Print Sermon

The purpose of this website is to provide free sermon manuscripts and sermon videos to pastors and missionaries throughout the world, especially the Third World, where there are few if any theological seminaries or Bible schools.

These sermon manuscripts and videos now go out to about 1,500,000 computers in over 221 countries every year at www.sermonsfortheworld.com. Hundreds of others watch the videos on YouTube, but they soon leave YouTube and come to our website. YouTube feeds people to our website. The sermon manuscripts are given in 40 languages to about 120,000 computers each month. The sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted, so preachers can use them without our permission. Please click here to learn how you can make a monthly donation to help us in this great work of spreading the Gospel to the whole world, including the Muslim and Hindu nations.

Whenever you write to Dr. Hymers always tell him what country you live in, or he cannot answer you. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net.




THEY FORSOOK HIM AND FLED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, March 4, 2018

“But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).


Jesus ended His lonely time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. He awakened the sleeping Disciples. He said, “Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me” (Matthew 26:46). Then Judas came leading “a great multitude with swords and [clubs], from the chief priests and elders” (Matthew 26:47).

All the Disciples must have looked alike there in the darkness of Gethsemane. Judas had told the Temple guards, “Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast” (Matthew 26:48). Judas kissed Jesus on the cheek. “Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him” (Matthew 26:50). “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus” (John 18:10). Jesus “touched his ear, and healed him” (Luke 22:51). Then Jesus told Peter to put away his sword. Jesus said to him, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? [72,000 angels!] But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:53-54). Jesus then turned to those who had come to arrest Him and said, “Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and [clubs] for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me” (Matthew 26:55). This brings us to our text,

“But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).

These events were described by the prophets hundreds of years earlier. Dr. R. C. H. Lenski said, “This whole thing has occurred for one reason and for one alone: ‘in order that the Scriptures of the prophets...should be fulfilled.’ Here are the real forces at work in what is taking place this night: God is carrying out his prophetic plans, Jesus is thus voluntarily putting himself into his captor’s hands...Now verse 56 was fulfilled. As Jesus [was] led away, all the disciples fled” (R. C. H. Lenski, Ph.D., The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Augsburg Publishing House, 1964 edition, p. 1055; note on Matthew 26:56).

“But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).

In this sermon, I will delve deeper into this verse, to dig out some of the reasons the Disciples “forsook him, and fled.” According to Dr. George Ricker Berry, the Greek word translated “forsook” in the KJV means “abandon” (A Greek-English Lexicon and New Testament Synonyms). Here are several reasons why the Disciples forsook Jesus, as they abandoned Him and fled.

I. First, they forsook Jesus and fled to fulfill the scriptures of the prophets.

Our text says, “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled...” This includes the prophecy of the Disciples forsaking Him and running away. Zechariah 13:6-7 says,

“What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends... smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered” (Zechariah 13:6-7).

Concerning those words “smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered,” Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

This verse is quoted in Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27 by Christ Himself. He, the Good Shepherd, would give His life for the sheep (John 10:11), but in the trauma of these world-changing events, His sheep would be scattered for a while (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Defender’s Study Bible, World Publishing, 1995 edition, p. 993; note on Zechariah 13:7).

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said that Zechariah 13:7 prophesied the Disciples forsaking Him and fleeing. In Matthew 26:31 Christ said,

“All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad” (Matthew 26:31).

Again, in Mark 14:27,

“Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered” (Mark 14:27).

The Disciples forsaking Him and running away was a fulfillment of that prophecy in Zechariah 13:7.

“But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).

II. Second, they forsook Jesus and fled because they were members of a fallen race.

The human race is a fallen race. We must never forget that. You are a sinner – because you are part of a sinful race – a child of Adam. The Bible says,

“By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men” (Romans 5:12).

That is why all people are born “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5). That is why all people are “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). That is why you are a sinner by nature. Don’t blame everything on the Devil! The Devil could not enslave us if we were not sinners by nature. All of Adam’s descendants are sinners by nature. You are a sinner by nature. Yes, you!

The Disciples were no better than the rest of us. They, too, were “by nature the children of wrath.” They, too, were “dead in sins.” They, too, were sons of Adam. As an old New England children’s book said,

“In Adam’s Fall

We sinned all.”

The Disciples had carnal minds which were “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). Thus they rejected the Gospel each time Christ preached it to them. The same way you reject the Gospel! Dr. J. Vernon McGee said,

[Christ] repeated five times the fact that He was going to Jerusalem to die (Matthew [16:21]; 17:12; 17:22-23; 20:18-19; 20:28). In spite of this intensive instruction, the disciples failed to grasp the significance of [the Gospel] until after His resurrection (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, volume IV, p. 93; note on Matthew 16:21).

Why didn’t the Disciples “grasp the significance” of the Gospel? The answer is simple,

“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (II Corinthians 4:3).

In his note on John 20:22, Dr. McGee said that the Disciples were not born again (regenerated) until they encountered the resurrected Christ, and He breathed on them, and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., ibid., p. 498; note on John 20:22). (Click here to read my sermons on this subject – “The Fear of the Disciples” – “This Saying Was Hid From Them,” “The Conversion of Peter,” “Peter Under Conviction,” and “The False Repentance of Judas.”)

“Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).

They had to go through this to see that they were sinners. Just as John Cagan and Emi Zabalaga had to see that they were ruined sinners. Just as you must be made to see that you are a lost sinner!

Some may tell you that I have gone too far by saying that the Disciples were unregenerated and unconverted until after Christ’s resurrection. Do you think the Disciples were any different from you? I know they were no different from me! Without the Blood of Jesus I would not be standing before you tonight! Without the Blood of Jesus I would still be a lost sinner going to Hell!

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
   Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
   Interposed His precious Blood.
(“Come, Thou Fount” by Robert Robinson, 1735-1790).

I admire Iain H. Murray’s book, The Old Evangelicalism (The Banner of Truth Trust, 2005). Speaking on conversion in general, Iain H. Murray said, “There is an urgent need today for the recovery of the truth about conversion. A widespread controversy on this subject would be a healthy wind to blow away a thousand lesser things” (p. 68). Write to me about this. I want to hear from you, and I will personally answer each person! My e-mail is rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net.

“Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56),

for they had not yet been cleansed from their sin by Jesus’ Blood! Have you been cleansed by Jesus’ Blood? Have you? Have you? You have no hope unless you are cleansed by Jesus’ Blood!

III. Third, they forsook Jesus and fled because they did not have real conviction of sin before this time.

They had great confidence in their own ability. We see that over and over again before Christ rose from the dead and appeared to them and breathed on them. For instance, Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him that very night. They still had to go through the withering work of the Holy Spirit – to make them feel their sin!

“Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples” (Matthew 26:35).

Not one of the Disciples was converted yet! And neither are you! You have to go through the withering work of the Holy Spirit – to make you feel your sin! Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,

There is no true evangelism without the doctrine of sin, and without an understanding of what sin is...evangelism must start with the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man and the eternal consequences of evil and wrong-doing. It is only the man who has been brought to see his guilt in this way who flees to Christ for deliverance and redemption [Dr. Hymers’ note: I myself only became deeply convicted of sin by acting in the role of Judas in an Easter play!] (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, InterVarsity, 1959, volume 1, p. 235; emphasis mine).

The Disciples did not come under real conviction of sin until they all “forsook him, and fled.” When the Disciples said a little earlier, “We believe that thou camest forth from God,”

“Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone...” (John 16:30-32).

Peter’s sorrow and conviction, after he denied Christ, was certainly felt by the other Disciples. “And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). Dr. W. G. T. Shedd commented, “The Holy Spirit does not ordinarily regenerate a man until he is a convicted man” (Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, volume 2, page 514). And the Disciples were not convicted of their sin until they betrayed Jesus. Then they knew that they desperately needed to be made clean by His Holy Blood! Some of you think you can be converted without first being convicted of your sin! You will not be converted until you are convicted of your sin! Peter went out and wept bitterly. Most people weep like Peter before they are converted. Have you wept bitter tears?

APPLICATION

I will now go back and apply this to those of you who are still unconverted. Have you felt that you are a ruined sinner, that your own heart “is deceitful...and desperately wicked”? (Jeremiah 17:9). Have you felt, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). Have you lost all confidence in yourself? Have you cried and wept for our sin? There is no hope for you until you cry and weep for your sin! Until you say, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” As Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “It is only the [person] who has been brought to see his guilt in this way, who flies to Christ for deliverance and redemption” (ibid.).

In Jesus’ name, with one accord, Lift up a sacred hymn,
And think what healing streams He poured From every bleeding limb.

Oh, who can tell what woes He bore When that pure blood was spilt,
What pangs His tortured bosom tore When loaded with our guilt?

‘Twas not the insulting voice of scorn So deeply wrung His heart;
The piercing nail, the pointed thorn, Caused not the saddest smart.

But every struggling sigh betrayed A heavier grief within,
How on His burdened soul was laid The weight of all our sin.
   (“The Lord Hath Laid on Him” by William Hiley Bathurst, 1796-1877;
      to the tune of “Amazing Grace.”)

You must feel your sin so strongly that you cry and weep real tears as they do in China in the revival there.

In a moment I will ask you to come and sit in the first two rows to speak with us about being saved. Several of you will come, but it won’t do many of you any good. You will leave here as a lost sinner. Why won’t it help you to come here? Because you don’t feel lost. You are like the Disciples. You have great confidence in yourself. You think you can live your life as a Christian the way you are. But you are wrong. Sooner or later the Devil will come and tempt you. And you will do exactly what the Disciples did. You will forsake Christ. You will leave this church. You will go into a life of sin. How do I know that? Because I have been preaching for 60 years. I have seen hundreds of people just like you. That’s how I know you will forsake Christ like the Disciples did that night. Sooner or later you will do exactly what they did. You don’t think you will. But you are wrong! Be honest with yourself. You have already thought about leaving the church. Be honest. You have already thought about leaving, haven’t you? Haven’t you? Haven’t you? You know you have.

You must look at your heart. You must feel your sin. You must feel your lack of faith in Jesus. You must feel that you are a lost sinner! You must feel guilty – guilty of not trusting Jesus. That is the greatest sin of all – the sin of not trusting Jesus. Jesus said, “He that believeth not is condemned already” (John 3:18). You don’t have to wait until you go to Hell. You are condemned already! Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “It is only [when you have] been brought to see [and feel your] guilt in this way [that you will come] to Christ for deliverance and salvation.” Do you feel your sin? If you feel your sin, and it bothers you, you will then come to Jesus and trust Him, and be saved by Him, and be washed clean by the Blood He shed to cleanse you from your sin. There is no other way to be truly saved. I pray that there will never be a Sunday when I do not preach on the Blood of Jesus. I don’t know any other gospel than this – trust Jesus and you will be clean. The Blood of Jesus shed on Calvary’s cross is your only hope! Yet you don’t mention Jesus or His Blood! Why not? Because you don’t feel your sin – that’s why! That’s why! That’s why! You are trying to learn the right words. Oh, what a fool you are! Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.” There is a fountain filled with Blood, drawn from the Saviour’s veins. And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains. Come to Jesus now. Be purged from every sin by His Holy Blood! 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)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.sermonsfortheworld.com.
Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

These sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted. You may use them without Dr. Hymers’
permission. However, all of Dr. Hymers’ video messages, and all other sermons on video
from our church, are copyrighted and can only be used by permission.

Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Alone” (by Ben H. Price, 1914).


THE OUTLINE OF

THEY FORSOOK HIM AND FLED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).

(Matthew 26:46, 47, 48, 50; John 18:10; Luke 22:51;
Matthew 26:53-54, 55)

I.    First, they forsook Jesus and fled to fulfill the scriptures of
the prophets, Zechariah 13:6-7; Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27.

II.   Second, they forsook Jesus and fled because they were
members of a fallen race, Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:5, 3;
Romans 8:7; II Corinthians 4:3.

III.  Third, they forsook Jesus and fled because they did not have
real conviction of sin before this time, Matthew 26:35;
John 16:30-32; Luke 22:62; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 7:24;
John 3:18.