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A FALSE CONVERSION REVEALED AND EXAMINED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, February 12, 2017

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


I have been reading the “testimony” of a girl who pronounced herself saved. But she was not saved that night, and is still not saved. The way we know she was not saved is that John Cagan was the main object of her false conversion.

1.  Her testimony was a rough copy of John’s testimony. She heard John’s testimony from the pulpit on July 10, and was given a copy of it to take home and read. She had memorized John’s testimony. So by the time she heard John speak again on August 27, she had read it several times and she copied the main parts of John's testimony in her false conversion. Listen to John's words, and then hers to see how she copied him. John said, “I still would not have Jesus.” She said, “I didn’t want Jesus.” John said he had “grown up in a good church and still turned against [Jesus].” She said she was “a person born in the church who rejected Jesus at every turn.” John said, “I was counting down the seconds till the sermon would be over.” She said, “I hated being in church under [the] Gospel.” John said, “Even as the invitation was given I resisted.” She said, “I didn’t want to go up and be counselled.” John said, “I knew I was the worst possible sinner I could be.” She said, “My sin was everything about me.” John said, “I could feel my stubbornness forcing my tears away.” She said, “I tried desperately to wipe away my tears.” John said, “I began to hate myself.” She said, “I hated myself.” John said, “I was trying to trust Jesus and I couldn’t.” She said, “I couldn’t trust Jesus… no matter how hard I tried.” John said, “I was stuck in a conflict.” She said, “It was an impossible situation.” John said, “I had to have Jesus! In that moment I yielded to Him.” She said, “I had to have Jesus. In an instant, I trusted Him.”


I could go on and on, but it is obvious that she was copying John’s testimony. And a copied testimony never saved anyone! You can cheat in school and get away with it. But you can't cheat your way into salvation. You can't fool God!

2.  But she left out something that made it very clear hers was a false testimony. John gave a full paragraph and another half a paragraph on Jesus' suffering and crucifixion - and the love Jesus had for Him. She said nothing about the Cross and Christ's love. Not one full sentence. Only “He washed my sins away with His Blood.” Not one word about Jesus suffering and dying in her place. Not one word!

3.  Her testimony consisted of three full paragraphs about John – and only a half of one sentence about Jesus! This was a testimony centered on John Cagan! Not a testimony centered on Christ. Hers was a testimony about John Cagan. She did not quote the Bible one time. But she quoted John Cagan. He said, “You are one bad weekend from leaving the church.” She said, “That’s so true.” Why, it wasn’t true at all! There was another young woman there that it was true about. And the other young woman did leave after “one bad Sunday.” But this girl was not anywhere near leaving the church “after one bad weekend.”

      She wrote a beautiful testimony, but it was all about John Cagan, and what he said. She said, “I heard John singing ‘Just As I Am,” and suddenly…I trusted Him.” But the “Him” was not Jesus. The “Him” was John Cagan! She heard John sing and she trusted John! Why did she trust John instead of Jesus? The answer is in our text this morning. The prophet Isaiah said this about Jesus –

“He is despised and rejected [by] men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

The “he” in this verse is not the preacher, even if he is a charming young man like John. The preacher is not the one who is despised and rejected. The preacher is not the one from whom we hide our faces. The person who is rejected by lost souls is Jesus. It is Jesus who we hide from. It is Jesus who is despised and rejected by lost sinners like you. You may not like an old man like me. That isn’t important. You may like a dashing, athletic young man like John. That isn’t important either. Whether you like or dislike the preacher – it is Jesus you despise and reject. It is Jesus you reject! It is Jesus you reject! It is Jesus you reject. You may trust a preacher, but you will never trust Jesus in your present condition. Never! Never! Never!

4.  She left out something else that was in John’s testimony. John said, “Those weeks [before] my conversion I felt like dying. I did not sleep, I could not smile, I could not find any form of peace…I could not stop feeling so tormented. I was thoroughly exhausted…I began to hate myself, to hate my sin…my sins became endlessly worse and worse.” Remember, John Cagan felt like that for weeks! He said, “Those weeks [before] my conversion I felt like dying. I did not sleep…I could not smile.” But there was nothing close to that in the girl’s testimony. She only had a moment of conviction. In her testimony she came smiling into the church, was charmed by John’s words, and went out smiling. The great theologian W. G. T. Shedd made it clear that “The Holy Spirit does not ordinarily [convert] a man until he is a convicted man” (Dogmatic Theology, vol. 2, p. 514). Dr. Lloyd-Jones said "you need to be terrified of the judgment of God, and to have an agony of soul [perhaps] for days and weeks and months” (Sermon on the Mount, vol. 1, p. 235). John had that and was saved. The girl did not have that and remains lost.


In your present state you will never trust Jesus Christ Himself! You will trust a feeling. You will trust a doctrine, even a doctrine about Jesus – saying “I trust that Jesus died for me.” You will trust “that” – but you will never trust Jesus! Why not? Because you are a descendant of Adam, the man who brought sin into the human race. The man who ruined the whole human race by his disobedience and rebellion against God. It is Adam from whom you inherited original sin. It is Adam’s blood in your veins, Adam’s stamp on your genes and Adam’s sin in your heart. “Original sin” means that sinfulness marks you from birth. It is from Adam that you inherited a heart that despises Jesus. It is from Adam that you hide your face from Jesus. Remember that Adam hid from Jesus in the trees of the Garden of Eden. Remember that Adam was poisoned by sin, and because of that he hid his face from the pre-incarnate Christ. It is Adam who said, to Christ, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid…and I hid myself” from you – I hid myself from Christ (Genesis 3:10). And you have Adam’s nature. Adam’s Christ-rejecting heart is your heart – because your heart inherited its sin from Adam. The Reformation Study Bible says that you have an inherently sinful heart. It says, “This inner sinfulness…is transmitted to [you] from Adam…we are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners, born with a nature enslaved to sin” (note on page 781).

Adam’s “fall” into sin has made you a sinner by inheritance. Adam’s sin has been imputed to you. Thus, you are a sinner by nature. Your heart is ruined. Your heart is blind. Your heart hides from Jesus as He comes to call you, “Adam, where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9). “Rebekah, where art thou?” “Julie, where art thou?” “Robert, where art thou?” “Jason, where art thou?” “Sinner, where art thou?” And Adam’s answer is your answer, “I heard thy voice…and I was afraid…and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:9, 10). “And we hid…our faces from him” (Isaiah 53:3).

That is why you trusted John Cagan rather than Jesus! That is why you trusted a “feeling” rather than Jesus! That is why you trusted the words instead of Jesus!  That is why you trusted things about Jesus, “that He died” for me, doctrines about Jesus, but not Jesus Himself! That is why John Cagan himself “completely disrespected my pastor [me] and my father [Dr. Cagan].” That is why John Cagan said, “Even as all my sin convicted me I still would not have Jesus!” That is why a fifteen-year-old John Cagan rejected Christ. I said to John, “Come to Christ” but John said, “I would not. Even as all my sin convicted me I still would not have Jesus…I would not yield to Him.” That is why the Bible teaches that a lost sinner like you will do almost anything rather than trust Jesus.

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

You cannot ever be saved, no matter what you do. No matter what you say. No matter what you feel or don’t feel. No matter whether you say “that He saved me.” That is only trusting a doctrine – but you hide your face from Jesus Himself! That is why you despise and reject Jesus Himself!

And yet, only Jesus can help you. And yet, only Jesus can set you free from the curse of Adam that holds you as a slave to sin. And yet, only Jesus can take away your hardened heart and give you a new heart.

It was after midnight. The meal had been eaten. A song had been sung. Then Jesus took His men out into the night. They walked down the side of a hill, across a little stream, and a short distance up another hill – into the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus left His Disciples and went deeper into the midnight darkness of the Garden. Alone there in that Garden Jesus prayed in great agony! He struggled and prayed until sweat ran down His face, and from His body. But this was no ordinary sweat. The Bible says,

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

Why did He sweat Blood in that Garden? Jesus sweat Blood as your sins were placed on His soul by God the Father. They came and arrested Him. They beat Him. They abused Him. Finally, they nailed His hands and His feet to a cross. Jesus hung there on that cross, in agony and Blood. “Jesus, why are you suffering so?” He is dying on the Cross to pay the price for your sin. He is bleeding there so His Blood can make you clean from all sin. Then Jesus cries out, “Tetelestai! Tetelestai!” It is finished!

The sin of Adam imputed to you. The sin of your own heart and life. The secret sins you have committed, original sin, all sin – had crushed Jesus. Now “It is finished!” And Jesus died to pay for your sin and cleanse it with His holy Blood. As Joseph Hart (1712-1768) put it,

None but Jesus, none but Jesus, Can do helpless sinners good;
None but Jesus, none but Jesus, Can do helpless sinners good.
      (“Come, Ye Sinners”).

Now, my dear children, what will you do with Jesus? Will you keep on despising Him and rejecting Him? Will you go on like you are until you die, and God sends your soul to Hell? Or will you repent in tears and trust Jesus? If you trust Jesus, this song by Dr. John R. Rice will be very sweet to you. I love his beautiful song. And you will love it too when you come to Jesus and are saved by Jesus Christ Himself. 

I walked the path of pleasure, I [worked] for earthly treasure,
   But peace beyond all measure, I found in only Jesus.
My sins are all forgiven, The chains of sin are riven,
   And all my heart is given, To Jesus, only Jesus.

My sins are all forgiven, The chains of sin are riven,
   And all my heart is given, To Jesus, only Jesus.
(“Jesus, Only Jesus” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1985-1980).

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS SUBJECT, CLICK ON
ADAM, WHERE ART THOU?”, “THE TWO ADAMS,” AND
ADAM’S APRON CANNOT HIDE YOU!


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(END OF SERMON)
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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Jesus, Only Jesus” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980;
stanzas 1 and 2 with chorus).