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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, July 13, 2008
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“And fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds” (Acts 19:17-18).

This revival occurred at Ephesus after Paul preached there (Acts 19:8-10). Several exotic events took place, which are uncommon to most revivals. I am not bothering to mention them tonight because they are peculiar only to this Ephesian revival. I will, instead, focus on the four things in this revival that are seen elsewhere in other revivals in the Book of Acts, and which have been common in other genuine revivals throughout history. These are the vital points of what happens in real, God-sent revival.

I. First, the Apostle Paul preached.

“And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:8-10).

This was clearly what we would call “revival preaching.” He “disputed and persuaded concerning the kingdom of God” (19:8). There was a division of the people, and many spoke evil of his preaching. But some people believed and were saved. Paul went right on preaching for two more years among them. All of those things are quite common in real revivals. You can read the same reaction to Whitefield’s preaching, and Edwards’ preaching, and Wesley’s preaching in the records of the First Great Awakening, and in the history of genuine revivals throughout history. Some believed the preaching. Others were outraged and spoke against it. But the preacher went right on preaching Hell, judgment, and the Gospel of Christ.

After a time certain unusual events occurred. We need not go into what they were tonight. But the thing common to all revivals here is that there was finally a breakthrough. That often happens. After a long time of preaching with little results – suddenly a breakthrough occurs. And it is that breakthrough which I will discuss in the remainder of this sermon.

II. Second, fear fell upon them all.

The word for fear is again “phobos,” as it was at Pentecost, where “fear came upon every soul” (Acts 2:43). That happened quite suddenly, as it did at Pentecost,

“And fear fell on them all” (Acts 19:17).

We are praying that this may happen to you, if you are still unconverted, for we know that unless God’s Spirit causes fear to fall upon you, you will not be converted, just as these people at the city of Ephesus would not have been converted if fear had not fallen “on them.” The word “fear” in our text is “phobos.” It means, as I have said, “great fear.” Great fear fell on those who had been hearing Paul but had not been affected by his preaching up to this point. But now the breakthrough of the revival came,

“And fear fell on them all” (Acts 19:17).

I was preaching in a church in the South some years ago. At the end of my sermon, a man whom everyone thought was a good Christian, broke down, came forward in great fear and conviction, crying most uncontrollably. This had a remarkable effect on the congregation, and the invitation went on for over three more hours, with others breaking down, realizing they were lost, some screaming under conviction of sin. One old man who had resisted Christ for years crawled on his hands and knees down the aisle, seeking Christ. It was an unforgettable experience. Ian Paisley’s son was there and witnessed it. He said to my wife and several others, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Seventy-five people made professions of salvation that night. Several hundred people were hopefully converted in the days following. They all came with fear that they were not saved, and many of them left the services with assurance that Jesus had pardoned them, and saved them by His Blood and righteousness.

I have been an eye-witness to this in another real revival in a large Chinese church. Fear and trembling were the outstanding features of this true revival as well.

Now, may I ask you, have you felt anything like that? Has there ever been a time when you were undone, when you felt the wrath of God, when you felt that you were not a Christian at all, but only a hypocrite, doomed to eternal Hell-fire for your sins and transgressions against a Holy God? If you have never felt any of that fear, if you have never experienced any of that terror, and have never felt any of that conviction of sin – are you really a Christian? Are you sure?

I personally doubt that anyone is truly converted without feeling some conviction of sin, and some fear of judgment.

You should earnestly pray for the Spirit of God to awaken you out of your sleep, and do for you what He did for those people in the city of Ephesus when,

“Fear fell on them all” (Acts 19:17).

If you have any desire at all to be converted, you should begin to pray each night, before you go to bed, for God to awaken you from your spiritual and mental sleep. You should pray for God’s Spirit to cause you to fear Him, to fear the coming Judgment, and especially to pray for God to make you fear that you may be given up by Him, and never feel that fear at all. Pray that God will give you a deep fear of judgment, and a deep conviction of sin.

You will be given a printed copy of this sermon after this service. Go to this part of the sermon and pray, point by point for God’s Spirit to do these things in your heart. Otherwise there is little if any hope that you will ever be saved in a real conversion. But the text continues to another point.

III. Third, the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, or honored.

Look again at Acts 19:17, the last few words,

“And fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified” (Acts 19:17).

When real God-sent fear falls on someone, the name of Jesus Christ will be magnified, honored above all honor, in that person’s life. He will then see that no one but Jesus can save him. He will then see that his own goodness is only filthy rags. He will then see that he is base, that he is vile, and that he is a hopeless sinner in the sight of God. He will then see the great and glorious value of Jesus Christ. He will then feel his need for Christ’s atonement for his sins on the Cross. He will then feel his need for the Blood of Christ to wash him clean from all sin. He will then grasp hold of Christ like a drowning man. He will then feel and know that,

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
      (I John 1:7).

He will then be enabled to rise and sing with the greatest saints in the church,

Jesus paid it all,
   All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
   He washed it white as snow.
(“Jesus Paid It All” by Elvina M. Hall, 1820-1889).

For that man will now be a Blood-bought Christian, saved in the experience of a real conversion, by a real face-to-face encounter with the living Christ – now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. But there is a fourth point in our text.

IV. Fourth, they confessed their sins and shewed their deeds.

Please stand and read Acts 19:18 aloud.

“And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds” (Acts 19:18).

You may be seated. Dr. R. C. H. Lenski translated the words this way,

Many also of those having believed kept coming, making confession and reporting their practices (R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles, Augsburg Publishing House, 1961 reprint, p. 797).

As they were being saved, these people came to the Apostle Paul and confessed what sinners they had been, and reported to him the sinful practices they had been engaged in. I have also seen that happen in the two great revivals I have witnessed. People were not satisfied just to come to Jesus, be saved, and then go home. No, in those revivals, people who have been converted (or are being converted) will bare their souls to the pastor and church leaders. They will openly confess to these men their sinful practices, they will openly confess the sins they have committed, sorrow for them, and resolve never go to back to them again. This is a very frequent feature in the great revival in China. There is much open confession, much sorrow and many tears in the great revival going on right now in the People’s Republic of China.

Have you done that? Have you been honest, really honest with the deacon who counselled you after the sermon? Have you “confessed and showed [your] deeds”? The pastor and deacons are not Catholic priests to whom you must confess. This we do not practice or believe. But it does do a great deal of good for a sinner to break down and acknowledge his sins to those Christian leaders who counsel him after the sermon. I hope and pray that you will do just that, and that you will come directly and immediately to Jesus Christ, so your sins may be pardoned and your soul cleansed from all sin by the Blood of Jesus. May some of you actually follow through on those things tonight. And may the Spirit of God enable you to do so. Amen.

Let us stand and sing the last song on the song sheet. Sing it thoughtfully.

I hear Thy welcome voice, That calls me, Lord, to Thee
For cleansing in Thy precious blood That flowed on Calvary.
I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood That flowed on Calvary.

Though coming weak and vile, Thou dost my strength assure;
Thou dost my vileness fully cleanse, Till spotless all and pure.
I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood That flowed on Calvary.

‘Tis Jesus calls me on To perfect faith and love,
To perfect hope, and peace, and trust, For earth and heaven above.
I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood That flowed on Calvary.
   (“I Am Coming, Lord” by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
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Prayer Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Pass Me Not” (by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915;
altered by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.)




by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds” (Acts 19:17-18).

I.   First, the Apostle Paul preached, Acts 19:8-10.

II.  Second, fear fell upon them all, Acts 2:43; 19:17.

III. Third, the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, or honored,
Acts 19:17; I John 1:7.

IV. Fourth, they confessed their sins and shewed their deeds,
Acts 19:18.