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SIGNS OF THE TIMES – SILENT PREACHERS
AND THE ABORTION HOLOCAUST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, September 21, 2008
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles


Now I want you to turn in your Bible to II Timothy, chapter 4:1-4. It’s on page 1281 of the Scofield Study Bible (Oxford University Press, 1917 edition) if you have one. This is one of the most important prophetic passages in the Bible. It gives us the social and psychological conditions of “the last days,” before the end of this world and the Second Coming of Christ.

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:2-4).

If you know the history of preaching on the subject of “signs of the end” it may seem strange to you that this subject is spoken of so little today. Beginning in the latter part of the 19th century, John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) and many other preachers put Bible prophecy at the head of the topics they preached on. Dr. I. M. Haldeman, pastor of the First Baptist Church of New York City, preached on Bible prophecy, the signs of Christ’s coming, and related prophetic subjects every Sunday night in his church for over thirty years, from the First World War on through the 1930s. Every Sunday night Dr. Haldeman, a great and respected Baptist preacher, devoted his sermons to prophecies of the Bible, concerning the end of history and Christ’s Second Coming. Until his death in the 1960s, the tremendous Bible teacher, Dr. M. R. DeHaan, spent most of the time on his widely-heard radio program teaching on the signs of Christ’s coming, and other topics of Bible prophecy. For over fifty years Billy Graham ended each of his crusades with a sermon on the signs of the times and the Second Coming of Christ. Billy Graham conducted the last crusade of his ministry in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, New York, on June 24-26, 2005. Hundreds of thousands of people poured into the park to hear the aged evangelist preach what they knew would probably be his last crusade sermon. What was his subject? True to form, as he had ended every one of his crusades for over fifty years, Billy Graham preached a sermon titled, “When Christ Comes Again” (Billy Graham, The New York Crusade, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2005, p. 103). It was his usual sermon for such closing occasions. It was a sermon on the signs of Christ’s coming and the end of the world. I remember Billy Graham preaching on that subject in the 1950s until it made my skin crawl and my hair stand on end! And countless others followed the example of I. M. Haldeman, M. R. DeHaan and Billy Graham in the earlier days of the 20th century. But where is such preaching today? It is now an extremely rare thing to hear an old-fashioned evangelistic sermon, with fire and blood in it, on the signs of Christ’s coming and the end of the world. All of that emphasis on preaching Bible prophecy has nearly passed off the scene, with the exception of John Hagee, who usually does quite a good job, although I don’t agree with his charismatic leanings. But Hagee is the only prominent preacher I know of who still speaks on Bible prophecy, especially the signs of Christ’s coming and the events at the end of this world.

Dr. Cagan said to me the other day, “They preached on the signs earlier in the 20th century, but now that it’s so obvious that the signs are really here, it seems that the preachers have gone to sleep and forgotten that Christ is coming and the end is drawing near.” Where are the preachers? Why are they so silent on such an important subject, which is so prominent in the Scriptures? When was the last time you heard an evangelistic sermon on the “signs of the times”? That is my first point.

I. First, the silence of the preachers on Bible prophecy is a sign, in itself,
that the end of this age and the Second Coming of Christ are near.

Please turn to II Timothy 4:2-4. Here we have the prophetic statement of the Apostle Paul on this subject. He said,

“Preach the word…For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts [in accordance with their own desires] shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:2-4).

The main reason for preachers neglecting to speak on these end-time prophecies is that many of them are no longer following the Apostle’s admonition to “preach the word.”

In his final sermon at New York, Billy Graham correctly said,

I believe [Christ] is coming back. In the New Testament, there are so many passages on the coming again of Christ that I could spend all afternoon reading them (Graham, ibid., p. 113).

He was absolutely right on that point! The New Testament is full of prophecies concerning the coming again of Christ, and the signs that show the nearness of that great event. But why don’t we hear more on this subject from most pulpits today? Simply because many preachers are not speaking on these prophetic passages today!

Then, the Apostle tells us the reason. He says, “They will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves [accumulate for themselves] teachers, having itching ears” (II Timothy 4:3). Dr. J. Vernon McGee stated that,

They want religious entertainment from Christian performers who will tickle their ears…The [preacher] who simply opens the Bible is rejected while the shallow religious entertainer becomes a celebrity. And verse 4 indicates that itching ears will soon become deaf ears as people turn away from the truth and believe man-made fables (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, vol. 5, p. 476).

Look at II Timothy 4:4,

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:4).

Instead of preaching sermons on the great themes of Scripture, such as the atonement, the new birth, and the warnings of Bible prophecy, many preachers have turned to fables, literally to “myths.” They now often preach on the “myths” of psychology and “self-help.” They preach on the myth of “possibility thinking.” They preach on the fable of “prosperity theology.” They preach on the myths sociologists and psychologists give us on child rearing. And they preach mythological “purpose driven” sermons. But many have turned away from preaching whole sermons on the atonement of Christ on the Cross, and when do they preach evangelistically on the clear prophetic passages of the Bible?

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:4).

The very fact that so many preachers now avoid these important doctrines is a sign of the end of the world and the return of Christ! The silence of preachers on the signs, and Bible prophecy in general, is a sign that we are rapidly approaching the end of this age and the climax of history.

If we ever needed to hear about these signs and prophecies it is now, at the very time most pastors have stopped preaching about them.

Today many preachers don’t want to frighten or disturb anyone by preaching on the judgments that are coming to our world. They don’t want to “frighten” anyone. But I am convinced they are wrong. Sermons that never disturb anyone are also sermons that never convert anyone! A sermon on the signs and prophecies of God’s judgment could be used to produce the right kind of fear. The Bible says,

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

These are frightening times – and every Bible-believing minister has a duty, an assignment from God, to tell the truth about the fearful things predicted in the Bible for our time! If I were attending a church where the preacher never spoke of the great prophetic themes of a world in chaos, never spoke of the coming judgment of a wicked world plunging into Hell, never spoke of the horrors of the Tribulation, or the awful signs leading up to it – I would get out of that church as fast as I could, and find one where the pastor isn’t afraid to preach the prophesied judgments of God! That’s the first sign I am giving you tonight – the fear of preachers to speak out on the judgments given in the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures.

And, by the way, that is why the conservative Baptist preachers in America have done nothing to stop the Abortion Holocaust in any practical way. They vote, but they are silent because they are afraid of upsetting someone. God help us! Dr. Martin Luther King died for his cause. And today very few would dare to say that it was not a righteous cause. Today nearly everyone would say that it was right for him to speak out for the “little people” who had no national voice. Yet what conservative preacher would do the same to stop the slaughter of 51 million innocents who also have no voice? Where are our preachers? They are as silent on abortion as they are on the prophecies of God’s judgment. They are silent, and I for one am angered by their silence. It is shameful that they are so silent on the prophecies of the coming judgment, and on the Abortion Holocaust. Some day they will have to answer to God for their sinful silence.

II. Second, the sign of abortion and the fierce, godless mentality that has
produced the slaughter of 51 million American children.

Please turn back a page to II Timothy 3:1-3. Stand and read those three verses aloud.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good”
      (II Timothy 3:1-3).

You may be seated.

Now, notice that the Apostle said, “In the last days perilous times shall come.” The majority of commentators have said that “the last days” here refer “to the period immediately preceding the Second Coming of Christ” (Charles John Ellicott, D.D., Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, reprinted from the 1860 edition, volume VIII, p. 232). I am convinced that the Apostle was writing of the distant future, of our own time, although there are applications to the whole church-age. He says in verse 13,

“evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,”

implying that the apostasy would be deeper, in the distant future. Again, the Apostle said,

“the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine”
      (II Timothy 4:3).

These verses show that the prophecy of “the last days” is in the future.

The next thing to notice is the word “perilous” – “in the last days perilous times shall come.” The Greek word translated “perilous” is “chalepoi.” It means “dangerous,” “fierce” (Strong). Dr. John MacArthur correctly says, “‘perilous’ is used to describe the savage nature of two demon possessed men, Matthew 8:28” (John MacArthur, D.D., The MacArthur Study Bible, Word Bibles, 1997, note on II Timothy 3:1). The Greek word is used only twice in the New Testament, here in II Timothy 3:1 and in Matthew 8:28,

“There met him two possessed with devils [demons], coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way” (Matthew 8:28).

That is the same Greek word “chalepoi,” used to describe people in “the last days” in II Timothy 3:1. People will be as fierce as those demon possessed men who attacked everyone who came near the tombs where they lived.

The fierceness and danger of “the last days” comes through demonized people, who are characterized in the next four verses (II Timothy 3:2-5). I am not going through the whole list tonight, but I will lift out an important characteristic of “the last days” in verse 3. Please stand and read verse 3 aloud.

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good”
      (II Timothy 3:3).

You may be seated.

“Without natural affection” is the English translation of a single Greek word, “astorgoi.” W. E. Vine says it means “without natural…love of kindred, especially of parents for children” (W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Revell, 1966, p. 37).

The Apostle Paul used this word in Romans 1:31 to describe the Roman world in the first century. It was very common for Romans to take their babies out and leave them exposed in a field to die. This was an extremely popular way to get rid of an unwanted baby in Roman times. And the Apostle described such people as being “without natural affection, implacable [unforgiving], unmerciful” (Romans 1:31).

It took about 1900 years for the Western world to come back to that. It wasn't true in the Middle Ages. It wasn't true in the Enlightenment. It wasn't true in the Great Awakening. It wasn't true in the nineteenth, or even the early twentieth century. Not until our time did man become so brutal and fierce that he would boil a little baby to death in the womb - or pull out its arms and legs. Not until our time did man become like he was in first century Rome - astorgoi - without natural affection - without natural love for children!

“In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be…without natural affection…fierce, despisers of those that are good” (II Timothy 3:1-3).

What an amazing prophecy! What a picture of the abortionists, “without natural…love…for children” (Vine).

It is “natural” for a woman to love a child in her womb, but the abortionists are “astorgoi,” “without natural affection.” This is surely a prophetic sign that we are now living “in the last days” before the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ!

The Los Angeles Times wants us to think about something else rather than abortion. They recently said,

Decades of arguing about abortion…have produced only tiny shifts in policy. Can we talk about something else this time? (Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2008, p. A24).

No, we cannot “talk about something else this time” – not as long as 4 out of every 7 African-American babies are slaughtered by the abortionists – not as long as more than one million American babies a year are boiled alive, their arms and legs ripped from their sockets, pulled unmercifully, “without natural affection,” from their mothers’ wombs – not as long as the Declaration of Independence declares that these children, too, have the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – not as long as the Sixth Commandment says,

“Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13).

Back in 1965 Barry McGuire said,

Look around you boy,
   It’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you don’t believe
   We’re on the eve of destruction.
(“The Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire, 1965).

Every sign is being fulfilled. The world is rushing toward the time of the end. And the Bible says,

“Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12).

Are you prepared? There will come a time when it is too late to prepare. You need to come to Christ by faith while there is still time. You need to have your sins cleansed from God’s records by the Blood of Christ while there is still time. You need to repent and turn to Christ and be converted while there is still time. And you need to come into the fellowship of the local church while there is still time. May God move you to do so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 24:3-8, 22.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“The Eve of Destruction” (by Barry McGuire, 1965).


THE OUTLINE OF

SIGNS OF THE TIMES – SILENT PREACHERS
AND THE ABORTION HOLOCAUST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:2-4).

I.   First, the silence of the preachers on Bible prophecy is a sign,
in itself, that the end of this age and the Second Coming of
Christ are near, II Timothy 4:2-4; Proverbs 1:7.

II.  Second, the sign of abortion and the fierce, godless mentality
that has produced the slaughter of 51 million American
children, II Timothy 3:1-3, 13; 4:3; Matthew 8:28;
Romans 1:31; Exodus 20:13; Amos 4:12.