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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, May 3, 2014

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:30, 31).

Our text comes from the first chapter of I Corinthians, the passage Mr. Prudhomme read a few minutes ago. The Apostle told them that not many worldly wise men, nor many mighty (influential) men, nor many noble (great) men are saved. They don’t think they need God. They are only concerned with the things of this world. They are not willing to suffer the loss of anything, not willing to deny themselves and take up the cross to follow Christ.

The Apostle reminded the Corinthians that they did not have many rich or famous people in their church. But their church was made up of people whom God had chosen, those that the unbelieving world would call foolish, and weak, and despised, not worthy of even being noticed. God chose people like them to “bring to nought” the great and worldly wise. And that is exactly what happened. The world treated these Christians as completely unimportant. But they were wrong. Those insignificant little Christians would spread throughout the Roman Empire, and later throughout the world. God chose the lowly Christians to bring to nothing the great pagan Roman Empire. It seems to me that God is doing that again today in Communist China. As one of our hymns put it, “Faith is the victory, that overcomes the world.” When America as we know it is gone, there will still be Christians here.

Faith is the victory, Faith is the victory!
Oh, glorious victory that overcomes the world.
   (“Faith is the Victory” by John H. Yates, 1837-1900).

God chose weak and lowly people like us so that no man could boast, “That no flesh should glory in his presence” (I Corinthians 1:29). Dr. J. Vernon McGee said that many evangelicals “give emphasis to the prominent folk who [have made a profession of faith] – the entertainers, the leaders in industry, and the prominent in government. But God majors in average people. He is calling simple folk like you and me” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, volume V, p. 12).

Have you ever noticed that we don’t emphasize evangelizing the rich and famous? Have you ever wondered why? Well, this section of the Bible tells us why,

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence” (I Corinthians 1:26-29).

You see, we have learned by many years of experience that we can’t get the rich and famous to come to church and hear the Gospel, and be saved. Our church grows because we evangelize young people in college or high school. The world thinks that young people are foolish and weak. But God calls some of you, where He passes right by the rich and famous! He knows that very few of them will listen and become disciples of Christ! They are too self-satisfied, and too materialistic to become real Christians. So God passes right over them. He does not call them with an effectual calling. He almost exclusively calls young people. And some of you are drawn to Christ and saved by Him. Our text explains what a privilege it is to be called by God, and saved through His Son Jesus!

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:30, 31).

We can draw at least three lessons from this text.

I. First, the privilege of being drawn to Christ Jesus.

The text says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus...” (I Corinthians 1:30). “Of him” – that is, “of God.” It could be translated, “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus.” This clearly shows that God is the One who draws a lost soul into union with Christ. God said through the prophet Hosea, “I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love” (Hosea 11:4). And Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). Modern “decisionism” teaches that people can come to Christ any time they feel like it! But the Bible teaches that only God can draw lost sinners into union with Christ. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus.” “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus.” Spurgeon explained it by saying, “Through God we are in Christ Jesus.”

This shows how utterly foolish it is to think you can learn how to come to Christ. God must bring you in to Christ. God alone “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). It will do you good to think of this great truth if you are already saved. You did not convert yourself. God converted you. You did not figure out how to come to Christ and be “in Him.” No! No! “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus.” Through the drawing power of God you are a member of the body of Christ, and united with Jesus. It will do you good to remember what it was like to be lost. It will do you good to remember how you struggled and yet were not able to come to Jesus. It will do every real Christian good to remember how you failed, and failed, and failed again, until at last, through God, you were drawn to Christ Jesus! That’s why real Christians sing with astonishment,

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
   (“Amazing Grace” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

Oh! it is an amazing thing that God, in His grace, has brought you in to union with Christ Jesus!

But I must ask some of you, “Are you in Christ Jesus?” Could the Apostle say to you, “Of God you are in Christ Jesus?”

Jesus Christ is ready to receive you if you truly desire to come to Him. But you cannot say how long the door will be open. The patriarch Noah came into the ark and was saved. The ark is a type of Christ. Did you ever wonder why no one but Noah’s family entered the ark? As I was writing this sermon I tried to think of several reasons. Maybe you could think of others, but I could only think of three reasons.

1.  One, they didn’t think judgment would fall on them – they were not convicted of their sin.

2.  Two, they didn’t believe what Noah preached. He was a “preacher of righteousness” (II Peter 2:5). But they did not believe his preaching.

3.  Three, they were too proud to humble themselves and rely on the ark to save them.

I think one or more of those three things keep some of you from coming to Christ. I will repeat those three things. Try to think which one (or more) of them keeps you from coming to Jesus.

1.  One, you don’t think judgment will fall on you – you are not convicted of your sin.

2.  Two, you don’t believe what is preached.

3.  Three, you are too proud to humble yourself and rely on Christ to save you.

Is that your condition tonight? We have to say with the great evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770), “People will never accept [Christ], and we can give them no comfort, until they are made sick of sin, and made willing to embrace Jesus” (George Whitefield, “The Duty of a Gospel Minister”).

Does this seem contradictory to you? You cannot come to Jesus on your own – and yet you must come to Him or perish. The old-time preachers called this “the Gospel vise.” You are squeezed as in a vise. One side of the vise tells you that you must come to Jesus. The other side of the vise tells you that you can’t come to Him on your own. Then what can you do? Well, you could leave this church and go your own way, saying it’s too hard. Or you could do what the people in Noah’s day never did,

“Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:9-10).

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,

      We have been too anxious to hurry people into some kind of “decision.” It is when you have suffered a great deal of pain that you most appreciate the relief. It is the man who has been healed at the very door of death who is most grateful for his cure. It is the sinner who has had a glimpse into hell who is most appreciative of the glories of heaven (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., The Assurance of Our Salvation, Crossway Books, 2000, p. 305).

Only Christ can save you. You have heard me say that many times. But you won’t believe it until you feel it yourself. God knows that

A man convinced against his will
Is of the same opinion still.

So, to convince you, God must bring you to the point of despair. You must be made to feel a desperate need for Christ. You must be made to feel that you have no hope in yourself. You must be led to think, “I can’t stand being like this! I must have my sins pardoned by Jesus!” Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “No one ever comes to Christ until the point of desperation has been reached” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., God’s Way Not Ours, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2003, p. 71). God must awaken you to your need, and God must draw you to Jesus for relief. You cannot do these things yourself. Many people never experience these things. They are never made aware of their desperate condition, and are never drawn to Jesus. That is why I say it is a privilege to be drawn to Christ, to be “in Christ Jesus.” The Bible says, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

II. Second, the provisions made available to those who are in Christ Jesus.

I have perhaps spent too much time on the privilege of being drawn to Christ. But that is extremely important. You cannot receive the provisions of Christ unless you are drawn to Christ. These provisions are only supplied to those who belong to Christ, who “are in Christ Jesus.” The text says,

“Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (I Corinthians 1:30).

Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption – these are the four things this text promises to those who “are in Christ Jesus.” First, we are promised “wisdom.” Right after I was saved I remember thinking that I had no one to back me up or help me. My parents were divorced, and I had no source of income. I remember thinking that I must not make any mistakes. Even one mistake could stop me from becoming a missionary. So I specifically asked God to give me wisdom. And He did give me wisdom! I was constantly afraid that my foot would slip if Christ Himself didn’t hold me up. And He did hold me up! And He did give me wisdom! An older woman who knew me when I was in college said to me not long ago, “You were always a very serious young man.” It was Jesus who made me serious. It was Jesus who gave me wisdom. The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

Second, we are promised “righteousness.” Christ Himself is “made unto us... righteousness.” We are clothed in the righteousness of another – even Jesus Himself! As the old hymn puts it, “Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne” (“The Solid Rock”). Many times the Devil has come to me and said, “How can you preach this or that? How can you take this stand or that one?” Oh, how sweet have been those words in Ephesians, chapter one, in those times! It says, “he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:6, 7). The “beloved” is Jesus. I am accepted in Jesus. My righteousness is from Him! “Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.” When the Devil told me I wasn’t good enough to preach, as a young person, I could say those words, “he hath made [me] accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). What a blessing! What a comfort when the Devil rages. This is how the saints in the Tribulation period overcome Satan! “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11). The great missionary Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf said,

Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
While through thy blood absolved I am
From sin’s tremendous curse and shame.
   (“Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness” by Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf,
      1700-1760; translated by John Wesley, 1703-1791).

Then, too, Christ Jesus is made unto us sanctification. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us because we are united to Christ. If anyone is in Christ he is not an old creature with a few cosmetic changes. No! No! “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). The old nature is not sent to the hospital to be healed. It is sent to the cross to be crucified. It is not transformed and improved, but doomed to die and be buried. Strangely, people think they can come to Christ for pardon and justification; and come to Moses when they want to be holy! It won’t work! You become more holy the same way you were saved – you become more holy by trusting Christ for it. Christ on the Cross was the source of your salvation. Now Christ on the Cross is the source of your growth in grace! Jesus saves us from our sins, and is made of God to us “sanctification.” Remember these great words,

When through deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trials to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
   (“How Firm a Foundation” by George Keith, 1638-1716).

Now, the last item provided to us in Christ is “redemption.” But someone says, “Shouldn’t that be the first provision given to us?” Yes, but it is also the last. If you are a Christian, you are somewhat free from sin, but you are not yet completely redeemed by His power. Even when you die you will not have received full redemption. You are “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23). Our redemption in Christ will only be fully realized when Jesus comes for us in the clouds!

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Even my weary old body shall be made like the risen Saviour Himself. We shall rise from the dead in eternal redemption – and live in eternal joy forever, because we are in Christ Jesus, the beginning and the end of our salvation. But I must hurry to the last point.

III. Third, the praise we should give to Christ Jesus for saving us and providing for us.

I can only touch on this point.

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:30, 31).

You see, brothers and sisters, our very existence as Christians depends completely on Christ Jesus. Those who truly know Christ will want to glory in Him – will want to boast of Christ and what He has done for them.

I hate to hear so-called “testimonies” where people talk on and on about themselves, what sinners they were, going into gory detail telling about their filth, their rebellion, and their perversion. They usually end it by saying – “and then I trusted Jesus.” They tack Jesus on as an afterthought. They glorified themselves for five minutes, bragging about their own life – but they had only a second or two to give glory to Christ! Those testimonies sicken me! And I think they sicken God!

“He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:31).

You ought to have plenty to say when you give a testimony of your glorious Saviour! You ought to be able to speak of the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption you have in Christ Jesus! You ought to be able to talk on and on about the glories of your Saviour and Lord.

Now a few words to you who are not saved. Will you come to Jesus and receive these blessings? Jesus will save you the moment you trust Him. His Blood will cleanse you from all sin. Will you come to Him? Or will you keep on rejecting Him and go on in spiritual poverty until you are surprised by suddenly falling into the open pit of Hell? What is your answer?

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by the Pastor: I Corinthians 1:26-31.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“All I Need” (author unknown).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:30, 31).

(I Corinthians 1:26-29)

I.   First, the privilege of being drawn to Christ Jesus, Hosea 11:4;
John 6:44; Ephesians 2:6; II Peter 2:5; James 4:9-10; Matthew 22:14.

II.  Second, the provisions made available to those who are in Christ Jesus, Proverbs 1:7; Ephesians 1:6, 7; Revelation 12:11;
II Corinthians 5:17; Romans 8:23; I Thessalonians 4:16-17;

III. Third, the praise we should give to Christ Jesus for saving us and
providing for us, I Corinthians 1:31.