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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, January 14, 2012

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

These words of Christ are not given to those who are asleep in sin. These words are not spoken to those of you who have no conviction that you are lost. The words of the Apostle are given to you, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” (II Corinthians 13:5). To you who are not under conviction of sin the Apostle says, “Examine yourselves.” But those words are not given to awakened sinners. The awakened sinner is weary and heavy laden with his sin. The awakened sinner feels tired and worn out under the labor of sin. The awakened sinner labors under the heavy load of sin, the heavy burden of sin, the anxiety of never knowing that sin has been pardoned. The awakened sinner comes to church under a heavy load of anxiety and fear.

Your conscience says, “You are not right. You were wrong here, and wrong there. You are completely wrong. There is no rest for you.” So, under the lash of your conscience, you go on in this gloomy, horrible condition. There is no rest for you. In the night, you sometimes awaken and think, “I am lost. I am hopeless. There is no rest for me! There is no hope for me!” Am I speaking to you tonight? Have you gone through some of the horror of knowing that you are a lost sinner? Have you worried again and again, thinking that your case is hopeless? Is that you? If it is, then listen carefully to what I am going to say.

I know that it would be better to go on for years under conviction of sin than to lose such conviction, and go on to Hell with a hardened heart. Yet conviction of sin will not save you. You may know that you are lost and yet never be saved. You may feel weary, and heavy laden with your sin, and yet never be saved. You may be convicted and yet die in your sins.

It is a trick of Satan to be satisfied with a sense of sin. Another trick of Satan is to make you think that simple trust in Jesus is not enough to save you, unless you have great despair to add to the Saviour’s work. Spurgeon said, “Our awakenings are not to help the Saviour, but to help us to the Saviour. To imagine that my feeling of sin [will help] in the removing of sin is absurd. It is as though I said that water could not cleanse my face unless I looked longer in the [mirror], and had counted the [pieces of dirt] upon my forehead. A sense of need of salvation by grace is a very healthful sign; but one needs wisdom to use it [rightly], and not make an idol of it. Some seem as if they had fallen in love with their doubts, and fears, and distresses. You cannot get them away from their terrors – they seem [married] to them…One who had been long in prison was not willing to come out. The door was open; but he pleaded with tears to be allowed to stay where he had been so long. [Loving] prison! [Wanting] the iron bolts and prison [food]! Surely this prisoner must have been a little [crazy]! Are you willing to remain…awakened…and nothing more? Are you not eager to be forgiven [at once]? If you [want to remain] in anguish and dread, surely you, too, must be a little out of your mind! If peace [can] be had, have it at once! Why [continue] in the darkness of the pit…?...Why lie in the gloom and die in anguish?...Salvation is not by knowing [your] own ruin, but by…grasping the deliverance provided in Christ Jesus. It is not what you feel that will save you…Even if there were some healing value in feelings, they would have to be good ones; and the feeling which makes us doubt the power of Christ to save, and prevents [us from] finding salvation in him, is by no means a good [feeling] but a cruel [feeling that keeps you from] the love of Jesus” (C. H. Spurgeon, Around the Wicket Gate, Pilgrim Publications, 1992 reprint, pp. 11-14). Again Spurgeon said, “To suppose that the Lord Jesus has only half saved men, and that there is needed some… feeling of their own to finish his work, is wicked” (ibid., p. 17).

Yet someone may say, “I tried to come to Jesus before, but I had a false conversion.” Are you wise enough to remember why you had a false conversion? Or do you think there is some mysterious, and unclear reason you had a false conversion. If you are not able to remember why you had a false conversion, I do. You had a false conversion because you did not come to Jesus! Some of you believed something about Jesus – without coming to Him. You believed that He died for your sins, and that He could save you. You believed those doctrines – but you did not come to Jesus Christ Himself. There is nothing mysterious about it at all. Spurgeon said, “There is a wretched tendency among men to leave Christ himself out of the Gospel…Men hear the way of salvation explained, and [agree with] it as being Scriptural…but they forget that a plan [doesn’t help] unless it is carried out; and that in…salvation their own personal faith in the Lord Jesus is [necessary]…All the sound doctrine that ever was believed will never save [you] unless [you put your] trust in the Lord Jesus [yourself]” (ibid., p. 24).

A woman came to Spurgeon for counsel. He said, “Are you not a believer in the Lord Jesus?” She said with much emotion, “I, I will try to be.” He took her by the hand and said, “You will try to believe the Lord Jesus! I cannot have such talk from you. It means blank unbelief. Would you tell me that you would try to believe me? I know you would not treat me so rudely. You [would] believe me at once; and surely you cannot do less with my Lord.” Then with tears she said, “Oh, sir, do pray for me.” He said, “I [will not] do anything of the kind. What can I ask the Lord Jesus to do for [someone] who will not trust him? I see nothing to pray about. If you will believe him, you shall be saved; and if you will not believe him, I cannot ask him to invent a new way to [satisfy] your unbelief.” He said that the Lord did not mention “trying” but said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” He urged her to come to Jesus in faith. Then she said, “Oh, sir, I have been looking to my feelings, and this has been my mistake! Now I trust my soul with Jesus…” Spurgeon said, “She found immediate peace through believing. There is no other way” (ibid., pp. 41-42).

Oh, you have been content to go on and on under conviction of sin. You have thought that your conviction could save you. But it cannot save you. You have been afraid that you will have another false conversion. But you will not have a false conversion if you come to Jesus Christ Himself. Can you not believe Jesus? He said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). He who comes to me I will never drive away. Will you believe the Lord Jesus Christ tonight? Then come to Him and don’t look back.

The angels warned Lot’s family to flee from Sodom. The angel said, “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee” (Genesis 19:17). But Lot’s wife “looked back” and perished (Genesis 19:26). She did not look forward by faith. She looked back and was damned. There is a lesson for you in that. Look to Jesus. Come to Him and do not look back at yourself! No more examining of self! Come forth from the prison of sin to Jesus – and don’t look back at yourself! “Out of my bondage, sorrow and night…Jesus, I come to Thee.” Jesus said,

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

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