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STRIVING AGAIN FOR REVIVAL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Thursday Evening, August 10, 2017

“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15).


Last Sunday night while you were eating I went to my office and broke down in tears. We had failed again! Instead of revival we had chaos. Some people rebelled. Some people ran to and fro before the service clanging chairs, nervously doing one strange thing after the other. The church felt powerless and confused. The church felt under the control of Satan and his demons. I sat in my home office and wept. I wanted to give up. We had tried so hard and yet failed so miserably. I asked several leaders what I should do next. They told me to change the subject and forget about preaching for revival. It seemed to me that God had said, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face” (Hosea 5:15). Of course I know these words were given to the prophet concerning Israel, but they present a truth that applies to us today. So I sat all night in my study and wrote this sermon.

I. First, what was our offence?

As I thought about what happened last Sunday, it began to dawn on me what went wrong. It started Sunday morning. John Cagan preached a strong sermon on “The Devil and Revival.” John said, “Real Christianity is at war.

‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rules, against the powers, against the world forces of wickedness in high places’ (Ephesians 6:12 NASB).

In the United States, the Devil is playing his greatest trick... The Devil fools people into believing their place in the world is clean and safe, and so they do not prepare for spiritual warfare. But God tells us that the Devil is real. God tells us that the Devil is at war with us. God tells us that we must be prepared for a fight.
      In our church in Los Angeles, we are in the epicenter of the Devil’s power. We are surrounded by the hordes of the demonic. The demons enslave the people of this city not with overt displays of power, but with the blindness of unbelief. Therefore in our church in Los Angeles, we cannot allow ourselves to feel that we are in a normal and clean place. We are on the front lines of the battlefield with the enemy... The Devil does not want our church to experience revival. The Devil will do everything in his power to keep our church from experiencing revival... The Devil wants us to believe that we cannot have revival. But we do not belong to the Devil. We are not enslaved in the Devil’s army. Through the Blood of Jesus, we are in the army of God... We are called to resist the Devil in spiritual combat... Therefore let us believe, and let us pray, and confess, and forgive, and invite the Spirit of God into our church. ‘Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?’” (Psalm 85:6).

Tremendous applause followed John’s eloquent and powerful message! Yes, it was a great message, and I applauded too! But we forgot John’s sermon Sunday night and that was our offence! We forgot that our church is in the epicenter of the Devil’s power. We forgot that we are surrounded by hordes of the demonic. We forgot that the Devil’s greatest trick is to blind us to his reality. We forgot that the Devil will do everything in his power to keep our church from experiencing revival. And so we rushed into the church unprepared for the battle. Even those who were praying rose up from prayer, and rushed into the power of Satan unprepared! We were as unprepared as the Disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. They rose up from prayer and forsook Christ, fleeing from the soldiers that came to arrest the Saviour! That was our offence! We forgot that Satan was here to kill the service. We flailed about like Peter with his sword, slashing out in the darkness, totally unprepared, completely flummoxed, confused and defeated. The Devil won and we were defeated. I ran to my office and broke into tears. I thought, “We will never have revival!” I felt like a defeated old man, ready to slink away in the darkness. I felt abandoned by God.

“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15).

II. Second, what should we do now?

I admit I was ready to quit when I got home Sunday night. I felt tired and old, and hopeless, washed up and ready to retire and go away. But then I remembered what President Nixon said, “A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.” And I am not a quitter!

In his introduction to my autobiography John Cagan said this about me, “His very identity is linked with the life of this church. He has a single mindedness for the cause of Christ and this church that is like that of superstar athletes, political juggernauts and conquerors. He knows that the church is the bride of Christ, and therefore he prays, fights and preaches for the good of this church...Dr. Hymers believes in and fights for living Christianity...Dr. Hymers keeps battling for our church and for God.”

There are fine and good young men who are watching me. There are wonderful, strong young women watching me. I must not let you down. And I will not let you down! More importantly, God is watching me! And I will not let Him down either! I wrote this sermon in my home office last Sunday night after 3:00 AM. I said then, and I say now, I will not give up the battle for real revival in our church! I will stand in this pulpit and preach for revival ‘till the stars fall from their sockets. I will preach for revival in this pulpit until the sun burns out and the heavens turn black and the earth burns out in the fire of God’s judgment! And my sermons on revival will roll on and on through the centuries on the Internet – world without end!

And I am asking each of you to follow me one more time. You followed me through the wilderness of the great church split. You followed me to pay off two million dollars on this building. Some of you followed me even when your own children went back to the world. Some of you, like Nieves Salazar, Juana Arteaga, and Rose Chenault-Quinn, followed me to death and to the grave. Thank God for them! And now I am asking you to follow me in one more battle. Follow me in the battle for revival, and do it now!

We were defeated last Sunday by the Devil. But one defeat does not determine the outcome of a war. We shall fight on until, in God’s good time, He opens Heaven and comes down in a mighty wave of power in our church. We shall pray on until God answers us. We shall defend our church, whatever the cost may be. We shall pray on the beaches, we shall pray on the grounds, we shall pray in the fields and in the streets, we shall pray in the hills, we shall never surrender to the Devil and his forces. We shall pray on and on, until God answers us by sending down His holy fire into each of our hearts and lives! – and revives our church in power and in love!

“Spirit, now melt and move All of our hearts with love,
Breathe on us from above With old-time power.”

Sing it with me!

“Spirit, now melt and move All of our hearts with love,
Breathe on us from above With old-time power.”
   (“Old-Time Power” by Paul Rader, 1878-1938).

“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 11:11-13).

Come, my soul, thy suit prepare,
   Jesus loves to answer prayer;
He Himself has bid thee pray,
   Therefore will not say thee nay.
Therefore will not say thee nay.

Thou art coming to a King;
   Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such,
   None can ever ask too much,
None can ever ask too much.
   (“Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

And I for one completely agree with John Cagan when he said, “God wants to revive us so we can rejoice in Him. God does not want our church to be characterized by great effort and only small success. God does not want us to be discouraged. God wants to use our church as a lighthouse and a beacon to the world. God wants us to be a safe haven for souls from the world. God wants our church to be His house, where He can come, and dwell with His people. But God cannot come and dwell with people where there is hypocrisy and rejection. God cannot come and dwell with people who are filled with jealousy and bad feelings. God will not come down in a place of bitterness and disagreements. God does not want to be with people that are selfish. God does not want to be with people who care only for themselves. God wants to be with people [who confess their sins to each other and pray for each other that they may be healed]. That is why God calls us to ‘confess your faults one to another, and pray for another, that ye may be healed’ (James 5:16). God can send us revival. Confess your faults and sins so we can rejoice in Him. Confess your sins so He can heal you and give you joy!” I quoted John because I couldn’t have said it better myself! John was right, and I totally agree with him! Let us pray for revival until God comes down among us!

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence” (Isaiah 64:1-3).

But there is something else we must do, along with praying. Jesus said repeatedly, “Watch and pray.” Last Sunday night we prayed, but many of us did not “watch.” The boys that were banging chairs around were not watching. The men who seated people in the wrong place were not watching. Many others did one foolish thing after another because they were not watching. Jesus said, “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Mark 14:38). We were defeated last Sunday night because we did not watch out for the Devil! I ask you to please watch carefully what you do this Sunday night. It does no good to pray for revival if we do not watch carefully what we do in the service. Just come in quietly, sit down and pray. Don’t scurry around like you don’t know what to do! Watch and pray.

“In their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15). We have been afflicted. But don’t give up. Come on Sunday night in prayer and watchfulness. Be thinking of what you need to confess to God, and who you should go to and confess to and pray for! Then the Devil will not win. Then God will be glorified and He may send us the revival we so desperately need. God can send revival. Confess your sins so we can rejoice in Him. Pray that God will open our hearts to confess our faults to each other, so we can rejoice in Him. Confess your sins so God can give you joy!

I am not going to ask you to confess your faults to each other this evening. But I will do that on Sunday night. Tonight I want you to pray two by two or three for God to show you and others what you need to confess on Sunday night. While our sister plays “Teach Me to Pray” I want you to pray together for God to melt hearts and confess sins on Sunday night.

Now stand and sing, “Teach Me to Pray.” It’s number 2 on your song sheet.

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray; This is my heart cry, day unto day;
   I long to know Thy will and Thy way; Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.

Power in prayer, Lord, power in prayer, Here ‘mid earth’s sin and sorrow and care;
   Men lost and dying, souls in despair; O give me power, power in prayer!

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray; Thou art my Pattern, day unto day;
   Thou art my Surety, now and for aye; Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.

Now sing number 18, “Pass It On.”

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:
“O Breath of Life” (by Bessie P. Head, 1850-1936).


THE OUTLINE OF

STRIVING AGAIN FOR REVIVAL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15).

I.   First, what was our offence? Ephesians 6:12; Psalm 85:6.

II.  Second, what should we do now? Luke 11:11-13; James 5:16;
Isaiah 64:1-3; Mark 14:38.