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Gene Wilkerson, Tom Lim, Dr. Hymers, J. K. Lee & Tony Lew

Gene, Dr. Timothy Lin, and Dr. Hymers

Dr. and Mrs. Hymers with Gene at his apartment a few days
before he went into the hospital, October 31, 2011.


by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

Preached at the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles
on Saturday Afternoon, December 3, 2011

Thank you all for coming today. I am sure, in Heaven, Gene knows that you came to honor him. And I am sure he is smiling right now.

I well remember the very first time I saw Gene. It was at the First Southern Baptist Church of Huntington Park, California in 1960. We were all seated and Gene came in a little late. He walked to an empty pew at the front of the church with seven or eight little Chinese boys following him like baby ducks. It must have been the State Bible Drill. Of course the Chinese kids won nearly every time.

But I didn’t meet Gene personally until a few months later, in January, 1961 when I came here to the First Chinese Baptist Church as a 19 year old boy. Gene threw himself into the work of this church. He was the church secretary, church clerk, R. A. leader, Sunday School teacher, Training Union teacher, and Vacation Bible School teacher every year. Dr. Lum told me, “He was very faithful, very loyal. Gene was one of the best workers I ever had. He would do exactly what you told him, and not try to take control himself.”

Gene was here in church almost every evening. I did all my college courses at night, after working eight hours a day at the Division of Corporations. I would come down here to church and pick Gene up every night around 10:30 and drive him home. Gene never learned to drive himself because of poor eyesight. I remember coming here each Saturday evening and cleaning up the pews, getting ready for Sunday morning. I was Chairman of the Ushers. Gene would be in his little office typing the bulletin with two fingers. Dr. Lin usually made last minute changes on his outline for the bulletin, and Gene would be typing away at 8:30 or 9:00. Then we would print the bulletin and fold it, and I would drive Gene home. Needless to say, he became a very close friend.

Gene taught math and chemistry for many years at Belmont High School. My wife took a class in chemistry from Gene there. He worked with the Gideons, distributing Bibles, right up until a few weeks ago. He did volunteer work nearly every week at KUSC, the classical music station. For the past few years he attended the United Methodist Church of Glendale. Gene was a very intelligent man. He could talk on almost any subject, on history, literature, politics, classical music, biographies, mathematics, classical movies, the theatre, the Bible, and many others. I phoned him about once a week at about 11:30 PM and we would talk for a half hour or so. Gene came to our church several times each year, to our evening service, and to eat dinner with us afterwards, especially to Sunday evening banquets at Chinese New Year, Easter, the Fourth of July, the Chinese Moon Cake Festival, Reformation Sunday, and other events.

The very last service he attended was at our church, on Sunday night, October 30, which was Reformation Sunday. The last sermon he heard was my message on the great Reformer, Martin Luther. After the sermon we went to our fellowship hall, and Gene and I sat together eating and watching the famous black and white film on Luther. My wife Ileana, my son Wesley and I were at Gene’s apartment the next night, talking and praying together. Gene went into the hospital a few days later for heart valve surgery. I either phoned him or visited him every day he was in the hospital. The day before he passed away I shook hands with him, but he held my hand so firmly that I couldn’t pull it away. So I sat down for about five minutes while he gripped my hand. I think it was his way of saying goodbye. He passed away the next day, about two hours after I talked with him on the phone. It was a friendship that lasted for over 50 years. I will never forget him as long as I live.

I know Gene would want me to preach a very brief message. So I’ll be back in a moment. But first Mr. Ben Griffith will come to sing one of Gene’s favorite songs, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” (Mr. Griffith sings).

Please stand and turn with me to Ephesians, chapter two, verses 19 and 20.

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone”
       (Ephesians 2:19-20).

I am lifting out these words from verse 20 as my text this afternoon,

“Jesus Christ himself” (Ephesians 2:20).

Jesus Christ Himself is the subject of this brief sermon. The Christian faith contains nothing so wonderful as Jesus Christ Himself. There never was and never will be anyone else like Jesus Christ. He is absolutely unique in human history. Jesus Christ Himself is the God-man. Jesus Christ Himself came down from Heaven and lived among men. Jesus Christ Himself suffered, bled and died to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus Christ Himself rose physically from the dead for our justification. Jesus Christ Himself ascended back to the right hand of God to intercede for us in prayer. And Jesus Christ Himself will come again to set up His Kingdom on earth for one thousand years. That is Jesus Christ Himself! Please stand and sing “Jesus Only, Let Me See.”

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!
(“Jesus Only, Let Me See” by Dr. Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986).

You may be seated.

The subject of Jesus Christ Himself is so deep, so vast, and so important that we could never explain it all in one short sermon. We can only touch on a few points today concerning Jesus Christ Himself.

I. First, Jesus Christ Himself is the central theme of the whole Bible.

Jesus Christ Himself is the great theme of the entire Bible – from Genesis to Revelation! After Christ rose from the dead He met two disciples walking toward Emmaus. He said to them,

“O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).

From the five books of Moses, and throughout the rest of the Bible, Christ explained to them “in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” What could be plainer? The main theme of the whole Bible is Jesus Christ Himself! Since Jesus Christ is the main subject of the Bible, is it not reasonable for us to make Jesus Christ Himself the main subject of our thoughts and of our lives? We should think deeply about Jesus Christ Himself! Let’s sing the chorus again.

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

II. Second, Jesus Christ Himself is the essence, the central element, the very heart of the Gospel.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of Jesus Christ Himself as the heart of the Gospel. Isaiah said,

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The vicarious, atoning death of Christ, in thy place, paying the price and suffering the wrath of God in thy place – that is the heart of the Gospel! It is Jesus Christ Himself receiving thy sins upon Himself in the darkness of Gethsemane. It is Jesus Christ Himself in that Garden, who said,

“My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death” (Mark 14:34).

It is Jesus Christ Himself who,

“being in an agony…sweat…as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

It is Jesus Christ Himself who was arrested there in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is Jesus Christ Himself who was dragged before the Sanhedrin, beaten in the face, mocked and shamed. They spit in the face of Jesus Christ Himself! They pulled swatches of hair out of the beard of Jesus Christ Himself! It was Jesus Christ Himself who was taken before Pontius Pilate, beaten across the back with a Roman scourge, crowned with thorns, Blood dripping down His forehead into the blessed face of Jesus Christ Himself, a face beaten beyond recognition. Isaiah said,

“His visage was…marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14).

“And with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

It is Jesus Christ Himself who was taken from Pilate’s court, dragging His Cross to the place of execution. It was Jesus Christ Himself who was nailed to that cursed wood. It was Jesus Christ Himself who suffered not only the pain of the nails driven through His hands and feet – but who suffered a far greater pain when God “laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus Christ Himself “bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (I Peter 2:24). Dr. Watts said,

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
   Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
   Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
(“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748).

Please sing our chorus!

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

III. Third, Jesus Christ Himself is the only source of eternal joy.

They took Jesus’ body down from the Cross and buried it in a sealed tomb. But the third day, He rose physically from the dead! Then He came to the Disciples and said, “Peace be unto you” (John 20:19).

“And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20).

“Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20). Jesus Christ Himself gave them joy, “when they saw the Lord.” We can never know deep peace, and the joy of the Lord, until we know Jesus Christ Himself!

Oh – I can remember the very moment when I believed on Jesus Christ Himself! I was sitting beside Dr. Murphy Lum at Biola University when Jesus saved me. What a holy experience! My very soul looked to Jesus, high and lifted up, at the right hand of the Father! I rushed to Him! Or, rather, it seems that He rushed to me. I was washed clean from sin by His precious Blood! I was made alive by the living Son of God! Please sing that chorus one more time,

Jesus only, let me see,
   Jesus only, none save He,
Then my song shall ever be –
   Jesus! Jesus only!

If you are not yet saved, wait not another day! Wait not another hour! Wait not another moment! Come to Jesus Christ Himself! Do not leave Him out of your life! Come to Jesus Christ Himself.

Just as I am, without one plea,
   But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
(“Just As I Am” by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871).

May that be your prayer. May Jesus Christ Himself be your Saviour and your Lord. Amen and Amen.

Dr. Murphy Lum will now come to say a few words, followed by the benediction. The reception has been cancelled because of lack of space. At Gene’s request, the casket will remain closed, and we will end this service by having Gene’s family come and stand here while you come and shake hands with them.


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at Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

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write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“I’d Rather Have Jesus” (words by Rhea F. Miller, 1922;
music composed by George Beverly Shea, 1909-).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Jesus Christ himself” (Ephesians 2:20).

I.   First, Jesus Christ Himself is the central theme of the whole Bible,
Luke 24:25-27.

II.  Second, Jesus Christ Himself is the essence, the central element,
the very heart of the Gospel, Isaiah 53:6; Mark 14:34; Luke 22:44;
Isaiah 52:14; 53:5; I Peter 2:24.

III. Third, Jesus Christ Himself is the only source of eternal joy,
John 20:19, 20.