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REVIVAL CURES REJECTION

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Wednesday Evening, August 9, 2017

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (I John 4:18).


A prominent psychologist has written a book that lists 288 fears, fears that people experience in life – 288 of them! The six most common fears are fears of rejection, fears of death, fears of old age, fears of poverty, fears of illness, and fears of criticism. That psychologist then said, “The fear of rejection is the greatest of all fears. The fear of rejection is stronger than the fear of death!” Think of it! People would rather die than be rejected!

Dr. Christopher Cagan probably knows me better than any other man. He said, “Dr. Hymers did not grow up in a normal family. If he had he would have been more outgoing and social. But all the moving and rejection turned him into more of an introvert – a person who looks inwardly. You may not think of him as an introvert because he preaches well. But inside he is a sensitive person, aware of his own weakness.” Dr. Cagan was right. I can be in a crowd of happy people, enjoying their company, when suddenly my mood changes and I feel the existential angst and pain of loneliness and rejection and depression. The only time when I don’t feel rejection is when I’m alone or when I feel the presence of God.

The times I have truly felt at home in church were times of revival – when God was so real that He crowded out my feelings of rejection and loneliness.

That is why I understand so well how young people feel when they come to church. We offer them acceptance and love. But after they come a few times we think they are “in.” We think they are OK now. Soon they feel as marginalized and rejected as they did before they came. Only those who are able to get along without feeling acceptance stay. They stay like I did. Even though I felt rejected, I stayed in church because there was nowhere else to go. I was a loner, but at least there were a lot of people in the church. So I pretended to feel accepted even though I ached inside and felt rejected. On Sunday nights, when I went home, the feeling of rejection was almost overpowering. The words of a popular song went through my mind as I drove home, “Alone again, naturally.”

A young person in church is looking for acceptance and love, but they only find coldness and rejection. Almost all the young people who leave the church do so because the church has failed to provide what it promised. We sing

Come home to the church and eat,
Gather for fellowship sweet,
It’ll be quite a treat
When we sit down to eat.

They hear us sing that and they feel cynical. They develop a mocking attitude toward the church. They have a cynical smile on their face because they know we are lying about “fellowship sweet.” They don’t feel “fellowship sweet when we sit down to eat.” They think, “these people talk about ‘fellowship sweet’ but they don’t feel it. Even Dr. Hymers doesn’t feel it.” So, off they go to the world. They go back to the world because it doesn’t feel any worse than the church. And at least the world doesn’t lie about “sweet fellowship.” At least in the world you might find a friend who accepts you. Something you never found in the church. Here all you found was hypocrisy and coldness, and rejection.

What keeps us from having Christian love in the church? It’s fear that robs us of real Christian love. What will they think of me? What will they say about me? What if they really knew me? What if they really knew what I thought or how I felt? They would reject me – that’s what they would do! And the fear of rejection is the greatest fear of all – greater than the fear of death! Greater than the fear of sickness. Greater than any other fear in the whole wide world!

The poet Robert Frost expressed that perfectly. His poem is called “Revelation.”

We make ourselves a place apart
Behind light words that tease and flout,
But oh, the agitated heart
Till someone find us really out.

’Tis pity if the case require
(Or so we say) that in the end
We speak the literal to inspire
The understanding of a friend.

But so with all, from babes that play
At hide-and-seek to God afar,
So all who hide too well away
Must speak and tell us where they are.
   (“Revelation” by Robert Frost, 1874-1963).

And that brings us to our text.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (I John 4:18).

How do we overcome the fear of rejection? By perfect love! But how do we get “perfect” love? Not by saying “I love you! I love you!” Look at I John 3:18, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” How do we do that? It isn’t easy. We are afraid to do it. We might be rejected!!! But we have to do it if we really and truly want revival. We must force ourselves to do it. “We speak the literal to inspire The understanding of a friend.” “So all who hide [themselves] too well away Must speak and tell us where they are.” That is the revelation we must have if we truly want revival! Please read I John 1:9 and 10. Stand as I read it.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:9, 10).

You may be seated. Confessing our sins is the key to revival. If we have sinned against God it is enough to confess our sins to Him in tears. Not just in words, but in tears, as they do in China, as they do in all real revivals. Brian Edwards correctly said, “There is no such thing as a revival without tears of conviction” (Revival, p. 115). Again, he said, “There is no revival without deep, uncomfortable and humbling conviction of sin” (p. 116). “The reason for deep conviction is so that people will feel their sin and hate it” (p. 122). Conviction of sin is the key to revival! If we have sinned against God, we can confess to God in tears, and He will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Stand and sing, “Search Me, O God.”

“Search me, O God, and know my heart:
Try me and know my thoughts:
And know my heart;
Try me and know my thoughts;
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
   (Psalm 139:23, 24).

You may be seated. We have never had a full revival because we have always made “ourselves a place apart Behind light words that tease and flout (scoff, sneer at, mock, joke about).”

But, second, we must go deeper. Turn to James 5:16. Please stand as I read it.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (James 5:16).

You may be seated. Matthew Henry said,

The confession here required is that of Christians to one another... Confession is necessary to our reconciliation with such as are at variance with us where they may help each other by their prayers to obtain pardon of their sins and power against them. Those who make confession of their faults to one another should pray with and for one another.

The Applied New Testament Commentary gives this thought on James 5:16,

To have true fellowship means that we confess our sins to each other. When we do this we shall receive spiritual healing. We must not hide things from each other.

Every Christian has faults toward others. Because of our inherent selfishness we all gradually backslide in our love for each other. Someone in the church says an unkind word to you, or about you. Someone doesn’t seem to care about you. Someone didn’t appreciate the work you do for the Lord. Someone did something to upset you. Someone hurt your feelings. We must not hide our faults from each other. To have God’s presence is a very precious thing. Holding on to our hurts and grievances stops us from loving one another. “Frequently this deep conviction of sin leads to open and public confession...where wrong relationships [are] put right...before the glory and the joy, there is conviction, and that begins with the people of God. There are tears and godly sorrow. There are wrongs to put right, secret things, furthest from the eyes of men, to be thrown out, and bad relationships to be repaired openly. If we are not prepared [to do] this, we had better not pray for revival. Revival is not intended for the enjoyment of the church, but for its cleansing. We have an unholy church today because Christians do not feel sin and [confess it to one another in tears]” (Edwards, Revival, pp. 119, 120).

We cannot rejoice in our hearts until we confess our sins to each other in tears. This happens repeatedly in China. Why not in our church? We are too proud to confess our faults. We are afraid of what others will think. The Devil uses this fear to stop us from confessing. The Devil knows he can keep us from the joy of revival by making us afraid of what others will say about us. The Devil knows that making us afraid will keep our church in weakness and disadvantage. Fear of what others will think stops us from confession and the healing of our souls. Isaiah said, “Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die...and forgettest the Lord thy maker” (Isaiah 51:12, 13). The Bible says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare” (Proverbs 29:25). Please stand and read Proverbs 28:13. It’s on page 692 of the Scofield Study Bible. Everyone read it aloud!

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

“Search Me, O God” – sing it.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart:
Try me and know my thoughts:
And know my heart;
Try me and know my thoughts;
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
   (Psalm 139:23, 24).

“Spirit of the Living God”! Sing it!

Spirit of the living God, Come down, we pray.
Spirit of the living God, Come down, we pray.
Melt me, mold me, Break me, bend me.
Spirit of the living God, Come down, we pray.
   (“Spirit of the Living God” by Daniel Iverson, 1899-1977;
      altered by the Pastor).

You may be seated.

Christ said “Blessed are those that mourn.” That refers to those who confess their sin and cry over it. Sin is a great problem to those who long for revival. Revival always makes us think of inner sins that the world does not see. Revival throws light on the inward sins of our hearts. When he was encouraging his congregations to prepare for revival, Evan Roberts told them that the Holy Spirit would not come down until the people were prepared. He said “We must get rid of all bad feelings” – all bitterness, all disagreements, all anger. If you feel you can’t forgive someone, bow down and pray for a forgiving spirit – be willing to go to the other person and ask for forgiveness – only then will you feel the sweet presence of God. Only the clean Christian can feel the love and holy presence of God. The joy of revival cannot come to an unholy church like ours until we admit our sin and confess it with tears. Only then will we feel the joy of God’s presence. Our sister will play “Fill All My Vision” as we give you an opportunity to pray for confessions on Sunday night. Pray for the Holy Spirit to show you and others what sins need to be confessed on Sunday night. Go to each other, two by two or three and pray hard for confessions Sunday night. Now stand and sing “Fill All My Vision.” It’s number 17.

Fill all my vision, Saviour, I pray,
   Let me see only Jesus today;
Though through the valley Thou leadest me,
   Thy fadeless glory encompasseth me.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy holy Image reflected in me.

Fill all my vision, every desire
   Keep for Thy glory; my soul inspire,
With Thy perfection, Thy holy love,
   Flooding my pathway with light from above.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy holy Image reflected in me.

Fill all my vision, let naught of sin
   Shadow the brightness shining within.
Let me see only Thy blessed face,
   Feasting my soul on Thy infinite grace.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy holy Image reflected in me.
(“Fill All My Vision” by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, 1895-1985).

Now sing “I Want To Pass It On.” It’s number 18 on your song sheet.

It only takes a spark To get a fire going,
And soon all those around Can warm up to its glowing,
That’s how it is with God’s love, Once you’ve experienced it,
You spread His love to everyone, You want to pass it on.

What a wondrous time is spring, When all the trees are budding,
The birds begin to sing, The flowers start their blooming,
That’s how it is with God’s love, Once you’ve experienced it,
You want to sing, it’s fresh like spring, You want to pass it on.

I wish for you, my friend, This happiness that I’ve found,
You can depend on Him, it matters not where you’re bound,
I’ll shout it from the mountain tops, I want my world to know,
The love of Christ has come to me, I want to pass it on.
   (“Pass It On” by Kurt Kaiser, 1969; altered by the Pastor).


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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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Revive Us Again” (by William P. Mackay, 1839-1885).