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ASKING BREAD FOR SINNERS – A NEW THOUGHT!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, April 22, 2017


John Samuel Cagan read Luke 11:5-13 a few minutes ago. But I want you to turn to it again. It’s on page 1090 in the Scofield Study Bible. This is the Parable of the Importunate Friend. I am going to bring out some important things in this parable tonight.

First, there are three persons in the parable.

“And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?” (Luke 11:5-6).

The first “friend” is the one with plenty of bread. He is God the Father. The second friend is the man who is asking for bread. He is the Christian, who needs the bread. The third friend is the man who comes to the Christian. He is a lost person, a person who is not saved. This is the person who needs the bread. You and I who are true Christians stand between God and those who are lost. What is the “bread” in this parable? Previously some of us thought the bread was the Holy Spirit. But I now think that is wrong. True, the Holy Spirit is given, in answer to prayer, in verse 13,

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

But I am now convinced that the “bread” is not the Holy Spirit. Dr. John R. Rice wrote in detail on this parable from Luke (Prayer: Asking and Receiving, Sword of the Lord, 1970, p. 70). Concerning the “bread,” Dr. Rice said it is Christ. “He Himself is that Bread.” (John 6:35). Previously I thought the “bread” was the Holy Spirit. But I was wrong. The Bread is Christ Himself. This is clear in the New Testament. Nearly a whole chapter speaks of Jesus as the “bread of life.” Listen to what Jesus said in the sixth chapter of John.  

“The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world” (John 6:33).

“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35).

“I am that bread of life” (John 6:48).

“I am the living bread” (John 6:51).

“The bread that I will give is my flesh” (John 6:51).

Time after time we are told that Jesus Himself is the “bread of life.”

Then why does the Christian say in Luke 11:6, “A friend of mine...is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him”? Because we are powerless to get them to eat “the bread of life”! In our soul winning and in our preaching, we simply don’t have the power to give them the bread of life! We know the Gospel, but we feel that we have no power, so we know, “A friend of mine...is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him” (Luke 11:6).

That is my confession - “I have nothing to set before him.” That is what many young people feel when they visit a Baptist church today. They feel that the church doesn’t offer them anything they need. In most of our Baptist churches, they “have nothing to set before them but a few contemporary songs.” How I hate them! They all sound alike! They are “worship songs” – and have nothing in them to make a sinner think about his need for Jesus! I have nothing to set before him! Nothing! Nothing! Nothing but a boring, worn out “worship” song. Nothing! Nothing! Nothing to set before him! Nothing! Nothing! Nothing but a dry as dust, lifeless, verse-by-verse Bible exposition. Nothing but dead “worship” songs and a dull and boring Bible study. You heard it the other night! No healthy, normal young person can be helped by that. The only lively thing in the service was us singing Paul Rader’s great Easter hymn, “Alive Again.” We were so hypnotized by a half-dead service that I had to shout and sweat to get us awake enough to sing it right! No wonder our churches can’t win lost young people from the world! No wonder we lose 90% of the young people already in the church. No wonder that’s what happened to me when I was young. There was nothing in my church that appealed to me. It was dead and dry and musty. There was nothing in my first church to challenge me. My mind went blank in every service. My mind went black because Jesus was not there. It seemed to me that all the services were designed to the ladies of the church. They had nothing to set before me! Take a look at Charles Stanley on TV, or Paul Chappell on the Internet. Dead, dry, uninteresting with nothing to set forth Jesus Christ as the answer to their sin, their loneliness, and their eternal destiny. “A friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him!” I’ve been in Rick Warren’s church. I’ve been in the First Baptist Church in Dallas. I’ve been in our BBFI churches! They seem so drugged that they don’t realize they have “nothing to set before him.”

The answer is in verses 9 and 10.

“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:9-13).

Jesus ends the parable by telling us to seek, knock and ask until our Father in Heaven gives the “Holy Spirit to them that ask him” (Luke 11:13). Keep on asking (that’s what the Greek means). Keep on seeking! Keep on knocking! Keep on asking!

You see, we have to have the Holy Spirit in the services. We have to have the Holy Spirit or Jesus will not seem important – and Jesus will not even be present! and no one will be saved!  In verse 8 the Saviour says,

“Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth” (Luke 11:8).

The Greek word translated as “importunity” in the KJV means “shameless persistence.” Persistence – means we have to pray for the Holy Spirit’s power for every service. The “manna” in the wilderness would rot if the Israelites tried to keep it overnight. It’s the same today. The prayer meetings and the services will be “rotten” unless we “shamelessly persist” in prayer before every prayer meeting and every service!

We have shut Jesus out of our services – just as He was shut out of the church of Laodicea in the Book of Revelation. It was lukewarm. No fire! No thunder! No dynamic singing! No preaching – only dead verse-by-verse Bible exposition! You don’t need the Holy Spirit to give a dead expository sermon! Expository sermons speak to the brain! Evangelistic sermons speak to the heart! to the heart! to the heart! “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10). With the heart – not with the brain! Not with the mind alone! Christ must speak to the heart or nobody will be saved – or nobody will be revived – or nobody will taste the bread of life! Jesus is shut out of our lukewarm evangelical and Baptist services! Shut out! Shut out! Shut out! Jesus says, “I stand at the door, and knock” (Revelation 3:20). Why is He outside the church knocking at the door? Because we have shut Him out, that’s why. If we don’t pray down the Holy Spirit in every service, we will not have Jesus in those services! Jesus only comes when the Holy Spirit is present – and the Holy Spirit is only present when we pray Him down! Only present when we pray Him down! Only present when we pray Him down! Many of our services are no more lively than a Catholic Mass. You’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. In fact, it was more deadly than a Catholic Mass! And you know I’m right!

“A friend of mine...is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him” (Luke 11:6).

And what is the “bread” that the man asked for at that midnight hour?  What did he want when he pounded on his neighbor's door? The bread he sought for, and the bread he nkocked for, and the bread he asked for was Jesus Himself. What else could it be that sinners need? Jesus said, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13). The Scofield note misses the point here. The prayer warrior is not asking for the Holy Spirit for himself. He is praying for the Holy Spirit for his lost friend who will never trust Jesus unless the Holy Spirit opens his heart and draws him to Jesus!

“A friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.”

Indeed, if God doesn’t give the Holy Spirit, in answer to your prayers, you do not have anything at all to give lost sinners! Dr. Rice said it well.

      Jesus did not put in exact words until the very end of this lesson about...praying, that He was teaching the disciples to pray for the Holy Spirit...who really brings revivals, convicts sinners and converts them, who gives wisdom and power and leadership to the man of God! When we pray for bread for sinners, we really mean that we need...the Holy Spirit of God (Rice, ibid., p. 96).

I am now speaking to those of you who are still lost. Jesus Christ is the bread in the parable. The Lord Jesus Christ is what you need more than anything else! Unless the Holy Spirit comes down to you in our church services you will never be convicted of your sins. Jesus said,

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

We are praying for the Holy Spirit to come down to make a lost sinner like you feel the awful sin in your heart, to make you feel the deep sinfulness of your hardened heart. If the Holy Spirit never makes you feel any of that you will never feel a real need for Christ.

Then, also, we must also pray for the Spirit of God to draw you to Christ for full salvation. For the Saviour siad,

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44).

So, we are must pray for God's Spirit to draw you to Jesus, because only Jesus can save you from sin and Hell.

Until now you have only heard the Gospel. You have only heard that Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. You have only heard that the Blood of Jesus can wash your sins away and justify you in the sight of God. You have only heard that Jesus has risen from the dead. And you have only heard that He is alive in Heaven, praying for you. You have only heard these facts, but you have never experienced them in your own life. And you can never experience those wonderful facts if you merely sit in church Sunday after Sunday, just hearing about them again and again. Something more than just hearing those facts must happen to you or you can never be saved!

The Holy Spirit must come down and make you feel sinful. The Holy Spirit must come down and draw you to Jesus. The Holy Spirit must come down and give you a divine-human encounter with the living Christ. It will take a miracle for you to be drawn to the Saviour. It will take a miracle for you to be born again. And only the Spirit of God can make that miracle happen in your life. If the Holy Spirit is not present to meet your spiritual needs, if the Holy Spirit is not in our services, if He is absent we can only say,

“A friend of mine...is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him” (Luke 11:6).

That is why we prayed for your salvation. That is why we are continuing to ask. That is why we are continuing to seek. That is why we are continuing to knock – and we will do so until God opens Heaven and sends down His Spirit to convert you and change you, and give you eternal life! Jesus said that the “Father [will] give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him” (Luke 11:13). And we are praying for you. We are asking God to send His Spirit to convict you of sin, and draw you to Christ in a miraculous conversion experience! Christ will wash away your sin with His Blood. Christ will clothe you with his righteousness and give you a heart that loves God and hates sin. He will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh!

“For you I am praying.” Sing the chorus!

For you I am praying, For you I am praying,
   For you I am praying,
I’m praying for you.
   (“I Am Praying For You” by S. O’Malley Clough, 1837-1910).

We prayed last Sunday night for the Holy Spirit.  All were gone and I sat with Dr. Cagan.  Then Tom Xia came and was saved - because the Holy Spirit had been prayed down!  Amen and 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. John Samuel Cagan: Luke 11:5-13.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“I Am Praying For You” (by S. O’Malley Clough, 1837-1910).