to Hell. I was “trying” to get saved, I was “trying” to trust Christ and I couldn’t, I just could not will myself to Christ, I could not decide to become a Christian, and it made me feel so hopeless. I could feel my sin pushing me down into Hell yet I could feel my stubbornness forcing my tears away. I was stuck in this conflict.
      Suddenly the words of a sermon preached years before entered my mind: “Yield to Christ! Yield to Christ!” The thought that I would have to give up to Jesus so distressed me that for what seemed like forever I simply would not. Jesus had given His life for me. The real Jesus went to be crucified for me when I was His enemy and I would not yield to Him. This thought broke me; I had to let all of it go. I just could not hold onto myself any longer, I had to have Jesus! In that moment I yielded to Him and came to Jesus by faith. In that moment it seemed as if I had to let myself die, and then Christ gave me life! There was no action or will of my mind but with my heart, with a simple resting in Christ, He saved me! He washed my sin away in His Blood! In that single moment, I stopped resisting Christ. It was so clear that all I had to do was trust Him; I can recognize the exact instant when it ceased to be me and it was only Christ. I had to yield! In that moment there was no physical feeling or blinding light, I did not need a feeling, I had Christ! Yet in trusting Christ it felt as if my sin was lifted off my soul. I turned from my sin, and I looked to Jesus alone! Jesus saved me.
      How Jesus must have loved me to forgive the least deserving sinner who had grown up in a good church and still turned against Him! Words seem to fall so short of the description of my conversion and in expression of my love for Christ. Christ gave His life for me and for this I give my all to Him. Jesus sacrificed His throne for a cross for me even as I spit on His church and mocked His salvation; how can I ever sufficiently proclaim His love and mercy? Jesus took my hate and anger away and gave me love instead. He gave me more than just a new start – He gave me a new life. It is only by faith that I know that Jesus has washed all my sins away, and I find myself wondering how do I know in my lack of concrete evidence, but I always remind myself that “faith is the substance of things not seen” and I find peace knowing that after careful thought my faith rests on Jesus. Jesus is my only answer.
      I am so thankful for the grace God gave me, the many chances he extended to me, and for so forcefully drawing me to His Son because I would have never come to Jesus on my own. These are just words, but my faith rests in Jesus, for He has changed me. He has always been there, my Deliverer, my Rest, and my Saviour. My love for Him seems so small compared to how much He loved me. I can never live for Him long enough or sincerely enough, I can never do too much for Christ. Serving Jesus is my joy! He gave me life and peace after all I had known was how to hate. Jesus is my ambition and direction. I do not trust myself, but put my hope in Him alone, for He has never failed me. Christ came to me, and for this I will not leave Him.

Those are the words of John Samuel Cagan’s conversion at the age of 15. Now he plans to go into the ministry. What happened to John Cagan is what happens in a real conversion! God must do for you what He did for John!

Most preachers today would have immediately had him say a prayer, then baptized him – and made him one of the millions of lost people in our churches! The first reason we have no revival today is that preachers won’t let God work in the sinner’s heart. They snatch the sinner away from God’s work and baptize him lost! I believe that nearly all baptisms today are baptisms of lost people. That is the first reason we have no revival! Virtually everyone is pronounced saved and baptized without a real conversion! I confess that I myself used to commit that sin. God, forgive me. Why else has God withheld revival from us for over 140 years? Why else? Well, there is one more reason!

II. Second, there has been no revival for 140 years because we emphasize the Holy Spirit rather than Christians confessing their sins and being cleansed by the Blood of Jesus.

This was something I already knew. But it has become far clearer to me recently. I have been an eye-witness to three revivals. The first one was by far the most powerful – and it did not depend on the “Baptism” of the Spirit, tongues, healings, or miracles. It depended completely on Christians confessing their sins and being cleansed anew by the Blood of Christ.

In our churches today, people who are truly converted still hold onto sins – sins of the heart, sins of the mind, sins of the flesh. In the first revival I saw, nearly the whole church confessed their sins to God at the altar, and wept bitter tears until God gave them peace through the Blood of Jesus. The Apostle John said,

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

And how does God cleanse the sins of Christians? “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

First, confession of all sins, inward and outward. Second, the cleansing of our sins by the Blood of Jesus. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet how many churches emphasize that today? I don’t know of any that do. And that is the second reason we have had no revival for 140 years!

Listen to the words of Brian Edwards, who has done a great deal of study on the subject of real revival. He said,

Revival...begins with a terrible conviction of sin. It is often the form that this conviction of sin takes that troubles those who read of revival. Sometimes the experience is crushing. People weep uncontrollably, and worse! But there is no such thing as a [real] revival without tears of conviction and sorrow (Edwards, Revival, Evangelical Press, 2004, p. 115).

There is no revival without deep, uncomfortable and humbling conviction of sin (Edwards, ibid., p. 116).

The first revival I saw began with a few Christians crying and confessing their sins. Soon the entire church was filled for hours with people weeping, confessing their sins, and some soft sighing. That was all. No tongues. No fillings of the Spirit. No healings. No slayings in the Spirit. Just confessions, weeping, prayers, and soft singing. It went on for hours.

Then it would stop for a day or two – but then the Spirit would come again – again and again at intervals for over three years. By the time the revival ended over 3,000 people had been added to the church, a church that started with less than 150 people. And they had to have four services, instead of one, every Sunday morning, plus two more services on Sunday night.

But I do not believe we should pray for revival just to get more people into our churches. The real motive should be to have a clean church! We have to have a clean church!

We have had our huge crusades. We have had our Christian TV shows. We have had our healing services. We have seen churches have tongues and other experiences. But we have not had a classical, historic revival in America for over 140 years! We have been sidetracked by these other things. We have not let the Holy Spirit convict us Christians of our sins. We have not cried out to Jesus to cleanse us anew with His precious, sacred Blood!

We have had a “touch” of revival in our church. In about 4 nights of meetings 11 people were converted, checked twice by Dr. Cagan, who is an expert. And all 11 of them he said were converted. We also had about 8 Christians who confessed their sins and prayed with tears each night. We have never had meetings like that in 41 years, since our church started.

But then I sinned. Dr. Cagan told me not to call it a “sin.” But I think I did sin. I became proud, proud that we had revival! The revival had just started really. But I stopped preaching on conviction and the Blood of Jesus. I turned the meeting over to someone else, and the emphasis turned away from Jesus to the Holy Spirit. I should have remembered that Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “He shall testify of me” (John 15:26). I should never have let someone else come in and preach on the Holy Spirit. Those were my sins. The sin of pride and the sin of presumption. And I confess them before you tonight. My sin of pride and my sin of presumption. Please, everyone, pray that God will forgive me for neglecting Jesus and confession (they pray). Now please pray that God will come back to us, as He did in the first revival I saw. Pray for God’s presence to come back to us. Please pray with tears, as they do in China (they pray). Please stand and sing, “Hallelujah, What a Saviour.” Now sing “Spirit of the Living God.” Now sing “Search Me, O God.” Now sing the first and last stanzas of “Fill All My Vision.” Miss Nguyen, please pray for God to come down again. There are so many here who are still lost and backslidden. Pray for God to come down for them.

Those who want to pray for the revival to come back to you, stand and pray for God to come down again. Pray like they do in China. Those who want to confess their sins, come down to the altar. Those who want to be cleansed by the Blood of Jesus, come down here and confess your sins. Those who want Jesus to save them, come on too. A Southern Baptist layman who attended our church for 25 years as a lost man, came and trusted Jesus in a true conversion experience. Amen.


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. Aaron Yancy: II Timothy 3:1-5.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: “Farther Along”
      (by W. B. Stevens, 1862-1940; arranged and altered by Barney E. Warren, 1867-1951).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE TWO REASONS WHY THE CHURCHES IN AMERICA
AND THE WEST DON’T EXPERIENCE REVIVAL NOW

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:1-7).

(II Timothy 3:13, 5; I Corinthians 2:14)

I.   First, there has been no major revival for over 140 years because we virtually
baptize only lost people! John 16:8, 9, 14; 15:26; 6:44; Mark 10:26, 27.

II.  Second, there has been no revival for 140 years because we emphasize the
Holy Spirit rather than Christians confessing their sins and being cleansed
by the Blood of Jesus, I John 1:9, 7; John 15:26.