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FAITH IN CHRIST NOT FEELINGS

by Mr. John Samuel Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, September 24, 2017

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:24-25).


The Apostle Paul was the greatest Christian who ever lived. He could have lived almost any kind of life that he wanted. But he gave up everything he had for Christ. He suffered for Christ. He won souls for Christ. He lived entirely for Christ. Paul was a great man. But even though Paul was a great man who did many great things and who lived a great life for Christ, he did not depend on any of those things for salvation. Paul had only one hope.

Paul’s only hope of salvation and forgiveness of sin was in Christ. How did Paul receive salvation? He was saved through trust in Jesus. Paul did not trust in his good works. Paul did not trust in whether or not he felt saved. Paul did not trust in any felt assurance. Paul trusted Christ, and it was by faith in Christ alone that Paul was saved.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

But that is not what you do. You trust in your feelings. You trust in yourself. You do not trust Jesus. You hold back from Christ waiting for the right kind of feeling. That is not what Paul did. Nobody in the Bible did that who got saved. You have heard many times that you should not wait for a feeling. You have heard many times that salvation is not by a feeling but through faith in Christ. But you do not change what you do. You try the same thing again over and over again. You are trying the same thing because you would rather do anything except trust Jesus. This is madness. This will doom your soul forever.

“This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead” (Ecclesiastes 9:3).

What you need to do is to stop trusting in your feelings, and trust Christ. Stop trusting in your own senses and rely on Jesus. Stop trusting in yourself, and trust Jesus and be saved. Trust in Christ is the only way to be saved. Trust in Christ is the only way to have your sins forgiven. Trust in Christ cannot be replaced with any work or feeling or belief. You are justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption from sin that is in Christ. You attain the salvation in Christ through faith in Jesus, not feelings. That is the only way to be saved.

I. First, your feelings cannot be trusted.

You live in a time when a person’s feelings are very important. In the past, the way a person felt about something did not matter very much. In the past, if something had to be done, you did it, and it did not matter how you felt about it. But now, feelings are the main reason why people make decisions. People talk about feelings all the time. Because of this you have learned to trust your feelings. You have learned to do what feels right to you. You believe this is a good way to go through your life. At least if you do not believe this, you still do not change.

So much of the way you live your life is affected by how you feel, and the way you treat your soul and salvation is no different. When the opportunity comes to trust Christ, you trust your feelings instead. You check your experience for signs of the event of salvation. You check your experience with the measurement of feelings. But your feelings cannot be trusted. Your feelings cannot be trusted because your feelings come from your heart. And your heart and your feelings are not trustworthy. They are not trustworthy because they are totally corrupted by sin. The Bible says,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9).

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Your heart is corrupted by sin. You cannot trust your heart. You cannot trust your feelings, especially when it comes to your salvation. You cannot trust your heart or feelings because they are ruined. How did your heart and your feelings get ruined? You were born with a heart that was corrupted by sin. Because your heart was corrupted, your feelings are not worthy of your trust. When the first man, Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin entered into the world and was passed down into your heart. Every terrible thing that happens in the world is from the hopelessly ruined human heart. The Bible says,

“This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead” (Ecclesiastes 9:3).

Your heart is tricky. Your heart fools you. Your heart leads you to sin with greater and greater ability and less and less guilt. As your tricky and deceitful heart leads you deeper into sin, your feelings become less and less reliable. The Bible says your heart is the enemy of God. The sin you commit is an expression of your tricky, corrupted, and ruined heart. The Bible says,

“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are what defile a man” (Matthew 15:19-20).

Would you trust someone who was evil? Would you rely on someone who was tricky and a liar? Why then do you rely on the feelings of your heart? When you are supposed to be trusting Christ, you are instead trusting your deceitful and corrupted feelings. This is the worst thing that you can do. Your heart makes your feelings impossible to trust.

Your feelings are always changing. You cannot depend on your feeling for salvation. If feeling the right way got you salvation, what would happen when you started to feel the wrong way? Would you lose your salvation? How can you force yourself to stay constantly feeling the correct way so that you could be saved? Your feelings change too often for you to risk depending on them with your eternal soul. You want to feel sure that you are saved in order to prove that you are saved. You want to have a strong sense that something has happened inside you. You want to feel clean or touched or strengthened, but if you are looking for those things, you will not be saved.

You are trusting in a feeling, not in Jesus. You are trusting in something that has been corrupted. You are relying on something that is untrustworthy. You are trusting in your feelings, and your feelings cannot be trusted. If you cannot trust your feelings, what can you trust? This is a good place to start. You must realize that you cannot trust yourself. You must see for yourself that your heart is so tricky and your feelings are so unreliable that they cannot be trusted. It is then that maybe you will turn to salvation by faith in Jesus.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:24-25).

II. Second, Jesus can be trusted.

There is only one place, one person who is worthy of your trust. There is only one person who can guarantee the safety of your soul. There is only one person who can save you. There is only one Jesus Christ. Jesus is worthy of your trust. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus never sinned. Jesus never told a lie. Jesus never abandoned anyone. Jesus has never let anyone down. The Apostle Paul said,

“For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (II Timothy 1:12).

Jesus is the solid rock who you can rest your soul on. You can rest the salvation of your soul on Jesus. Jesus may not give you a feeling, but He will save your soul. Your feelings change, but Jesus does not change. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Your emotions did not die on the cross to pay for your sin, but Jesus did. Only Jesus is worthy of your trust. Let your hope be built on nothing else than Jesus’ Blood and righteousness.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
   (“The Solid Rock,” by Edward Mote, 1797-1874).

Your struggle with your feelings is not a new struggle. Some of our brothers and sisters in Christ struggled with their lack of feelings before they were saved. But when they were trusting in their feelings, they did not get saved. As long as they were trusting in their feelings, they were holding back from Jesus.

Cuong Tham said, “I hesitated [before my conversion because] I was still thinking I didn’t have any feeling yet and I wouldn’t have an emotional display after I knelt down. Dr. Hymers then asked me suddenly, ‘Which is more important: that you think you are saved or God thinks you are saved?’ I answered, ‘What God thinks.’ The question struck me, and triggered a series of thoughts in my mind. What I fool I was. I started to realize what was really missing in my life was the Saviour. I was trying so hard for the past year in attempting to get myself saved by my own feeling… It never worked out. Now I saw… there was still hope for my salvation. It is Jesus. It has always been Jesus.” Notice how Cuong could not trust Jesus because he was waiting for a feeling. But when he left his hope and trust in feelings behind, he saw that it was, and always had been, only Jesus.

Philip Chan was also trusting in feelings. He said, “I was thinking in circles. I thought, I must figure out how to get saved by experiencing some type of assurance. I was striving for something that would verify my salvation. I was not striving for Christ… I had been going in circles and yet never once looked up to Christ. There he was waiting for me, and yet I refused to risk myself on Him. Just before, I was swirling in doubts and analysis. Now Jesus was in front of me! Now the Saviour was waiting to take me in His arms!” Philip could not see that Jesus was available and waiting for him as long as he was looking inside himself. He could not look up to Christ because he was so distracted by his feelings. But when Philip stopped trusting in his feelings, it was then, that he saw Christ, and Christ took him, and saved him forever.

Setsuko Zabalaga had been trusting in her feelings for decades. She had been “trying” to get saved, but was trying to do so by faith in feelings, and not in Christ. Setsuko said, “I read all the sermons I was given every day, but they did not help because I was still waiting for more feeling… I thought, if I died while I’m waiting for that feeling, I will go straight to Hell and there I will regret why I didn’t trust Jesus while I had the chance. I trusted Jesus. I could no longer wait to come to Jesus. Even though I had doubts and fears that I might not be saved, I had to trust Jesus. I knew there was no other way. I was not seeking feeling or an experience then, and I stopped analyzing and I gave up myself. My feelings and experiences are never reliable, therefore I can never truly trust them anyway. Jesus did all the work for my salvation. There was nothing for me to do except trust Him.” Setsuko had to stop trusting in her feelings before she could trust Christ. But as soon as she gave up on her feelings, she found Christ. She found Christ and she found salvation and forgiveness and eternal life in Him.

That is what you must do. Trust Jesus alone. Trust Jesus Himself. How do I know that I am saved? It is only by trust in Jesus that I know that Jesus washed all my sins away. I find myself wondering how do I know I was really saved in my lack of physical evidence, but I always remind myself that “faith is the substance of things not seen” and I find peace knowing that after careful thought my faith rests on Jesus. Jesus is my only answer.

Stop looking for a feeling. Stop waiting for a feeling. Look to Jesus by faith. Trust Jesus by faith. Trust Him, you are safe in His arms. Do not wait for assurance, let your assurance be Jesus. Do not wait for a feeling, let your salvation be Jesus. You must trust Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus is a real person. He is alive and in Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God.

You must look to Jesus by faith. Trust Jesus because only He is worthy of your trust. Do not trust your feelings. Do not trust your heart. Trust Jesus. Let your hope be built on nothing less than Jesus’ Blood and righteousness. Jesus loves you. Jesus died for your sins on the Cross. Jesus shed His Blood for you. Jesus says, “Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Jesus is more than just a story, or a set of rules in the Bible. Jesus is more than some feeling that you experience. Jesus is a real person, who really loves you, and who will really accept you if you trust Him. Do not rest in what you can feel, rest in Jesus Himself. Rely on the Blood of the Lamb of God who taketh away the Sin of the World. Trust Jesus by faith! He will save you! Dr. Hymers, please come and close the service.


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 Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.: Romans 3:23-26.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Jesus Loves Even Me” (by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).


THE OUTLINE OF

FAITH IN CHRIST NOT FEELINGS

by Mr. John Samuel Cagan

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:24-25).

(Ephesians 2:8; Ecclesiastes 9:3)

I.   First, your feelings cannot be trusted, Jeremiah 17:9;
Genesis 6:5; Ecclesiastes 9:3; Matthew 15:19-20.

II.  Second, Jesus can be trusted, II Timothy 1:12; John 6:37.