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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, September 21, 2003

"And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment" (Mark 5:41-42).

If you have read the history of independent Baptists you know that there was a move of God in our midst in the 1930s and 1940s. As with all awakenings, this move of God centered among young people. Whatever faults J. Frank Norris may have had, no one could ever accuse him of not caring about the young. He was literally surrounded by young people - nearly all the time. It is not surprising, knowing this, that he died while preaching at a youth camp! Hundreds of young men were trained and sent out to start churches by Dr. Norris. Some of them later complained that he didn't treat them as equals. But it is clear to me that they were not his equal - for Norris had no equals! I wish we had two or three men like him today! He was head and shoulders above most preachers of our day.

Some of these preachers with "goatees" (they are actually "Van Dykes" - look it up!), dances in the church, rock bands and rap music, aren't able to get many young people to be solid Christians. But J. Frank Norris did make solid Christians out of young people - by the hundreds - with old-fashioned Hell-fire and brimstone preaching - and little else!

Young people have been at the heart of every revival in history. Jonathan Edwards divided his young people into two age groups - those 16 and under, and those 16 to 26. He spent nearly all his time and effort on these two groups. The result? The First Great Awakening - that shook the whole earth for God, and changed the very character of our nation.

George Whitefield was only 24 years of age when he commanded the attention of the entire English-speaking world, and preached to hundreds of thousands. C. H. Spurgeon was only 19 when he became the pastor of what would become the largest Baptist church in the world of that day. The Second Great Awakening began with school children and young adults in prayer.

When churches get full of people over the age of thirty, they die. That's the reason we spend all (not part) of our evangelistic efforts on high school and college-age young people. You are the most important people in America! Us older people will begin passing off the scene very soon - and the ball will be in your court. That's why we want you in our church! We want you! Why be lonely? Come home - to church!

The New Testament tells us that Christ spent much of His time with young people. Christ was continually surrounded by children and young adults. It was the older people, the priests and Pharisees, who rejected Him, and hated Him, and cried out for Him to be crucified. But the young people flocked to hear Him. He thrilled them, and challenged them, and gave them a vision. He taught them the meaning of life - and death! He gave them hope for the future! He gave them a reason to live!

One of these young people was the girl spoken of in our text. She was sick. They put her in bed. She died before Christ could get there. When the girl's father finally arrived with Christ, they said to him,

"Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?" (Mark 5:35).

But Christ went in where her dead body was,

"And he took the damsel [young girl] by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment" (Mark 5:41-42).

Dr. John Gill tells us that "Talitha cumi" means "Damsel, arise" or we could say, "Girl, rise up!" Dr. Gill says that "TALI signifies a boy and TALITHA, a girl" and so Jesus said to this dead girl, "Talitha cumi" - "Girl, rise up!" That's what He says to you - "Girl, rise up! Boy, rise up!" This account in Mark 5 is given to teach three important lessons to young people today.

I. First, these verses show us that Christ is interested in young people.

He went out of His way, and stopped all other ministry, to follow this man home to the bedside of his dying daughter. Earlier in Mark 5 we are told that the multitude thronged Him (cf. Mark 5:31). But Jesus broke loose from the crowd to go alone to this girl's bedside. This shows that Christ is interested in young people. He is concerned about you this morning.

We went out to the colleges and other places where young people gather, and invited you to come to church to hear the gospel. And many of you came this morning. We are glad you did! You are our honored guests! Thank you for coming!

Young people were at the very center of Christ's ministry. All the Disciples, except Peter, were in their twenties, and the Apostle John was only a teenager when He first began preaching. And I think we should put the same emphasis on reaching young people that Jesus did.

Sadly, many churches do not place enough emphasis on the young. Did you know that "88% of the children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return"? (Agape Press, June 13, 2002, reported in What in the World!, a news service of Bob Jones University, volume 32, number 2). Tom Elliff, pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church of Del City, Oklahoma, gave the same figures at the Southern Baptist Convention, on June 19, 2003. Elliff said, "that among evangelicals, 88 percent of children leave the faith by age 18" (Baptist Messenger, Issue 020620, p. 2). I think that is one of the main reasons that evangelicals have gained less than 2% of the population over the past 50 years. We have simply failed to get our own young people converted, much less any other young people! Leonard Ravenhill said,

Revival would die in a week in some "Bible" churches, for where are the [people] to care for [those who are awakened]? How many of [us] could lead a soul out of darkness into light? It would be as sensible to have spiritual births in…these churches as to put a newborn babe into a deep freeze (Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries, Bethany House, 1988 edition of the 1959 classic, p. 132).

Our churches have tried many gimmicks and fads, but somehow they have all failed. Some preachers are even growing Van Dyke beards that they foolishly call "goatees" (a completely different beard). But they don't seem to realize that these beards are only worn by older kids. High school and college-age young people don't wear these beards! So the preachers who use such gimmicks are always slightly out of step - about 10 years too late on everything.

We don't use any gimmicks or tricks here at our church. I wear horn-rimmed glasses and a black suit. I preach out of an Old Scofield King James Bible. We sing the old hymns. We come right out and tell you what you need to hear! Jesus Christ is interested in you. He can save your soul from judgment and Hell, and give you a life worth living! That's the reason we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ!"

Make this church your second home! Be here in church every time the door is open! Come to Christ - and be washed clean from your sins by His Blood! Do it! Do it! Do it!

II. Second, these verses show us that Christ can raise young people from the dead.

When Jesus went into that girl's bedroom to raise her from the dead, "They laughed him to scorn" (Mark 5:40). There are people who will do that today. They will laugh and mock, and make a joke out of it, if you tell them you are coming to church and are thinking about becoming a real Christian. Your non-Christian friends will laugh at you. Your unsaved parents will try to pull you away from this church. They will try to get you to go back to their old, dead church, where there is no life and no joyful Christian young people. They may tell you that you are a Buddhist or a Catholic - and you shouldn't come to a Baptist church. Let them laugh. Let them make fun of you. But make sure you don't listen to them! Make sure you are here with us every Sunday, no matter what they say. Only Christ can raise you from the dead.

Oh, I know, it all seems hazy and unclear to you now. The reason you are confused is clear enough. You are not saved yet. You are still

"…without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12).

You are still "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1).

But Jesus can raise you from spiritual death. He said,

"The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live"
      (John 5:25).

If you keep coming to this church, and keep hearing the gospel, the light of Christ will soon penetrate your dead heart. The scales will fall from your eyes, and you will receive sight, as Paul did (cf. Acts 9:18). You will soon see everything clearly, and be born again - by coming to Jesus. Jesus will raise you from spiritual death - and you will be saved by Him! As Charles Wesley put it,

My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee! 
Amazing love, how can it be That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
    ("And Can It Be?" by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

Keep on coming to hear the gospel. Don't let lost friends, or lost relatives stop you! Don't let the demons and the Devil pull you away! No matter what strange feelings and thoughts you have, keep on coming to hear the gospel every Sunday! Soon you will give up your stubborn ways, and come to Jesus like a little child - and He will raise you up from spiritual death - and save your soul! Soon you will say with the Apostle Andrew,

"We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ" (John 1:41).

Then you will sing and shout, "I have found the Messiah! I have found Christ! I am alive from the dead!" "Talitha cumi…I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the [young girl] arose, and walked" (Mark 5:41-42).

III. Third, these verses show us that Christ can give you eternal life.

Christ raised this girl from the dead to show you that He can raise you up and give you eternal life. Jesus said,

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:36).

Jesus said,

"This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life"
      (John 6:40).

Jesus said,

"I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:25-26).

The Apostle Paul spoke of those who

"Believe on him to life everlasting" (I Timothy 1:16).

And Jesus gave the most famous verse in the whole Bible,

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Christ took this dead girl by the hand and said,

"Talitha cumi…[young girl], I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the [young girl] arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment" (Mark 5:41-42).

When Christ said, "Talitha cumi" the girl rose from the dead. And this shows that Christ can give you life - even eternal life. Jesus said,

"I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish"
      (John 10:28).

When Jesus calls you to arise, you can come to Him and be saved. Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He shed His Blood so that your sins could be cleansed. His Blood is fresh and available to cleanse your sins right now! Then Christ rose physically from the dead. He ascended back to the Third Heaven. He is seated there now - on the right hand of God, in the Heavenlies.

When you look up to Christ, and trust Him with all your heart, He raises you from spiritual death, and saves you from punishment for sin. Jesus said,

"He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25).

Come to Christ. Trust Him with all your heart, and He says to you, "Talitha cumi! Arise from the dead!"


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Mark 5:21-24, 35-43.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"It Took a Miracle" (by John W. Peterson, 1921 - ).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment" (Mark 5:41-42).

(Mark 5:35)

I.   Christ is interested in young people, Mark 5:31.

II.  Christ can raise young people from the dead, Mark 5:40;
Ephesians 2:12, 1; John 5:25; Acts 9:18; John 1:41.

III. Christ can give you eternal life, John 3:36; 6:40; 11:25-26;
I Timothy 1:16; John 3:16; 10:28.

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