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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, June 12, 2016

“Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).

A modern translation says, “Salvation is from the Lord.” The German commentator C. F. Keil tells us what that means. “Salvation is in [God’s] power, so that only He can grant salvation” (Keil and Delitzsch; note on Jonah 2:9). Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “If you ever get saved, it is because salvation is [from] the Lord...salvation is God’s work from beginning to end.” Salvation is from Jesus. Salvation brings you joy, peace, eternal life, and sins forgiven.

Why did Jonah say “salvation is from the Lord”? Because he was lost. He had no hope. He knew he couldn’t save himself. He was thrown out of a boat into the ocean. A sea-monster had swallowed him. He was in the stomach of that monstrous creature. He was helpless. He had no strength to save himself. There was no way for him to escape.

You will never be saved until you feel some of the hopelessness Jonah felt. Jonah cried out!

“The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the [sea] weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for soul fainted within me” (Jonah 2:5-7).

You must feel some of that or you will never be able to say, “salvation is from the Lord.” You may think that never happens to people today. But you are wrong. Every Christian here this morning felt some of that! You must feel sinful and lost first, before you can trust Jesus and be saved. 

Karen Yang said, “I walked into the church and my heart was heavy...I was a sinner. Everyone around me was in a cheerful mood. I could not suppress my guilty conscience. I could feel the weight of my sins pressing down on me, like I was carrying a heavy boulder on my shoulders...My heart could no longer deceive me that I was okay and a good person. I was not okay and there was no goodness in me. I knew if I died that instant, I would go straight to Hell...I was a sinner. I thought I could hide my sins from people. But I could not hide my sins from God. God saw them all...I felt completely helpless.”

There she was, a teenage Chinese girl. You would never have thought she was such a sinner. She had never taken drugs. She had never run around with boys. She looked clean and good. But she said, “I could no longer ignore the fact that my heart was ugly, rebellious, filled with evil, against God!...I was not okay and there was no goodness in me...I was a sinner.”

She felt like Jonah, drowning in an ocean of sin – with sea weeds wrapped around his head! If you never any some of that you will never be able to say, “salvation is from the Lord.”

Jack Ngann was a nice Chinese boy. He looked so clean and good. No one would suspect that he was really a sinner. But he went to the inquiry room. He said, “I felt myself in a state of guilt for the sins I had committed. I clearly remembered the worst sin I had committed. It proved to me that I was a dreadful sinner...I was crying my eyes out with sorrow, fear and guilt.”

Jack thought about the worst sin he had ever committed. I hope you will do that right now. Think of the worst sin you have ever done. Jonathan Edwards said that often helps people see what terrible sinners they are. Jack cried his “eyes out with sorrow, fear and guilt.” It was only then that he began to understand what Jonah experienced – “salvation is of the Lord.”

Estefania Baltazar had three false conversions. She said, “I was always trusting a feeling...I was so busy trying to earn my salvation I never thought about Jesus.” Then she said, “My sinful nature started to become unbearable. I would endlessly sin in my mind and heart. I never had any peace in my soul. There came a point when I could not stop thinking about my sins and the damnation that awaited me. My sins tormented me. I couldn’t laugh or enjoy anything. I thought, ‘How can I joke and laugh when my soul is in danger of eternal damnation?’ Nothing could pull my sins from my mind....I attempted to correct my sinful nature...but I couldn’t escape my sinful mind and heart... I would desperately cry and pray to God. I could feel my face turn red hot and sweat drip down my cheeks, but I remained lost and without hope. I would cry myself to sleep... I gave up on myself. I had completely given up the thought of being saved.”

She was drowning, like Jonah, in an ocean of sin. To become a Christian, you must feel at least some of that – or you will never be able to say, “salvation is from the Lord.”

I know that you will continue to think that you are OK, unless you are made aware of your sin. You may say, “That’s OK for those young people – but I’m not that bad myself.” My dear friend, you are really worse than those young people. Be honest with yourself. You are not better than them. You are worse! They took time to think – to think deeply – to remember what sins they had committed – to think about the fact that they didn’t really love God. You come to church to see your friends. You do not truthfully come to worship and praise God. You like to be with us in a happy meal after the service. You like to talk with all the nice people afterwards. But where is God in all that? Isn’t it true that you really don’t think about Jesus when you come to church? In fact you often have lustful thoughts, jealousy, unbelief, envy, twisted, ugly foul thoughts.

You are certainly not as good as Charles Wesley was. He went from England as a missionary to the Indians in America. You have never tried to help anyone find Christ – have you? Wesley fasted and prayed several times every week. You never stop eating and spend hours in prayer – do you? You are not as good as Charles Wesley – are you? And yet Charles Wesley said,

Just and holy is Thy name,
   I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am,
   Thou art full of truth and grace.
(“Jesus, Lover of My Soul” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

And that seemingly good man said,

I have long withstood His grace,
   Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
   Grieved Him by a thousand falls.
Depth of mercy! can there be
   Mercy still reserved for me?

Now incline me to repent;
   Let me now my sins lament;
Now my foul revolt deplore,
   Weep, believe and sin no more.
Depth of mercy! can there be
   Mercy still reserved for me?
(“Depth of Mercy” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

Charles Wesley was a better man than you will ever be. And yet he could say,

Just and holy is Thy name,
   I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am,
   Thou art full of truth and grace.

That’s the way Jonah felt. He knew he was a sinner. He was drowning in the stomach of that monstrous fish. He was drowning in sin. He was hopeless. He couldn’t do anything to save himself. He was completely helpless. Only the Lord could save him now. He said, “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee...Salvation is [from] the Lord” (Jonah 2:7, 9). He knew that only Jesus could save him!

Have you come to that place? Noah Song did. He said, “The Holy Spirit made me see how helpless a sinner I was. I felt so disgusted of my sin...Dr. Hymers asked me if I would trust Christ and I said ‘yes.’ Dr. Hymers was singing, ‘There’s room at the cross for you, there’s room at the cross for you. Though millions have come, there’s still room for one, there is room at the cross for you.’ I came to Jesus with all my guilt and sin. Jesus did not turn me away. It was Jesus and His sin-cleansing Blood that saved me...What a powerful Saviour! I love Him because He first loved me on that old rugged cross. Jesus is my Saviour, and my King! He has brought me up out of the sting of death, and the rottenness of sin. I felt as low as dirt, but Jesus pulled me up and saved me. I am a sinner saved by grace. Jesus has made all the difference! Jesus bleeding on the Cross for me, to pay for my sins, and the love He has for me, I will always remember.”

“Salvation is from the Lord.”

Jack Ngann said, “Dr. Hymers told me, ‘All the fitness He requireth is to see your need of Him.’ I sure did see [my] need for Jesus at this time. I was constantly thinking that there is ‘no way out.’ As I knelt down to pray, an even greater rush of thoughts flowed through my mind, which I now know to be the Devil himself trying to keep me from trusting Jesus. I then trusted Jesus. I leaped to Jesus. By simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His sin-abolishing Blood I was saved.”

“Salvation is from the Lord.”

Estefania Baltazar said, “That Sunday Dr. Hymers told us to get down on our knees and trust Jesus...I did not analyze my sin or my feelings like I always did. My heart cried out to Jesus for forgiveness. While kneeling down, I looked to Jesus by faith and trusted Him completely. I quickly sat on my chair. I left the inquiry room a forgiven sinner. I did not see or feel Jesus. I did not have a divine religious experience. I just simply trusted Him. The moment I trusted Jesus, He washed my sins away with His Blood. I did not have the assurance that I thought I needed, but I was amazingly happy because Jesus forgave my sins, and my sin-record was wiped clean. I am glad to know that God sees the Blood of Jesus and not my sins when He looks at me...Since I was a child, I have always felt an immense emptiness within my soul. Nothing in this world could get rid of it but Jesus, the day He saved me.”

“Salvation is from the Lord.”

Karen Yang said, “As the sermon was nearing the end, I [listened] to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. Christ died on the Cross in my place, to pay for my sins...His Blood was shed for sinners. His Blood was shed for me! I desperately needed Christ! eyes were lifted away from me. I looked toward Christ for the first time, and in that moment He saved me! Christ did not turn me away as I had done to Him for so long. He received me and washed [away my sin] in His Blood. Now I understood what John Newton meant. He said, ‘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.’" Karen said, "Now I see that Christ is my Saviour! I was a sinner, but Jesus Christ saved me!”

“Salvation is from the Lord.”

John Cagan graduated from college yesterday. But he was saved back in 2009. John said, “The pastor counselled me, and told me to come to Christ, but I would not. Even as all my sin convicted me, I still would not have Jesus. I was ‘trying’ to get saved, I was ‘trying’ to trust Jesus and I couldn’t. I just could not will myself to Christ, and it made me feel so hopeless. I could feel my sin pushing me down to Hell, yet I could feel my stubbornness forcing my tears away. I was stuck in this conflict.

Suddenly the words of a sermon preached years before entered my mind: ‘Yield to Christ! Yield to Christ!’ The thought that I would have to give up to Jesus so distressed me that for what seemed like forever I simply would not. Jesus had given His life for me. Jesus went to be crucified for me when I was His enemy and I would not yield to Him. The thought broke me; I had to let all of it go. I could not hold onto myself any longer. I had to have Jesus! In that moment I yielded to Him and came to Jesus by faith. In that moment it seemed as if I had to let myself die, and then Christ gave me life! There was no action or will of my mind but with my heart, with a simple resting in Christ, He saved me! He washed my sin away in His Blood! In that simple moment, I stopped resisting Christ, He saved me!...In that moment there was no physical feeling or blinding light. I did not need a feeling, I had Christ! Yet in trusting Christ it felt as if my sin was lifted off my soul. I turned from my sin, and I looked to Jesus alone! Jesus saved me...He gave me life and peace after all I had known was how to hate. Christ came to me, and for this I will not leave Him.”

“Salvation is from the Lord.”

“And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” Jonah was saved! He said, “salvation is of the Lord” and it was so. And it will be so with you the moment you trust Jesus, the Son of God. Trust Jesus now and you will be saved from sin and Hell for all time and for all eternity! You don't need to see Jesus. You don't need to feel Him. He is up in Heaven in another dimension. Just trust Him. He will pardon your sin and save you.

If you see your need for Jesus, I want you to follow Dr. Cagan, John Cagan and Noah Song to the back of the auditorium now. They will take you to a quiet room where we can talk and pray. Amen.

If this sermon blessed you Dr. Hymers would like to hear from you. WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Jonah 2:5-10.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Depth of Mercy” (by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).