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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, July 7, 2002

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Matthew 10:16).

Christ sent the Disciples into the world as sheep among wolves. They had little understanding of what He meant when He said to them, "I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves" - but they would soon learn what He meant. They would soon learn that the entire pagan world was against them and their message. They would soon learn why Jesus had said,

"I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15:19).

Young people in our churches feel the same alienation the Disciples felt. Their secular high schools and colleges are as hostile as the ancient pagan world - though not as bloody - yet. The young Christian walking into class at one of the secular colleges or universities will find that Christian values are ferociously attacked at every opportunity.

Why is that so? Columnist David Horowitz is a former sixties radical liberal who became a conservative. Horowitz surveyed the social science faculties of several major universities, to determine whether these campuses give conservatives a chance to teach and attain tenure as professors. Here is Horowitz's report, given word for word:

American Colleges and Universities are Closed to Christians and Conservatives

The results are staggering. At the University of Colorado (the major state university of a solidly Republican state), 94 percent of the liberal arts faculty were registered Democrats - only 4 percent were registered Republicans. At the University of North Carolina (in another Republican state), 91 percent were Democrats and only 9 percent Republicans. At other universities, the numbers were similarly unbalanced.

At Brown University in Providence, R.I., 94.7 percent of the professors whose political affiliations showed up in primary registrations last year were Democrats; only 5.3 percent were Republicans. Only three Republicans could be found on the Brown liberal arts faculty. Zero in the English department, zero in the history department, zero in the political science department, zero in the Africana studies department, and zero in the sociology department.

At the University of New Mexico, of 158 social science professors surveyed, six were Republicans: two in economics, one each in sociology, English, women's studies and African-American studies; and zero in political science, history and journalism.

At the University of California at Santa Barbara, 135 professors were surveyed in the departments of African-American studies, English, women's studies, history, communications, and political science. Of these, 75 were Democrats, one was a Republican, one was Green, and 58 did not vote in the primary. In other words, 97 percent of the professors were Democrats, 1.5 percent were Greens, and 1.5 percent were Republicans. Only one Republican professor could be found in all those departments.

At the University of California at Berkeley, of the 195 professors whose affiliations showed up, 85 percent were Democrats, 8 percent were Republicans, 4 percent were Greens, and 3 percent were American Independent, Peace and Freedom, or Reform party voters. Out of 54 professors in the history department, only one Republican could be found. And there were absolutely no Republicans in the sociology, English, women's studies, African-American studies or journalism departments.

If you have experienced the political climate on America's college campuses, these findings are hardly surprising. They merely document what we knew all along: that private and public universities - in the interests of maintaining liberal ideological purity - have engaged in massive discrimination against aspiring Christian and conservative faculty members. As a consequence of this discrimination, America's college students are exposed to a comprehensive, monolithic presentation of liberal, leftist ideology throughout their education. While some students can certainly withstand the indoctrination and emerge from the ordeal spiritually (and ideologically) intact, many others succumb to the propaganda and leave school eager to transform the wider American world into their school's leftist image.

If you don't believe that colleges have that much influence, look at journalism. As Horowitz notes: "There is an organic connection, for example, between the political bias of the university and the political bias of the press. It was not until journalists became routinely trained in university schools of journalism that the mainstream media began to mirror the perspectives of the [campus] culture." I would also add that Hollywood has been similarly impacted. The vast majority of screenwriters are not only college educated, they are educated at America's most liberal institutions. The consequences are not difficult to see. Try to remember the last time you saw a Christian or a social conservative positively portrayed in a movie, sitcom or network drama.

As now America's major corporations are beginning to fall under the sway of "diversity and tolerance" liberalism, the time has come to fight back at the source - America's colleges. The massive discrimination that Horowitz outlines is not only unconscionable, it may be illegal. If the colleges won't reform themselves, courageous Christian individuals will need to step forward and challenge the status quo… [today] American colleges and universities are closed to Christians and conservatives… (David Horowitz,, June 20, 2002).

Will you succumb to the pressures of the liberal, antichrist educational system in your college? Horowitz said:

While some students can certainly withstand the indoctrination and emerge from the ordeal spiritually (and ideologically) intact, many others succumb to the propaganda… (ibid.).

The Disciples were young people, just like you. John was sixteen or seventeen. The others were in their late teens and early twenties. Peter was the oldest, at about twenty-nine or thirty. Jesus said to these young men,

"I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Matthew 10:16).

When the Disciples first followed Christ they did not fully understand what this meant. Then Jesus cleansed the Temple! You have heard about this, so it is familiar to you. But try to project your mind back to that time. Imagine the shock and the reaction of the religious leaders.

"And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that [allow] any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him…" (Mark 11:15-18).

Christ turned the city of Jerusalem upside down. He clashed so strongly with the culture that its leaders began plotting to destroy Him. From that moment on they sought to kill Him.

Now, I want to focus on the Disciples. How did these young men react? What was their response when Jesus came under fierce attack? I am not going into all the psychological and theological reasons. I am simply giving you the facts, as they appear on the surface of the Bible.

1. First, the Disciples betrayed and denied Christ.

2. Second, the Disciples became heroes for Christ.

I. First, the Disciples betrayed and denied Christ.

As I said, the whole culture of this great city had been confronted and rocked on its foundation by the radical message and actions of Christ. His young Disciples were emotionally and spiritually unprepared for the firestorm of political intrigue and persecution that began to pour out on them.

I want you to draw a parallel between this and your secular college experience. The parallel is this: you are thrown into an environment that is as hostile to Christ as Jerusalem was in the first century. And you are going to be confronted with many of the temptations and fears that the young Disciples experienced.

Judas became particularly despondent. The Bible tells us that he began pilfering money. Things were not working out the way he planned. Leaders in the city were not embracing Jesus as their Messiah - as he had thought they would. Judas decided to make some money. He betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver - a large amount of money in that time.

"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him" (Matthew 26:14-16).

I think Judas probably betrayed Christ when he saw that the kingdom was not coming immediately - and when he saw that the Disciples would be social outcasts rather than "sports heroes." It doesn't take a Bible scholar to see that Judas wanted "out" and wanted to make some money as well.

Then there was Peter. Peter had said brave words to Jesus:

"Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples" (Matthew 26:33-35).

Peter had proudly voiced his belief that he would never betray Christ. But Peter didn't realize how much power there is in a culture's peer pressure. The Bible says:

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

Suddenly Peter was alone. Everyone around him was an unbeliever. He was in the exact position of a college student, alone among a crowd of unbelieving neo-pagans! How about you? When you are alone at the secular college will you cave in to peer pressure as Peter did?

"Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel [young girl] came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid [young girl] saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock [the rooster] crew" (Matthew 26:69-74).

The peer pressure on Peter when he was all alone was too much. He caved in and denied Christ. The rooster crowed as Christ predicted. Peter gave in and denied Christ because he was afraid. Will you be afraid to speak out for the Son of God when you are all alone in your secular college classroom?

Jesus said:

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Matthew 10:16).

Now, I want you to turn in your Bible to John, chapter twenty, verse nineteen. This happened after the resurrection of Christ:

"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord" (John 20:19-20).

In verse twenty, they locked the door because they were afraid. They were outnumbered by unbelieving Jews.

You will feel this same fear when you are outnumbered in your secular college classroom. Will you shut your mouth, and look the doors of your life, for fear of the unbelievers?

II. Second, the Disciples became heroes.

"Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John 20:20-22).

Something very important happened here, when the Disciples saw the risen Lord and received the Holy Spirit. Many see this as a dispensational change. I believe it to be their conversion as well. In either event, something so drastic happened to these men that they were as frightened as mice beforehand and as bold as lions afterward. That is manifestly clear in the Bible. Peter was scared to death, but now he preaches like a prophet. Turn to Acts three, verse twelve:

"And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses" (Acts 3:12-15).

Here is Peter, preaching in broad daylight, on the steps of the Temple, in the center of the city. A few weeks before that he denied Christ, then hid in a room, trembling, with the door locked. Now he preaches Christ in broad daylight to the very people who had crucified the Lord.

Now turn to Acts chapter four, verse five:

"And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:5-12).

Notice who Peter was speaking to. In verse five, we read that Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas were standing there in front of Peter. These were the very men who tried Jesus falsely and sent Him to the Romans to be crucified. Peter had been terrified of these men. Now Peter boldly tells them,

"Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole" (Acts 4:10).

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

They tried to stop Peter and the others from preaching like this. Look at verse eighteen,

"And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken [to listen] unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done" (Acts 4:18-21).

As you continue reading the book of Acts, you will see that these men couldn't be stopped. Stephen was stoned to death for witnessing. Peer was thrown into prison, but escaped by a miracle. They went right on telling everyone about salvation through Jesus Christ. Nothing could stop them now! They remembered the words of Christ:

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Matthew 10:16).

Christ speaks also to you, wherever you go, whether it is among the lost on your job, or out in the street, or on a secular college campus. Christ says to you,

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Matthew 10:16).

Will you speak up and say a word for the Son of God?

Last Sunday night I meant to give this quotation from Richard Wurmbrand, but during the heat of the sermon I passed over it. I give it to you now, tonight. Wurmbrand was my friend. He spent fourteen years in a Communist prison in Romania because he took a stand for Christ. Wurmbrand said,

I met Western church leaders who advised me to preach the Gospel and avoid attacks on Communism; this advice I had also from the secret police in Bucharest. But wrong must be called by name. Jesus told the Pharisees that they were "vipers," and for this, and not the Sermon on the Mount, he suffered crucifixion (Richard Wurmbrand, In God's Underground, Living Sacrifice Book Company, 1968, p. 4).

This man spent 14 years in prison for speaking out against evil. Three of those years he was in solitary confinement, never seeing the sun, never hearing the voice of a friend. He was beaten repeatedly and nearly starved to death.

Will you dare to be like him? Will you dare to speak up for the truth in your secular college classroom? Will you dare to be "as sheep in the midst of wolves"? (Matthew 10:16). David Horowitz said, "If the colleges won't reform themselves, courageous Christian individuals will need to step forward and challenge the status quo" (ibid.). Will you be one of those courageous Christians?


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Mark 11:15-18.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"The Son of God Goes Forth to War" (by Reginald Heber, 1783-1826)/"Am I a Soldier of the Cross?" (by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Matthew 10:16).

(John 15:19; Mark 11:15-18)

I.   The Disciples betrayed Him and denied Him,
Matthew 26:14-16; Matthew 26:33-35;
Matthew 26:56; Matthew 26:69-74;
John 20:19-20.

II.  The Disciples became heroes, John 20:20-22;
Acts 3:12-15; Acts 4:5-12; Acts 4:18-21.