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 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 46 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 preaching the Gospel to the whole world.

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


by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, July 13, 2003

You have come here this morning from many ethnic and religious backgrounds. Most of you who are here for the first time have never been in a Baptist church service before. I want you to know that we welcome you. You are our guests, and we are glad you are here with us!

They call Disneyland "the happiest place on earth." But they are wrong. This local, New Testament Baptist church is the happiest place on earth! And we are glad you came to be with us for this joy-filled occasion. And I believe we have something to say to you that will help you to become a better high-school or college student - and have a better and more successful and fulfilling life. My message this morning is "The Key to Success in College - And in Life." So we are glad you are here. And we want to help you to do better in your high school and college studies - and in life itself. Listen to me this morning and you will get better grades in school, you will be a greater success in life, and you will be prepared for eternal life with God in Heaven some day!

We went out to the college campuses and high schools, and to places where young people gather, and we invited you to come. And you came! And we are glad you did! I hope that what I say to you this morning will help you to get better grades, and do better in high school or college. Thank you for coming! God bless you!

Now, I want you to turn in your Bible to our text this morning. It is found in the ninth chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes, verse ten. Let us stand for the reading of God's Word.

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might"
     (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

That verse gives us the key to success in many areas of life - including doing well in your classes at college or high school.

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might"
      (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Dr. Gill says,

The phrase ["do it with thy might"] denotes intenseness of spirit, vigour of mind, activity and fervency; doing that which is good, cheerfully and diligently, and not in a negligent careless manner (John Gill, D.D., Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume IV, p. 610).

This morning we are going to apply this verse to three areas of life.

I. First, our text gives the key to successful study habits.

Many of you are in high school or college. You need to get better grades. How do you do it? The key to better grades is right in our text. Let's stand and say it together out loud,

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might"
      (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

You may be seated. As Dr. Gill said, "It denotes intenseness of spirit, vigour of mind, activity and fervency; doing that which is good, cheerfully and diligently, and not in a negligent or careless manner" (op. cit.). Young people who tackle their studies this way will succeed! You will get better grades!

Notice the words Dr. Gill gave and apply them to your homework: "Intenseness" - means straining to the utmost, earnestly and passionately eager and intent, as intense study or thought. "Diligently" - means hardworking, busily at work, industrious, doing something with careful attention. "Fervency" - means warmth of devotion, glowing, impassioned. "Not in a negligent or careless manner" - means not indifferent, not unconcerned.

"Do it with thy might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

That's the way to study! That's the way to get better grades!

Your main business as a college or high-school student is to study. And the Bible says to be

"not slothful [not lazy] in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11).

Our greatest examples in the Bible were men who studied. The Apostle Paul was such a hard-working student that governor Festus

"said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad" (Acts 26:24).

When Paul spoke of the resurrection of Christ, the Roman governor thought that his great learning and scholarship had driven him insane! Paul did not deny that he was a hardworking scholar and student,

"But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness" (Acts 26:25).

The Apostle Paul is one of our great examples in the Bible. He worked hard at studying - and so should you. And Paul said,

"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ"
      (I Corinthians 11:1).

We have a tendency to think that Christ was not much of a scholar, but we are wrong to think that. Jesus Christ was a very careful and dedicated student and scholar. When He was only a child, twelve years old, Mary and Joseph

"found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers" 
       (Luke 2:46-47).

When Christ began His ministry,

"the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" (John 7:15).

They were amazed that someone who had never attended one of the great rabbinical schools could explain the Bible as He did. Yes, His understanding came from God. But Christ emptied Himself and became one of us. He had to eat. He had to sleep. And He had to study - on His own - to humanly gain the knowledge that He displayed to the rabbis and to the people. These verses clearly show us that Jesus was a great scholar and a disciplined student. And the Apostle Paul said,

"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ"
      (I Corinthians 11:1).

The key to becoming a good student is in our text,

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might"
      (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Here are some pointers that will help you to have better study habits, and get better grades.

1. Set aside a specific time to study. Study as quickly as you can when you get home from school. Don't put it off.

2. Study every day. Don't wait to study right before the mid-term or final. Make it a habit to study every single day.

3. Have a quiet place where you can study alone. The library usually is not a good place. People are walking around, and this distracts your mind. Find a quiet place and make it a habit to study there each day.

4. Do not play music while you are studying. Do not have the TV or computer on - unless you are using the computer to type. Do not talk on the phone while you are studying! Many do, but it won't work!

5. Take notes while you are reading. This will focus your mind.

6. Get up and walk around for 2 or 3 minutes every thirty minutes or so. But don't make it longer than 2 or 3 minutes! Go outside or into another room for 2 or 3 minutes every thirty minutes or so. This will clear your mind. Then sit down and concentrate hard on studying for another thirty minutes. Study in thirty-minute blocks.

7. Never miss church to study! If you follow the first six points I gave, you will never need to miss Sunday morning or evening. Study every day. Study several hours every Saturday. If you study several hours, six days every week, you will never need to miss on Sunday. And coming to church is a means of grace. God promises to help those who put Him first in their lives. Christ said,

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" 
      (Matthew 6:33).

Your greatest enemy in becoming a good student is your own lazy, wandering mind. You must have God's help to become a good student. I know that from personal experience. I flunked out of high school. I finally went back at night and barely got through. I went to college and flunked out again. I could only do well in a few subjects that interested me. But God had called me to preach, and I knew that you had to go through college to become a Southern Baptist preacher. I didn't know what to do - because I couldn't study. I felt that I was too dumb to go to college, and yet I knew I had to go through college to become a Southern Baptist preacher. I was in a terrible turmoil! (For the record - I am now an independent Baptist pastor).

Then one day I got saved. I had been a lost Baptist. After I got saved, God gave me a verse of Scripture which has become my life verse,

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me"
      (Philippians 4:13).

Armed with that promise from God's Word, I went back to college - at night - at Los Angeles City College. I worked forty hours a week in the daytime, and went to college at night. In the fall of 1964 I took two night courses, Psychology 1 and English 21. I made a "B" in psychology and an "A" in English! I graduated from Los Angeles City College in 1968 and from Cal State L.A. in 1970. I worked forty hours a week in the daytime, and took every subject after 6:00 PM in the evenings. With the help of God, I learned how to study. And, I should add, I never missed church even once on Sunday morning and Sunday night - because I knew I needed God's help to get good grades.

I then graduated from a three-year course at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, and then completed a doctoral degree at the United Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Marin County, and a Doctor of Theology degree at Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary. This year I was awarded an honorary Doctor of Literature degree by Louisiana Baptist University. I have written 13 books, and my handwritten sermons go out to thousands of preachers over the Internet. I am still a student. I spend about 30 hours every week studying and writing.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me"
      (Philippians 4:13).

And, young person, God can help you make good grades as well!

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might"
      (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Sir Winston Churchill is one of my secular heroes. Like me, Churchill started out having a very difficult time with schoolwork. He barely made it in school. But he went on to become a great historian, a statesman, and - in spite of a very serious speech impediment - he became the greatest public speaker of the twentieth century. He wrote a six-volume history of the Second World War, and a four-volume work, A History of the English Speaking Peoples, and many other books. He won the Nobel Prize for literature.

Churchill always wrote late into the night, usually until two o'clock in the morning. He had this little poem on his desk, and he often quoted it from memory.

The heights by great men, reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight;
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
      ("The Ladder of Saint Augustine"
            by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882)

Remember that while you are "toiling in the night" with your schoolwork - fighting late into the night to learn a difficult subject.

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might"
      (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

II. Second, our text gives the key to living the Christian life.

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might"
    (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

I can only touch on this, but the Bible calls every Christian to be a worker, a joyful worker for the Lord! Jesus said,

"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work" (John 9:4).

The Bible says,

"Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you"
      (I Thessalonians 4:11).

Again, the Bible says,

"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat"
      (II Thessalonians 3:10).

A true Christian works hard! We are called to be busy, working people. No one should ever be on welfare, who is capable of working! Welfare makes lazy slaves out of people - slaves to the welfare state! The Bible is plainly against unneeded welfare.

"If any would not work, neither should he eat"
      (II Thessalonians 3:10).

And we are called on to work in our Christian lives as well. The Bible says,

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15).

We are called on to work hard as Christians. And this work includes the work of prayer, the work of soul-winning, the work of supporting and building up the local church.

This is good. It brings us all together, working for God in the church. We have wonderful fellowship as we work for God! We don't need special programs so people in the church will have something "to do." We have the fellowship of the work! It's wonderful to be part of a church where everyone is working together for God! What a joy it is to be together in church, with our brothers and sisters in Christ, praying together, soul-winning together, studying the Bible together! That's the reason we say to you, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come to Jesus Christ and get saved!" Get saved. Get into this church. Go to work for God! It's fun and you will make new friends!

My wife is a wonderful example of this.  She works from the minute she gets up until the minute she goes to bed.  She works four nights a week in the church.  She has worked beside me for more than twenty years, through some very difficult times.  I don't think we would even have a church if it were not for the work my wife has done - often behind the scenes.  She is a worker for God!  I thought of her when I chose the text for this sermon,

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might"
      (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

That's what my wife does - and that's what you should do!

III. Third, our text gives the key to entering salvation.

I don't want you to think that salvation can be earned by good works. The Bible plainly tells us this is not true,

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

And yet there is a human element which, under the grace of God, enters the picture. A man or woman who is lazy about salvation will not find Christ.

You can stand outside the door of salvation for years. You can learn all about salvation without getting saved yourself,

"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7)

yourself. Wouldn't it be awful to learn a great deal about salvation and then go to Hell - because you, yourself, never got saved? Wouldn't that be a terrible thing?

To get saved, you have to earnestly desire salvation. You have to be serious about it and zealously seek it. We disagree with the hyper-Calvinist who may think that you can just wait, and you will be saved. That is wrong. Jesus said,

"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24).

You can "seek to enter in," but that won't help. You must "strive to enter in." Salvation in Christ must be the thing that you really want, and you must "strive" to come to Jesus with all your heart.

"Every man presseth into it" (Luke 16:16).

If you sit idly by, waiting for something to happen, you will die in your lost state - and go down to Hell.

"Strive to enter in" (Luke 13:24).

"Every man presseth into it" (Luke 16:16).

Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. Christ rose from the dead, and is now in Heaven, at the right hand of God. But a knowledge of those facts of the gospel will not help you at all if you do not "strive" and "press" to enter into Christ.

Now look at the whole verse I have preached from this morning:

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

This simply means that you will not be able to learn anything or do anything to help yourself (or anyone else) after you die. Learning is for now! Wisdom is for now! Salvation is for now! It will be too late after you die. Every step you take in life is a step toward the grave. Prepare now! Life is a preparation for the great final exam, when you die and stand before God at the Last Judgment.

Buddy Ebsen, who played Jed Clampett in "The Beverly Hillbillies," died last week. He lived 95 years on this earth. Now he is dead. All that he could learn, all that he could do, all that he could know about salvation is now past. His story is over. His life is finished.

Some day, perhaps sooner than you realize, your own life will be over. Then it will be too late to be saved. The Bible says,

"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

Come to Christ now, while you can still be saved! Come to Christ now, and be washed clean from your sin by His Blood. And, as always, we say to each of you, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ!"


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. C. L. Cagan: Ecclesiastes 9:3-10.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

All For Jesus" (by Mary D. James, 19th century).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

I.   The key to successful study habits, Romans 12:11;
Acts 26:24-25; I Corinthians 11:1; Luke 2:46-47;
John 7:15; Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:13.

II.  The key to living the Christian life,
John 9:4; I Thessalonians 4:11; II Thessalonians 3:10;
II Timothy 2:15.

III. The key to entering salvation, Ephesians 2:8-9;
II Timothy 3:7; Luke 13:24; 16:16; Hebrews 9:27.

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

For a tape recording of Dr. Hymers preaching this sermon, send $4.00
and request the sermon by date and title. Write to Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.,
P. O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015.