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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, May 29, 2016

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

Most of the commentaries do not deal with this verse correctly. For instance, one famous commentary says, “The general condition throughout the earth will be one of unbelief.” But this is not what Jesus is talking about in this passage. He is not talking about the general apostasy of the end times here, nor is Jesus questioning whether there will be any true Christians when He returns. In fact, Jesus said just the opposite to Peter,

“I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

Stand and sing “Crowns and Thrones May Perish”! It’s number 4 on the song sheet, stanza four.

Crowns and thrones may perish, Kingdoms rise and wane,
   But the church of Jesus Constant will remain;
Gates of hell can never ‘Gainst that church prevail;
   We have Christ’s own promise, And that cannot fail.
Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
   With the cross of Jesus Going on before.
(“Onward, Christian Soldiers” by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924).

You may be seated.

Matthew 16:18 shows us that, no matter how deep and dreadful the Great Apostasy becomes, there will still be many Christians with saving faith when Christ returns. Many real Christians will be raptured, particularly in China and other parts of the Third World, where there is true revival today.

“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 in the Great Tribulation itself great multitudes of people will be saved.

“a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations” (Revelation 7:9).

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).

Thus, Jesus was not talking about the absence of saving faith at His coming, when He said,

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

My long-time pastor, Dr. Timothy Lin (1911-2009), had a great understanding of the Bible. He held a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Cognate Language. In the 1950s, in the graduate school of Bob Jones University, he taught Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, Old Testament Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, Classical Arabic, and Peshitta Syriac. Later he was the president of China Evangelical Seminary, succeeding Dr. James Hudson Taylor III.

Dr. Lin gave the true interpretation of our text,

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

I. First, the importance of persevering prayer.

Dr. Timothy Lin was a great Bible scholar who taught in several American seminaries, and was the president of China Evangelical Seminary in Taiwan. He was also one of the translators of the Old Testament in the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Dr. Lin was my pastor for twenty-four years. I can say, without question, that Dr. Lin was the most effective pastor I have ever known. When I was a member of his church I saw God send a revival in which many hundreds of people were saved and came into the church. Dr. Lin said,

The word “faith” has been widely used in the Bible. Its exact meaning can only be defined after a careful examination of its context. The text before this verse is the parable, showing that we ought to pray at all times and not lose heart [Luke 18:1-8a], while the text following [Luke 18:9-14] is the parable of the prayers of a Pharisee and a tax collector. Thus, the context of this verse [Luke 18:8] clearly indicates that the word “faith” here refers to the faith in prayer. And our Lord’s statement is a lamentation that His Church will lose the faith of prayer on the eve of His second coming (Timothy Lin, Ph.D., The Secret of Church Growth, First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles, 1992, pp. 94-95).

Dr. Lin said that the point of the parable in Luke 18:1-8 is that Christians should keep praying and not faint. Verse eight shows that Christians will not have persevering faith in prayer in the last days, the days we are living in. Therefore we can comment on the text by saying,

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith [in persevering prayer] on the earth?” (Luke 18:1, 8).

Dr. Lin went on to say,

The prayer meetings of many churches today are actually deserted [or have been turned into mid-week Bible studies, with only a token prayer or two]. Encountering such a sorrowful state, quite a number of churches totally ignore this important warning and in their indulgence for self-gratification, [often] cancel their prayer meetings altogether. It is truly [a] sign that the Lord’s second coming is at hand! Nowadays, many [church members] worship television more than their Lord…This is indeed sad!...the churches of the last days exhibit…extreme apathy [lack of interest] towards prayer meetings (Timothy Lin, Ph.D., ibid., p. 95).

Thus Luke 18:8 gives a sign of prayerlessness in the churches before the Second Coming of Christ, a sign of the time in which we are living, a sign of prayerlessness, not a complete lack of saving faith. Prayerlessness in the churches is one of the signs that we are living in the last days, before the Second Coming of our Lord.

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith [in persevering prayer] on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

Sing “Teach Me to Pray.”

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
   This is my heart-cry, day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
   Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
(“Teach Me to Pray” by Albert S. Reitz, 1879-1966).

II. Second, the importance of prayer meetings.

Dr. Lin also pointed out that individual prayer alone does not have the same authority and power of combined prayer, in prayer meetings. He said,

People often say that it makes no difference whether you pray individually or with a group, nor does it matter whether you pray alone at home or together with brothers and sisters at church. Such a statement is merely a self-consolation of the lazy, or a plausible explanation of one ignorant of the power of prayer! See what our Lord says about this aspect of prayer:

“Again I say unto you, That if two of you [in the church] shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:19-20).

      Our Lord has emphatically reminded us that the utilization of this divine authority can never be achieved by the effort of one individual, but only through the corporate effort executed [by] the entire church. In other words, only when… the entire church [prays] in one accord…can the church then effectively [have] such divine authority.       The church of the last days, however, cannot see the reality of this truth, nor remember the proper procedure for [obtaining] God’s power. What a great loss it is! [The church] has the divine authority from heaven, but not the knowledge of its administration, yet she wants to bind the work of Satan, to loose the downtrodden, and to further experience the reality of God’s presence. Alas, it cannot be done! (Timothy Lin, Ph.D., ibid., pp. 92-93).

So, Dr. Lin taught the absolute importance of prayer faith, and the absolute importance of the church’s prayer meetings. Stand and sing “Teach Me to Pray.”

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
   This is my heart-cry, day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
   Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.

You may be seated.

III. Third, the importance of praying in “one accord.”

Please turn to Acts 1:14, and read it aloud.

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14).

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…”. Dr. Lin said,

The Chinese Bible translates “with one accord” as “with the same heart and the same mind.” Therefore, for a prayer meeting to have God’s presence, not only must all participants understand the importance of the reality of prayer, but they must also come [to prayer meetings] with a sincere desire to… offer petitions, prayers, and intercessions and thanksgivings to God in one accord. The prayer meetings will then be successful and other ministries will then be successful (Timothy Lin, Ph.D., ibid., pp. 93-94).

To “pray in one accord” we must all say “amen” as one brother leads in prayer. When we all say “amen” we are praying in “one accord.”

You have heard Dr. Lin’s teaching on the importance of faith in prayer, the importance of church prayer meetings, and the importance of unity, “praying in one accord.” Yet some of you here tonight are not attending any of our prayer meetings. No wonder your spiritual life is so dull! Are there any here tonight who will say, “Pastor, from now on I will attend at least one of the prayer meetings”? Please close your eyes. If you will do that, please raise your hand. Everyone please pray that God will help them keep that promise! (all pray).

If you are still not converted, I strongly urge you to attend at least the Saturday evening prayer meeting. Please close your eyes. Who will say, “Yes, pastor, I will begin to come every Saturday night for prayer meeting”? Please raise your hand. Everyone pray for them to keep that promise! (all pray).

Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins. He shed His Blood to wash your sins away. He went through horrible agony, nailed to the Cross, to atone for your sins. He rose from the dead on the third day. He is alive at the right hand of God. Come to Christ and you will be saved from your sins.

Who among us tonight is unsaved and would like us to pray for your conversion? Close your eyes again. Please raise your hand so we can pray for your conversion. Everyone please pray that they will repent of their sins and come to Christ, for cleansing in His Blood! (all pray). Please stand and sing hymn number 7 on your song sheet, “Teach Me to Pray,” all three stanzas!

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
   This is my heart-cry, day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
   Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.

Power in prayer, Lord, power in prayer,
   Here 'mid earth's sin and sorrow and care,
Men lost and dying, souls in despair;
   O give me power, power in prayer!

My weakened will, Lord, Thou canst renew;
   My sinful nature Thou canst subdue;
Fill me just now with power anew;
   Power to pray and power to do!
(“Teach Me to Pray” by Albert S. Reitz, 1879-1966).

Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer for someone to be saved tonight. If you would like to speak with us about becoming a real Christian, please follow Dr. Cagan, John Cagan and Noah Song to the back of the auditorium now. They will take you to a quiet place where we can talk and pray about your conversion.


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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Luke 18:1-8.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Teach Me to Pray” (by Albert S. Reitz, 1879-1966).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

(Matthew 16:18; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 7:9, 14)

I.   First, the importance of persevering prayer, Luke 18:8.

II.  Second, the importance of prayer meetings, Matthew 18:19-20.

III. Third, the importance of praying “in one accord,” Acts 1:14.