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CHRISTMAS IN HELL – 2016

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, December 18, 2016


I asked myself if I should preach this sermon, “Christmas in Hell.” Satan said, “Oh, no! That’s not a good subject to give at Christmas. It’s too harsh.” As soon as he said that I knew I was being tempted to give in to the weak evangelicalism that we all encounter. We already lean toward their weakness and it needs to be preached out of us. Rooted out, or we will not be able to be the warriors God wants us to be. We will be too timid and weak to conquer the Philistines of evangelicalism in our time.

I will not let Satan make us afraid to preach on Hell at Christmas time or any other time. Hell is there all through the year. Why not preach on it at Christmas time? Therefore, I am giving you my classical sermon, “Christmas in Hell.” I have preached this sermon many times for the last thirty-two years. Many of the feminized little preachers we have today have told me not to preach it. But if you don’t preach about Hell at Christmas, then what is the meaning of Christmas? Christmas has no meaning unless there is a fiery Hell awaiting lost sinners. The baby Jesus was not born in Bethlehem to give us Christmas trees and twinkly lights. He was born in Bethlehem to die on a cross, to die so sinners could be saved from Hell fire for all eternity. So that sinners could be washed clean from their sins with His Holy Blood! When you take Hell out of Christmas it becomes nothing but a pagan holiday. Therefore this morning I will preach my classical sermon, “Christmas in Hell.” It is the last sermon I preached at the Chinese church before they turned away from the teachings of Dr. Timothy Lin and began their long slide into the weak, insipid, Sunday-morning-only Laodiceanism they espouse today. This sermon was rejected by the two young preachers Dr. Lin left in charge. They despised this sermon even though 27 young people came forward with tears in their eyes. Even though I spent two hours counseling them, with many hopeful conversions. Those preachers were wrong then and they are wrong now, and the church is no longer the church that Dr. Lin built. It is not the same church that he built because the men who preach there are cowards, scared little men, men with no guts, no muscles, no fire in their bones, and no real message from God. They preach to please the old ladies who pay the bills. They do not preach to save young people from an eternity in Hell.

I consider “Christmas in Hell” to be one of the best old-time sermons I have ever preached. So I’m going to give it to you straight! With no chaser! My text is Luke 16:25. It’s on page 1099 of the Scofield Study Bible.  Stand and look at the first two words of Luke 16:25.

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

You may be seated.

The rich man died and was buried. His soul immediately went down into the flames of Hell, “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:23). The rich man saw Abraham “far off” in Heaven. He begged for a little water to “cool [his] tongue; for [he was] tormented in [the] flame” (Luke 16:24). Abraham spoke to him,

“Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (Luke 16:25).

The Lord Jesus Christ gave this account. He gave it to warn lost sinners about Hell.

Spurgeon was the greatest Baptist preacher of all time. Spurgeon said that men in the days after his death would be afraid to preach on Hell. William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army as it once was. Both of these great preachers of the 19th century predicted that there would be no preaching on Hell in the 20th century. They were right – and it is even worse today! Booth was asked what he thought was the danger ahead in the twentieth century. He said, “heaven without hell” (The War Cry, January 1901, p. 7). Booth’s prediction came true. Today preaching on Hell is almost unheard of. But it should not be so. Dr. J. I. Packer is a famous theologian.  He said,

Christian evangelists ought to [speak] on hell: it is part of their job…According to Jesus and the apostles, personal life goes on after physical death, and the prospect for those without Christ in the world to come is as bad and terrifying as it could possibly be, and everyone needs to be told so (J. I. Packer, Ph.D., foreword to Whatever Happened to Hell? by John Blanchard, D.D., Evangelical Press, 2005 edition, p. 9).

I am an old man. I will not be here too long. Those who preach after I am dead may be afraid to preach on Hell. They may believe that you can save sinners by teaching them with sweet words. You had better listen to this old preacher while I am still here!

The only criticism I have is that Dr. Packer assigns preaching on Hell to “Christian evangelists” alone. But the Apostle Paul said that pastors must also, “do the work of an evangelist” (II Timothy 4:5). Pastors also “ought to [speak] on hell; it is part of their job” (Packer, ibid.). I hope and pray that the young men who follow me when I am dead will preach on sin, Hell and judgment as I have done for more than fifty years!

Jesus is our model, “leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (I Peter 2:21). Jesus often preached on Hell, and He is our example. To be true to Christ, every pastor should sometimes preach on Hell, clearly and pointedly, as Christ did when He preached on “The Rich Man and Lazarus.” Christ said that the man died and went directly to Hell where he was tormented in the flames. The man asked Abraham for a few drops of water. Abraham said,

“Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (Luke 16:25).

I am lifting out the first two words of that text,

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

This is Christmas time. Our church is beautifully decorated. We have been singing the grand old Christmas carols. We are going to have a wonderful Christmas banquet tonight. We will also have a Christmas dinner here at the church, at 8:00 next Saturday night, on Christmas Eve. But during all these beautiful and meaningful celebrations of Christ’s birth, let us not forget about Hell. Hell is the result of sin. Jesus was born to die on the Cross to save you from sin, so you won’t be cast into those awful flames. The Apostle Paul said,

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).

The angel of the Lord said to Joseph,

“Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Then isn’t that exactly what the true meaning of Christmas is all about? Isn’t the real message of Christmas the fact that Jesus came down from Heaven? That He came down to die on the Cross, to pay for your sin, to keep sinners like you out of Hell?

But what if you die before Christmas? There may be someone here this morning who will die in the next few days. If that should happen to you, on December 25 you will spend your first Christmas in Hell. And it will be said of you, as it was to that man,

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

If you go on in your sin, maybe not this Christmas, but someday, perhaps sooner than you think, you will spend your first Christmas in that place of fiery torment. What will you remember when you spend your first Christmas in Hell?

I. First, you will remember the sermons you neglected.

You will remember how you learned to turn off your mind. How you tuned out the sermons. You will remember that it took practice to do that. At first the sermons troubled you. They made you think about eternal things. But, as time went on, it became easier for the Devil to “catch away” the sermons from your heart (see Matthew 13:19). Jesus said,

“Then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12).

At first it was hard for Satan to do that. But as the months went by you became so used to this Satanic trick that nothing bothered you anymore, and you began to sleep the sleep of death during every sermon. At last your conscience became so seared, and your heart so calloused that, as Christ said,

“Ye cannot hear my word” (John 8:43).

You can become so dull of hearing, so deaf to God’s Word, that it can be said of you, “God gave [you] over to a reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28).

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

Daughter, remember! In Hell you will remember many sermons. When you spend your first Christmas in that burning cavern you will no doubt remember this very sermon! In Hell you will remember the sermons you neglected. You will cry out, “O God, why didn’t I listen to that old preacher? O God, now it is too late! Forever and ever – too late. I am burning in Hell. Why, oh why, didn’t I listen to that old-fashioned preacher when he warned me?”

II. Second, you will remember God’s Spirit you rejected.

On your first Christmas in Hell, you will remember the times the Holy Spirit convicted you of your sin. Jesus said,

“When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin” (John 16:8).

When you are spending your first Christmas in Hell, you will remember when God’s Spirit made your heart tender. You will remember when His Spirit made you fear. You will remember how tears came into your eyes. But you will also remember how you resisted His convicting work, how you resisted Christ until the Holy Spirit withdrew from you, and God said of you,

“[He] is joined to idols: let him alone” (Hosea 4:17).

As Dr. John R. Rice put it,

Then how sad facing judgment, You’ll recall with no mercy
   That you tarried and lingered till the Spirit was gone,
What reproaches and mourning, if when death finds you hopeless,
   You have tarried and lingered and have waited too long!
(“If You Linger Too Long” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

When you spend your first Christmas in Hell you will remember how you resisted the conviction of God’s Spirit, how you “tarried and lingered till the Spirit was gone” (Rice, ibid.).

“Son, remember!” (Luke 16:25).

Daughter, remember! When the curtain comes down, and the lights go out, and your soul plunges into the flames – Son, remember! Daughter, remember! You will remember the sermons you neglected. You will remember God’s Spirit you rejected.

III. Third, you will remember the Saviour you disrespected.

No! Do not tell me you respect Christ! Don’t lie about it! You have no respect for Him! None at all! The Bible says that you despise and reject Christ. The Bible says,

“He is despised and rejected of men...we hid...our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

If you had respect for Christ you would search for Him. If you had respect for Christ you would “strive [with all your might] to enter in” to Him (Luke 13:24). What striving have you done? Have you prayed by the hour like Luther? Have you gone through agony of soul like Bunyan? Have you fasted for weeks like Whitefield? Have you driven yourself like Wesley? Have you gone out to find Christ in a snowstorm like Spurgeon? I say you have not striven at all! And some day, when you are in Hell, you will remember that you were so lazy that you never strove to find Christ!

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

Daughter, remember! You will remember that in Hell! You will remember that you had so little respect for Jesus Christ that you did not earnestly seek Him. Jesus said,

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Son, remember! Daughter, remember! You will remember in the eternal flames, how you disrespected Jesus, how you rejected His offer of salvation. How you hated me for preaching like this. How you wanted these handsome young men to give you sweet Bible studies to attract you to themselves instead of commanding you to repent of your sin and come to Christ! Yes, I know, some of you will be glad when I’m dead. But you will go to Hell, even when I’m not here to warn you.  Listen to the great Dr. John R. Rice -

You have waited so flippantly, refused Him so lightly,
   You have sinned long and dreadfully, your heart is so wrong;
Oh, if God grows impatient, the sweet Spirit offended;
   If no longer He calls you, doom is yours when He's gone.
Then how sad facing judgment, You’ll recall with no mercy
   That you tarried and lingered till the Spirit was gone,
What reproaches and mourning, if when death finds you hopeless,
   You have tarried and lingered and have waited too long!
(“If You Linger Too Long” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

If you come forward at the invitation, I don’t want you to say one word about Hell. I want you to speak only about your sin, and about Jesus. Only Jesus can pardon thy sin. Only Jesus can wash thy sin away with His precious Blood. Come to Jesus and be saved by Him from all thy sin.

How terrible it is that you do not think about Jesus when you come forward. If I mention God’s providence in my sermon, you talk about providence. If I mention election in my sermon, you talk about election. If I mention Satan in my sermon, you talk about Satan. If I mention original sin or effectual calling, those are the things you talk about. If I preach on Hell, that’s what you talk about!

Although my sermons always center on Jesus, we can’t get you to talk about Jesus Christ Himself. We can’t get you to think about Jesus. You despise and reject Him (Isaiah 53:3). Yet no other person can save you from sin. Joseph Hart (1712-1768) said, “None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good” (“Come, Ye Sinners”).

Your sins were placed on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was crushed under the weight of your sin in the Garden, until He fell to the ground and a bloody sweat surged from the pores of His body. They arrested Him and beat His face. They pulled out swatches of His beard. Pilate had His back scourged till the skin hung in shreds from His ribs. They nailed His hands and His feet to a cross. A soldier pierced His side with a spear, “and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:34). Jesus went through all of that horror, pain and agony to pay the penalty for your sin, to cleanse you from sin with His Holy Blood! The Bible says, “Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:3).

Oh, think of your sins! Oh, think of Jesus, who suffered, bled and died to save you from your sin. Think of Jesus, who alone can pardon and cleanse you from all sin! Think of your sin! Think of Jesus, who alone can save you! Come to Jesus. Come to Him now. “None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good; none but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good.”

Could my zeal no respite know,
   Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
   Thou must save, and Thou alone.
(“Rock of Ages, Cleft For Me” by Augustus Toplady, 1740-1778).

“None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good.” Come to Him in simple faith! A centurion stood at the foot of the Cross watching Jesus die for his sin. He fell to his knees and trusted Christ. The man who killed Him was saved in that moment by Jesus! The man who killed Jesus cried out, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39). Tradition tells us this man became a Christian. Will you come and trust Jesus like that man did? Jesus loves you and He will save 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 16:19-25.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“If You Linger Too Long” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).


THE OUTLINE OF

CHRISTMAS IN HELL – 2016

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Son, remember” (Luke 16:25).

(Luke 16:23, 24, 25; II Timothy 4:5; I Peter 1:21;
I Timothy 1:15; Matthew 1:21)

I.   First, you will remember the sermons you neglected, Matthew 13:19;
Luke 8:12; John 8:43; Romans 1:28.

II. Second, you will remember God’s Spirit you rejected, John 16:8;
Hosea 4:17.

III. Third, you will remember the Saviour you disrespected, Isaiah 53:3;
Luke 13:24; Jeremiah 29:13; John 19:34; I Corinthians 15:3;
Mark 15:39.