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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 19, 2016

“To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5).

It happened last Sunday. A young Muslim man shot and killed 50 people in an Orlando, Florida nightclub. He murdered them for being gay. I’m told the Koran teaches that. Away with such teachings! Away with such cruelty and such hatred and violence! Away with it! These mass murders are now becoming common. We hear about them, but they don’t shock us too much any more. We are getting used to them. God help us!

Killings, wars, fighting, houses and churches burned down in North Africa, beheadings, torture, rape, fear, terrorism! These are daily experiences in our time!

We ask ourselves, “Why?” Why can’t we get along with each other? Why can’t we live in peace? Men have sought for an answer for thousands of years. Why is man so cruel to his fellow men? Why are we the way we are today?

These are questions that are dealt with in the Bible. The Bible is a book about the world, and about mankind. It is a book of history and, we could say, a book of psychology.

But the central message of the Bible is sin, the origin of sin, the result of sin, the remedy for sin. Sin. It means “missing the mark.” The people in the world around us have missed the mark. They have not lived as they ought to live. They have not thought as they should have thought. They have not been what they should have been. They have missed the mark.

Even the strongest men have been spiritual weaklings. Even the most intelligent men have been spiritual morons. Even those who pride themselves in their courage have been cowards in the face of spiritual adversity. They have not been soldiers of the truth, nor have they been champions in the face of temptation. They have conformed to the world, with their careers and with their lives! They have not been passionate men of God, as they should have been! They have yielded to the world. They have sought security instead of heroism, weakness instead of valor. They are passionless men, afraid to step out of their comfort zone. They are a race of cold conformists, not mighty men of God. They are enslaved by their “careers” – as Samson was “bound with fetters of brass.” And they cannot escape because they are willing to be slaves, and afraid of being free men. They have missed the mark.

The entire human race has missed the mark. All mankind lies under the spell of the Wicked One, “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). They are “by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:3).

They are like the people in Noah’s day – “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away” (Matthew 24:38, 39). They are like the people of Sodom. They eat. They drink. They buy and sell. They plant and build. “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:29). They have missed the mark! They are hypnotized by sin, mesmerized by the world.

They are under the control of Satan, the enemy of God. They are enslaved by cell phones, ensnared by drugs, ravished by pornography, captivated by demons, entangled in the affairs of this life, fearful, unbelieving, lacking moral fiber. They are held captive by adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, hatred, wrath and strife, envyings, drunkenness, revelings, and lust for material gains. “There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that seeketh after God.” They have all missed the mark. “The way of peace have they not known.” Such is the sad condition of the human race.

But Christ has come to save you from the corruption of sin! Christ came down from the third heaven, from another dimension, into our world. He came down from the throne of God into the womb of a virgin girl named Mary. He came to cure the very problem that is vexing and tormenting mankind today. He is Jesus of Nazareth – the only begotten Son of God – the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. And He is the one who brings deliverance, joy, and satisfaction to men and women in the darkness of this present world!

Yet only a few people experience the joy and liberation Jesus came to give us. You may wonder why so many of them are not interested in Jesus Christ if that is true. The reason is hinted at in our text. Three words in the text give us the answer.

“To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5).

I will give them in reverse order.

Most people do not want to admit that they are ungodly. Most of them are unwilling to admit that they are sinners. The Bible says,

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).

They do not want to confess that they are ungodly sinners. That’s why they are not interested in Jesus. They resist the very idea. They do not want to say to themselves what Sheila Ngann said, “I felt so ashamed and guilty...I was so ashamed to even show my face to Dr. Cagan, especially to Dr. Hymers...I felt so disgusted with myself, with the life I was living.”

They don’t want to confess their sinfulness like Kai Perng did. He said, “I knew that I was a corrupted sinner. I tried to be a good kid, but no matter how hard I tried I still could not change myself...I realized I was a fallen sinner, that I sinned against God... I felt that I was hopeless.”

They don’t want to acknowledge their sin, as Philip Chan did. Philip said, “He showed me how awful I was to the core. He showed me that I sinned against God with a high hand. He convicted me of many sins that I had committed...The blackness of my heart was so obvious, yet I resisted looking at it. He made me realize that I was unworthy [in the sight of] God.”

Those three young people are here this morning. I will tell you how they were convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit. They seemed like nice kids. They did not feel they needed Jesus to save them until they admitted that they were ungodly sinners. That is conviction of sin! Have you admitted to yourself that you are an ungodly sinner? Have you ever felt disgusted with yourself? Have you ever felt ashamed and guilty of sin? Have you ever felt that you could not change yourself no matter how hard you try? Have you ever felt guilty of the many sins you have committed? Have you ever seen the blackness of your heart in the sight of God? If you never feel some of what they felt you will never, ever be interested in Jesus. So you will never experience the satisfaction of knowing Jesus. You will walk out of this church and go back to your life – and go on in your way of living – until it is too late – and you die in your sins and sink down into the everlasting flames of Hell.

Next, the text says,

“To him that worketh not...” (Romans 4:5).

Every religion in the world says you can be saved by doing some sort of “work.” Islam says that. Buddhism says that. Even many so-called “Christian” churches say that. Every religion says you must do some work to be saved. But the Bible itself says they are wrong. The Bible says,

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done...” (Titus 3:5).

The Bible says,

“It is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Our text says, “To him that worketh not...” (Romans 4:5).

You can be baptized, but that will not save you from sin. You can join a church, but that will not save you from sin. You can clean up your life, and live a better life, but that will not save you from sin. You can try to change yourself, but that will not save you from sin. You can be in this church every Sunday all your life, you can be a church kid, but that will not save you from sin. No “good” things that you do can save you from sin and the torments of eternal punishment. The Bible says,

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5).

Last, the text says, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him.” “Him” is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only begotten Son of God. He is the only one who can save you from sin. Jesus came down from Heaven to pay the penalty for your sin on the Cross. The Bible says,

“When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

The Bible says,

“In whom [in Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7).

When you stop trying to save yourself – when you trust Jesus Himself – then His Holy Blood, shed on the Cross, will cleanse you from all sin!

What has gone wrong with the human race? Why can’t people live in peace? Why do human beings go from one war to another? Why all the killing and all the hatred?

The Bible tells us that the whole trouble is due to sin. Sin is our rebellion against God, our disobedience to God. That is what the Bible calls “sin.” Sin is the twisted, perverted principle that controls the conscious as well as the subconscious minds of all mankind.

But the Bible goes farther. It not only reveals what is wrong with the human race. It also gives us the remedy – the antidote, the medicine to cure man’s sin.

The medicine is not “religion.” The cure is not in Islam, Buddhism, or even institutional Christianity. The cure for your sin cannot be found in any of the world’s religions. The cure is not in religion, but in a person! And that person is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus Christ is no ordinary man. He came out of eternity into time. He came out of the glory of Heaven, into a world of darkness and sin. He came down from Heaven to this planet Earth. He came to save us from our sin. He came to die on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sin. He came to shed His Blood on that Cross to cleanse us from all sin. An old hymn says it well,

Complete in Thee! no work of mine
   May take, dear Lord, the place of Thine;
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
   And I am now complete in Thee.
(“Complete in Thee” by Aaron R. Wolfe, 1821-1902).

Now listen to Sheila Ngann! “Dr. Hymers [told me of] Jesus’ beautiful face, covered with His Blood. Thinking of it still makes me break into tears. I will never forget that face, that face [of Jesus] who lovingly died for me...Dr. Cagan asked me, ‘Will you come to Christ?’ I said, ‘Yes, I will come to Him.’ I threw myself on Jesus that day. I completely surrendered myself to Him. That day Jesus saved me. That day Jesus washed my sins away.”

Now listen to Kai Perng. He said, “I came to Christ. By simple faith in Christ, Jesus saved me from my sins with His precious Blood.”

Philip Chan said, “When I spoke to Dr. Hymers in the inquiry room, he said that I must only trust Jesus and Him alone. No one else and nothing else...I got on my knees and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! I knew I needed Jesus then and there. I must not wait! To wait was to stay in bondage. I had to go to Him for cleansing from sin. So I went to Him! The thoughts of self-assurance were long gone. Jesus became my assurance and my hope. Jesus took away my heavy load of sin. He gave me peace with God. Now I can truly call Him my Saviour! When I feel dry and empty, I remember hymns like ‘Jesus, Lover of My Soul’ and I remember that I have a friend in Jesus. Praise God that He gave His Son, Jesus, to rescue me and pardon my sin with His Blood.”

These testimonies show the grace of God in Christ. Julie Sivilay sang John Newton’s great hymn before this sermon.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
   And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
   The hour I first believed!
(“Amazing Grace” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

“To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5).

Faith in Jesus is all God wants. God only requires that you trust the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever good works you do, you are still a child of wrath, still cursed by sin, until you trust in Jesus. The very moment you trust Jesus, your faith is counted for righteousness. From the moment you trust Jesus, God will not punish you for your sins. As soon as you trust Jesus, God treats you as though you were guiltless and righteous. Come quickly. Trust the Lord Jesus. Your sins will be made clean by the Blood He shed for you on the Cross!

Complete in Thee! no work of mine
   May take, dear Lord, the place of Thine;
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
   And I am now complete in Thee.

Please stand. If you are tired of your sin, and sick of living in sin, I ask you to trust Jesus now. Everyone please close your eyes. If you would like to speak with us about trusting Jesus, please follow Dr. Cagan and the other counsellors to the back of the auditorium now. 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: Romans 4:5-8.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Miss Julie Sivilay:
“Amazing Grace” (by John Newton, 1725-1807).