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Psalm Sung Before the Sermon: Psalm 139:23-24.



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, October 13, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9).

This was the verse that God used to convert John Gill. He went on to become pastor of the church where Spurgeon later preached. Dr. Gill wrote a commentary on the whole Bible, which is still in print and is quite valuable (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, nine volumes).

Dr. Gill wrote comments on nearly every verse of both the Old and New Testaments. Yet in his comments on this text, which God used to convert him, he does not mention that fact. I think he was very much an 18th century writer, and did not want to put anything personal in his remarks. And yet it is valuable to know that one of the great Baptist Bible commentators of the ages was awakened by hearing a sermon on this text, Genesis 3:9, preached by Mr. William Wallis. Gill was converted a short time after hearing it. John Rippon gave this account of Gill’s conversion:

He had slight convictions of the evil of sin, and occasional thoughts of [Hell]…but his impressions were superficial and temporary, till he was about twelve years of age, when the operations of his mind became more serious, especially after hearing Mr. William Wallis preach a sermon on Genesis 3:9, “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” For a while the text and subject continually sounded in his ears, and these [questions] were addressed to his heart – Sinner, where art thou? What a wretched state and condition art thou in? – How miserable wilt thou be, living and dying in an unconverted state? – He considered himself as summoned before the Judge of all, to answer for his [sin]… Now he began more clearly to see the depravity of his nature, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, his need of the Saviour, and of a better righteousness than his own, even the righteousness of Christ, to be received by faith (John Rippon, D.D., A Brief Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Late Rev. John Gill, D.D., Gano Books, 1992 reprint, page 6).

John Gill was converted a short time later, but he was not baptized until he was almost nineteen years old.

[John Rippon says that] This delay, at first, was occasioned by…his youth…and, afterwards, by finding that…the church [wanted to call him as their pastor] as soon [as] he became a member of it (Rippon, ibid., p. 7).

So, this evening, we will look at the text God used to awaken John Gill to his lost state and need of Christ, when he was twelve years old.

John Rippon brought out several applications of the text, “Where art thou – Adam?” that William Wallis preached to young Gill. This sermon is built on Rippon’s recollection of Wallis’ sermon that awakened John Gill, and led to his conversion. The sermon was based on our text,

“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9).

I. First, it is an awakening question.

“Where art thou – [Adam]?” (Genesis 3:9).

This question pierced the heart of our father, Adam. It made him stop and think what a wretched state and condition he was in. A few minutes before God called him, Adam felt secure, hiding there in the trees of the Garden. But now God’s piercing voice penetrates his hiding place. And he is brought face to face with his rebellion and sin.

Like John Gill, Adam has experienced slight convictions of the evil of sin. But his feelings of conviction are not deep, and they are only temporary. He sometimes thinks about Judgment. He sometimes thinks about eternity in Hell. But his youthful mind skips over this, and he busies himself with other things, making aprons of fig leaves, travelling deep into the trees of the Garden, and other things connected with these acts. He is so busy at first that he forgets that Judgment will come. He forgets that

“He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” (Colossians 3:25).

He forgets that

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

He forgets that

“God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

He forgets that

“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy”
      (Proverbs 29:1)

as he busies himself sewing his aprons of fig leaves and retreating into the depths of the darkness, under the trees deep in the Garden. This “business” takes his mind off the terrible sins he must face before a holy God.

I know that someone here tonight is in that same condition. During the very sermon itself you let your mind wander. You often sit listlessly, only half listening to the words, sitting there in your pew half awake and half asleep. See how you resemble Adam in all that. “God is not in all his thoughts” (Psalm 10:4).

But then the voice of God came sweeping through the Garden, and reached him where he was hiding. And God said,

“Where art thou – [Adam]?” (Genesis 3:9).

This question at once pierced his conscience and revealed to his heart how terrible his condition was.

Has that happened to you yet? Has God spoken to the innermost parts of your soul, and said,

“Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9).

Are you playing with the things of God? Are you seeking to excuse your sin and treat it lightly? Or has the all-seeing eye of God touched your heart and awakened you to the wretched state of your soul, the rebellious and dead nature of your heart? There can be no real conversion unless you are made to see that you are a miserable sinner in God’s mind. You must be awakened from your lethargy and sloth concerning the things of God! You must come under the conviction of the Almighty, who “will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7)! You must see the truly wretched condition of your mind and heart. As old John Newton put it,

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved.

   (“Amazing Grace” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

Has the grace of God taught your heart to fear? Has the grace of God led you to distrust your own sin-ruined heart? The Bible says,

“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26).

Adam trusted himself. He trusted his own heart. Look what a fool he was! Don’t be like Adam! Don’t trust your own heart!

“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9).

II. Second, it is a convicting question.

“Where art thou?”

The question was meant to convince of sin and lead to a confession of sin. I hope you will hear the voice of God, in your conscience, saying to you, “Where art thou?” “I gave you life. I made you in my own image. I provided all that you needed to live. I gave you everything you have. I only asked one little thing – that you would not eat the fruit of that one tree. Where art thou? Are you a rebel, a blasphemer, a traitor to my cause? Hast thou sinned? Oh, Adam, where art thou?” If Adam’s heart had been right he would have made a full confession of his sinfulness to God.

Now, sinner, hear me. “Where art thou?” God gave you everything you needed in life. God gave you health and strength, and a family to care for you. God gave you a church that preaches the Gospel, a church that cares for you, and weeps in prayer for you. God gave you His only begotten Son, to be crushed by your sins until He sweat Blood in Gethsemane, to bear your sins in His own body on the Cross, to be lashed with a cruel whip to heal you, to die in agony on a rugged cross to propitiate God’s wrath, to shed His holy Blood so your sins could be cleansed, to rise victorious from the grave to give you life, to impute His righteousness to you, to pray for you in Heaven that you might be converted.

Have you forgotten God’s commandments, pushed God out of your life, broken His laws, and rejected His Son? Are you this night an unbeliever, content to trust in your own works, and not willing to come to Jesus and receive His finished work of righteousness on the Cross? Have you forgotten Him who has done so much for you? “Where art thou?” Are you this night on the side of God’s enemy? Are you on Satan’s side, defying God, and lifting up an impudent face in rebellion against the God that made you, that keeps breath in your lungs, in whose hand your very life exists – or perishes? Sinner, “Where art thou?” After all the goodness God has shown you – are you still a lost rebel, without Jesus, and without hope in this world?

Read the question again like this, “Where art thou?” The serpent promised that you would be “a god,” ruling your own life. You thought you would be better off going your own way. It is true, man? Are you better off? Has Satan kept his promise? Is it so, man, is it so? What good has Satan given you? Has he given you a quiet and peaceful conscience? Has he given you inner joy? Has he kept his promise to your heart?

Instead of clothing you, you are naked before God tonight. Instead of giving you pleasure, sin has given you a bitter cup of gall. Sin has filled your heart with leprosy and your soul with agony and pain. Instead of giving you honor, sin has taken away your honor, and you slink away from the church into the night, like Judas, without inner peace, without salvation, without hope, with nothing but filthy rags and a defiled conscience. What has Satan given you? He has disgraced you, and branded you a sinner in the eyes of the Christians in the church. What has sin done for you? It has soured you and poisoned all your joys and hopes. “Where art thou – where art thou?” In every case sin has been a liar. In every case it has brought you to a ruined, disgraced, Godless condition, left without Christ, and filled with your own ways instead of His.

To add to the conviction, God asks, “Where art thou?” as if to say, “How did you come there? How did you become such a cold-hearted sinner?” You are in that condition because you brought yourself there. Your sin is your own fault. You have no one to blame but yourself for being such a hardened sinner. You created your own sin. If I preach on the Fall of Man, you blame Adam for it. If I speak of total depravity, then you think you are excused, as though total depravity is an excuse for your sin. I say that if you are a lost sinner, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you are a lost sinner, you have no excuse for it whatever. And if you live and die in sin, the guilt is yours, it is your own fault, and no one else’s. “Where art thou?” You are where you have chosen to put yourself, and you remain in that state of rebellion against God, and alienation from Him, by your own choice!

I pray that God would not only awaken you tonight, but also that He would work inwardly in your heart to convict you, to convince you of your sin-nature, and the many sins you have committed against His Holy Name. It is easier to awaken a man from sleep than to make him rise from the filthy bed of sin on which he slept – and burn it! But this is what you will do if God is at work in your heart. You will wake up and find that you are lost. Conviction will give you the awareness that you are destroying your own self! Then you may rush away from your false hopes, and false refuges, give up your sins, and search with all your heart for lasting salvation in the only place it can be found – in the Blood of Christ, the Son of God.

“The Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9).

III. Third, it is a seeking question.

Man did not seek God. Those very words, “Where art thou?” – show that it is God seeking man, never man seeking God. How much clearer could that be in our text? God sought Adam; Adam did not seek God. Adam is a paradigm, an example, of all sinners today. God seeks you. You do not seek Him. What could be plainer also on the pages of the New Testament?

“As it is written…there is none that seeketh after God
      (Romans 3:10-11).

None seek after God? “No, not one” (Romans 3:10).

Ever and always it is God that seeks after the sinner. As it was with Adam, so it must be with you. It is an awakening voice, a voice that convinces of sin, but in the third place, it is a seeking voice. “Adam, where are you? I have come to find you, wherever you are.” Jesus said,

“[I have] come to seek and to save that which was lost”
      (Luke 19:10).

You may say, “But Lord, I am threatened by the Law.” He says, “[I have] come to seek and to save that which was lost.” You may say, “But I cannot believe as I should.” He says, “[I have] come to seek and to save that which was lost.” But you say, “I cannot believe on you.” He says, “[I have] come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “But,” someone says, “You don’t know how sinful I really am!” Again, Jesus says, “[I have] come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “But I feel like an outsider, an outcast in the church.” Jesus says, “[I have] come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “Oh,” says someone else, “I have crossed the deadline. It is too late for me. I am given over to reprobation, and there is no hope for my soul.” “But,” says Jesus, “[I have] come to seek and to save that which was lost.” There is not a lost sinner tonight who is so far gone that he cannot be saved by Jesus, who said “[I have] come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

God in Christ is saying to you tonight, “The time has come. I will pluck you out of sin, and rescue you from the flames of Hell. And this very night I will draw you to Jesus and save you from sin for all time and eternity.”

“The Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9).

This is a seeking question from God. He seeks you so He can save you.

But if you reject that loving call of God, there remaineth no more sacrifice. If you harden your heart so strongly that you cannot hear God calling, there is no hope, no more sacrifice for you.

Oh, sinner, why will you die? Why will you perish? Man in eternal pain is an awful thing. An angry God is terrifying, and what mouth can tell the horror of the great Judgment that is coming? Escape for your life; look not behind thee; stay not the way you are, escape to Christ and be cleansed from all sin. Escape for your very life. Turn to Christ and trust Him now – while God is calling,

“Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9).

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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9).

I.   First, it is an awakening question, Colossians 3:25;
Romans 6:23; Galatians 6:7; Proverbs 29:1; Psalm 10:4;
Exodus 34:7; Proverbs 28:26.

II.  Second, it is a convicting question, Genesis 3:9.

III. Third, it is a seeking question, Romans 3:10-11; Luke 19:10.