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THE BATTLE AGAINST SANDEMANIANISM

(NUMBER THREE IN A SERIES OF BATTLE CRIES)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, January 22, 2017

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:39, 40).


Unless you are a student of theology you probably don’t know the word Sandemanianism. Yet it is a soul-damning heresy. It has ruined Gospel preaching. It has sent millions of people to the eternal flames of Hell. Sandemanianism was popularized by Robert Sandeman (1718-1771). Its main teaching is that when you accept what the Bible says about Christ in your mind you are saved. Sandemanianism says that everyone who believes that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead is saved – that everyone who believes those things in the Bible is converted. Today Sandemanianism is a major error in all our churches. It sends millions of people to Hell. There are several people in our church who believe this deadly heresy! Although I preach against it constantly, they don’t hear what I say. They continue to believe the deadly doctrine of Sandemanianism. Six people who thought they were saved in our church last year believe it. They remain lost and headed to Hell because they believe it (see “Sandemanianism” in The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Banner of Truth, 1996 edition, pp. 170-190).

They say if you believe what the Bible says about Christ’s death you are saved. That is their position. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “It is one of the main problems before us at this present hour” (ibid., p. 177). At least six people in our own church who thought they were saved last year remain lost because they believe what the Bible says about Christ instead of trusting Christ Himself.

They think they are saved by believing that Jesus died on the Cross. They believe what the Bible says about Christ’s death. But believing what the Bible says doesn’t save anyone. In this sermon I will give proof of this.

I. First, Sandemanianism was corrected by Christ Himself.

Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees. These Jews were Sandemanians in their view of salvation. Jesus said,

“[You] search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:39, 40).

These men thought that they would be saved by Bible study and belief in the Bible. Matthew Henry said, “They looked for [eternal life] by reading and studying the Scriptures. It was a common saying among them, ‘He that hath the words of the law [the Scriptures] has eternal life.’ They thought they were sure of heaven if they could say by heart…passages of Scripture” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible). Dr. Frank Gaebelein said that they thought their belief in the Bible “would bring them life” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary). They believed the Scriptures, but they would not come to Jesus.

That is the error of Sandemanianism. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “You accept the words of the Bible with your mind, and that is all that is necessary” (ibid., p. 175). “They think that believing what the Bible says about Jesus will save them” (ibid.).

Tens of thousands of children in our churches are taught this deadly doctrine. They are taught to memorize verses of Scripture. Then they “raise their hand” – and they are baptized! They do not come to Christ at all! They only have to believe the words of John 3:16 and mumble the words of a prayer. Our churches send millions of children (and adults) to Hell by the false doctrine of Sandemanianism. Jesus said,

“[You] search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:39, 40).

Here are five people in our own church who are like that.

One young Chinese man said he was saved because he believed “that Jesus died for him.” He thought believing what the Bible said about Jesus was the same as coming to Jesus! He remains a lost Sandemanianism.

A young woman said, “Jesus is the only one who can save me.” She believed what the Bible says about Jesus, but she will not come to Jesus Himself. She herself has not come to Jesus because in her heart she won’t stop listening to the Devil who tells her to leave the church. She will not give up such sinful thoughts. She believes that Jesus is the only Saviour, but she will not turn from the Satanic advice of lost people. So she remains a lost Sandemanian who believes the Bible, but will not trust Jesus Himself. She believes what the Bible says about Jesus. But she won’t come to Jesus Himself. Since she will not turn away from her sin, she will not come to Jesus Himself to be cleansed from her sin by His Blood. She remains a lost Sandemanian.

A young Hispanic man said trusting Jesus is the same as believing that Christ died on the Cross. Again, this young man believes what the Bible says, because he clings to Sandemanianism. Believing the Bible, that Jesus died on the Cross for him is not the same as trusting Jesus Himself. So he remains a lost Sandemanian.

Another young Chinese man said the same thing. He said that trusting Jesus is the same as believing that Jesus died for him. He believes what the Bible says, but he will not trust Jesus Himself. He too remains a lost Sandemanian.

Another Chinese girl said that trusting Jesus is the same as believing Jesus died for her. She knew this was an error, but she was “taken by surprise” when Dr. Cagan asked her if they were the same. She was “taken by surprise” because, in her heart, she had never trusted Jesus. All she had done was believe a Bible verse or two. She was “taken by surprise” because she had never trusted Jesus Himself, only resting in a doctrine of the Bible. She too is a lost Sandemanian.

You believe that Donald Trump is the President. But you have not met him! Believing that he is the President is not the same as coming to him. There is a distinct difference between believing what the Bible says about Jesus and trusting Jesus Himself. That may seem like a very small distinction – but it is not. If you have not trusted Jesus Himself you will go to Hell! Jesus said, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). Believing a Bible verse or a Bible doctrine will not save anyone from the eternal fire of Hell!

Why do people keep doing this? It is because they are not convicted of sin! If you were under conviction of sin, like John Cagan was, you will realize that nothing you do can save you – nothing you do! That includes believing that Jesus can save you! Nothing but Jesus Himself would satisfy you if you were convicted of your sin! You would say, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.” “I am coming, Lord, coming now to Thee. Wash me, cleanse me in the Blood that flowed on Calvary.”

II. Second, Sandemanianism is a doctrine of demons.

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:39, 40).

Why did the Pharisees search the Bible, but would not come to Jesus? It is because they were under the demonic power of Satan! Jesus said to these same men, “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil…” (John 8:43, 44).

You cannot hear me when I say that believing what the Bible says about Jesus is not the same as trusting Jesus. You can’t understand that simple thought because you are under the control of the Devil. Jesus said so. He said, “Ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil” (John 8:43, 44). You belong to the Devil. The Devil is your god. The Devil blinds your mind. Because the Devil does not want you to trust Jesus and be saved. The Apostle Paul said,

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom [the Devil] the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…” (II Corinthians 4:3, 4).

How does the Devil keep you blind? How does the Devil hold such power over you that you will not come to Jesus?

1.  Many young Chinese people are kept blind and chained to the Devil by their unsaved Buddhist parents. These parents will use all their Satanic power to keep you from being saved. But Jesus said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,” Matthew 10:37. It will soon be Chinese New Year. Some of your unsaved parents will deliberately plan a dinner at the same time as church. You must tell them now, today, that you will not be with them if they plan a dinner during Saturday night prayer meeting or the two Sunday services – and then keep your promise and be in church, no matter how angry they are at you. Do not be held in the grip of Satan by the anger of unsaved Buddhist parents. “But,” you say, “they will rage and yell at me!” Let them rage and yell! It is better to hear their demonic raging now than to hear God reject you at the Last Judgment. Break free from their sinful rebellion against God! Break free from Satan’s chains.

2.  Many of you are kept blind and chained to the Devil because you have secret sins.
      You have sins you think nobody knows about – you say, “Nobody knows.” But you are wrong. Two persons know about the “secret sins” you commit. Who are they? The first person who knows your secret sins is me. You see, I will have been in the ministry for 59 years in April. People have accused me of being a mind reader – but I’m not a mind reader, not at all. But I am a face reader. After looking at the faces of people in church for 59 years, I can usually tell pretty well what secret sins you are doing. Did you know that policemen are trained to read faces? I think our seminaries and Bible schools should have a class that teaches young preachers how to read faces. Yes, by looking at your face I can often tell what secret sins you commit.
      But there is another person who is far more accurate than I am. In fact that person is 100 percent accurate about your secret sin. And He is here right now watching you. In fact He knows all about your secret sin. Who is He? You guessed it – it is God! You can’t hide from Him. He is omnipresent – which means He is everywhere at once. He sees everything you do with your body. He sees every thought you have in your mind. He knows the deep secrets of your heart. The Bible says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (II Chronicles 16:9). “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil” (Proverbs 15:3). “The eyes of the Lord… are always upon it” – upon every secret sin you commit. “The eyes of the Lord…are always upon it” (Deuteronomy 11:12). And the Bible says that God writes every one of your secret sins down in His books. At the Last Judgment God will read your secret sins from His books. His books are like a huge computer, and every secret sin you have committed is recorded there. You will stand before God at the Last Judgment. He will read every detail of the sins you thought no one knew about. After He reads your sins out of those books, you won’t be able to defend yourself. You will remember those sins yourself. After God reads the list of your secret sins, you will be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-14).

3.  Many of you are kept blind and chained to the Devil because you will not confess that your heart is evil. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). George Whitefield (1714-1770) said, “No matter how strongly you deny, when you are awakened, you will see that the sin in your life comes from your own depraved heart…He sees that he is so poisoned and rebellious in his [own heart] that it would be right for God to damn him, even if he had not committed one outward sin in his entire life.” Julie said, “The Holy Spirit showed me that I was not really a good person…I was a terrible person and I was selfish and was very proud, and I felt so ashamed of…who I was deep inside [my heart]…I felt sinful and wrong.” She was a good girl outwardly, but she had a sinful heart. She said, “I pretended to be good, when deep inside [my heart] I really wasn’t…I knew I wasn’t good enough to save myself…My face was drenched in tears.” She had been in an evangelical church all her life, but now she felt the horrible sin in her heart. She said the Bible made no impact on her life until she felt the sin in her own heart; until she came under conviction of sin, the Blood of Jesus cleansing her sin made no sense. No sense to her until she felt how awful her heart was. The Sandemanians at the evangelical church taught her the words of the Bible, but they made no impact on her life until God convicted her of the sins of her heart.

III. Third, Sandemanianism sends many outwardly good people to Hell.

You say, “I would never do something horrible as many people do. I am clean living. I go to church every Sunday. I’m a good person.” But I must warn you that no matter how good you are, no matter how often you pray and read the Bible, no matter that you believe what the Bible says about Jesus – you will go to Hell with evil men if you do not trust Jesus Himself. Believing that Jesus Christ died on the Cross to save you will not save you! Listen to what the Apostle said,

“The holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15).

Believing that Christ died for you will not save you. It is only doctrinal belief. The Bible was given to lead you to “salvation…which is in Christ Jesus.” If you do not trust Jesus you are not saved no matter how much of the Bible you believe. The purpose of the Bible is to lead you to Jesus Christ Himself!

Dr. A. W. Tozer gave a deep insight into the error of Sandemanianism in an essay called “Bible Taught or Spirit Taught?” Dr. Tozer said,

“Churches teach the Bible to their children [and] still never produce in them a living Christianity…Their religious lives are correct and reasonably moral, but wholly mechanical. Such [young people] cannot be dismissed as hypocrites. Many of them are [very] serious about it all. They are simply blind… they are forced to get along with the outward shell of faith, while all the time their hearts are starving for spiritual reality and they do not know what is wrong with them…Jesus Christ is the truth, and he cannot be confined to mere words [in the Bible].”

Have you ever felt like Noah Song? Noah said, “I knew I was not right with God. I went to speak with Dr. Cagan and became convicted of my sin and my ignorant and deceitful heart. The Holy Spirit made me see how helpless a sinner I was. I felt so disgusted by my sin, and so undeserving of God’s grace…Dr. Hymers was preaching and he said, ‘Perfect faith doesn’t save. Jesus saves!’ I was blind to the fact that Jesus was there all the time. I just needed to trust Him. Dr. Hymers asked me if I would trust Christ, and I said ‘Yes.’ Dr. Hymers was singing, ‘Though millions have come, there’s still room for one, there’s room at the cross for you.’ I came to Jesus with all my guilt and sin, and Jesus didn’t turn me away. In that moment I rested in Him! What a forgiving Saviour! I felt as low as dirt, but Jesus pulled me up and saved me. Jesus bleeding on the Cross for me, to pay for my sins, and the love He has for me, I will always remember.” The young man who wrote that is Noah Song. He is preparing to study to become a pastor himself. His father translates all of our sermons into Chinese on the videos at www.sermonsfortheworld.com. Noah will be going to preach in China and Indonesia in a few weeks!

My friend, will you stop trusting “that” Jesus saves? Will you come directly to Jesus and trust Him alone? Jesus will wash away every sin you have committed from His Books of Judgment. He will cleanse you with His Blood. He will save you. He will save you. He will save you now! 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. Abel Prudhomme: John 5:39-46.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
      “There’s Room at the Cross For You” (by Ira F. Stanphill, 1914-1993).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE BATTLE AGAINST SANDEMANIANISM

(NUMBER THREE IN A SERIES OF BATTLE CRIES)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:39, 40).

I.    First, Sandemanianism was corrected by Christ Himself,
John 5:39, 40.

II.   Second, Sandemanianism is a doctrine of demons,
John 8:43, 44; II Corinthians 4:3, 4; Matthew 10:37;
II Chronicles 16:9; Proverbs 15:3; Deuteronomy 11:12;
Revelation 20:11-14; Jeremiah 17:9.

III.  Third, Sandemanianism sends many outwardly good people
to Hell, II Timothy 3:15.