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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, November 12, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help”
(Hosea 13:9).

This is a very important subject, and you will understand it, if we keep close to the text and think about its great truths – that the ruin of man comes altogether from himself, but the salvation of man is altogether from God. Spurgeon wisely said, “I believe that these are the two main points of sound theology regarding salvation” (C. H. Spurgeon, “Self-Destroyed, Yet Saved,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1975 reprint, volume XLI, p. 373).

Simply put: the ruin of man which leads to damnation comes completely from himself. As Jesus said to the Pharisees,

“How often would I have gathered thy children together…and ye would not” (Matthew 23:37).

The Arminian has said, truthfully, that damnation comes from man’s will alone, as a result of man’s tendency to say, “I will not.” Yet, on the other hand, the Calvinist says that salvation is by grace alone.

Now, said Spurgeon, these two truths do not really contradict each other. Spurgeon said that if the Arminians and Calvinists had put their heads together, and accepted both these truths, “It might have been [a great advantage to] the Church of Jesus Christ” (ibid.).

Though Spurgeon did not say so, these two truths were synthesized (brought together successfully) by Luther before the Arminians and Calvinists fought over them. Luther said that both are true. Man in his depraved state says “no” to the offer of salvation by grace presented to him, but some people are awakened to the futility of saying “no” to God, and are changed in their minds from rejecting God’s grace in Christ, to accepting it. Luther said that the reason behind this change, which leads some men to reject their obstinacy against the Gospel, to be led to a new way of thinking, by God’s grace, to change their minds, and to come to Christ, cannot be fully understood. This is truly incomprehensible, beyond our human, finite ability to understand. Luther appealed to Romans 11:33,

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).

The Calvinist has said that salvation is by grace alone. The Arminian has said that damnation is by man’s will alone. Spurgeon commented,

The fact is, they had each one laid hold of a truth, and if they could have put their heads together, and accepted both truths, it might have been greatly for the advantage of the Church of Jesus Christ…ruin [from] men; restoration [from] God: sin, of man’s will; salvation, of God’s will…the sinner lost in hell through himself alone, the [Christian] lifted up to heaven wholly and alone by the power and grace of God. Get those two truths thoroughly engraven upon your heart, and you will then [understand] the great truths of Scripture…as far as the mind of man, being finite, can contain, the great truths revealed by the infinite God (ibid.).

But this morning I will not be discussing those theological points in depth. Instead I will use the two parts of our text evangelistically, to point out the way of salvation.

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help” (Hosea 13:9).

The text naturally divides into two points: man’s rebellion and God’s grace.

I. First, man’s rebellion.

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself…” (Hosea 13:9).

You cannot lay the blame on anyone else, not on your family, your friends or your church (if it preaches the Gospel). You remain unconverted because of your own rebellion against God. Moses said,

“I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck…ye have been rebellious against the Lord” (Deuteronomy 31:27).

And, in rebelling against God, the unconverted sinner is self destructive. Those who rebel against God destroy themselves.

They destroy themselves by adding sins to their record. The Apostle John saw the Last Judgment in a vision. He saw the unsaved dead stand before the throne of God,

“And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works”
      (Revelation 20:12).

Each and every sin you commit is recorded in those “books.” Every day that you go on rebelling and rejecting Jesus, your sins are recorded, one by one. Only the Blood of Jesus can blot out those sins, and wash them away, cleansing them from the pages of God’s “books.” Matthew Henry said, “The sin of sinners is not forgotten till it is pardoned, but an account is kept of it, which will be opened in due time” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996 reprint, vol. 4, p. 939). The unconverted sinner destroys himself by adding more and more sins to God’s record, in those “books,” which He keeps up in Heaven.

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself…” (Hosea 13:9).

Lost sinners also destroy themselves by putting off, by delaying, their conversion. Matthew Henry said, “They make no haste [do not hurry] to repent and help themselves when they are under divine rebukes; they are their own ruin because they will not do what they should do towards their own salvation…Those may justly be reckoned their own destroyers who defer [postpone, delay] and put off their repentance, by which alone they might help themselves. Those are in danger of [never being converted] who delay it, and will not put forth [effort] to speed the work and bring it to an issue [a result, a termination, an end]” (ibid.). John Bunyan said,

[Because] I could not, but with great difficulty, enter in thereat [to Christ] it showed me that none could enter into life, but those that were in downright earnest (John Bunyan, “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners,” The Complete Works of John Bunyan, Banner of Truth Trust, 1991 reprint, volume I, page 13).

The editor of Bunyan’s book says, in a footnote,

“In downright earnest,” as one who is in imminent danger of drowning, or in a house on fire, eager to escape. Reader, have you ever felt thus “in downright earnest” for salvation? Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled (ibid.).

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself…”

by delaying, postponing, putting off thy conversion! Even if you have heard one hundred sermons,

“The word preached did not profit [you], not being mixed with faith in [you] that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2).

II. Second, God’s grace in Christ.

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help” (Hosea 13:9).

Our Baptist forefather John Bunyan said, concerning Luther’s commentary on Galatians,

I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians, excepting the Holy Bible, before all the books that ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience (ibid., p. 22).

Why did Bunyan praise this commentary of Luther so highly? I think it is because Luther, though wrong on some things, had great understanding of salvation by grace, through Jesus. Luther said,

For the troubled conscience, in view of God’s judgment, hath no remedy against desperation and eternal death, unless it take hold of the forgiveness of sins by grace, freely offered in Christ Jesus (Martin Luther, Th.D., Commentary on Galatians, Kregel Publications, 1979, p. xiii).

And it is in Galatians that the Apostle Paul wrote,

“Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help” (Hosea 13:9).

Christ says, “In me is thine help.” You have destroyed yourself by sin. But Christ can save you from the penalty and power of it!

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help” (Hosea 13:9).

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

It has always been that simple to those who find salvation in Jesus Christ.

“Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

And it will be that simple for you. When you “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…thou shalt be saved!”

I will close this sermon with four illustrations from the Bible (though I could give several more) of men who destroyed themselves and did not turn to Christ for help in salvation.

First, we should remember Cain, the son of Adam. Cain destroyed himself, but never turned to Christ for help in salvation. When Cain did wrong by not bringing to God a blood sacrifice, God did not respect Cain or his offering, because it came from his own works as a farmer, and was not the blood God required. Salvation is obtained by blood, not by human works of righteousness. “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord” (Genesis 4:16) because he refused to have his mind changed by God. He refused to acknowledge, “but in [Christ] is thine help.” And, so, it can be said of him, “[Cain], thou hast destroyed thyself.”

The Egyptian Pharaoh in the time of Moses destroyed himself, because he wilfully refused to acknowledge that “in [Christ] is thine help.” Thus, he was destroyed, dying in rebellion against the Lord.

Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, destroyed himself. He did so by refusing to acknowledge that “in [Christ] is thine help.” Judas, in his heart of hearts, rebelled against Christ, though Christ would have saved him if he had turned to Him in full faith. He betrayed Christ, and went out and hanged himself, “the son of perdition.”

“O [Judas], thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.”

The Elder Son, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, also destroyed himself because he would not believe, “In [Christ] is thine help.” When his younger brother was saved and the father said,

“This my son was dead [in sin], and is alive again [by grace]” (Luke 15:24),

the Elder Son

“was angry, and would not go in [showing his rejection of salvation]” (Luke 15:28).

The Elder Son pictures a person who is outwardly moral, what the world would call “a good person.” But he never “went in” to the feast and thus, he “destroyed” himself. Men like him destroy themselves by rejecting that great truth, “but in me [in Christ] is thine help.”

“O [Elder Son], thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help” (Hosea 13:9).

My heart’s desire and prayer is that you will not destroy yourself by a belligerent rejection of the Son of God. I pray that you will not be like Cain. I pray that you will not be like Pharaoh. I pray that you will not be like the Son of Perdition, Judas Iscariot. And I pray often that you will not be like the Elder Son, and refuse to go into the happy feast with Jesus.

“O [Cain, O Pharaoh, O Judas, O Elder Son], thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.”

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help” (Hosea 13:9).

Oh, turn away from your rebellion, your inner heart’s rebellion, and as Spurgeon often said, “Lay flat on Christ.” Come to Christ. Lay flat on Him. “In me is thine help.” I pray that you will come to the Saviour and trust Him fully. In Him alone “is thine help.”

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace [where Jesus is], that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Jesus says, “In me is thine help.” Will you come and believe on Him by simple faith? If you trust in Jesus, He will save you. There is no question about it. He will save you if you come to Him!

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 23:37-39.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Grace Greater Than Our Sin” (by Julia H. Johnston, 1849-1919).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help”
(Hosea 13:9).

(Matthew 23:37; Romans 11:33)

I.   First, man’s rebellion, Hosea 13:9a; Deuteronomy 31:27;
Revelation 20:12; Hebrews 4:2.

II.  Second, God’s grace in Christ, Hosea 13:9b; Galatians 2:16;
Acts 16:31; Genesis 4:16; Luke 15:24, 28; Hebrews 4:16.