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RESURRECTION NOW!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, May 2, 2010

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).


Christ’s miracles were done to illustrate spiritual truths. He opened the eyes of the blind to show that He can open spiritually blind hearts. He healed lepers to show that He can heal spiritually defiled souls. But three times He raised dead bodies. In the fifth chapter of Mark we are told that He raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. In the seventh chapter of Luke we are told that He raised the son of the widow of Nain from the dead. In the eleventh chapter of John we read that He raised Lazarus from the dead. The lesson we learn from these resurrections is that Jesus can raise to life those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). In this service tonight we have many daughters of Jairus, many widow’s sons, many a resurrected Lazarus – because many of us were dead in trespasses and sins, but through the power of Christ we have been raised from spiritual death, to walk in the newness of life! The resurrection we have experienced is called “regeneration” – a term that speaks of life from the dead, also known as the new birth. Dr. W. G. T. Shedd pointed out that the Bible often uses “resurrection to denote regeneration”…“speaking of regeneration as a spiritual resurrection” (W. G. T. Shedd, Ph.D., Dogmatic Theology, P and R Publishing, 2003 edition, pp. 864, 865). The connection between physical and spiritual resurrection is made clear in the second chapter of Ephesians,

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).

From these verses we learn three great truths about the new birth – three truths about regeneration through the power of the resurrected Christ.

I. First, we were dead.

According to the Bible all people are spiritually dead. Some men tell us that we were bruised by the Fall – but they do not believe we were killed by it. But the Word of God is very clear. It says that we were not just wounded, but that we were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Yet these men tell us that there is much good in man, that man’s nature itself is not dead in sins. C. G. Finney gave that false position when he said,

Why is sin so natural to mankind? Not because their nature is itself sinful…This doctrine is…infinitely dishonorable to God, and an abomination alike to God and the human intellect, and should be banished from every pulpit, and from every formula of doctrine, and from the world. It is a relic of heathen philosophy, and was foisted in among the doctrines of Christianity by Augustine (C. G. Finney, Finney’s Systematic Theology, Bethany House Publishers, 1994 edition, pp. 268, 263).

Well, the doctrine of man being dead in sin has been banished from most of our pulpits. What is the result? The moral and spiritual anarchy we see today – that is the result!

Was the doctrine of man dead in sin invented by Augustine? No, it was not! Man being hopelessly and helplessly sinful is taught throughout the Bible. In the days of Noah,

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

In the Book of Job we read,

“Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one”
      (Job 14:4).

“What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?” (Job 15:14).

The Psalmist said,

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).

“The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies” (Psalm 58:3).

King Solomon said,

“The heart of the sons of men is full of evil” (Ecclesiastes 9:3).

The prophet Jeremiah said,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

And the Apostle Paul told us,

“You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:1, 3).

Again, in Colossians, the Apostle said,

“You, being dead in your sins” (Colossians 2:13).

Finney attacked the doctrine of man dead in sin by attributing it to Augustine. Yet, as I have shown, this doctrine is taught from one end of the Bible to the other. Actually, Finney’s ideas come from the heretic Pelagius (A.D. 354-420). His heretical ideas have all been around for centuries. What Finney taught was Pelagianism in its full force! Let us stick by those doctrines that are clearly taught in Scripture! Man, in an unregenerated state, is dead in sin! Man is not sick. He is dead to the things of God!

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

“We were dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5).

What could be clearer than that? Nothing!

“Dead in sins” – is this not the true picture of man in his natural state? Great Spurgeon said,

Observe that corpse: you may strike it, you may bruise it, but it will not cry out; you may pile burdens upon it, but it is not weary; you may shut it up in darkness, but it feels not the gloom. So the unconverted man is laden with the load of his sin, but he is not weary of it; he is shut up in the prison house of God’s justice, but he pants not for liberty; he is under the curse of God…but that curse causes no commotion in his spirit, because he is dead…Oh! were you but alive, you would never be quiet till you were saved from the wrath to come. Man remains unconscious of spiritual things, and unmoved by them because, in a spiritual sense, he is dead (C. H. Spurgeon, “Resurrection With Christ,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, volume 14, pp. 207, 208).

You can sit in church and hear sermons that have no effect on you – because you are “dead in sins.” You can hear of Christ’s suffering, of Him being lashed and nailed to the Cross, and have no lasting concern – because you are “dead in sins.” You can hear that Christ rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) and not be moved by the power and majesty of His resurrection – because you are “dead in sins.” You can hear of His Blood, available to cleanse your sins, and not feel your need for cleansing – because you are “dead in sins.” You can hear others pray with fervent zeal, and not be able to pray like that yourself – because you are “dead in sins.” You can buy a big, black Bible and read it, but the words have no life in them; they are only words to you – because you are “dead in sins.” Others have joy in their faith, but there is no joy in you – because you are “dead in sins.” Others know Christ, and rejoice in knowing Him, but you do not know Him; you are full of doubts and fears – because you are “dead in sins.” Others tell you to come to Christ, but all you can say, over and over again, is “how?” “How can I come to Him?” The answer escapes you and you cannot understand it – because you are “dead in sins.”

I tell you now that if you try to be saved by learning it will always be the same. You will never be able to “learn” how to be saved! Never, in fifty years of Bible study – never will you be able to learn how to be saved – because you are “dead in sins.” And the more you study, and ask questions, the worse you will become, going on and on until what little interest you once had is gone, and you sit in church without hope of anything ever changing – because you are “dead in sins” – "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7).  And, at last, you will die in your sins and find yourself in the next world, where you will be in torment, cast away from the presence of God forever, in despair, in flames, with no hope, in the “blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13) – because you are “dead in sins.”

But now our text gives a glimmer of hope – and that hope lies solely in the mercy and grace of God in Christ. This was my experience, and I pray that it will be yours as well. Thank the Lord, those of us who have been saved can say, that we have been made to live by the resurrected Christ!

II. Second, we are made alive. 

Please stand and read verses four and five aloud.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

You may be seated.

Oh, hear this, sinner! Hear the blessed words of the Apostle, “But God.” There is hope in those words! “But God.” You are dead in sins, “but God!” Praise Him for those words! Leap and dance for joy when you hear them! “But God!” We could apply those words again and again in the history of faith. When things were hopeless, time and again God Himself intervened, and it could be said, in the words of Ephesians 2:4, “But God!”

All the world became so corrupted by sin that God said, “I will destroy man whom I have created” (Genesis 6:7). “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). “But God” intervened and saved Noah and his family from the great Flood. The children of Israel sighed and groaned under bondage in slavery under Pharaoh, in Egypt. But God said to Moses, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:6-7). “But God.” In the time of the Judges, the children of Israel were “greatly impoverished by the Midianites” (Judges 6:6). But God came to Gideon as he threshed wheat “to hide it from the Midianites” (Judges 6:11). “And the Lord said [to Gideon], Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man” (Judges 6:16). And Gideon cried, “Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian” (Judges 7:15). “But God.” Jesus was arrested, beaten, nailed to a cross, died and was buried in a sealed tomb. But God raised Him from the dead, “Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly” (Acts 10:40). “But God.” The high priest and his men took the Apostles and locked them “in the common prison” (Acts 5:18) to stop them from preaching the Gospel. “But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors…and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:19, 20). “But God” opened the prison doors and blest their preaching.

Again and again, throughout the Bible, we are given one example after another of God’s mercy.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

And since God had mercy in Noah’s day, and in Moses’ day, and in Gideon’s day, and in the Apostles’ day, and in the day of Christ’s resurrection – don’t you think He can have mercy on you?

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Look and see those who have been “quickened” in our midst. Look and see those who have been taken from the dead, and made alive by the grace of God in Christ! Behold – all of our deacons, all of the leaders of our church – all of them were once “dead in sins.” Yet, now, look and see – they have been “quickened together with Christ” – made alive in Christ – saved by grace! Who can say that they have not been “quickened…with Christ”? Who can doubt that they have been resurrected from the dead “with Christ”? Spurgeon said,

Poor Martha was much surprised that Christ should raise her brother [Lazarus] from the dead, but he said, as if to surprise her still more, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:26). This is one of the things we are to believe, that when we have received spiritual life, it is in union with the life of Christ, and consequently can never die (Spurgeon, ibid., p. 214).

Yes! “Never die!” We reject Finney’s false statement about those who are born again. Finney said, “They are expressly informed, that their salvation is conditional upon their perseverance in holiness to the end. They are called upon…to fear…lest they should be lost” (Charles G. Finney, Finney’s Systematic Theology, Bethany House Publishers, 1994 reprint of 1878 edition, p. 546). Yes, Finney said that a saved person can lose his salvation! In fact, Finney said that a Christian could fall out of Heaven and lose his salvation, after he dies! Here is the exact quotation from Finney’s theology book, “Saints in heaven can by natural possibility apostatize and fall, and be lost” (C. G. Finney, ibid., p. 508). Yes, Finney said that a Christian can fall out of Heaven and be lost!

This is Pelagian heresy. We reject it! He who has been converted cannot be “unconverted.” He who has been regenerated cannot be “unregenerated”!

“Even when we were dead in sins, [God] hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:5).

Spurgeon said, “Having once received divine life, he shall never lose it. God…does not quicken us with the inward life, and then leave us to perish…He does not save today, and damn tomorrow…Glory be to God, then, you who live by faith in Christ live an immortal life…rejoice in it, and give your God all the praise!” (Spurgeon, ibid., p. 215). But there is one more point. We were dead. We are made alive. But,

III. Third, we are raised up.

Please stand and read verses five and six aloud.

“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5-6).

You may be seated.

People ask me, “How do I come to Christ?” They are puzzled because they know where Christ is – up in the Third Heaven (II Corinthians 12:2). They know Christ is there, above the atmosphere, beyond the stars of this galaxy, in that place which He called “paradise” (Luke 23:43). They have read in the Bible that Christ is there, seated at the right hand of God. “How can I get up there?” they ask. “How can I come to Christ way up there – in another world?”

Well, of course, the answer should be obvious. You can't get there on your own! But “decisionism” has blinded many. They think they can come to Christ by their own effort! That is why they stumble when they read John 6:44,

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

They have no trouble believing that God will draw them up to meet Christ in the air at the Rapture (see I Thessalonians 4:16-17; I Corinthians 15:51-53). Yet they have a great deal of trouble believing the same thing when it comes to salvation! But both things are there, for all to read, in John 6:44,

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

The same mighty power of God, that will draw Christians up to meet Christ in the air, must now draw you up to Christ at the right hand of God! It is God that draws a sinner to Christ – not the sinner himself – but God. “No man can come to me, except the Father…draw him.” It is like the Rapture – only it happens now – when you come to Christ! Then, in that wonderful moment, Ephesians 2:6 happens! Look at it! Stand and read it aloud!

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

You may be seated.

Dr. Hendriksen said of that verse, “We ourselves were…made alive, raised, and set in heavenly places” (William Hendriksen, Ph.D., New Testament Commentary, Baker Book House, 1981 reprint, p. 118; note on Ephesians 2:6). The Reformation Study Bible puts it like this,

…made us alive…raised us up…seated us. These are historical events in the life of Christ: His resurrection from the dead and enthronement at the right hand of God. But Paul also applies them to what has happened to believers. Paul teaches union between Christ and those who come to…Him…so that what is said of the Redeemer can also be said of the redeemed (The Reformation Study Bible, Ligonier Ministries, 2005, p. 1706; note on Ephesians 2:5, 6).

Coming to Christ is only made possible by the grace and power of God, that draws our souls up to Christ when we are converted!

Then what must you do, if you are still lost? Jesus said, “Strive to enter in” (Luke 13:24). Read and re-read these sermons. "Strive" with all your being "to enter in." “Knock, and it shall be opened” (Luke 11:9). The Greek words tell us to “keep knocking, keep praying.” Pray as often as possible for God to awaken you to your sinful, lost state. Pray for Him to quicken your soul, make you live, and draw you to Christ. Think of the horrors of Hell, and eternity without Christ. “Strive to enter in” and God will “quicken [you] together with Christ”…and raise you up to “heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” May that joyful moment soon come to you! May you soon be made to live – drawn up to “heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” May you, who are dead in sins, experience resurrection now! May you be born again by the power of God in Christ! Amen.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).

(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: Ephesians 2:1-7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Come, Ye Sinners” (by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768;
to the tune of “Yes, I Know” by Anna W. Waterman, 1920).


THE OUTLINE OF

RESURRECTION NOW!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).

(Ephesians 2:1)

I.   First, we were dead, Ephesians 2:1; Genesis 6:5; Job 14:4: 15:14;
Psalm 51:5; Psalm 58:3; Ecclesiastes 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9;
Ephesians 2:1, 3; Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1, 5; Acts 1:3;
II Timothy 3:7; Jude 13.

II.  Second, we are made alive, Ephesians 2:4-5; Genesis 6:7, 8;
Exodus 6:6-7; Judges 6:6, 11, 16, 7:15; Acts 10:40;
Acts 5:18, 19, 20; John 11:26.

III. Third, we are raised up, Ephesians 2:5-6; II Corinthians 12:2;
Luke 23:43; John 6:44; I Thessalonians 4:16-17;
I Corinthians 15:51-53; Luke 13:24; 11:9.