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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, February 1, 2009
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4).

It is shocking how few evangelicals do any evangelism at all! When I was young there were many people in Los Angeles who would give you a tract. On the corner of 6th and Hope Streets, in downtown Los Angeles, a man who sold newspapers had a large sign on his newsstand that said, “Good News at the Church of the Open Door.” That big church, pastored by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, was right behind his newsstand. A large neon sign on the roof of the church said, in big red letters, “Jesus Saves.” It was a great witness. That was before they built all those tall buildings, so you could see that sign all over downtown. Gene Scott got the sign and put it over on Broadway after the church left downtown. But the sign is now blocked by buildings, and few people see it anymore. Many people were still witnessing and evangelizing in the 1950s. But very few of them do that anymore.

“I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4).

I have lived nearly all of my 67 years in Los Angeles. Only one time in those 67 years has anyone shown the slightest concern for the salvation of my soul. That one time was when the people next door invited me to go to church with them when I was thirteen years old. But no one at the church spoke personally with me about conversion. I went “forward” and was baptized, but no one cared enough about my soul to ask me a few simple questions to see if I was converted. No one cared enough for my soul to make sure I was saved. But I would not be a pastor today if the people next door had not invited me to church that night. Yet even those dear people never once told me how to be saved, never once showed any concern about my soul, never once said anything to me about being saved.

“I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4).

The late Dr. John R. Rice said,

      What about a Christian who…does nothing to get other people saved? Not believing in the Word of God, the modernists let people go to Hell; but the fundamentalists who do not win souls let people go to Hell likewise. Although they claim to believe the Bible from cover to cover, in the end the practical result is much the same. It is shocking how few people win souls, and how callous and indifferent most of us Christians are about the lost souls around us for whom Christ died, the souls that He commanded us to warn and win!
       The Psalmist said, “Refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4). That is a pathetic cry. But most of the millions on earth could say the same thing. Most of them never had anyone earnestly seek to win them.
       Jesus looked on the multitudes, and they were like sheep having no shepherd. He lamented that the harvest was so plenteous and the labourers so few, and He taught us to “pray…the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38). Yet most of the unsaved multitudes about us have no one…trying to win them (John R. Rice, D.D., The Golden Path to Successful Personal Soul Winning, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1961 edition, page 62)…
       There are millions of troubled and hungry hearts all around us. There is really very little effort to win souls. That is a shocking and sinful fact (John R. Rice, ibid., p. 69)… All around us are people who are lost and could be won, but there is almost no effort to win them. Nearly any poor, lost soul could look up to God and make this complaint, “Refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul,” Psalm 142:4 (ibid., p. 73)…
       Oh, this must become a matter of passion and constant burden and attention, and above all, a matter of constant leading of the Spirit and constant anointing with His power, if you would win souls…regularly, working at this great business and not neglecting your opportunities (ibid., p. 87).

“I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4).

“There was no man that would know me.” The Hebrew word translated “know” means, “be acquainted with,” “care for” (Strong). Surely real evangelism must go beyond merely passing out a tract or praying a quick prayer with someone at their door step. Surely we must become “acquainted with” and “care for” those we evangelize.

We go out and invite people to come to church. We get their first names and phone numbers. Leaders in our church phone them and arrange rides for them to come and be with us, and hear the Gospel preached, and have a meal with us. But we must also “care for” them when they come.

That’s the way I became a Christian. I wasn’t saved right away. The people next door invited me to go to church with them. Then, when I was going to church, they were nice to me. A little kindness kept me coming until, a few years later, I was finally converted. Many people here tonight could say the same thing happened to them.

Once they have come into our church, we must show them kindness. We must become “acquainted with” them and “care for” them. Most of them are hearing the Gospel for the first time. Let the words of the preaching sink in while we “care for” them. Let no one ever go out of our church and say

“There was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4).

If we truly have a heart for evangelism, we will do all that is in our power to make our church a friendly, warm place, treating every lost sinner who comes through our church doors as a very special person, who Jesus came to save.

One of our deacons said to me the other night that he personally feels that the basic message of Christ can be summed up in one verse, which says,

“The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

The “Son of man” is Jesus. He has come “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

The Bible teaches that you are lost. Jesus said He would

“Go after that which is lost” (Luke 15:4).

He said,

“I have found my sheep which was lost” (Luke 15:6).

II Corinthians 4:3 says,

“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost
      (II Corinthians 4:3).

You are lost; but Jesus came to save you!

“The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

Jesus died in your place, to pay for your sins, on the Cross. Jesus shed His Blood on that Cross to cleanse you from your sins. Jesus arose physically from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven, to give you eternal life,

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

The moment that you come to Jesus, you are saved! As Joseph Hart put it,

The moment a sinner believes,
And trusts in his crucified God,
His pardon at once he receives,
Redemption in full through His Blood.
   (“The Moment a Sinner Believes” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

Come to Christ! Throw yourself on Him! Be cleansed from your sin by His Blood! Please stand and sing hymn number 4 on your song sheet. If you would like to speak with me about being saved, please go to the back of the room and the deacon will take you to the inquiry room while we sing.

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
   (“Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899).

We had a good many more first-time visitors here today. Dr. Cagan correctly attributes this to the fact that you did more personal evangelism last week. Don’t let up! Jesus said,

“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37).

Make sure you are one of those labourers, doing personal evangelism, and bringing the names and phone numbers to those who follow up on them to get them to church next Sunday. Let us stand. While Mr. Griffith sings, “Here Am I” by Dr. John R. Rice, if you would like to have prayer for God to help you in personal evangelism next week, please come and kneel here in front of the pulpit.

We should pray the Lord of Harvest,
   “Reapers send into Thy field.”
Few are reapers; white and wasting
   Are the fields, How rich the yield.
Here am I! Here am I!
   Send me forth, O Lord of Harvest,
Breathe on me Thy Holy Spirit.
   Here am I! Here am I!
Send me forth to win some precious soul today.
   (“Here Am I” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 9:35-38.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Here Am I” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).