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WE SHALL NEVER SURRENDER!
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, October 8, 2005
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord" (I Corinthians 15:58).
The word "stedfast" is translated from the Greek word "hedraios." It means "seated," therefore, "settled" or "fixed." The idea of being stedfast is commented on in the next word, "unmoveable," from the Greek word "ametakinetos," firm, unmoveable. Both of these words (stedfast and unmoveable) refer to the fixedness of purpose required of a Christian in his life and service to God. "Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding [overflowing] in the work of the Lord" - stedfast and unmoveable in God's work. That's what we are called to do.
Many of us remember how we worked and prayed for a new Supreme Court. We did not turn back from our efforts or our pleadings with God. We went on and on, throughout the years of Carter's and Reagan's presidencies and the presidency of George Bush, Sr. With Clinton our hopes of a new Supreme Court turning the nation from abortion seemed impossible, and yet we continued to pray and hope and work. And I am overjoyed to say to you tonight that I think the tide may have turned. I believe that Harriet Miers, appointed by the President last week, will finally begin to turn the Supreme Court in a better direction! I have high hopes of that, because of what I have read about her life and character.
In the darkest days of the abortion fight, we nearly gave up hope. But now I believe that victory may well be seen in the coming years. We give thanks to God for that prospect tonight!
Victories like that never come easy. That's what makes them so overwhelmingly sweet when they do come. And a victory like this only comes because some were stedfast and unmoveable in their prayers and efforts to rid our nation of the American Holocaust. Our struggle has been thirty years long. At times our faith wavered. But we held on, stedfast and unmoveable. But now the conflict seems to be turning in our favor, and I believe that Ms. Miers may well help to turn that old court back to the values and principles that reflect the beliefs of the vast majority of the common people of America. And for that hope, now held before us, we can only raise our voices and sing the doxology of the ages,
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
As it has been with the Abortion Holocaust, so it is with the battle to save and build our local church. The greatest speech of the twentieth century, and one of the grandest ever given by a human voice, is, of course, Churchill's most memorable speech, given when a hundred times as many explosives were about to rain down on London than we experienced in New York on 9/11. Churchill, that venerable voice for freedom, stood up in the House of Commons, in defiance of Hitler and his vast armies, and said these soul-stirring words,
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills: we shall never surrender.
And they never did! Thank God they didn't. If they had surrendered to Hitler we might all of us be living under Fascism today. "Stedfast, unmoveable." Those were words that characterized the boys who flew their little English airplanes, outnumbered ten to one, into the jaws of death, to save Western civilization from tyranny and slavery.
Stedfast, unmoveable. Those should be the watchwords of our church as well. Like the British in World War II, we are surrounded by enemy forces. Our task as a church seems hopeless. And yet, to paraphrase Churchill,
We shall go on to the end,
We shall defend our church
Whatever the cost may be,
We shall fight for our church
On the college campuses, in the malls, and on the streets.
We shall never surrender!
We shall go on to the end!
"We shall never surrender. We shall go on to the end." Stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord!
I give you Churchill's words tonight because they ring true in our situation and circumstances. The odds of our building a great church in the burned-out heart of this city are small. No one in his right mind, it seems, would undertake such a task. And yet we do so with great determination and unyielding grit. We dare to say that God is on our side - and we shall not fail. No matter how long it takes, no matter how hard we must work, nor for how many years, we shall go on to the end. We shall build one of the great inner-city churches of America! That is our task, and, by the grace of God, we will see it through, finish the work, and build the church - until, in God's time, it shines like a lighthouse to the ends of the earth!
You may ask what it will take to accomplish all this. I say that it will take two character traits. Each of you must have them for us to realize our goal. These two traits are "be ye stedfast [and] unmoveable - always abounding in the work of the Lord!"
I am calling on every man and woman, every boy and girl here tonight, to join me in the battle to build up the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles. In the next nine weeks we will know if our efforts have been strong enough, we will know if we have been stedfast and unmoveable enough to bring in a full harvest of new souls to our church. We have only nine more weeks before the crush of the "Holiday time" will stop us for the rest of this year.
And so I say to you, in another of Churchill's eloquent phrases, for the next nine weeks, "be ye men of valour." Push everything else aside, and be here every Wednesday and every Thursday night for evangelism. Let nothing stop you from coming both nights for these nine weeks. Fight to do your homework early, during lunch time, or other times of comparative leisure. "Redeem the time because the days are evil." Come to the prayer meeting before we go out to evangelism Wednesday and Thursday night. Don't go directly from your home to evangelism. Oh, no! Come on time at 7:00 PM on Wednesday and Thursday night to pray. Why? Because those prayers are more than half of the battle. Be stedfast and unmoveable in your commitment to be here for the prayers both Wednesday and Thursday night. Don't make me give altar call after altar call to remind you of this. I will do that one more time Sunday night - calling you to make this commitment. But then I am asking you to keep that commitment for the full nine weeks, every Wednesday and every Thursday night. "Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." That's the way to get the job done and bring in the fall harvest of souls!
And, remember, those of you who are attending college, do even more evangelism during the day at school or university. Nine weeks from now we will shut down our Wednesday night evangelism. It will be time for finals, followed by the devilish American "Holiday time." It will be too late then. Strike now, while the fire is hot! Evangelize on your campus for an hour or so every day and bring the names and phone numbers to Dr. Chan on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. Do this unfailingly every week for the next nine weeks. "Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord," on your campus every day for the next nine weeks! Do it for Christ's sake!
And, finally, remember that we are not going out to evangelize to have a time of relaxation and play. We are going on a mission, on a campaign, sent by our commander, Christ Jesus. Be zealous as you go. Redeem the time. Get as many names and phone numbers as possible, not as few as permissible. That bears repeating. Get as many names and phone numbers as possible, not as few as permissible!
Our larger goal is to fill this church. To break down that back wall, to extend our fellowship hall into the next room to accommodate the growing number of people. I want to hear Mr. Matsusaka's voice ring out one day soon, "Dr. Hymers, tear down that wall!" Help make that happy day come to pass. On Wednesday and on Thursday, for the next nine weeks - throw yourself headlong into this great work. Don't make me have to remind you again and again but, rather, "Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." May God Himself give you the grace, fortitude, and courage to do so for Christ's sake. Amen.
(END OF SERMON)
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Solo Sung by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith Before the Sermon:
"Go, Labour on, Spend and Be Spent" by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889).